Where You’ll Probably Stay With Your Marriott Free Night Certificate

In June of 2016, we signed up for the Marriott Rewards® Premier Business credit card that, at the time, was offering the “highest ever” sign up bonus – 100,000 points. When the  $99 annual fee was due, it was time to decide if we would keep the card for another year. The main benefits of keeping this card are:

  • You’ll receive a Free Night Stay in a Category 1-5 hotel each year after your account anniversary.
  • Enjoy Marriott Rewards Gold Elite benefits when you spend $50,000 on purchases each account year.
  • You’ll receive 15 Elite credits after account opening and every year after your account anniversary, giving you guaranteed Silver Elite status every year.
  • Every $3,000 you spend on purchases earns you 1 additional credit toward Elite status – with no limit to the number of credits you can earn.

I’d never consider putting $50,000 worth of spending on this card to earn Gold status with Marriott. That’s even taking into consideration that I get free Gold status from the match with Starwood Gold status I have with the American Express Platinum card.

I also don’t give much value to having Silver Elite status with Marriott. Here was the welcome package I received at the Fairfield Inn & Suites New York Manhattan/Central Park upon checking in to thank me for my loyalty. Really, you shouldn’t have. No, really! Really? REALLY?

photo-feb-14-8-53-48-am

Anyway, we did decide to keep the card because of the annual free night certificate you get to use at a category 1-5 Marriott hotel during the year. We figured it should be easy enough to find a hotel to stay at to get at least $99 worth of value.

There are plenty of articles out there that show you all of the fantastic category 1-5 properties you can stay at using your free night.

Million Mile Secrets has written one.

So has Mommy Points.

As well as MileCards.

I must confess, some of the hotels you can stay at look pretty phenomenal.

St.-Pierre-Marriott
St. Pierre Marriott Hotel & Country Club
renaissanceaustin
Renaissance Austin Hotel
renaissance-sanya-768x352
Renaissance Sanya Resort & Spa
The-Algonquin-Resort-St.-Andrews-by-the-Sea-Autograph-Collection
The Algonquin Resort St. Andrews by-the-Sea, Autograph Collection

Here’s the problem. Most of these hotels, except for the one in Austin, TX, aren’t places I am going to want to go to for only one night. That would mean I’d have to pay for the rest of my stay with either points or cash, unless I wanted to switch hotels after one night, which can be a pain. I’d prefer to use my free night certificate at a hotel where we’d only be staying for one night anyway.

Now, you may luck out and find a hotel like the MOXY in Tempe, AZ, which is only a Marriott category 3 hotel (and has a Love Sac in every room. You’ll have to read my post about the MOXY to learn about the not-so-secret relationship I had with a Love Sac while we stayed there).

moxy

It’s more likely that you’ll end up somewhere like we stayed this weekend, the Courtyard Fort Lauderdale North/Cypress Creek. This is a category 5 Marriott hotel, the best I could stay at with my free night.

Now, while this hotel did a good job at meeting the five things I want from a hotel room, this was by no means an aspirational hotel stay.

Photo Nov 04, 5 49 01 PM

Photo Nov 04, 5 49 12 PM

Photo Nov 04, 5 47 32 PM

Photo Nov 04, 5 47 20 PM

FINAL THOUGHTS

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not complaining. This hotel fit our needs for a quick overnight stay. Hotels in town were very crowded because of the Fort Lauderdale Boat Show that was going on over the weekend. I booked this hotel a month in advance but it was sold out by the time of our stay. Other hotels were charging over $200 a night for a comparable room so I think I did pretty good getting this for free.

Just understand when you see “FREE NIGHT”, don’t think that night is always going be glamorous but more like you’re pre-paying $99 (or whatever the annual fee for the card is) for a one night stay. If you plan it right, you’ll usually be able to come out ahead.

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