One of the great perks of the Marriott co-brand credit cards from Chase has always been the free night certificate you get every year at your account anniversary. When Marriott Bonvoy finally consolidated the credit card portfolios of American Express and Chase to only offer one type of card in each category (entry level, premium, luxury and business), it left in its wake a number of no longer available cards with varying benefits.
I didn’t pay as much attention as I should have to all the changes. I knew that I’d have a bunch of free night certificates. Probably more than I’d like to have and that’s something I’ll need to take care of in the future. But for now, I just need to figure out how to use all of these free night certificates.
Herein lies the problem. All of the certificates are for different point levels.
Wait, there’s still a 25,000 point certificate available?
One of the certs that showed up in our account was for a free night good at any hotel costing 25,000 points or less. I had no idea which card this was from and then I remembered it was from our discontinued Chase Marriott Bonvoy Premier. This is the card Chase issued to replace the Marriott Rewards Premier.
I used this certificate last year to stay at the Renaissance Newark Airport for a night and saved almost $300 on my room.
The Bonvoy Premier is an older card that was replaced by the refreshed Marriott Rewards Premier Plus. For those who signed up for that card when it came out or upgraded the Premier card to the Premier Plus, their cards were converted to the Chase Marriott Bonvoy Boundless, which gets a free night certificate good for a room up to 35,000 points.
But no, since I never upgraded I’m stuck with a 25,000 certificate. Drats.
Then there are the 35,000 point certificates
Sharon and I both have a 35,000 point free night certificate in our accounts. One of them comes from the also discontinued Marriott Bonvoy American Express card. This is the old SPG Personal card. The other one comes from the Marriott Bonvoy Premier Plus Business card, which has also been discontinued. Are you noticing the trend of us collecting discontinued credit cards?
You can get some great value out of these certificates for a hotel costing up to 35,000 points such as all of these locations around Walt Disney World. I’d also be able to redeem it for a night at the Le Méridien Frankfurt
The biggest problem of using these is that we each have one so using them on the same reservation, while possible, would be a huge inconvenience and dramatically increase the chance of us getting #Bonvoved in the process.
Not to forget, we also have a 50,000 point certificate
Sharon was targeted for the 100,000 point offer to upgrade her SPG AMEX (Bonvoy AMEX) card to the Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant card. We jumped on that instead of signing up for the CNB Crystal Infinite card, which is a decision I’m still not sure about. The one good thing was that I upgraded the card right around the card anniversary. So I had to pay the full annual fee but I also received the free night certificate at any hotel up to 50,000 points almost immediately.
Honestly, I don’t know what we’re going to do with it. I’d hate to waste it on any hotel costing less than 50,000 points but that might be what happens if we don’t have any high-end hotel stays on the calendar.
I could always try to redeem it at the Sheraton Grande Tokyo Bay Hotel but if I suggest we stay anywhere except the Hotel Miracosta at Tokyo DisneySea I doubt Sharon would ever let me live it down (Note from Sharon: true story!).
Because I didn’t think this through in advance, which is so unlike me, we’re stuck with free night certificates worth different point values. To maximize the value of those certificates, I’d like to use them for hotels worth 25,000, 35,000 and 50,000 points respectively. To maximize the value of my marriage and having Sharon continue to let me plan our vacations, I’m guessing that I’m going to use them at whatever hotels are best for our plans and possibly losing out on some of the value.
Since the annual fees for the cards with the lower two value certificates are less than $100 each, I’m sure I can find a hotel where we at least break even and still manage to use them up before they expire.
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This post first appeared on Your Mileage May Vary