Booking with Free Annual Night Hotel Certificates


We’ve talked before about how we keep our hotel credit cards that come with free night certificates each year because we can book a room for at least double the cost of the annual fee. Our hotel cards are credit cards that we don’t mind paying an annual fee for. Let’s go over how to book with free annual night hotel certificates so you know how to do it.

Note: At the time of writing this article, these were the redemptions one could get. Award costs fluctuate often but the process of booking with your annual free night certificate will remain the same.



Marriott has both 35K and 50K certificates, depending on the card you have with them. Marriott will also allow you to add up to 15K points to these certificates.

Let’s say I have a 50K certificate from my Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant Credit Card. I love this card and I love staying at the nicer hotels with this certificate. Last year, we booked a $600+ hotel room with one on our Sarasota girl’s trip for a Ritz Carlton hotel.

I know that many of you would like to go to Greece. Let’s check out a destination in Mykonos. I have the Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant Card as well as the old Ritz-Carlton card which is no longer offered so I have two 50k certificates. I could certainly enjoy staying here for 2 nights.


White building by pool with sun umbrellas


To book with my certificates, I just put my dates in as if I was booking with points. I click the box that says use points or certificates. This is what pulls up:


Screenshot Marriott Hotel Redemption


I would hit select and there I will see my award certificates. I check the free night certificates to book the two rooms. These certificates are automatically sent to the hotel. If I cancel, the points return to my account.

Screenshot Marriott Hotel Redemption

And that is it! I can pay 8 Euros and stay 2  nights in a $400+ hotel room in Mykonos – who doesn’t love that? Marriott makes booking with free annual night hotel certificates super easy.


IHG Hotels

When you have the IHG World Rewards Premier Credit Card you get a free night certificate on your account anniversary that can be used on a stay for up to 40,000 points. You also have the option to top off those free night certificates giving you even more options.

On the main page, after you log in, you will see your point balance and the free night awards you have. In this case, due to COVID extensions, I have 2 nights.


Screenshot hotel points


To book my free nights, I select the “2 Free Night(s)” link and then start searching. One of my favorite uses of IHG points and certifications is to stay at an Intercontinental Hotel. Bali is amazing. Let’s look there.


Screenshot IHG redemptions


There are even more choices available than are shown here. Holiday Inn or InterContinental – I’ll choose the InterContinental, thank you! The prices of hotels in Asia are pretty cheap, so I might want to stay at a hotel that would cost me more.

I really like Kimpton Hotels also. Let’s look at one in Denver, Colorado. This is for the Kimpton Monaco in Denver.


Screenshot Hotel Room Redemption Costs


Once I select my room, this is what shows up. Press “select rate” and you are good to go. Cancellation policies vary from hotel to hotel but I have always received my points back if I cancel the room.


Screenshot of hotel redemption



Hyatt Hotels

When you pay your annual fee on the Chase World of Hyatt Credit Card, you also receive an annual night certificate good at a category 1-4 hotel. Obviously, to get the most value, I would try and use it at a category 4 hotel.

On your home page, you click on “awards” to pull up your free nights.


Screenshot Hyatt account page



When I hit the “My Awards” button, I see this.



Once you hit the “explore hotels” button you can look for hotels that are categories 1-4.  I don’t always use my free night certificates at expensive hotels. Sometimes, I use them for less expensive options. In this case, I needed to use them by the end of the year. Alex and I planned a trip to Disneyland and the Hyatt Place has two queen beds plus a sofa bed for her boys, plus free breakfast was just the thing. The hotel room was only $140 for our dates (a great deal!) but I still saved money as my annual fee is $95. It’s all about what works in your situation.


Screenshot hotel reservation



Bottom Line

Booking with free annual night hotel certificates is not difficult. Each hotel chain has a different way of booking but they are not complicated. You can get great value with your annual night certificates or just book them for a staycation. Whether you are booking internationally or closer to home, they are a great perk to your credit card and make the annual fees worth paying.



White hotel with blue water in front of it

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