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- The limited-time offer on the Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant™ American Express® Card includes a free night certificate.
- You can redeem the certificate at Marriott hotels that cost up to 85,000 points per night.
- These include luxury brands like St. Regis, W, and JW Marriott.
- Read Insider’s guide to the best hotel credit cards.
Inflation is on everyone’s mind these days, but it’s not just dollars and cents that are seeing their purchasing power diminish. Most travel rewards currencies lose value over time, and Marriott points (and free night certificates) are no exception.
Marriott recently began the long-dreaded transition to dynamic award pricing, moving away from a fixed award chart. The good news is that so far, most properties aren’t seeing drastic increases in prices (outside of some of the most expensive Category 8 hotels that are seeing rates climb by as much as 15,000 points per night). The bad news is that for customers looking to redeem a free night certificate, even a 1,000-point increase can put a hotel out of reach.
While Marriott just added the option to “top up” a free night certificate with up to 15,000 extra points, you may be short on points and only have certificates to redeem, or that still might not be enough to score a Category 8 hotel with dynamic pricing.
The Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant™ American Express® Card is easily the most compelling offer in Marriott’s co-branded credit card portfolio, with its $300 annual Marriott statement credit and automatic Gold elite status. For new travelers who are considering the card, the welcome offer makes it easy to justify the $450 annual fee (See Rates).
Until May 18, 2022, the card is offering an elevated bonus of 100,000 bonus points and 1 Free Night Award after making $5,000 in purchases on your new card within the first 3 months — and the free night is valid at hotels that cost up to 85,000 points.
Here are some of my favorite ways to use the Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant™ American Express® Card’s 85,000-point free night certificate at hotels that will actually be available at that price.
Best hotels for using a Marriott 85,000-point free night certificate
16.49% – 25.49% Variable APR
Recommended Credit Score
Good to Excellent
16.49% – 25.49% Variable APR
Recommended Credit Score
Good to Excellent
- Earn 100,000 Marriott Bonvoy bonus points and 1 Free Night Award after you use your new Card to make $5,000 in purchases within the first 3 months.
- Enjoy up to $300 in statement credits each year of Card Membership for eligible purchases at hotels participating in the Marriott Bonvoy™ program.
- Earn 6 Marriott Bonvoy points for each dollar of eligible purchases at hotels participating in the Marriott Bonvoy™ program. 3 points at U.S. restaurants and on flights booked directly with airlines. 2 points on all other eligible purchases.
- Receive 1 Free Night Award every year after your Card renewal month. Award can be used for one night (redemption level at or under 50,000 Marriott Bonvoy points) at a participating hotel. Certain hotels have resort fees.
- Enjoy unlimited airport lounge visits when you enroll in Priority Pass™ Select membership.
- No Foreign Transaction Fees.
- $450 Annual Fee.
- Terms Apply.
- See Rates & Fees
Previously, Marriott 85,000-point certificates would have been ideal for one free night at some of the chain’s most luxurious properties, like the Al Maha resort outside of Dubai, or Mystique, a Luxury Collection property in Santorini.
With the new dynamic pricing taking effect, these hotels are rarely going to be bookable for 85,000 points a night or less, so we’re forced to set our sights on something slightly more reasonable. In reality, this means focusing on Category 7 hotels instead of Category 8.
JW Marriott Singapore South Beach
To this day, the JW Marriott Singapore stands out in my mind as the most holistically excellent hotel I’ve ever stayed at. The design was modern and electric, fitting in seamlessly in one of Asia’s most iconic skylines without feeling too dark or clubby.
We enjoyed easy access to some of Singapore’s can’t-miss attractions, like The Raffles hotel and bar right across the street (where the Singapore Sling was invented!) and the Marina Bay Sands just a few blocks away. The breakfast spread was incredibly thorough; like the city itself, it effortlessly blended cuisines from all over Asia and the west.
We also loved the other food and beverage options on-site, including Tonic (the hotel bar with over 100 different types of gin) and Michelin-starred Akira Back for dinner. From the moment we checked in this hotel offered Category 8 luxury at Category 7 prices.
JW Marriott Savannah Plant Riverside District
With an unfortunately timed opening right at the start of the pandemic, the JW Marriott Savannah Plant Riverside District has revitalized Savannah’s waterfront. Rooms are spread out across a number of buildings, including The Atrium which has a whimsical “night at the museum” vibe (complete with a dinosaur statue in the lobby), and Three Muses, a smaller more boutique building with its own separate entrance.
Whether you’re drawn to Savannah for work or vacation, the JW Marriott is a great place to spend a free night.
St. Regis Dubai, The Palm Jumeirah
Marriott struggled in the past to establish a foothold for some of its luxury brands in Dubai, but over the last few years, we’ve seen two St. Regis properties open in the city. I had the chance to stay at the St. Regis on The Palm in December and thoroughly enjoyed my stay.
I’d stayed at the W on The Palm on my last trip to Dubai, but I didn’t love having to drive an extra 20 minutes just to get to the edge of the last palm frond. The St. Regis is more centrally located at the base of the palm, connected to the sprawling Nakheel mall complex (make sure you go up to the roof and check out the view!). Though we only stayed for two nights, the staff was incredibly attentive and detail-oriented when it came time to schedule our COVID tests before we left for the Maldives.
St. Regis Washington, DC
Downtown DC can be frustrating to navigate, with limited parking and a comically unreliable public transit system, so location is even more important. The St. Regis Washington, DC has all the luxurious trappings you’d expect from the brad, including the nightly champagne sabering, but it’s also walking distance to the White House and the National Mall, Dupont Circle, Chinatown, and really most of downtown DC.
We stayed there during DC food week and enjoyed a set menu at Alhambra, the hotel’s Mediterranean restaurant, and a few of the signature bloody marys (in this case the Capitol Mary served with a rim of Old Bay around the glass and a shrimp).
Hotels in most major European cities have a reputation for offering small rooms at exorbitant rates. The W Amsterdam offers very decently sized rooms and a whole bunch of personality. The hotel comprises two historic buildings on opposite sides of the street — an old bank and an old telephone exchange, allowing you to pick between two different designs and aesthetics for your stay.
The hotel is conveniently located for both tourists and business travelers, with easy access to public transportation and walking distance of some delicious food.
St. Regis Langkawi
Tucked away on Langkawi island in the northwest corner of Malaysia, the St. Regis Langkawi is the definition of a hidden gem. The sprawling resort offers a mix of standard hotel rooms, suites with direct beach access, and even a few overwater villas. Add in the hanging nets off the jetty by the bar and it felt like we were in the Maldives for a fraction of the cost.
After watching the sunset over the mountains we went to dinner at Kayuputi, where we enjoyed a tasting menu presented by one of the most memorable waiters we’ve ever encountered. Breakfast was an experience of its own, with a bottomless DIY mimosa station greeting you as you walked in. I went straight to the back though and helped myself to a heaping plate of freshly prepared nasi lemak.
Marriott’s switch to dynamic award pricing has put some of its most aspirational properties just out of the reach of an 85,000-point free night certificate. While that’s undeniably disappointing, there are plenty of luxurious hotels that are available at these rates.
This might mean that you only get $400 or $500 of value from the free night certificate if you apply for the Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant™ American Express® Card, instead of maybe $750 to $1,000, but the offer is still attractive enough that this shouldn’t deter you if you’re a frequent Marriott traveler.