Bonvoy Success: Marriott Free Night Certificate Extended Another Year

You’d think that living in hotels would make it easy to use all the free night certificates my wife and I get from our credit cards.

That’s sadly not the case.

This might also seem unfair, but it’s often our dog’s fault.

Truffles Pepper

Sorry Truffles, but you’re to blame

Our first issue is finding a pet-friendly hotel. Our second issue is the pet fee. Most pet-friendly hotels where we can use our free night certificates charge a $75-$100 pet fee per stay. I’m fine paying that for a stay of 5+ nights, but not for a one or two night stay if I can help it. In theory we could use points to stay longer to reduce the per-night cost of the pet fee, but we maximize our points by staying at category 1 or 2 properties in each hotel chain, not category 4 and above like we’d need to if staying for longer after redeeming free night certificates.

That meant we recently had two Marriott free night certificates about to expire, both of which were good for properties costing up to 25,000 points per night. One was in my name and one was in Shae’s. I was able to use mine just before it expired the other week at the Aloft Buffalo Downtown on our way from Michigan to Vermont. I have Platinum status whereas Shae only has Gold status, so it made sense to use my certificate first. This paid off as my Platinum status resulted in a great upgrade to a spacious corner room with floor-to-ceiling views of the city.

Aloft Buffalo Downtown corner room

Aloft Buffalo Downtown corner room

The reason I chose that particular hotel is because all Aloft properties are pet-friendly and none charge a pet fee – a nice exception to the $100 per stay pet fee you get when staying at most Marriott brands.

Views of Buffalo from our upgraded room

Views of Buffalo from our upgraded room

With my certificate put to good use, we were out of luck with using Shae’s one before its expiry date as our accommodation for our three weeks in Vermont was already booked. She’s not going to get close to earning Platinum status this year, so it wasn’t even worth booking a night somewhere to at least get an elite night credit.

We had one option remaining – throw ourselves on the mercy of a Marriott phone rep. In the past, it was sometimes possible to extend Marriott Rewards free night certificates if they’d have otherwise gone unused. Since the change from Rewards to Bonvoy hasn’t exactly gone smoothly, I wasn’t holding out hope that a rep would be able to do this, even if they were willing. Still, we had nothing to lose except for a few minutes of our time, so a phone call it was.

Marriott Extended Cert 1

The Marriott free night certificate we needed to extend

My wife isn’t at all interested in points and miles, other than the fact that they help us travel full-time. She’s a good sport though, so she’s always willing to make whatever phone calls are necessary to upgrade/downgrade/cancel cards or get them approved.

I explained the situation to Shae and that we wanted to see if Marriott would be willing to extend her free night certificate. I’d have been happy with a three month extension, but figured we wouldn’t mention that in case they were willing to extend it for even longer.

She called Marriott customer service on 1-800-535-4028 and, when prompted to state what she was calling for, said “Reward Certificate”. This routed her directly through to a rep rather than being put on hold for ages or having to go through several more automated questions, so that was a good start.

Shae explained to the rep that she had a free night certificate due to expire in a week’s time and was hoping it could be extended. It took the rep several minutes to work out what to do as she was still getting used to their new system following the Bonvoy change. Once she’d worked that out, she gave us the good news – she’d extended the certificate for a further year from the date we called. The entire process had taken took less than five minutes and got us the exact result we wanted.

Shae called on June 11, 2019 which means the new certificate will expire on June 11, 2020, rather than June 18, 2020 which would’ve been a year after its original expiry date.

At first I thought she’d been reverse-Bonvoyed as the old certificate was still showing on her account:

Marriott Extended Cert 2

An non-cancelled Marriott free night certificate

It must’ve just taken the rep a little longer than expected to work out how to cancel that old certificate though, as it’s subsequently been removed.

