As part of last October’s announcement that Marriott Bonvoy was moving to dynamic pricing for awards, they also promised that they would add a feature where you can top off Free Night Awards with an additional 15,000 points to cover hotels that were charging more. The hotel chain promised to have this feature available in April 2022 and on the last of the month, it has officially launched.
What this means is that if you have a Free Night Award that is worth up to 35,000 points, you can use it and then up to 15,000 points as well to cover a free night at a hotel. For example, if a hotel is pricing at 40,000 points you can use the certificate and 5,000 points to get the free night. Now, these free night awards can only be used on standard rooms which means you can’t use this points top up feature to get an upgraded room. Also if you are using the certificates at a hotel that does charge a resort or destination fee you will have to pay cash for that as well.
Here is what it looks like when you go to book this online. In this case one night requires 39,000 points so you could use a 35K certificate and 4,000 points. You’ll get the option to use a certificate plus the points top up or choose to redeem points only:
For most Canadians, the Free Night Award they are familiar with is the annual up to 35,000 point award they receive on the Marriott Bonvoy™ American Express®* Card or the Marriott Bonvoy™ Business American Express® Card. With this points top up you can now look at hotels up to 50,000 points to use the certificate and points at. If you are part of the U.S. credit card game there are varying level of Free Night Awards ranging from 35,000 to the current 85,000 point award night offer on the Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant American Express Card. You can also receive a 40,000 point Free Night Award when you hit the 75 night level Titanium status should you choose that as your annual choice benefit.
Wrapping it up
This new points top off feature provides a bit more flexibility to using your certificates. Granted, some hotels that you used to always be able to use your certificate at have now bumped up their pricing with the new dynamic model so you wouldn’t be able to use a certificate without the points top up. On the flipside there are some hotels that were pricing well above 50,000 points before the change and are now around the 50,000 point level so being able to use your certificate and the points top up for those hotels is good deal.