Good news: Marriott extending free night certificates and points

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If you’re sitting on Marriott free night certificates that are set to expire on August 1st, there is good news for you this morning: Marriott has announced that they are extending Free Night Awards and travel package certificates that had an original expiration date in 2020 or which are set to expire before January 2, 2022. Those certificates will now be valid through January 3, 2022. That’s great news for many readers who have been hoping for another extension. It is worth nothing that certificates originally set to expire before 2020 will not be extended again according to the announcement, though we’ll see what happens in practice. This is nice win for many members.

Free nights extended to our surprise and delight

You may remember that in October Marriott had extended free night certificates expiring late last year or during the first half of 2021 to August 1, 2021.

If you tuned in to our Youtube Live Ask Us Anything just two days ago, you know that we have maintained our reps as the world’s worst fortune tellers because less than 48 hours ago we said that we didn’t think another extension would happen (guess we should hold off on adding a “Frequent Miler predicts” segment on the podcast). In our conversation, I mentioned that a comment from the Marriott rep in Marriott’s Facebook group could have been interpreted as foreshadowing an announcement but I said that it was just as likely that it was merely an attempt at positive-sounding spin and that we shouldn’t read into it. If only I had taken the theory up and run with it perhaps we could sell a Frequent Miler-themed crystal ball. Alas, no such luck.

The potential downside here is that Marriott says that free night awards with an original expiration date before 2020 will not be extended again according to what we are told. I have a 50K certificate in my account that was originally issued around the cutoff — I couldn’t immediately remember whether it was originally scheduled to expire in late December 2019 or early January 2020 (I had called prior to expiration and gotten a 1-year extension). That cert is now scheduled to expire on August 1, 2021 and because I didn’t recall when it was originally issued, I didn’t know whether or not it would be extended. Based on the wording of the announcement, I would expect that if it was originally scheduled to expire in December of 2019, it would still expire on August 1st. If it was originally scheduled to expire in January of 2020, it should be extended to January 3, 2022. I don’t see a way to easily know when it was originally scheduled to expire (and in practice, I wonder whether they will truly base the extension on the original expiration date or whether it will be based on the expiration date from when it was reissued).

That said, I would expect to know the new expiration date soon: Marriott says that their system will automatically update the expiration dates of certificates on May 6, 2021. Therefore, I would know in a week whether that Ritz certificate above will still expire on August 1st or is extended until January 3, 2022. As it turns out, I wrote about that specific certificate in my post about the extension to August 1st, so I can see that my certificate was originally scheduled to expire on January 3, 2020. I should therefore end up getting the new January 3, 2022 expiration. My wife and I also have several other certificates that should be extended and I am glad for the extensions.

Point expiration paused until March 31, 2022

Those who have been completely disconnected from travel and points for the past year are in luck in that points expiration will be extended once again until March 31, 2022. This means that if you have not had activity in your Marriott account within the past 24 months, your points will not expire before March 31, 2022. This should give most members plenty of time to find some qualifying activity — like purchasing points, earning points via credit card, transferring from Amex or Chase, or earning from stay activity. Just don’t forget to pick up some type of activity within the next 11 months to keep your points alive for another two years.

Bottom line

This is great news and I’m glad to see it come out sooner rather than later. Many members were stressed about where and whether to use their free night certificates or if they should instead wait in hopes of another extension. I would have loved to have seen certificates extended through the end of 2022, but truthfully didn’t think it was likely that we would see any extension at all. The ability to use certs through the entire summer, fall, and holiday season will likely satisfy a lot of members and make it much easier to find the right redemption rather than settling for a use that is far less than optimal.

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44 Comments
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Frank

No change to my account with 10 nights …

pete

I don’t see my FN certificates getting extended..
anyone see extended FN’s yet?

V M

yes, my 7 night and 1 night cert got extended and set to expire on 01/03/2022

pete

I see it extended now!

r2e

@dima Not seeing any certs extended as of 5/6 10pm PST.

Dima

Is anyone seeing expiration date extended yet?

