Bother Utilizing Your Marriott Certificates? – NerdWallet


A preferred perk of sure Marriott bank cards is the free evening certificates that cardholders earn yearly by renewing their card membership. However utilizing these certificates is usually a problem — particularly throughout the pandemic.

Certificates normally expire in a 12 months, however in response to the pandemic, Marriott prolonged the expiration date on sure certificates. When you’ve got a free evening certificates with an authentic expiration date in 2020 or that can expire earlier than July 31, 2021, you’ll get the expiration date pushed again to Aug. 1, 2021. You don’t need to do something to get the extension. It kicks in robotically on Dec. 11, 2020.

However even with the extension, some cardholders — like me — may nonetheless have hassle placing their certificates to make use of earlier than they go to waste. Discover ways to use a Marriott certificates earlier than it is too late even when you’ve run into roadblocks making an attempt to redeem them earlier than.

Repeated (failed) makes an attempt to make use of free evening certificates

Germany: My first pair of free evening awards posted in June 2019. I had been ready to redeem them towards a keep in Munich throughout Oktoberfest, however by the point I bought the certificates, normal award nights at my most popular property have been already gone.

Israel: The following alternative to make use of my two free nights got here whereas I used to be planning a visit to Tel Aviv, Israel, for March 2020. Lodging in Israel is pricey, and the free evening certificates would have gotten me a great worth. Sadly, Israel closed its borders earlier than I went on that journey. I needed to cancel my resort keep, and the free evening awards have been returned to my Bonvoy account.

Round this time, my certificates have been prolonged by means of Jan. 31, 2021, which meant I had one other eight months to discover a means to make use of them. In June, at this 12 months’s card anniversary, two extra certificates have been posted to my account, so by then I had 4 free nights to work with.

Turkey: Quick ahead to September. When some international locations started opening as much as U.S. passport holders, I deliberate a visit to Turkey. I toyed with the concept of redeeming my Marriott certificates for a elaborate keep at The Ritz-Carlton, Istanbul, a Class 5 property. Sadly, solely two of the three nights on my dates have been out there at a normal fee of 35,000 factors, and the opposite was listed at a peak redemption fee of 40,000 factors. Discouraging, to say the least. I didn’t wish to transfer accommodations or pay money for an evening at The Ritz, so I booked my keep elsewhere.

Mexico: Uninterested in the video games, I booked a visit to Los Cabos, Mexico, round my mother’s birthday. Fortunately, 4 nights in a row at normal redemption charges have been out there on the Sheraton Grand Los Cabos Hacienda del Mar in December, so I pulled the set off and added a paid evening to increase our trip to 5 nights. However as of Nov. 1, 2020, this property is now not affiliated with Marriott. The resort canceled my reservation and redeposited the certificates again into my Bonvoy account, the place they continue to be unused. As a result of it’s a birthday journey, my mother and I selected to not cancel the flights and booked a keep at a distinct resort as a substitute.

Methods to make use of your expiring free evening awards

If you happen to’re as annoyed as I used to be making an attempt to redeem Marriott free evening certificates, all just isn’t misplaced. You may nonetheless discover methods to make use of them earlier than they expire. Listed here are some methods.

1. Go on a highway journey

Not everybody is able to hop on a airplane, however getting behind the wheel may be an alternate. Whether or not you’ve a national park or a ski resort in your must-see record, you might use a certificates or two for a highway journey inside america.

You will discover loads of out of doors actions throughout the U.S., which places a protected journey inside attain. Navigate to Marriott’s hotel directory map, choose america area, and zoom in on areas you would possibly wish to go to. You’ll see properties in several classes, together with some the place your certificates ought to work.

2. Plan a visit to Mexico or the Caribbean

If you happen to really feel able to face an airport, an island resort could possibly be an choice. Mexico and several other different international locations within the Caribbean are open to tourism with sure precautions, and it’s not a foul means to make use of your expiring certificates. Choose the Caribbean area to browse Marriott Bonvoy properties on completely different islands, then verify native restrictions earlier than reserving a keep.

3. E-book a staycation

If you happen to don’t wish to fly or take a highway journey, you may commerce your certificates for a staycation. Search for distinctive properties in your metropolis or a brief drive away — enjoyable, uncommon lodging will improve your expertise.

The underside line

It’s not all the time simple, particularly within the pandemic, to make use of free evening certificates from Marriott. If you happen to can, plan sooner fairly than later — that can make it easier to make use of the certificates earlier than they expire and earlier than the usual rooms are snapped up by different vacationers.

As for me, I nonetheless don’t have any plans for once I’ll work out the way to use my Marriott free evening perks.

Learn how to Maximize Your Rewards

You need a journey bank card that prioritizes what’s vital to you. Listed here are our picks for the best travel credit cards of 2020, together with these greatest for: