One of my favorite credit cards in my wallet today is the Chase Marriott Rewards Premier card. In fact, a few weeks ago I wrote about how I don’t think I’ll ever close this card. However, unlike most of my credit cards, the Marriott Rewards Premier card rarely sees the light of day. That’s because I don’t get value from spending on this card. Rather, the value of this card comes with each cardmember anniversary.
Each cardmember anniversary I receive 15 Marriott Rewards elite nights for simply keeping the card open and paying the annual fee. Those 15 nights count toward my annual Marriott elite status qualification. That means each year, just because I pay the $89 annual fee, I start the year with 15 of the 75 nights I need to earn Marriott Platinum status. Additionally, if I fall short of Platinum status, the “unused” nights rollover which further helps me qualify the following year. For example, in 2018, I started the year with 37 elite nights before ever stepping food inside a Marriott Property.
Marriott Category 1-5 Free Night Certificate
As great as the 15 elite night are, those nights alone don’t make this card worth keeping open in perpetuity. Instead, the Marriott Free Night Certificate is the benefit I value the most from this card.
On each cardmember anniversary current cardmembers receive a Marriott Category 1-5 Fee Night Certificate. The certificate is value to cover the nightly rate of any Category 1-5 Marriott around the world!
Another thing I love about the Marriott Free Night Certificate is that using it couldn’t be easier. All you need to do is log into your Marriott Rewards account, select a qualifying Category 1-5 property, and chose the pay with points option. As long as you have an “unused certificate” in your account you should then have the option to pay with your certificate.
I recently used this benefit to stay at the Renaissance Riverside Saigon Hotel in Ho Chi Min Vietnam. Upon check-in I wasn’t required to even put down a credit card. Upon check-out my bill arrived, fully paid, and I left the hotel. Additionally, during the stay the hotel staff treated you like any other paid guest. I had access to the Club Level just like I would if I paid with money. Needless to say, I really like this benefit.
When Does The Chase Marriott Premier Rewards Free Night Certificate Arrive?
For existing Chase Marriott Premier Rewards cardholders the annual Free Night Certificate arrives right around each cardmember anniversary. That is the date you opened the card. So, since I opened the card in December, my Free Night Certificate typically arrives in early January. Per the official terms of the card, it can take up to 8 weeks from your Cardmember Anniversary for your certificate to arrive.
As is the case with many credit cards with annual benefits, timing is important. There is nothing worse than having a free benefit expire just because you forgot to pay attention to important dates. Luckily, Chase and Marriott make it easy to track this benefit. Each year, when my Marriott Free Night Certificate becomes available, I receive an email from Chase presenting my anniversary gift!
Within the email there are instructions regarding how to use the Free Night Certificate, but beyond that there is nothing more to do. Shortly after receiving the email (or your Cardmember Anniversary date) you should find the Marriott Free Night Certificate in your account. If for some reason you don’t receive a free night certificate make sure to call Marriott to correct the issue.
How To Maximize The Marriott Category 1-5 Free Night Certificate
Obviously with each Free Night Certificate from the Marriott Rewards Premier card the goal is to realize at least $89 of value. This way you’ll fully recover the cost of the card’s annual fee. However, what’s the fun in just breaking even?
Instead, I like to start each year by creating a short list of properties worth using my Free Night Certificate at. The first year I had this benefit I waited until the last-minute and ended up booking a lousy $120/night room in the middle of nowhere for a wedding. Not exactly the best example of maximizing a benefit.
To make up for my poor plaining of year past I have a rather aspirational redemption in mind. I really hope to use my 2018 Free Night Certificate at the JW Marriott Phu Quoc Emerald Bay Resort and Spa in Vietnam!
The reason I’m eyeing this hotel is twofold. For starters, ever since my insane trip to Ho Chi Min I’ve been dying to go back. Secondly, this hotel might just be the most expensive Category 1-5 hotel in the Marriott portfolio today.
I searched nightly room rates for this hotel and couldn’t believe the cost. Keep in mind, this is for a Category 5 hotel property. Typically, you can expect nightly rates of between $100-$200.
Weekend rates at this property are typically between 10,429,000 and 12,325,000 VND.
That represents a nearly $550 nightly room rate! That’s absolutely insane considering your out-of-pocket cost is just $89. Perhaps you can use the different to buy airfare to Vietnam.
As I mentioned earlier the Chase Marriott Rewards Premier card is among my favorite cards in My Wallet today even though I rarely use the card. The card comes with an annual Free Night Certificate that when used properly each year easily offsets the annual fee paid on the card. Just make sure to use each certificate each year. There is nothing worse than letting a free night certificate expire just because you forgot about it.