Le Meridien Maldives

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When looking at Marriott’s credit cards, you’ll notice that free night certificates are often mentioned. Between welcome offers, anniversary benefits and hitting particular spending thresholds on the credit card, it’s easy to earn a free night certificate. And fortunately, it can be just as easy to redeem one of these certificates at plenty of Marriott properties worldwide.

Before diving into where you can use them, it’s important to note that there are three different certificate types: those capped at 35,000 points per night, 50,000 points per night or 85,000 points per night. However, if you’re eyeing a property that costs slightly more per night than what your certificate allows, Marriott allows you to use up to 15,000 Marriott Bonvoy points from your account to “top off” an award. This means you’ll need to combine the certificate with points from your account. This is a great feature, as it might open up even more hotel options for you.

And since Marriott no longer has a set award chart, nightly award rates can fluctuate quite a bit. So while you might find that a certificate is available for one night, it might not necessarily be valid on the next night. To find when an award can be used, it’s important to use Marriott’s calendar view to see the number of points required per night at a particular hotel, and to be as flexible as possible with your travel dates.

And lastly, all Marriott free night certificates expire 12 months from when they’re deposited into your Marriott account.

Let’s first dive into the many ways to earn these certificates with Marriott credit cards.

Marriott credit cards to earn free night certificates

As a regular benefit of both the Marriott Bonvoy Boundless® Credit Card and Marriott Bonvoy Business® American Express® Card, on each account anniversary year — starting with the second year you’re a cardholder — you’ll earn a free night certificate capped at a property costing up to 35,000 points per night. The Marriott Bonvoy Boundless® Credit Card is also currently offering a unique offer where you’ll earn 3 free nights (capped at 50,000 points per night) after spending $3,000 on the card within the first three month of account opening. However, if you are a small-business owner, the Marriott Bonvoy Business® American Express® Card is offering 75,000 bonus points after spending $3,000 on the card within the first three months.

Now, both the Marriott Bonvoy Bevy™ American Express® Card and Marriott Bonvoy Bountiful™ Card have a slight twist when it comes to earning a free night certificate. Instead of the certificate being an automatic benefit, you must spend $15,000 on the card per year to earn the free night. However, this free night certificate is capped at properties costing up to 50,000 points per night and can be earned starting with the first year you’re a card holder.

Finally, there’s the Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant® American Express® Card, offering the best free night certificate of them all. Similar to the Marriott Bonvoy Boundless, you’ll earn a free night certificate on each account anniversary — with no credit card spend required — but the free night certificate can be redeemed at a property costing up to 85,000 points per night. The card currently has a welcome bonus offer of 95,000 points after spending $5,000 in the first three months.

Best Marriott hotels for 35,000-point certificates

The free nights earned on your account anniversary from both the Marriott Bonvoy Boundless and Marriott Bonvoy Business Amex can be used at a Marriott property costing up to 35,000 points. Remember though, since you can add up to 15,000 additional points from your Marriott Bonvoy account, this will allow you to redeem the certificate at a hotel costing a maximum of 50,000 points per night.

Here are some properties where you can frequently find availability at 35,000 points per night.

Courtyard by Marriott Aruba Resort — Aruba

Courtyard by Marriott Aruba Resort

Stay at the Courtyard Aruba Resort for free with your 35,000-point free night certificates. Although not a beachfront property, you’re only a five-minute walk to Palm Beach, or you can take the hotel’s golf cart shuttle, where staff will assist you with beach chairs and towels. The hotel also features a beautiful resort pool with a swim-up pool bar and a spa. Being in the high-rise hotel area also gives you easy access to many restaurants and activities.

Nightly rates here can be had for as few as 30,000 points, well within the range of the 35,000-point free night certificates. Even during peak travel season, we’ve not seen the nightly rate exceed 42,000 points. So while you might have to combine with points from your account during some dates, it’s very minimal.

Alternatively, if you’re looking for a more upscale property, the Renaissance Wind Creek Aruba Resort can sometimes be booked with the free night certificates plus points combination, typically during the spring, winter and fall timeframe. The Renaissance is right in Oranjestad and offers a ferry to its own private beach with flamingos.

Four Points by Sheraton Manhattan SoHo Village — New York, New York

Four Points by Sheraton Manhattan SoHo Village

Although the Four Points by Sheraton Manhattan SoHo Village might not be the fanciest hotel in New York City, it’ll allow you to use your free night certificates many nights throughout the year and save a boatload of money in an already-expensive city. And best of all, you can book a room with two queen beds, allowing a family of four to sleep comfortably.

