Save 20% To 25% On Award Stays Using This Method

by joeheg

You spend a bunch of time and effort earning points in hotel loyalty programs, whether it’s by actually staying at hotels or by signing up for credit cards with high sign-up bonuses. It makes sense that you’ll want to get your money’s worth when redeeming those points for free hotel nights. You’ll need to do some homework to know what your points are worth so you don’t waste them on an inexpensive room or overpriced redemption.

There’s also an easy way to save up to 25% on hotel point redemptions. It’s simple to use and works at inexpensive and luxury hotels of three different hotel chains.

Fifth (or Fourth) Night Free On Award Bookings At Marriott, Hilton and IHG Hotels

When you’re booking a hotel room by using your points, if you meet the requirements of each program, you’ll receive a free night if booking five nights or more at Marriott and Hilton hotels or a four-night or more stay at IHG hotels. Here are the rules for using the free night at each of the programs:

Marriott Bonvoy

Courtyard Alcoa TN

One benefit that’s survived the Marriott Bonvoy program integration is the fifth night free on award stays. It’s not that surprising when you consider this was previously a benefit of both the Marriott Rewards and Starwood Preferred Guest programs.

For every Five Consecutive Nights you redeem (pay with Marriott Bonvoy™ Points), you will receive the lowest point-value night free.

  • Your stay must be Five Consecutive Nights at the same Hotel
  • The Free Night will be the lowest Point cost night during your Stay
  • If you make a stay with multiple uses of the benefit (10, 15, 20 Nights) we will consider the entire length of Stay when determining the Free Nights. For example, if you book a 10-night Redemption Stay, we would deduct the two lowest nights of the entire 10 nights, no matter when they occur.
  • There are no Point Refunds or Free Night Credits for any unused portions of the Stay
  • The Point cost is based on a Standard Room only and does not cover the upgrade cost for a Premium Room

We saved 125,000 points using this benefit over three hotel stays of five nights each in London, New York and New Orleans. The free night is automatically applied when you book an award stay, so there’s nothing you need to do to activate the offer.

Hilton Honors


Hilton offers Honors elite (Silver, Gold, Diamond) members the fifth night free on award stays.

5th Night Free: For every Standard Room Reward stay of five or more nights, every 5th night is free. Members can utilize the 5th Night Free benefit on an unlimited number of stays annually. Applies only to five consecutive nights within the same full Points Standard Room Reward stay at the same property, up to 20 nights, when confirmed at time of booking. No more than four free nights will be awarded per stay. If free night is declined, reservation is cancelled, or check-out occurs before fifth night, the free night is forfeited and has no cash, Point, or Reward value. After the 5th Night Free benefit is applied, eligible members will be charged 0 points for the 5th night, 10th night, 15th night, and 20th night of the stay, as applicable. All other nights of the stay will be charged at the applicable full Standard Room Reward price. A standard room is defined by each hotel and subject to availability at participating hotels within the Hilton Portfolio. Applies to Standard Room Reward stays only, not to paid stays or Points & Money Rewards™. Does not apply when stay is booked as part of a Reward Stay offer, package, or promotion offered by Hilton or any of its partners.

You need to be at least a Silver Honors member to get the fifth night free, and you can earn status with four stays, 10 nights, or 25,000 base points earned in a calendar year. You can also get Silver status by having the no-annual-fee Hilton Honors AMEX card. You can get Hilton Honors Gold status with the Hilton Honors Ascend AMEX ($95 annual fee) and Diamond status with the Hilton Honors Aspire AMEX ($450 annual fee). American Express Platinum cardholders are also provided complimentary Hilton Honors Gold status.

Here’s an example from Hilton of how the program works.

IHG Rewards Club


IHG Rewards Club has a fourth-night-free benefit for award stays but only cardholders of the IHG Rewards Club Premier credit card ($89 annual fee) and the IHG Rewards Club Traveler card (no-annual-fee).

For each standard room Reward Night stay of 4 or more nights, every 4th night is free. Applies only to 4 or more consecutive nights within the same Reward Night point redemption room stay at the same property. With this benefit, eligible members will be charged the Reward Night point redemption rate for the first 3 nights, and 0 points for the 4th night of the stay, as applicable. If 4th Reward Night Free reservation is cancelled, or check-out occurs before the 4th night, the 4th Reward Night is forfeited and has no cash or point value. Members can utilize the 4th Reward Night Free benefit on an unlimited number of stays annually. IHG Rewards Club Reward Night terms and conditions apply. Offer does not apply to paid stays or Points & Cash bookings. Chase is not responsible for offer fulfillment

I wish the free night benefit could be open to all IHG rewards club members because it has tremendous value. Being able to save 25% on any IHG award stay can save you 50,000 points on a stay at a hotel such as the Kimpton Gray in Chicago. I value IHG points at 1/2 cent each, which is the price you’re able to buy them for, so saving 50,000 points is equivalent to saving $250.

Final Thoughts

If you have a stay of five nights or more, it pays to look at Marriott or Hilton hotels for reward stays to take advantage of the free night benefit to save 20% of the points required. If you’re staying for four nights and you have an IHG co-brand credit card, I’d start my search with IHG hotels and take advantage of the fourth-night free perk.

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This post first appeared on Your Mileage May Vary

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