How to book your Marriott free night before you get it

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The Marriott Rewards Premier Card and the Marriott Rewards Premier Business Card offer a free category 1-5 certificate each year upon renewal. Once the Marriott free night certificate arrives, you can use it by simply booking a category 1-5 night using points at Marriott.com and the system will automatically apply your certificate rather than using your points.

That’s nice, but what if you want to book your reservation before your free night is available?  For example, let’s say that you’re planning a July trip, but your certificate isn’t due to appear until sometime in June.  You’d hate to wait until mid June to see if the hotel still has availability, right?

It’s actually very easy to book your reservation in advance.  Here’s how:

  1. Via Marriott.com, book a category 1-5 night using points.  If you don’t have enough points, Marriott will let you book the free night anyway.
  2. Once the certificate appears, do either:
    1. Find the reservation online, click “View/Modify”, then click “Order reward certificate(s) for this reservation.” Or:
    2. call Marriott Rewards (not Marriott Reservations) to apply the certificate to your points reservation.

Current Marriott Rewards phone numbers can be found here.  I recently used the number 1-801-468-4000 to successfully apply a certificate to an existing points reservation.

How do you know when your free night is available?

Cardholders receive an email from Chase titled “Enjoy your anniversary gift” which makes it look like your certificate is available.  It’s not.

After receiving the email, you still have to wait for the free night to be deposited to your Marriott account.  I received the above email about a week before one certificate appeared in my account.  I’m still waiting for my second certificate even though I got both emails on the same day (I have both the personal and business cards).

You’ll know that you have the certificate when you find it in your account:

  1. Log into your Marriott account at Marriott.com
  2. Click MenuMy Account
  3. Click Activity

Under “Unused Certificates” you should see something like this:

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