Being right in SoHo, you’re also in close proximity to Greenwich Village, Tribeca and Chelsea Market, and you’re not too far from the 9/11 Tribute Museum and the ferry stop for visiting the Statue of Liberty. If you want to venture uptown, there’s a subway stop just a few blocks away.

Even during peak summer travel season, nightly rates at this property rarely top 42,000 points, making it a surefire option for using your certificates.

Element Boston Seaport District — Boston, Massachusetts

underscored Element Boston Seaport District marriott

Looking to stay slightly outside of the hustle and bustle of Boston, but still in a prime location? If so, the Element Boston Seaport is a great option, as you’re just a stone’s throw away from many attractions, such as The Children’s Museum, Boston Tea Party tours and The Lawn on D. A 30-minute walk across the bridge gives you access to Boston Common and Faneuil Hall.

At the hotel, all guests can also enjoy a complimentary hot breakfast, which helps skirt the cost of food and helps get your day going a bit faster. As an added benefit, you can also borrow free bikes to get around the city.

With many nights costing fewer than 35,000 points, you should have no problem redeeming your 35,000-point certificate.

Fairfield Inn & Suites Waterbury Stowe — Waterbury, Vermont

underscored Fairfield Inn & Suites Waterbury Stowe marriott

With four distinct seasons, there’s never a bad time to visit Vermont. The Fairfield Inn & Suites Waterbury Stowe, right in the heart of beautiful Waterbury, Vermont, is the perfect destination for those who love the outdoors. From hiking to kayaking, there’s something for everyone. The property is just 30 minutes away from multiple ski resorts, including Stowe Mountain Resort, Bolton Valley Resort and Sugarbush Resort.

And of course, a trip to Vermont is never complete without a visit to the Ben & Jerry’s Factory. Less than a mile away, you can indulge in as much ice cream as you’d like or go for a factory tour. You also aren’t too far from the Vermont Teddy Bear Factory and numerous maple syrup tours.

With rates hovering around 35,000 points per night — and plenty of award availability — your free night certificates can be put to good use.

Fairfield Inn & Suites Livingston Yellowstone — Livingston, Montana

underscored Fairfield Inn & Suites Livingston Yellowstone marriott

If you’re planning a trip to visit a national park, the Fairfield Inn & Suites Livingston Yellowstone is the perfect base for exploring. At just an hour away from Yellowstone National Park’s north entrance and 30 minutes from Bozeman, there’s no shortage of activities nearby. Livingston in itself is a cute town to explore with many hiking trails, museums and restaurants.

And after a long day of exploring, you can relax in the hotel’s indoor pool or outdoor whirlpool.

Even during peak summer nights, you’ll find that rates do not exceed 41,000 points per night. But with rates costing $500 a night during that same time period, your free night certificate will lessen your vacation cost immensely.

Best Marriott hotels for 50,000-point certificates

By spending $15,000 annually on either the Marriott Bevy Amex and Marriott Bonvoy Bountiful card, you’ll end up with a free night certificate that can be used at a property costing up to 50,000 points per night. Or, with the current welcome offer from the Marriott Bonvoy Boundless you can also earn 3 free nights (capped at 50,000 points per night) after meeting the minimum spend requirement. Of course, that could become 65,000 points per night if you combine the certificate with Bonvoy points from your account. With the 50,000-point certificate, not only can you redeem it at all of the properties listed above, you’ll have more options, such as the properties below.

Waikiki Beach Marriott Resort & Spa — Honolulu, Hawaii

Waikiki Beach Marriott Resort & Spa

Looking for something that feels far away but keeps you in the United States? Hawaii might be a good choice. The Waikiki Beach Marriott Resort & Spa is a newly renovated property right on Waikiki Beach in Honolulu. With many flights to and from Honolulu, staying at this property — especially with your free night certificates — is easier than ever.

This beachfront resort features a large pool deck overlooking Waikiki Beach with two pools, a kids’ splash pad, lawn games and fire pits. You’re also in close proximity to all of Waikiki and the famous Diamond Head.

In our searches, stays at this resort can be had for as few as 45,000 Bonvoy points a night, but tend to hover around 55,000 to 58,000 points per night. In the latter case, you might need to use your Bonvoy points to pay the difference. Marriott also has a large presence throughout all of the Hawaiian islands, so there’s a good chance you’ll be able to use your 50,000-point certificates at many other properties.

