The best ways to use a Marriott Bonvoy 35,000-point free night certificate — from upscale beach destinations to luxury international hotels

 

St. Regis Bangkok Marriott Bonvoy Rooftop Pool

Summary List Placement

  • Some Marriott cards come with an annual free hotel night certificate worth up to 35,000 points.
  • This includes the Marriott Bonvoy Business™ American Express® Card and Marriott Bonvoy Boundless™ Credit Card.
  • It’s easy to get a value well above the card’s annual fee if you redeem at pricey Category 5 hotels.
  • Read Insider’s guide to the best hotel credit cards.

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One of my favorite all-around credit card perks is the anniversary free night certificate that many co-branded hotel cards offer. Depending on how you use them, these can easily offset your card’s annual fee and even help you come out ahead in the long run.

With four different Marriott Bonvoy credit cards in my wallet, I’ve gotten quite a few chances to explore redemption options for the 35,000-point free night certificates that most of those cards carry. Today we’re going to take a look at how to earn these valuable rewards, and some of your best options for redeeming them in the US and internationally.

How to earn Marriott Bonvoy 35,000-point free night certificates

Marriott is the largest hotel company in the world, with an equally impressive credit card portfolio issued by both Chase and American Express. All of Marriott’s co-branded credit cards offer a 35,000-point anniversary free night certificate, with the exception of the no-annual-fee Marriott Bonvoy Bold™ Credit Card (no anniversary night) and the premium Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant™ American Express® Card, which offers a 50,000-point free night certificate instead (The Ritz-Carlton Credit Card also offers a 50,000-point free night certificate, though it’s not open to new applicants).

That means you can earn 35,000-point anniversary free nights on the following Bonvoy cards:

  • Marriott Bonvoy Boundless™ Credit Card: Marriott Bonvoy Boundless™ Credit Card
  • Marriott Bonvoy Business™ American Express® Card: Marriott Bonvoy Business™ American Express® Card
  • Marriott Bonvoy American Express Card: No longer open to new applications

 

If you have the Marriott Bonvoy Business™ American Express® Card, you can also earn a second 35,000-point free night certificate each calendar year when you spend $60,000 or more on your card. Marriott Titanium elites can pad their balance even more by selecting a 40,000-point free night certificate as their 75-night choice benefit, adding even more flexibility.

How much are 35,000 Marriott points worth?

The short answer is the 35,000 points roughly equates to a Category 1 to 5 hotel on Marriott’s award chart, though Category 5 properties under peak pricing will be slightly too expensive at 40,000 points a night. This still leaves plenty of great opportunities to redeem these certificates, including multiple choices in most major cities in the US. Let’s take a look at some of the best options to consider, both in the US and internationally.

 The best hotels for redeeming a 35,000-point Marriott free night certificate

All of the cards that offer these free night certificates carry annual fees in the ~$100 range (from Marriott Bonvoy Boundless™ Credit Card on the Marriott Bonvoy Boundless™ Credit Card up to Marriott Bonvoy Business™ American Express® Card for the Marriott Bonvoy Business™ American Express® CardMarriott Bonvoy Business™ American Express® Card – Rates & Fees.

 

That’s a pretty low bar in terms of breaking even, and in fact, many Marriott Category 5 hotels sell for $200 to $400 a night depending on the season. That’s one of the reasons that I’m happy to carry so many Bonvoy cards — not only do I consistently break even, but I also usually end up coming out several hundred dollars ahead thanks to the value of my free nights.

W Chicago City Center

W Chicago City Center

While Chicago is one of the only cities in the world to be home to two W hotels, the Category 5 W Chicago — City Center location is an ideal choice for tourists and business travelers alike thanks to its prime location in the loop, just blocks away from The Art Institute of Chicago and Millenium Park.

Quick tip: To find hotels where you can use a 35,000-point certificate, you can apply filters on the Marriott Bonvoy website to only show certain categories of hotels — just select categories 1 through 5 to narrow your search. You’ll see the option to redeem your certificate on the booking page if your hotel is eligible.

The hotel’s public spaces underwent an intense renovation a few years back, resulting in a design that pays homage to the city’s history, complementing the historic status of the 1928 Beaux Arts building that houses the hotel. Inside you’ll find 403 guest rooms and suites, which are slated to get refreshed over the coming years.

