It’s Worth Paying An Extra $20 On A Hotel Room To Keep My Marriage Healthy

by joeheg

One of the inner struggles when booking any type of travel is the desire to pay as little as possible and understand that spending a little extra would be incredibly convenient. It became such a problem for me that I made a rule for myself about decisions less than $15. I’ll always pay the money if it makes our lives easier.

I was presented with an interesting dilemma when booking a Courtyard by Marriott. The hotel is a category 3, perfect for using up some of our free night certificates.

That was, until I checked the room rate.

Booking the room

The first thing I did was check the cash price for the room.


It wasn’t very expensive but anything over $100 before tax is a good use for a certificate.

I went to check about using one of the certificates. To do so, you need to “pretend” that you are making an award booking. I said I was going to pay with points and was presented this option:


The cash and points rate was horrible and I didn’t want to redeem points for the whole stay. I clicked on the customized cash + points link. For once, here’s where the Marriott website is functional.


I’m shown a breakdown of each night and given the option to pay for each night with cash or points. For this stay, it would be better to pay with the free night certificates on Thursday and Saturday and just pay for the room on Friday.


I know I could find a much better use of a 35K certificate but remember I had more free nights than I could use and this was a chance to burn two of them.

Here’s my problem. With this booking, the least expensive night on Friday is costing me $115. If I booked that night with an AAA rate, it would cost around $95. So because Marriott’s website doesn’t let me apply AAA pricing when booking rooms using a free night certificate, I’m stuck paying the regular rate for the night where I’m not using points. For this example, that ends up costing an extra $20.

How could I fix this problem?

I could make multiple reservations. Use one of the certs on the first night, make a separate AAA reservation for night two and make a third reservation using a cert for the final night. I’d have to call the hotel and see if they could link the three reservations and hopefully we wouldn’t have to go back to the front desk every morning for a new set of keys.

Oh, did I mention I wasn’t going on this trip?

I was making all of these reservations for Sharon. Even if I were there, the hassle of linking three individual bookings between award stays and AAA rate might be pushing the limit too much and we could end up betting #Bonvoyed.

(Note from Sharon: What he didn’t mention was that although I enjoy the fruits of his hobby, I am not a willing or active participant in this whole points and miles and certificates and #Bonvoy thing. I was not going to go to the front desk every day and check out and check back in again, and deal with whatever could happen with whatever Marriott issues happen nowadays, and he knows it.)

But with me not being there, it was a simple decision to book the single reservation, combining the certificates with the cash rate for one night. We’re paid $20 extra but I think that’s a small price to keep our marriage on solid ground (Note from Sharon: he is a smart man).

Final Thoughts

This booking made me face some decisions I often have to make for our travels.

  • Am I getting a good value for my points/free nights?
  • Is there a cheaper way to book this reservation?
  • Should I just pay the extra money to make it more convenient?
  • Will Sharon stop talking to me if I book this?

I decided that it was best to use the two free night certificates because while I might get a better value for them down the road, I’d prefer to use them when I can and save the money now. I also decided that paying the $20 extra to make a single reservation was worth it to alleviate the fear of something happening to one of the reservations if I made them separately.

I know some of you will not agree with my decisions here and that’s OK because Your Mileage May Vary.

Want to comment on this post? Great! Read this first to help ensure it gets approved.
Want to sponsor a post, write something for Your Mileage May Vary or put ads on our site? Click here for more info.

Like this post? Please share it! We have plenty more just like it and would love it if you decided to hang around and sign up to get emailed notifications of when we post.

Whether you’ve read our articles before or this is the first time you’re stopping by, we’re really glad you’re here and hope you come back to visit again!

This post first appeared on Your Mileage May Vary


Boraxo July 5, 2019 - 3:44 pm

With all due respect that’s pocket change. When my wife found out I was staying at the St Regis Rome she demanded equal treatment at the St Regis Florence rather than checking into AirBnb and waiting for the rest of us to join her. That cost me 120k Marriott points vs about $300 for 2 more Airbnb nights

As you say, marital harmony is priceless. As it turned out the Airbnb was not that special so it was the right call.

Ryan July 5, 2019 - 6:01 pm

Sounds like time to churn the wife.

joeheg July 6, 2019 - 12:58 am

Not until she’s over 5/24 🙂

Reply December 2, 2021 - 11:05 pm


Steve December 2, 2021 - 8:53 pm

“Important: You can only use your Marriott Bonvoy® Points to Gift an Award Redemption Reservation to another Guest. You cannot use a Free Night Award Certificate to book a Room for another Guest.” Reference:,a%20Room%20for%20another%20Guest

If the FNA has been issued against your Marriott number, you need to be a guest for the reservation.

joeheg December 3, 2021 - 12:38 am

Entirely true. While I was booking the stay, I was using her account. You can not book stays with free nights from your account for someone else, if you need to book a stay with points for someone else you can book it for them or transfer points to their account for the reservation.


Leave a Comment