JW Marriott Orlando Bonnet Creek Resort & Spa — Orlando, Florida

JW Marriott Orlando Bonnet Creek Resort & Spa

There’s no shortage of hotels in Orlando — especially near the theme parks — with a top contender being the JW Marriott Orlando Bonnet Creek Resort & Spa. After a long day enjoying Disney World, you can relax in the resort’s pool, splash pad or even the spa and then enjoy Disney’s fireworks display from the hotel’s rooftop terrace. On non-park days, your family can partake in a slew of activities, such as the hotel’s rock-climbing wall, mini golf, nature trails, a kids’ club and many holiday-specific events. Additionally, getting to and from Disney is incredibly easy with the hotel-provided shuttle.

On the cheapest dates, this property can be had for as few as 40,000 points per night, making it a great option for your certificates. However, during the high season, you can expect to pay upwards of 60,000 points per night. If you’re not flexible with your travel dates, prepare to use your Bonvoy points to make up the difference in cost.

Viewline Resort Snowmass — Snowmass Village, Colorado

Viewline Resort Snowmass

Although skiing is an expensive sport, one of the best ways to keep costs low is to stay slopeside — for free. Yes, you read that right. Your Marriott Bonvoy free night certificates can actually be redeemed at the Viewline Resort Snowmass, where you’ll be in the heart of Snowmass Village with the ski slopes right out the front door.

While Snowmass is well-known among skiers and snowboarders, guests can enjoy this resort 365 days a year. With more than 80 miles of hiking trails, kayaking, whitewater rafting, mountain biking, golfing and, of course, a vibrant après ski environment, there’s plenty to do nearby. The hotel also features a heated outdoor pool, which is open all four seasons, and a spa.

During the summer, you can expect rates at about 48,000 points per night. When the peak winter season sets in, the lowest nightly rate bumps up to about 50,000 points per night. Some nights on the most popular dates reach 60,000 points per night, so be prepared to spend some of your Bonvoy points to make up the difference if your plans aren’t flexible.

Pier South Resort, Autograph Collection — San Diego, California

Pier South Resort, Autograph Collection

This boutique-style hotel within the Marriott chain is located right on Imperial Beach, allowing you to combine a beach and city vacation in one. The Pier South Resort is also just a short drive to many must-see attractions within San Diego, such as Coronado Island, Seaworld, the San Diego Zoo, Balboa Park and Petco Park. Right outside your door, you also have the option to rent kayaks, paddleboards and boogie boards. This is an all-suite hotel, so at a minimum, you’ll have your own living space separate from the bedroom.

On most nights, this property costs between 43,000 and 63,000 points per night, making it a solid option for exploring San Diego on your free night certificates.

The Westin Kierland Resort & Spa — Scottsdale, Arizona

The Westin Kierland Resort & Spa

The Westin Kierland Resort & Spa truly has something to offer everyone. Families will love the Adventure Water Park, which features a FlowRider flow-board simulator, a lazy river and a 110-foot waterslide. Or, if you’re looking for a more relaxing stay without kids, you can spend the day at the adults-only pool.

Onsite, there are also three different nine-hole golf courses and multiple dining options. You’ll also have access to many activities throughout the day and night, including guided local runs, yoga classes, campfires and s’mores, basketball and even a kids’ club.

During peak dates, this hotel can easily cost $500 or more, allowing your free night certificates to save you a good chunk of change on your next vacation. On most nights, this property costs fewer than 50,000 points per night, making it a terrific option for your certificates.

Pomeroy Kananaskis Mountain Lodge — Kananaskis Country, Canada

Kananaskis Mountain Lodge, Autograph Collection

If you’re looking to enjoy the mountains but sleeping in a tent is not your cup of tea, the Kananaskis Mountain Lodge will give you a top-notch experience in the Canadian Rockies. About an hour away from the edge of Banff National Park, the scenery is absolutely breathtaking and you’re just a stone’s throw away from a plethora of summer and winter activities.

Although it might be tough to snag a night for fewer than 50,000 points during peak summer dates, there are many nights available during the shoulder season and throughout the winter to use your free night certificates.

JW Marriott Cancun Resort & Spa — Cancun, Mexico

JW Marriott Cancun

Looking for a beautiful beachfront property right in the heart of Cancun’s hotel zone? If so, the JW Marriott Cancun & Spa is one of the best, especially after its recent renovation. Spend the day jumping between its three pools — the two-level family-friendly pool, infinity pool or adults-only pool — and the beach, or relax in the Mayan-inspired spa. There are also 10 restaurants on site as well as many offsite dining options right outside the front door.

While this property crosses the 50,000-point threshold on some nights, if you’re flexible with your dates, finding a time to use your free night certificates here shouldn’t be a challenge. But if you need an alternative option, the Marriott Cancun Resort is right next door, which tends to cost slightly fewer points per night on average.

