Marriott Bonvoy Free Night Award Top Off Is Live: Combine certificates with up to 15K points.

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Well, Marriott told us it would happen in April and it did. Barely.

Dust off those neglected free night certs, the long-awaited ability to top-off Bonvoy Free Night Certificates with up to 15,000 additional points is now live and ready to book.  Marriott will be working tonight and tomorrow to make sure that it functions as expected, so don’t be surprised by some Bonvoys…err, glitches…over the next 24 hours. It appears to only be working on the website right now, but should be up and running on the app shortly.

That mad laughter your hear is Bonvoy members finally being able to top off free night certificates

The Deal

At long last, Marriott Free Night Certificates can be topped with up to 15,000 additional points in order to reserve a more expensive property. These include the 35K, 40K, 50K and 85K certificates.

  • The Marriott site or app will automatically see that you have a certificate that is within 15,000 points and give you the choice of the cert/point combo or just points.
  • Members have the flexibility to add points to each eligible free night award including those used to book a multi-night stay.
  • Members will still be able apply to a Suite Night award a redemption reservation, regardless of whether that redemption is made using standard points, PointSavers or free night awards.
  • Should a member choose to modify a reservation in any way, it may impact the points needed to redeem for the stay, which may go up or down depending on the dates.
  • Top-ups DO NOT appear possible on rooms that include a cash upgrade.

Direct Link to FAQ Page

Quick Thoughts

Better late than never. Marriott originally announced the ability to top off certificates last October when they revealed significant changes to their award program (which have since taken effect) and then announced an April live date when they made the change to dynamic pricing. Well, Stephen Pepper’s birthday was today and I guess it provided the perfect opportunity to finally roll it out.

This will be a win for everyone in terms of certificate flexibility. My wife and I have been making Summer reservations, including for a trip to Europe next month, and have been banging our heads against properties that are just out of reach of our certificates (37K, 43K, etc). There’s no hiding now, sneaky Bonvoy properties, we’re coming for you.

While I wish they would go the IHG route and not put a maximum limit on the amount of top-up points you can use, and the fact that they still charge resort fees when redeeming them is a blemish when compared to other programs. It’s also disappointing, although not unexpected, that it doesn’t seem to work on rooms that have an upgrade component, which could make it trickier at some higher-end properties.

Still, I’m thrilled at the additional flexibility the top-ups will provide. The 35K certs, in particular, will be vastly more usable. It’s good to hear that functionality will be in place to top-up as part of a multi-night stay as well…although I could see that having some hiccups in the beginning.

See Also: Best Uses for a Marriott Free Night Certificate

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Trix

I converted my all points reservation to FNCs plus points last night. Marriott associate said no way for her to do it, and that maybe some hotels don’t participate. I tried one night at a time on the website, and it worked,showing me the FNC plus points option.

VIS

Just tried it. Works. I have a 35k and a 50k certificates, total for 2 nights at a hotel I am considering is 98k points. I am able to use both certificates plus13k points.

Margaret

Is there any way to take existing reservations and modify—example use a 35k cert + 5,000 points, instead of 40k points?

Nick

yes, just edit your itinerary.

CericRushmore

I’m getting an error doing this currently on a point advance reservation, so looks like there are still some issues.

Jim Macht

Booked a room a few weeks ago at 40k per night, trying to update to use a 35k certificate plus 5k points. Website will let me do this for the existing reservation. It’s giving me an option to change to the current points per night rate of 70k but that’s almost double the points which puts it more than 15k over the certificate. This is a joke, going to try and call customer service.

Jim Macht

JW Los Cabos

Beth B

I was able to use the top off feature this morning. Hotel I wanted to book was 37,000 points. The website defaulted to using the cert and 2,000 points. I’ve been waiting for this feature all month so I could book this hotel.

Amin

Does this include bookings for all-inclusive?

g l

Definitely glitches. Doesn’t work for my certs and works for only 1 of 3 certs my wife has on her account (when trying to book a 2- or 3-night stay)

DSK

Here is why I am perhaps just a little less thrilled with Bonvoy as a LT. I am currently staying five nights at a Marriott on points at a beach hotel. Cash rate including taxes is about $330 per night. Under the new dynamic system, that stay would be about 41,250 points per night (I booked early so I am under the old system at the chart rate). Win, right- I can use a 35k cert and upgrade it using points. However, I am currently paying 12,500 points per night here (fifth night free so 50,000 in total), Giving me the ability to upgrade a certificate but massively increasing the points required for the room that will be booked using that certificate beyond all recognition just doesn’t feel that thrilling to me. Kind of like making the best of a really bad situation.

WR2

Nice catch. That’s why they pay you guys the big bucks!

Sam

What happens if one cancels the reservation with topped up points? Will we get back a 35k cert and points or a higher point cert like 37k, 43k?

Reno Joe

But, don’t expect your luggage back.

Nun

Dreams really do come true. Thanks for announcing this. Not working in the iOS app though, just website.