A well-liked perk of sure Marriott bank cards is the free evening certificates that cardholders earn yearly by renewing their card membership. However utilizing these certificates could be a problem — particularly through the pandemic.

Certificates often expire in a yr, however in response to the pandemic, Marriott prolonged the expiration date on sure certificates. You probably have a free evening certificates with an unique expiration date in 2020 or that can expire earlier than July 31, 2021, you’re going to get the expiration date pushed again to Aug. 1, 2021. You don’t must do something to get the extension. It kicks in mechanically on Dec. 11, 2020.

However even with the extension, some cardholders — like me — might nonetheless have bother placing their certificates to make use of earlier than they go to waste. Discover ways to use a Marriott certificates earlier than it is too late even in the event you’ve run into roadblocks attempting to redeem them earlier than.

Repeated (failed) makes an attempt to make use of free evening certificates

Germany: My first pair of free evening awards posted in June 2019. I had been ready to redeem them towards a keep in Munich throughout Oktoberfest, however by the point I acquired the certificates, normal award nights at my most popular property have been already gone.

Israel: The subsequent alternative to make use of my two free nights got here whereas I used to be planning a visit to Tel Aviv, Israel, for March 2020. Lodging in Israel is dear, and the free evening certificates would have gotten me an excellent worth. Sadly, Israel closed its borders earlier than I went on that journey. I needed to cancel my lodge keep, and the free evening awards have been returned to my Bonvoy account.

Round this time, my certificates have been prolonged by means of Jan. 31, 2021, which meant I had one other eight months to discover a method to make use of them. In June, at this yr’s card anniversary, two extra certificates have been posted to my account, so by then I had 4 free nights to work with.

Turkey: Quick ahead to September. When some nations started opening as much as U.S. passport holders, I deliberate a visit to Turkey. I toyed with the concept of redeeming my Marriott certificates for a elaborate keep at The Ritz-Carlton, Istanbul, a Class 5 property. Sadly, solely two of the three nights on my dates have been obtainable at a normal fee of 35,000 factors, and the opposite was listed at a peak redemption fee of 40,000 factors. Discouraging, to say the least. I didn’t need to transfer motels or pay money for an evening at The Ritz, so I booked my keep elsewhere.

Mexico: Uninterested in the video games, I booked a visit to Los Cabos, Mexico, round my mother’s birthday. Fortunately, 4 nights in a row at normal redemption charges have been obtainable on the Sheraton Grand Los Cabos Hacienda del Mar in December, so I pulled the set off and added a paid evening to increase our trip to 5 nights. However as of Nov. 1, 2020, this property is not affiliated with Marriott. The lodge canceled my reservation and redeposited the certificates again into my Bonvoy account, the place they continue to be unused. As a result of it’s a birthday journey, my mother and I selected to not cancel the flights and booked a keep at a distinct lodge as an alternative.

Methods to make use of your expiring free evening awards

Should you’re as pissed off as I used to be attempting to redeem Marriott free evening certificates, all is just not misplaced. You possibly can nonetheless discover methods to make use of them earlier than they expire. Listed here are some methods.

1. Go on a street journey

Not everybody is able to hop on a airplane, however getting behind the wheel could be an alternate. Whether or not you’ve gotten a nationwide park or a ski resort in your must-see listing, you can use a certificates or two for a street journey inside the US.

You’ll find loads of out of doors actions throughout the U.S., which places a protected journey inside attain. Navigate to Marriott’s lodge listing map, choose the US area, and zoom in on areas you would possibly need to go to. You’ll see properties in several classes, together with some the place your certificates ought to work.

2. Plan a visit to Mexico or the Caribbean

Should you really feel able to face an airport, an island resort may very well be an possibility. Mexico and a number of other different nations within the Caribbean are open to tourism with sure precautions, and it’s not a foul method to make use of your expiring certificates. Choose the Caribbean area to browse Marriott Bonvoy properties on completely different islands, then verify native restrictions earlier than reserving a keep.

three. E book a staycation

Should you don’t need to fly or take a street journey, you’ll be able to commerce your certificates for a staycation. Search for distinctive properties in your metropolis or a brief drive away — enjoyable, uncommon lodging will improve your expertise.

The underside line

It’s not all the time simple, particularly within the pandemic, to make use of free evening certificates from Marriott. Should you can, plan sooner reasonably than later — that can assist you make use of the certificates earlier than they expire and earlier than the usual rooms are snapped up by different vacationers.

As for me, I nonetheless haven’t any plans for once I’ll work out the right way to use my Marriott free evening perks.

Learn how to Maximize Your Rewards

You desire a journey bank card that prioritizes what’s vital to you. Listed here are our picks for the greatest journey bank cards of 2020, together with these greatest for:

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