Los Suenos Marriott Ocean & Golf Resort — Costa Rica

Los Suenos Marriott Ocean & Golf Resort

Located on Playa Herradura, you’ll find the Los Suenos Marriott Ocean & Golf Resort. This megaresort offers multiple pools, a state-of-the-art spa and fitness center, beautiful grounds and even its own 18-hole golf course.

Although the property itself has a lot to offer, you’ll also be close to all the adventurous activities available in Costa Rica. Between ziplining, hiking, ATV tours, horseback riding, surfing, whitewater rafting and more, you’ll never be bored during your stay. You’re also not too far away from Manuel Antonio National Park, one of the most popular national parks in Costa Rica.

During many months throughout the year, the lowest rate is 40,000 points per night for a free stay. However, that can rise on peak travel dates to a maximum of 60,000 points per night. If you can travel on off-peak dates, take advantage of this deal by using your free night certificates for a free stay — all from a single credit card.

Tambo del Inka, a Luxury Collection Resort & Spa, Valle Sagrado — Peru

Tambo del Inka

This Luxury Collection hotel routinely costs fewer than 50,000 points per night, making it extremely easy to use your free night certificates. The Tambo del Inka is situated about halfway between Cusco and Machu Picchu, making it the perfect destination for a stop between the two cities and to explore other sites in the Sacred Valley. Additionally, the hotel features a private train station for an easy day trip to Machu Picchu.

The hotel also features an indoor and outdoor pool, a spa and unique dining experiences.

W Bali – Seminyak — Bali

W Bali – Seminyak

Although Bali provides many inexpensive hotel opportunities, you can instead stay in a top luxury hotel — for free — with your 50,000-point certificates. The W Bali is located right on the beach in Seminyak, where you have access to plenty of restaurants, nightlife and the art scene. With beautiful grounds, you’ll feel immersed in the Balinese setting. The hotel also features a 24-hour pool and spa to truly maximize your time while staying at the property.

On the cheapest dates, you can get a stay at this property for free with your 50,000-point free night certificates. However, on some of the more popular travel dates, expect to pay upward of 60,000 points — or more — per night. If you can only travel during popular times, you might have to spend some Bonvoy points in addition to your free night certificates for a free stay.

Le Meridien Maldives Resort & Spa — Maldives

Le Meridien Maldives

As one of the most expensive vacation destinations in the world, paying for a trip to the Maldives is not in the budget for most. But fortunately, utilizing the free night certificates that come with the Marriott Bonvoy Boundless Credit Card can help give you that once-in-a-lifetime experience.

The relatively new Le Meridien Maldives Resort & Spa prices out at just fewer than 50,000 points per night during many nights of the year, although the hotel far exceeds that price point. And during peak months, you’ll have to combine with points from your account. With multiple pools, a kids’ club, a fitness center overlooking the Indian Ocean and an entire marine center, you’ll never want to leave paradise.

Alternatively, you can also use your free night certificate at the Sheraton Maldives Full Moon Resort & Spa. While not as luxurious as the Le Meridien property, the Sheraton is only a 15-minute boat ride away from Male Airport, giving you easier access to the resort and avoiding the $400 per person — or more — seaplane ride.

Best Marriott hotels for 85,000-point certificates

Having an 85,000-point certificate in your back pocket is a great option when it comes to booking Marriott hotels, since there are many expensive luxury options available. This 85,000-point certificate is earned from the Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant Amex card on every account anniversary. Although the card charges a high annual fee (see rates and fees), the certificate alone can help offset the fee significantly. And remember, you can add up to 15,000 points from your account, allowing you to stay at a property costing up to 100,000 points per night.

The Ritz-Carlton, Laguna Niguel — Dana Point, California

underscored The Ritz-Carlton, Laguna Niguel marriott

Perched on a cliff overlooking the Pacific Ocean, you can enjoy all that Laguna Beach has to offer. Featuring two pools, two whirlpools, two tennis courts, a basketball court, a play structure and even ping pong, this resort has it all. And if you’re bringing little ones along, they have a kids’ club for babies all the way to teens. Beach lovers can enjoy surf lessons, stand-up paddleboarding, kayaking and bodyboarding.

And with rates starting at 70,000 points per night, you shouldn’t have much of a problem using your 85,000-point certificate throughout the year.

