Can You Add Points to Marriott Bonvoy Free Nights From Sign Up Bonus?

by joeheg

The current sign-up bonus for the Marriott Bonvoy Business® American Express® Card is very attractive. If you use our referral link, you can earn a sign-up bonus of five free nights for rooms that require 50,000 Marriott Bonvoy points or less after spending $8,000 on purchases within the first six months. We would appreciate it if you used our links because we earn extra Marriott Bonvoy points for each person who signs up, which helps us keep YMMV going strong.

A question often asked when an offer provides a free night instead of points is whether you can add points to book a room that’s over the value of the certificate. I signed up for the Marriott Bonvoy Business AMEX when it was offering three free nights. I was kicking myself when the five-free-night offer came back, but what can you do?

I recently booked a hotel using my free nights, and here’s what I found.

Marriott Bonvoy Free Night Certificates

The annual free night certificates you get from Marriott Bonvoy co-brand cards issued by AMEX and Chase allow you to add up to 15,000 points to book an award over the value of the certificate. But what about the free nights you earn as a sign-up bonus? Can you add points to those?

Adding Points To Free Nights

I was looking at a three-night stay, and while one night was under 50K points, the other two nights were 53,000 and 54,000 points. When I selected the free night certificates, Marriott Bonvoy offered the option to add points to the free night certificates to make the reservation.

a screenshot of a phone

I booked the three-night stay with the certificates from the sign-up bonus plus 7,000 points. The cash price for the room was $1102, which puts this redemption around 0.7 cents per point. I consider this average for Marriott Bonvoy points, but I’ve been able to squeeze up to 1 cent per point on a good redemption.

Downsides of Free Night Sign-Up Bonuses

I chose to use the free night certificates for this stay even though it wasn’t a great value. That’s because you have to use the free nights within one year of them being deposited in your account. Unlike points, which you only have to keep active with account activity, free night certificates will expire if they go unused. So I chose to use them when I had good use, even if it wasn’t the best use of a 50,000-point free night.

Based on my one data point, you’re able to add points to the free nights you’ll earn as a signup bonus for Marriott Bonvoy co-brand cards. I assume the same 15,000 point cap applies like on the annual free night certificates

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