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

by joeheg

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?


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.

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).


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

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Photo Nov 04, 5 47 20 PM


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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Delta’s Trying To Look Neutral, New Amex Changes, The Stupidity Of a Loyalty Program + More… – Your Mileage May Vary March 11, 2018 - 1:01 pm

[…] Free Night certificate as he’d never done that on their website before. Finally, there’s  something I’ve done that he hasn’t. I even got a stay at a Courtyard in Fort Lauderdale to show for my […]


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