Rachel

One account has been updated, the other not yet

pete

gotta love Marriotts IT team!

Dima

My cert (originally received in 2019) has been extended. Already applied to te reservation in Sept that I initially used points for.

Duraina

Who do I call to use the free night certificate?

Dan

I reached out to Marriott about 2 packages that originally were supposed to expire before 2020 and they replied that “We see the two QP83 – Partial Package – 7 nights category 1-4 in your account were extended to 08/01/2021 and will receive an additional extension to January 3, 2022.”
Maybe they mean nights and packages that already expired. I doubt that, but we will see when they update.
It makes no sense to not extend everything that was extended so far because we honestly couldn’t use them.

VIS

I hope they update website soon with a new expiration date.

Stvr

Sorry to be brash but if this wasn’t the obvious landing point for where Marriott would end up (COVID cases spiking globally, vaccines hard to obtain in most of the developed world), then you are getting high on your own miles/points supply. Hire me to be on your podcast LOL I don’t do this for a living but this was clear as a day the outcome a publicly traded company would come to

Hank

Great deal for Marriott…I am pretty sure that extending free night certs makes sense as travel begins to heat up and they can get fill their instead properties with paid stays…revenue right now is worth more than revenue later…especially with the expected price jumps. Make sense for them to honor those certs later when the rush to return to travel tampers.

farnorthtrader

This is good news, my wife and I have 9 certs expiring this year, 6 on August 1 and, according to the current schedule, we should be fully vaccinated on August 2, so that was looking a little awkward!

WR2

I have 4 certs, all of them still show the same 2021 expiration date as before. So when do they actually say they will do this? Also, will the FN certs from the early year promo (stay 1night get 1 FN up to 2x) get extended as well?

WR2

Ha sorry, I am guilty of skimming and posting too often.

Mark

If a certificate is attache to a reservation already, can customer service see the new expiration date? Do I need to cancel the reservation in order for the certificate to be picked up for extension?

Mark

Did they say anything yet?

Denise

I need to know the answer to this as well! We may be changing some plans.

Nate nate

Anyone had success in paying for a category bump for a Category 5 7-night certificate. Hard to find a decent Cat 5 in the US.

dan

Greg with a little Kubrick stare there….

Tony

Are the pre-merger SPG 7-night travel packages (issued just before the merger) included in the extension? I don’t remember the original expiration date, but the current expiration date is Aug 1.

Tony

Keeping my fingers crossed…

Matt

I’m in the same boat, I have a 5 night package expiring Aug 1 that I’m praying is extended

PlayerX

Time for Hyatt to do the same and extend certs earned in 2021 which expire after only 6 months so that they stay valid until Dec 2021

jeph36

I still have an IHG expiring Aug 31 (the other is extended until Dec 31). It would be nice for me to get that one bumped at least a couple more months out.

HADLEY V. BAXENDALE.

I would not expect that. They already have extended that one multiple times and they had a 2 tier system with respect to the date extensions. As it was, Marriott was the earliest of the expiring certs at 8/1/21.

Josh

Excellent! I have a Hyatt milestone cert that expires aug 3 that’d be nice if they followed suit

Adam Hansen

Thank goodness! Suddenly my stress of figuring out how to use these before clock ran out is lifted.

Larry K

In related news Marriott announces that all hotels chainwide will be at least 40,000 points through 1/3/22.

Last edited 1 year ago by Larry K
Isavethings

This is really great. Hopefully, Hilton follows Marriott’s lead

Isavethings

Hmm, I have 2 hilton certs. One expires end of August this year and the other late May next year

Last edited 1 year ago by Isavethings
HADLEY V. BAXENDALE.

8/31/21 to be exact. I expect those certificates to be extended, as well, as Hilton has been more generous than Marriott with respect to the Pandemic, as well as uses of their AMEX cards during this plague. We will have to wait and see if my prediction is correct.

Frank

The only outlier here is Radisson who refuses to extend any free night awards – the ones “purchased” for spending $10,000 in a year. .