One positive new feature has just gone live for Marriott Bonvoy members, which I know a lot of people were waiting for.
Marriott’s free night award top off feature live
In late 2021, it was announced that Marriott Bonvoy free night awards (FNAs) could be topped off with up to 15,000 Bonvoy points to stay at a more expensive property. In other words, if you have a free night certificate valid at a property costing up to 50,000 points, you could redeem the certificate plus 15,000 points for a stay at a property costing 65,000 points.
Previously you were limited to staying at properties within the points price range of the certificate, with no option to pay the points difference to stay at a more expensive property.
This feature is live as of today:
- This is valid for all free night awards, including those issues through co-brand credit cards, promotions, and program benefits, such as Choice Benefits
- Members have the flexibility to add points to each eligible free night award, including those used to book a multi-night stay
- Members can still apply suite night awards on these reservations
- Should a member choose to modify a reservation in any way, it may impact the points needed to redeem for the stay
How do you top off Marriott free night awards?
The process of redeeming Marriott free night awards is easy. First of all, if you log into your account summary page you should see how many free night award certificates you have, along with the expiration dates.
To redeem a free night award, just go through the process of booking a hotel in the same way you usually would when redeeming points. For example, I looked up a one-night stay in Tampa from May 4 through May 5.
The Le Meridien Tampa is a great example, because it requires 37,000 Bonvoy points per night.
If you have an account with a free night certificate worth up to 35,000 points, you’ll see the option to redeem that certificate plus 2,000 Bonvoy points for your stay. Awesome!
Which credit cards offer Marriott free night awards?
There are three Marriott credit cards that offer anniversary free night certificates:
- The $95 annual fee Marriott Bonvoy Boundless® Credit Card (review) offers an anniversary free night certificate valid at a property costing up to 35,000 Bonvoy points per night
- The $125 annual fee (Rates & Fees) Marriott Bonvoy Business® American Express® Card (review) offers an anniversary free night certificate valid at a property costing up to 35,000 Bonvoy points per night
- The $650 annual fee (Rates & Fees) Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant® American Express® Card (review) offers an anniversary free night certificate valid at a property costing up to 85,000 Bonvoy points per night
It’s now possible to top off Marriott Bonvoy free night awards with up to 15,000 Bonvoy points to redeem at more expensive properties. This means certificates worth 35,000 points can now be redeemed at properties costing up to 50,000 points, while certificates worth 50,000 points can now be redeemed at properties costing up to 65,000 points, and 85,000 point certificates can be redeemed at properties pricing up to 100,000 points.
It’s great to see this feature live.
Will you get value out of Marriott Bonvoy’s new free night award top off feature?
The following links will direct you to the rates and fees for mentioned American Express Cards. These include: Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant® American Express® Card (Rates & Fees), and Marriott Bonvoy Business® American Express® Card (Rates & Fees).
It was a hassle for me. The magic button did not show up in my account. Had to call member service to top off the award.
What if there's a fee + points which is below the 15K threshold? I'm unable to book a hotel that has a cost + 47000 points. I have a 35K certificate.
They should not limit the amount you can add. They should want you to stay at higher priced properties.
This was incredibly helpful as I had a certificate expiring in June and had a Miami Beach 1 nighter booked with cash and now could use the certificate and 15k points to rebook it and of course, request the suite upgrade after. OMAAT made me aware and Marriott had little or no information sent about this.
Just rebooked two nights in Lisbon from Moxy Lisbon City (30k points rate, so 60k value out of 70k in certs), to the much nicer Sheraton (33+39k points rate, so maxed 70k certs + 4k in top off points). I'm happy with the free night top off and dynamic pricing so far!
I mean....why even cap it at +15k? Still fairly restrictive.
Won't be surprised next year, when the B*nv*y dumpster fire goes fully variable, that you'll see massive tranches of properties in the 51K-53K and 66K-68K ranges...juuuuuuust out of the reach of this "benefit".
I already noticed this was looking at hotels in London & Paris many priced at 67k points, and that too at options like Residence Inn, Fairfield Inn, etc lol.
Can also keep in mind the Amex to Marriott 25% transfer bonus is still live till next month so if need 15k bonvoy points and have Amex balance can transfer 12k Amex membership points to have the 15k bonvoy.
"Free Night Award Top Off (up to 15,000 Marriott Bonvoy® Points) will be available across all Free Night Awards/Certificates in early 2022."
Meaning a third of the way into the year qualifies as "early" in Marriott Land.
Poor practice that you didn't at least HT the source of your information, which I'm assuming was FM.
@ Hrmmmm -- I absolutely would have hat tipped if that was my source, but I received an email directly from Marriott Bonvoy (presumably the same way FM found out), which is why there was no hat tip.
Weird for you to just assume that's where Ben got the intel.
Ben has always been good about citing his sources. Shame on you for saying this Hrmmmm. Love the blog Ben!
Also saw this this evening. Tried a few “practice” redemptions and it works pretty well.
Thank You Ben
Thank You Marriott Bonvoy