Skip to content

Now live: Top up your Marriott free nights using up to 15,000 points

April 30, 2022
6 min read
This post contains references to products from one or more of our advertisers. We may receive compensation when you click on links to those products. Terms apply to the offers listed on this page. For an explanation of our Advertising Policy, visit this page.

We've seen a lot of Marriott Bonvoy news recently, and a change announced four months ago is finally here.

Last year, Marriott Bonvoy announced plans to eventually shift to fully-dynamic pricing for its 8,000+ properties. And last month, this change went live for some hotels. However, the loyalty program did announce that that you would soon be able to add up to 15,000 points to your free night certificates that come with select Marriott credit cards. This would open up properties that cost more points.

While there was no date in the original announcement, the ability to "top up" your Marriott free nights is now live.

Sign up for our daily newsletter

Here's how it works.

How to add points to Marriott free night awards

To use this new feature, start your award search as normal. Log into your account at Marriott.com and search for a hotel as your normally would. Make sure "Use Points/Certificates" is selected to see pricing in points, rather than cash.

(Screenshot courtesy of Marriott)

Once you've found a property you want to book, click on the View Rates icon to see the details of the award price.

(Screenshot courtesy of Marriott)

From there, you'll see the total number of points you'd need for the stay across the different room types (note that for stays of two nights or longer, you'll have to click on Customize Payments to see the nightly award rates).

(Screenshot courtesy of Marriott)

After you click Select on your desired room, you'll be taken to the confirmation page — and there you'll see the option to redeem points or select any applicable certificate(s) plus additional points to make up the difference.

In this example, a 35,000-point certificate wouldn't have been applicable to this stay in the past, since the award rate is 40,000 points for the night. However, you could use 5,000 of your Marriott points to supplement the certificate — a fantastic value, since the paid rate for this night comes to a whopping $643.30 (with taxes and fees).

Note that this functionality just went live, so it may take some time to appear for all properties and all members.

Related: How to use a Marriott Bonvoy 35,000-point certificate

Rules for topping up Marriott free night awards

While this flexibility is a nice addition, there are some rules and limitations to keep in mind.

First, you can only add 15,000 points to your free night certificates. Thus, if your certificate is worth 35,000 points, the maximum you can redeem for is 50,000 points after adding the maximum of 15,000 points. Hotels priced at 50,001 or more points will be out of reach for this free night award certificate.

Second, free night certificate redemptions do not qualify for Marriott's "fifth night free" policy. This perk only applies to points redemptions.

And, of course, you'll face the standard restrictions that these free night awards have always had. You must book and complete your stay prior to the expiration date on your certificate. For many that were extended due to the pandemic, this could be as early as June 30, 2022 — giving you just a couple of months to put them to use.

If you try to search for a stay past the expiration date, the certificate will not show up as a payment option.

How to get Marriott free night award certificates

If you're wondering how to get these free nights, there are two options.

Marriott Titanium Elite members can choose a free night award certificate as their annual choice benefit. This award is worth up to 40,000 points.

A simpler path to obtaining free night award certificates with Marriott Bonvoy is via credit cards. The following credit cards offer a free night award each year that you carry the card and pay the annual fee:

The Ritz-Carlton Maldives, Fari Islands. (Photo by Chris Dong/The Points Guy)

This could open up luxurious resorts like the Ritz-Carlton Maldives, Fari Island on certain dates.

Related: Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant American Express Credit Card review

Bottom line

As of today, Marriott Bonvoy now allows members to combine free-night certificates with up to 15,000 points to book award stays across its global portfolio. This comes on the heels of IHG One Rewards, which also added the ability to top up free night awards recently.

With the full implementation of dynamic pricing still months away, it's unclear whether this new functionality will ultimately deliver value in the long-run. However, it's a great additional option for those with certificates who struggled to find eligible properties at which to use them.

If you're planning a trip and see a hotel that costs more than what your free night certificate is worth, you can now add up to 15,000 points to your award to make that trip a reality.

Featured image by (Photo by Ben Smithson/The Points Guy)
Editorial disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airline or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

TPG featured card

Best starter travel card
TPG Editor‘s Rating
Card Rating is based on the opinion of TPG‘s editors and is not influenced by the card issuer.
4 / 5
Go to review

Rewards

1 - 3X points
3XEarn 3 Points per $1 spent at Restaurants and Supermarkets
3XEarn 3 Points per $1 spent at Gas Stations, Air Travel and Hotels
1XEarn 1 Point per $1 spent on all other purchases

Intro offer

Earn 80,000 ThankYou® points60,000 points
For a limited time, earn 80,000 bonus ThankYou® Points after you spend $4,000 in purchases within the first 3 months of account opening

Annual Fee

$95

Recommended Credit

670-850
Excellent, Good
Credit ranges are a variation of FICO© Score 8, one of many types of credit scores lenders may use when considering your credit card application.