Marriott Extended Cert 3

Farewell additional free night

Conclusion

If you have a Marriott free night certificate due to expire in the near future, give Marriott a call as it’s possible to get them extended post-Bonvoy. You might get a rep who doesn’t know how – or isn’t willing – to do this, so if that’s what you experience, hang up and call again. There’s no point in letting these certificates go to waste if you can extend them, especially seeing as it can be done by phone in under five minutes.

About Stephen Pepper

Stephen Pepper is on a 5 year, 50 state road trip with his wife Shae and their dog Truffles. Finding opportunities to earn miles and points is one of the ways they can afford to do this, so he'll try to help you do the same for your own travels.

More articles by Stephen Pepper »

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Renee
Guest
Renee

My husbands free night certificate was “lost” in their system last year during the merger for over 10 weeks. When it was finally resolved, it just had a couple of weeks before it expired. We got them to extend it but not without being made to feel we were asking for welfare or something. Rep was a total jerk. Because it was lost, he had to use another free night certificate that would not have expired for several more months but the rep still acted like it was a major deal for them to extend it.

Lynn
Guest
Lynn

I recently called to ask for a 5 DAY extension as I was planning a trip that fell just outside. I was denied, asked for a supervisor, and was Denied again! Way to go Marriott!!!

Agnes
Guest
Agnes

I called once and was told that Marriott is willing to extent if I have some recent activities on that particular (Amex) card.

DaveC
Guest
DaveC

Any success extending 7 day certs?

Rob
Guest
Rob

I redeemed points for a package before the Bonvoy conversion last year. It was to expire in July. Because the point system changed, they have to reissue the certificate to correspond to the new categories. I called in May. My reissued ticket now expires next May.

GiGi
Guest
GiGi

Yes. I was able to extend my 7 days certificate. My certificate expires on 5/29/2019. When I called on 4/1/2019 Marriott extended my certificate to 4/1/2020.

Ashker
Guest
Ashker

Was your certificate a new type or old type? Based on your initial expiration date, I think it was the old type. Marriott must have converted your certificate to a new one which extends the certificate by one year. So, I think we still don’t know if the new type of 7 nights certificate can be extended.

GiGi
Guest
GiGi

I had the old 7 nights certificate category 1-5 it was replaced with category 1-4 and Marriott credited me 40,000 points when I called in to extend.

​​o0o0o0o0o0o...Points!
Guest
​​o0o0o0o0o0o...Points!

Yes, new Bonvoy free night or 7-night certs can be extended. I had an old Rewards 7-night cert that was converted into a new Bonvoy 7-night cert, which extended it by a year. Since I was using it soon, I called on another occasion to have that same cert extended, which it was then extended. So there are 2 types of “extensions” – a ‘conversion’ from an old cert, and also an ‘extension’ of a new cert, and you can do EACH type, if you have an old cert.

Treesha
Guest
Treesha

But look at that face! Awww, Truffles.

Pam
Guest
Pam

My husband is gold, too, so I book 2 nights with my Plat night on the first night. Twice now Marriott has upgraded the first night with my Plat status & allowed us to stay in it.

Paul
Guest
Paul

Deleted

phil
Guest
phil

Marriott has been extending these for a long time. Many examples on FT. Easy to do and old news.

Greg The Frequent Miler
Admin

Lots of things have changed since Bonvoy so we didn’t know if this would still work.

Boonie
Guest
Boonie

Had the same issue with my husbands cert about to expire and I always put the call on speaker as he is clueless. We were successful in getting it extended. On a side note this is not the first time we received an extension on one of mine on the past. Funny how that expiration date comes quick!

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Paul
Guest
Paul

Do you have to use the status of the person whose certificate is being redeemed? e.g. if I am titanium and my partner is gold but has a free night certificate, can we use the certificate but get the benefits of my status if my name is on the room? Sounds like not based on your situation.

Josh
Guest
Josh

Truffles looks so proud with the toy. I am pretty sure we have the same toy for our (oversized) cat haha.

Jenni
Guest
Jenni

I was very excited to see this article. I waited until today (6 days before expiration) to call, they moved the expiration date to one year from now. Thanks!!