The Adolphus, Autograph Collection, Dallas

Adolphus Hotel Marriott Autograph Collection Dallas

Built by the founder of Anheuser-Busch, the Adolphus Hotel has been an iconic part of the downtown Dallas skyline for over 100 years. The interior design seamlessly blends modern luxury with a storied past, making The Adolphus an absolute steal relative to the value it offers.

The property is an especially great choice for Marriott elites, who get unlimited free coffee at Otto’s coffee in the lobby, in addition to all the normal benefits they’re used to. 

The Ben, Autograph Collection, West Palm Beach

Spruzzo Restaurant The Ben Hotel Marriott Autograph Collection West Palm Beach

West Palm Beach can be an expensive destination, with “Billionaire’s Row” easily visible just off the coast. Surprisingly there aren’t all that many luxury branded hotels, making Marriott’s The Ben, Autograph Collection an even easier choice.

The hotel boasts a sophisticated yet approachable design, with light wood tones and tons of indoor plants in the lobby and restaurant. Spacious balconies make the already desirable ocean-facing rooms even more enticing, and with prices often approaching $400 a night this is a great choice for redeeming your free night certificates.

St. Regis Bangkok

St Regis Bangkok Marriott Swimming Pool

If you’re looking for a surefire way to get a great value out of your free night certificate, consider traveling somewhere where local markets cause luxury hotels to be priced cheaper. The St. Regis Bangkok is a perfect example, on par with many St. Regis hotels you’d find in North America (though none of the ones I’ve stayed at have come even close to competing with Thailand’s incredible service culture).

The hotel is located just a few blocks from Lumphini park, with easy access to multiple MRT lines to get around the city. It’s also a Category 5, so you can use your free night certificate during standard or off-peak times.

Mira Moon Hong Kong, Design Hotels

Mira Moon Design Hotels Marriott Bonvoy Hong Kong

Located near the bustling Wan Chai district on the northern part of Hong Kong Island, the Mira Moon features an eclectic and celestial design with an impeccable attention to detail. The hotel’s sister property, The Mira, is well situated in Kowloon near Tsim Sha Tsui for those looking to explore the other side of the harbor.

Quick tip: All Marriott Bonvoy members are eligible for the fifth award night free on award stays of four nights or more, but the nights must be booked with points, not certificates. However, there’s no reason you can’t add a free night certificate to the end of a longer stay to stretch your vacation.

Hong Kong is a glamorous yet expensive city, and so finding a Category 5 property that shines like this is truly a win. Like most of Hong Kong, the Mira Moon rises vertically, with just 91 unique rooms and suites based on a fairy tale about the Mid-Autumn Festival.

Sheraton Grand Sydney Hyde Park

Sheraton Grand Sydney Hyde Park Pool Marriott Bonvoy

Sydney can be a lovely walking city, weather permitting, which is why the Sheraton Grand Sydney Hyde Park is incredibly well located. It takes just 20 to 25 minutes to stroll down to Circular Quay and the Opera House, or to grab dinner in The Rocks.

The hotel itself felt modern and comfortable, with spacious guest rooms and one of the best club lounges I’ve ever seen. When we arrived one night to find the lounge full, we were quickly escorted down to the lobby bar and treated to complimentary drinks and a massive plate of canapés before we’d even had a chance to order!

Bottom line

Whether your travels take you to Australia, Thailand, Chicago, or just about anywhere else, Marriott’s 35,000-point free night certificates are incredibly flexible and versatile.

Marriott has over 1,000 Category 5 properties for you to choose from, to say nothing of the nearly 6,000 Category 1 to 4 hotels at which you can redeem your free night. It’s rare to be able to “buy” a free night at a St. Regis, W, or Autograph Collection hotel for just the cost of a credit card annual fee, but that’s exactly what you can do by holding the right Marriott credit cards.

Ethan Steinberg is an award travel expert who loves helping readers leverage their credit card rewards for luxurious international travel on a budget.

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The best ways to use a Marriott Bonvoy 35,000-point free
night certificate — from upscale beach destinations to luxury
international hotels