Courtyard by Marriott Anaheim Theme Park Entrance — Anaheim, California

underscored Courtyard by Marriott Anaheim Theme Park Entrance.png

Known as one of the area’s best off-site properties, the Courtyard Anaheim Theme Park Entrance is just a 10-minute walk from the Disneyland entrance. And, when visiting Disneyland, location is everything. Being this close allows you to easily walk to the park in the morning, saving you both time and money and allowing you to take a mid-day break if needed.

The property also boasts a large waterpark and pool complex, which is ideal for an afternoon break or even in the evening. With multiple waterslides, a massive hot tub and a splash pad area, your kids will absolutely love their trip to Disneyland.

While there are some nights throughout the year that you’ll be able to use a 50,000-point certificate plus points, there’s a good chance that your 85,000-point certificate will be needed. This is often a significantly better option than paying the hotel’s cash rate, which can reach an obscene $700 per night on some dates throughout the year.

And best of all, even the standard rooms — which can be booked with a free night certificate — can sleep up to six guests, as many rooms feature a twin bunk bed.

JW Marriott Marco Island Beach Resort — Marco Island, Florida

underscored JW Marriott Marco Island Beach Resort

Set on three miles of private beach, the JW Marriott Marco Island is one of the nicest Marriott properties you’ll find in Florida. Perfect for a family or adults-only trip, the hotel features 12 restaurants, a luxury spa and a beachside pool. All guest rooms also boast their own private balcony, allowing you to easily relax in the sun and take in the fresh air.

The JW Marriott Marco Island tends to be priced very expensively, around $1,000 per night or more on many nights throughout the year, so it’s a great opportunity to use your free night certificate. Although you might have to combine with points from your account, since room rates typically top off at 100,000 points per night, you’ll be able to enjoy this top-notch property at an incredible value.

The St. Regis Bahia Beach Resort — Puerto Rico

underscored The St. Regis Bahia Beach Resort marriott

Leave your passport at home and experience paradise at The St. Regis Bahia Beach Resort in Puerto Rico. This lush resort is as private as they come, set on 483 acres with two miles of secluded beach. But despite being in your own wildlife oasis, you’re still in close proximity to downtown San Juan and the El Yunque National Forest.

The hotel features numerous nature trails, which you can experience on foot or on bike, and many water activities. There’s also a lagoon-style pool for relaxing, an inflatable water park, guided bird-watching tours, kayaking tours and many more onsite activities for guests of all ages.

To use your 85,000-point free night certificate, you’ll have to be a little flexible. Although you can find a night for as few as 80,000 points, there are dates when the property charges 120,000 points per night. By playing around with dates — and potentially adding points from your Marriott account — you should be on your way to exploring this luxury resort.

Mauna Kea Beach Hotel, Autograph Collection — The Big Island, Hawaii

underscored Mauna Kea Beach Hotel, Autograph Collection marriott

The Mauna Kea Beach Hotel is a Hawaiian dream come true. Located on one of the most beautiful beaches on The Big Island’s Kohala Coast, with pristine white sand and swimmable water, you’ll never want to leave. The property also has a quieter resort feel, as it’s about 10 minutes north of busy Waikoloa, taking you away from the hustle and bustle. You’ll find an onsite golf course, 11 tennis courts, yoga classes, onsite luau, a kids’ club and more.

But this hotel doesn’t come cheap — in points or cash — making the 85,000-point certificate a great option, but you’ll want to be flexible. While there are some dates that cost less than 85,000 points per night, it’s quite common to find 100,000-point-per-night rooms as well. But fortunately, since you can add points from your account, scoring a free night here is quite easy.

The Ritz-Carlton, Koh Samui — Thailand

Tropical Pool Villa at the Ritz-Carlton, Koh Samui

Although there are properties that cost less on the island, if you want to stay at the creme of the crop, The Ritz-Carlton Koh Samui is a beautiful property. All rooms are suites or villas that cover more than 1,000 square feet. Although in a secluded area, there are plenty of onsite activities to entertain all guests, such as a mini-golf course, tennis courts and basketball court. There are also two pools, one beachfront and one in the ocean.

With rates ranging between 70,000 and 100,000 points per night, you likely never have to worry about using your free night certificate in addition to your points. And with many Marriott properties throughout Thailand, this can be just one stop during a trip exploring the country — all with Marriott points and certificates.

Learn more about the Marriott Bonvoy Boundless® Credit Card.
Learn more about the Marriott Bonvoy Business® American Express® Card.
Learn more about the Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant® American Express® Card.

Check out CNN Underscored’s guide to the best travel credit cards currently available.

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.

Note: While the offers mentioned above are accurate at the time of publication, they’re subject to change at any time and may have changed, or may no longer be available.