Skip to content

Quick Points: Can you use free night certificates to book a hotel room for someone else?

Feb. 01, 2022
7 min read
Overwater bungalows at Hilton Moorea
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.

What's better than a "free" night at a hotel?

You can earn free night certificates with World of Hyatt, Hilton Honors, Marriott Bonvoy, IHG Rewards and Radisson Rewards Americas. But if you have an expiring certificate you can't use yourself, you might be wondering if you can gift it to a travel-loving friend to use in your place. The answer is: maybe.

Let's take a look at the major brands to see what their policies are for letting others use one of your free night certificates.

Sign up for our daily newsletter

For more TPG news delivered each morning to your inbox, sign up for our daily newsletter.

World of Hyatt

Hyatt Centric Key West. (Photo by Kyle Olsen/The Points Guy)

There are a few ways to earn Hyatt free night certificates — through the World of Hyatt Credit Card and through World of Hyatt's loyalty program.

With the World of Hyatt Credit Card, you earn one Category 1-4 certificate annually just for having the credit card open, and a second certificate after spending $15,000 on the card in a single calendar year.

Further, after you spend 30 nights or earn 50,000 base points with Hyatt in a single calendar year, you are eligible to earn a Category 1-4 free night certificate. Then, once you stay 60 nights or earn 100,000 base points with Hyatt in a calendar year, you are eligible to earn a Category 1-7 free night certificate.

Plus, for every five different Hyatt brands that you stay at, you can earn a Category 1-4 free night certificate (up to 15 different brands). For reference, this doesn't have to be over the course of a single calendar year.

This means that Globalist members who spend $15,000 or more on their World of Hyatt Credit Card earn an impressive four free night certificates annually, one of which can be used at Category 1-7 properties:

  • Two with the World of Hyatt Credit Card (one for keeping the account open and one for spending $15,000 in a calendar year).
  • Two with the World of Hyatt loyalty program (one after staying 30 nights or earning 50,000 base points and one after staying 60 nights or earning 100,000 base points).

Related: The 11 hotels where you’ll get the most out of your Hyatt reward night certificate

Giving a Hyatt free night certificate to a friend is permissible. According to Hyatt:

" ... a member may gift a Free Night Award to a third party by making a reservation in that person’s name, but Free Night Awards cannot be transferred into points or transferred to another member for that member to gift to another person."

You can't transfer a free night certificate to another account. You will need to make a reservation for someone else using the free night certificate by calling World of Hyatt at 1 (800) 544-9288.

Hilton Honors

La Quinta Resort & Club, Curio Collection by Hilton. (Photo by Kyle Olsen/The Points Guy)

You can only earn Hilton free night certificates through a co-branded American Express credit card. With the Hilton Honors American Express Aspire Card, you earn a one-weekend-night-free certificate by having the account open and another after spending $60,000 on the card in a calendar year. Many Aspire cardholders, like myself, received a targeted offer to earn another free night certificate after spending $8,000 on the card. The information for the Hilton Aspire Amex card has been collected independently by The Points Guy. The card details on this page have not been reviewed or provided by the card issuer.

You can also earn a free weekend night certificate on the Hilton Honors American Express Surpass® Card after spending $15,000 in a calendar year.

Lastly, The Hilton Honors American Express Business Card allows all cardholders to earn a free weekend night certificate by spending $15,000 on the card in a calendar year. However, if you spend an additional $45,000 on the card (for a total of $60,000) in that same calendar year, you can earn a second free weekend night certificate.

Related: How to get maximum value from Hilton free night certificates

Unfortunately, unlike Hyatt, once a free night award is issued, it can only be used by the individual named on the award.

Marriott Bonvoy

Pine Cliffs, A Luxury Collection, Marriott. (Photo by Kyle Olsen/The Points Guy)

Unless you select the 40,000-point, free night Annual Choice Benefit certificate for achieving Titanium Elite status (75 nights), all Marriott free night certificates are earned through co-branded Chase and American Express credit cards.

You can earn a 35,000-point free night certificate with the Marriott Bonvoy Business® American Express® Card (a second after spending $60,000 on the card in a calendar year) and the Marriott Bonvoy Boundless Credit Card.

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

You can also earn an annual 85,000-point free night certificate with the Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant™ American Express® Card to be used on eligible purchases at hotels participating in the Marriott Bonvoy program.

Similar to Hilton, Marriott's terms clearly state that e-certificates (or free night certificates) cannot be transferred or gifted once they've been issued.

IHG Rewards

InterContinental Rome Ambasciatori Palace, an IHG Hotel. (Photo courtesy of IHG)

You can earn an IHG reward night certificate by holding The IHG Rewards Premier Credit Card. This reward night certificate can be redeemed for a maximum of 40,000 points.

Related: Top hotels for redeeming the IHG Premier Card’s anniversary reward night

As with Hilton and Marriott, IHG free night certificates cannot be transferred. When we reached out to IHG to confirm this, we were told that a member can add their friend as a second guest on the reservation when making a booking. However, if you do this, you should still be present during the stay to avoid having your account reprimanded.

Radisson Rewards Americas

Radisson Blu Resort & Spa, Malta Golden Sands. (Photo courtesy of the RadissonBlu Malta Golden Sands/Facebook)

Through the Radisson Rewards Premier Visa Signature® Card, you can earn a free night for every $10,000 spent per year, up to $30,000. These free night certificates are valid at any Radisson property in the U.S.

Unfortunately, Radisson's terms clearly state, "the Radisson Rewards Americas member must make the reservation and be the traveler to receive the Free Night e-Cert."

The information for the Radisson Rewards Premier card has been collected independently by The Points Guy. The card details on this page have not been reviewed or provided by the card issuer.

Related: Best hotel credit cards of February 2022

Bottom line

Earning free night hotel certificates reaffirms a member's loyalty to a given hotel rewards program. However, with the exception of Hyatt, free night certificates cannot be shared with others. So if you have an expiring free night certificate, it's worth using it if you can, even if it's for a staycation close to home.

Featured image by You'll get the best returns with Hilton purchases on your card.
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