Editor’s note: This post has been updated with the latest information.
There are multiple Marriott cobranded credit cards in my wallet for a few reasons. One of those reasons is several of these cards come with an annual award certificate valued at up to 35,000 points. Paying the annual fees on these cards is more than worth it to me because of the value I get out of these annual award nights.
Marriott cards that award these up to 35,000-point certificates at each account renewal include the following:
- Marriott Bonvoy Business™ American Express® Card
- Marriott Bonvoy Boundless Credit Card
If you maximize the annual 35,000-point award at a hotel going for $200-$300 per night (or more), you’ve more than offset the annual fee. (Note that the Marriott Bonvoy Bold Credit Card from Chase does not offer a reward night certificate.)
Since the Marriott Boundless credit card is offering an increased welcome bonus of 100,000 points after spending $3,000 on purchases in the first three months from account opening, as well as an annual 35,000-point certificate at each account renewal, this is a great time to revisit how to use the Marriott 35,000-point certificates.
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How to use a Marriott 35,000-point certificate
Once you’ve earned your annual reward night certificate, you can easily use it at a range of properties.
Wait for your credit card account anniversary
Within eight weeks of the card anniversary day on an eligible Marriott credit card, a Reward Night Award e-Certificate should be automatically deposited into your Marriott Bonvoy account. I received an email when the certificate was deposited. In terms of timing, my Marriott card anniversary date was mid-September and the award was deposited in November.
Check activity in your Marriott account
To see if an anniversary Marriott Bonvoy 35,000-point certificate has been deposited in your account, you can also log in to your Marriott Bonvoy profile and click on “Activity.”
You should see the certificate under “Earned Awards.”
Use a Marriott 35,000-point certificate within one year
During normal times, Marriott anniversary certificates are valid for one year from the date of issuance. This timeline has been extended for certificates issued during the pandemic, but be sure to use the certificate before it expires or its value to you is exactly zero. Note that this is your travel-by date, not your book-by date.
Search for a 35,000 point (or less) per night hotel
Gallery: A family of 4 will spend a whopping $6,033 on a typical Disney World trip. Here’s the full breakdown. (INSIDER)
To use the Marriott free night certificate, simply search for hotels using Marriott Bonvoy points as you normally would and select one that prices at 35,000 points per night or less.
Note that a Category 5 property will be out of the 35,000-point range during peak dates. On the flip side, a Category 6 hotel could be within range (more on that shortly). Essentially, the hotel category doesn’t actually matter in and of itself. It all comes down to how many points per night it costs.
Once you find a property for 35,000 points or less, choose your desired room type. At checkout, you will be given the option to pay using your Marriott 35,000-point certificate.
While you cannot upgrade the certificate with additional points to stay at a higher category hotel (though that would be awesome), you can use the certificate in conjunction with points to stay multiple nights on the same reservation.
Additionally, if the hotel charges a resort fee, you will unfortunately still have to pay that even if you’re using a certificate.
Be sure the 35,000-point certificate is refunded if you cancel your stay
If your plans change and you need to cancel the reservation made with your certificate, just keep a close eye on your Marriott account to ensure the certificate is indeed redeposited. Note the number of certificates you had before and after the cancellation.
Should the 35,000-point certificate not automatically redeposit in your account, you will need to communicate with Marriott either over the phone or via Twitter.
Best hotels for a Marriott 35,000-point certificate
Obviously, the best theoretical use of a Marriott 35,000-point certificate is at a hotel that costs close to 35,000 points per night — though you can use them for lower-tier properties. You can use the certificates as one night of a longer stay or when you just need one night of lodging on your journey.
Some properties to consider include:
- Le Meridien Maldives
- Fairfield Inn by Marriott Anaheim Resort
- Sheraton Kona Resort & Spa at Keauhou Bay
- Sheraton Steamboat Resort Villas
- Marriott Harbour Lake Orlando
- St. Kitts Marriott Resort & The Royal Beach Casino
- TownePlace Suites San Diego Downtown
- Gaylord Texan Resort and Conference Center
- Four Points by Sheraton Manhattan SoHo Village
Depending on when and where you redeem your award, these certificates can be used at hotels that sometimes sell rooms for several hundred dollars per night, making them quite valuable.
Related: Best places to use a Marriott 35k award certificate
If you are lucky and stumble across a Marriott Category 6 hotel on an off-peak night with a PointSaver deal, you can book that property with a 35,000-point certificate. It’s rare all those stars align, but it does happen.
Annual hotel award nights make it much easier to say yes to credit cards that carry annual fees. The Marriott Bonvoy Boundless Credit Card comes with a $95 annual fee, but there’s never been a year that I haven’t gotten more value than that out of the 35,000-point free night certificate that’s issued at each renewal.
These awards can kick-start trips to the slopes for a ski vacation, take you to a family-friendly resort, the beach or even score you a room in the middle of an expensive city like Manhattan.
Application link: Marriott Bonvoy Boundless Credit Card available for a limited time with up to 100,000 bonus points after $3,000 in spending in the first three months.
Featured image of the Marriott Puerto Vallarta courtesy of hotel
SPONSORED: With states reopening, enjoying a meal from a restaurant no longer just means curbside pickup.
And when you do spend on dining, you should use a credit card that will maximize your rewards and potentially even score special discounts. Thanks to temporary card bonuses and changes due to coronavirus, you may even be able to score a meal at your favorite restaurant for free.
These are the best credit cards for dining out, taking out, and ordering in to maximize every meal purchase.
Editorial Disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airlines or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.
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