Why We Chose It

The Citi Premier’s 3 points per dollar spent across a wide range of popular categories is one of the more lucrative offerings in the world of points and miles. The Citi Premier comes with a $95 annual fee and is currently offering a solid sign up bonus of 80,000 points after you spend $4,000 on purchases within the first three months. It also has some valuable transfer partners to make the most of your rewards. Add in access to Citi Entertainment plus a $100 hotel credit for any single-stay hotel booking that exceeds $500 or more, excluding taxes and fees, booked through the Citi travel website, there are few reasons why the Citi Premier should not be in every traveler’s wallet.

Pros

  • Earns 3x points on restaurants, supermarkets, gas stations, air travel and hotels.
  • $100 annual hotel savings benefit (on single hotel stay bookings of $500 or more, excluding taxes and fees, booked through thankyou.com)
  • Points transfer to 16 airline programs, from JetBlue to Virgin Atlantic.
  • World Elite Mastercard benefits, extended warranty, damage and theft protection.

Cons

  • $95 annual fee
  • Lacks travel protections that other travel rewards cards come with
  • For a limited time, earn 80,000 bonus ThankYou® Points after you spend $4,000 in purchases within the first 3 months of account opening
  • Earn 3 Points per $1 spent at Restaurants and Supermarkets
  • Earn 3 Points per $1 spent at Gas Stations, Air Travel and Hotels
  • Earn 1 Point per $1 spent on all other purchases
  • Annual Hotel Savings Benefit
  • 80,000 Points are redeemable for $800 in gift cards when redeemed at thankyou.com
  • No expiration and no limit to the amount of points you can earn with this card
  • No Foreign Transaction Fees on purchases
Best starter travel card
TPG Editor‘s Rating
Card Rating is based on the opinion of TPG‘s editors and is not influenced by the card issuer.
4 / 5
Go to review

Rewards Rate

3XEarn 3 Points per $1 spent at Restaurants and Supermarkets
3XEarn 3 Points per $1 spent at Gas Stations, Air Travel and Hotels
1XEarn 1 Point per $1 spent on all other purchases
  • Intro Offer
    For a limited time, earn 80,000 bonus ThankYou® Points after you spend $4,000 in purchases within the first 3 months of account opening

    Earn 80,000 ThankYou® points
    60,000 points
  • Annual Fee

    $95
  • Recommended Credit
    Credit ranges are a variation of FICO© Score 8, one of many types of credit scores lenders may use when considering your credit card application.

    670-850
    Excellent, Good

Why We Chose It

The Citi Premier’s 3 points per dollar spent across a wide range of popular categories is one of the more lucrative offerings in the world of points and miles. The Citi Premier comes with a $95 annual fee and is currently offering a solid sign up bonus of 80,000 points after you spend $4,000 on purchases within the first three months. It also has some valuable transfer partners to make the most of your rewards. Add in access to Citi Entertainment plus a $100 hotel credit for any single-stay hotel booking that exceeds $500 or more, excluding taxes and fees, booked through the Citi travel website, there are few reasons why the Citi Premier should not be in every traveler’s wallet.

Pros

  • Earns 3x points on restaurants, supermarkets, gas stations, air travel and hotels.
  • $100 annual hotel savings benefit (on single hotel stay bookings of $500 or more, excluding taxes and fees, booked through thankyou.com)
  • Points transfer to 16 airline programs, from JetBlue to Virgin Atlantic.
  • World Elite Mastercard benefits, extended warranty, damage and theft protection.

Cons

  • $95 annual fee
  • Lacks travel protections that other travel rewards cards come with
  • For a limited time, earn 80,000 bonus ThankYou® Points after you spend $4,000 in purchases within the first 3 months of account opening
  • Earn 3 Points per $1 spent at Restaurants and Supermarkets
  • Earn 3 Points per $1 spent at Gas Stations, Air Travel and Hotels
  • Earn 1 Point per $1 spent on all other purchases
  • Annual Hotel Savings Benefit
  • 80,000 Points are redeemable for $800 in gift cards when redeemed at thankyou.com
  • No expiration and no limit to the amount of points you can earn with this card
  • No Foreign Transaction Fees on purchases