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‘Topping up’ Marriott Bonvoy hotel free night certificates is now possible

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One of the long promised improvements to Marriott Bonvoy – although admittedly one of limited use to UK members – is the ability to top up ‘fixed value’ free night vouchers.

In the US, multiple Marriott credit cards come with automatic free night certificates and many people have them. In the UK, there are only two ways to earn one:

  • spend 75 nights per year in Marriott hotels and take a free night voucher worth 40,000 points (roughly £200 of value) as your ‘Annual Choice Benefit’
Marriott Bonvoy top up free night voucher with points

The problem with these vouchers is that the value has been whittled away by points inflation, so you were getting less free night than before for your money.

With the UK Marriott Bonvoy American Express benefit, it was simply the wrong product. Not many people who can afford to spend £25,000 per year on the UK Bonvoy Amex are likely to spend much time in £125 hotels, yet alone want to specifically redeem for a night in one.

To address this, Marriott promised that you would be able to top up your certificate with up to 15,000 points from your Bonvoy account. This is finally now active.

How does the Marriott Bonvoy free night voucher ‘top up’ work?

Here is an example using my own account. I have a free night voucher to use from the Bonvoy American Express due to some heavy spending at Marriott for a family holiday last year.

(Whilst there is a 3% FX fee on the Bonvoy Amex, it made sense for me to pay for a holiday on it last year. I got 6 points per £1 for paying the bill on my card. I value Bonvoy points at 0.5p so I was ‘even’ on the deal. You can never buy points this cheaply from Marriott, even in a promotion. I also knew that the payment would guarantee that I triggered the free night certificate which was another £125 of value. Amusingly, I also got $100 off my bill because the hotel thought it was a US Marriott card and there was a special promo running at the time for US cardholders!)

You can spend your free night voucher via this page of the Marriott website.

Note that, for now, you cannot book a ‘top up’ via the Marriott app. You need to use the desktop website.

This is what I see when I try to use my 25,000 point voucher to book a 34,000 point night at the Heathrow Marriott:

Marriott Bonvoy top-up

When I select a redemption, I get this:

Marriott Bonvoy points top up free night voucher

If I choose to redeem my free night voucher, it deducts 25,000 points from the cost of the reward. I am then given the choice of buying 9,000 points for $112.50 to make up the difference, or redeeming them from my account.

The system clearly works.

It’s still not perfect, of course. The ability to top-up by 15,000 points seems to have been plucked out of the air. Why not let me book any room, and save 25,000 points on the cost? I can’t think of a single good reason not to do that, and one very obvious bad reason – it hurts people who only redeem for high-end hotels.

Conclusion

It’s take some time, but Marriott Bonvoy does now allow you to top up a free night voucher by up to 15,000 points.

This makes the Marriott Bonvoy American Express slightly more attractive to high spenders who couldn’t see any realistic way of using a 25,000 points voucher.

Remember that, until Tuesday night, the bonus on the Marriott Bonvoy American Express is doubled to 40,000 points. You also receive Gold Elite status until February 2024 as a special offer. You can find out more here and apply here.

You can find out more about topping up a free night voucher here.


How to earn Marriott Bonvoy points and status from UK credit cards

How to earn Marriott Bonvoy points and status from UK credit cards (May 2022)

There are various ways of earning Marriott Bonvoy points from UK credit cards.  Many cards also have generous sign-up bonuses.

The official Marriott Bonvoy American Express card comes with 20,000 points for signing up, 2 points for every £1 you spend and 15 elite night credits per year.

You can apply here.

American Express Marriott Bonvoy credit card

Marriott Bonvoy American Express

20,000 bonus points and 15 elite night credits Read our full review

You can also earn Marriott Bonvoy points by converting American Express Membership Rewards points at the rate of 2:3.

Do you know that holders of The Platinum Card from American Express receive FREE Marriott Bonvoy Gold status for as long as they hold the card?  It also comes with Hilton Honors Gold, Radisson Rewards Gold and MeliaRewards Gold status.  We reviewed American Express Platinum in detail here and you can apply here.

The Platinum Card has doubled its sign-up bonus to 60,000 Membership Rewards points, which convert to 90,000 Marriott Bonvoy points, if you apply by 1st June 2022.

American Express Platinum card Amex

The Platinum Card from American Express

60,000 points (SPECIAL OFFER) and an unbeatable set of travel benefits – for a fee Read our full review

You can also earn Marriott Bonvoy points indirectly:

and for small business owners:

The conversion rate from American Express to Marriott Bonvoy points is 2:3.

Click here to read our detailed summary of all UK credit cards which can be used to earn Marriott Bonvoy points

(Want to earn more hotel points?  Click here to see our complete list of promotions from the major hotel chains or use the ‘Hotel Offers’ link in the menu bar at the top of the page.)

Comments (5)

  • BrianN says:

    I recently earned marriott gold elite with a 8 nights elite status challenge. Already coincidentally had 8 nights planned anyway. Currently have diamond with both hilton and ihg so not sure how much I’ll use it but seemed worth asking as had an upcoming stay.

  • Melvin says:

    In the promo email I received from Marriott yesterday, the graphic suggests the voucher is worth 35k. In addition, ‘Note 1’ on the booking page also says 35k, however I currently have a voucher on my account and it states it’s value is up to 25k. Are the vouchers worth more to US card holders?

    • Rob says:

      There are multiple variants. I agree it was confusing on Marriott’s part to show a 35k voucher in the email.

  • YC says:

    Just clicked to me that using Marriott Amex is a cheaper way of buying points in any previous promo. Good tip!

    • YC says:

      However if u get 1% cashback with no fx as the alternative, u are then buying around best promo prices

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