Marriott extends free night certificates to August 2021

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Today Marriott has announced an extension to free night certificates and travel package certificates as follows:

Effective December 11, 2020, members who currently have a Free Night Award (FNA) that had [has] an original expiration date in 2020, or which will expire before July 31, 2021, as part of their cobrand credit card benefit, annual choice benefit, promotions or travel package will be able to redeem it through August 1, 2021. Free Night Awards with an original expiration date prior to 2020 will not be eligible for the additional extension.

That is a positive development for those with credit card certificates originally scheduled to expire in the coming months. Members will not need to proactively do anything to get this extension; Marriott says that current certificates will show updated expiration dates on December 11, 2020.

This only applies to certificates originally scheduled to expire in 2020/2021

Unfortunately, this extension does not help those whose certificates were previously extended as the announcement specifies that certificates with an original expiration date before 2020 will not be extended again.

In my personal case, I called for an extension on a credit card free night certificate last year. The certificate was originally scheduled to expire on January 3, 2020 so it was extended to January 3, 2021. Since my original expiration was in 2020, I expect that my certificate will be extended through August 1, 2021.

However, if my original expiration had been December 31, 2019 and it had previously been extended to December 31, 2020, I think I would be out of luck based on today’s announcement.

It is possible that the system won’t really be smart enough to know which certificates should be extended and which should not, so it’s worth keeping an eye on your certificate on December 11th even if you expect it won’t be extended (though if you have a use for it in the interim, I’d recommend using it).

Points expiration pause also extended

Marriott has also announced that the pause on the expiration of points has also been extended to August 1, 2021. Previously, expiration had been paused until February 2021. This ensures that members with points will keep them long enough to either use them or gain some activity that extends them further.

Bottom line

Marriott has extended free night certificates originally scheduled to expire in 2021 or in the first half of 2021 until August 1, 2021. This includes free night certificates from credit cards, elite choice benefits, and travel package certificates. Previously, certificates had only been extended through January 2021, so this is a welcome change that will hopefully give members a chance to use their certificates. Unfortunately, it excludes certificates which were originally scheduled to expire before 2020 — so if you have a certificate that was originally set to expire in 2019 and it got extended to expire in 2020, that certificate will not be extended again according to this announcement.

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