Booking with Free Annual Night Hotel Certificates


We’ve talked 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 annual fee. Our hotel cards are credit cards for which we don’t mind paying an annual fee. Let’s go over booking with free annual night hotel certificates so you know how to do it.



When you are ready to redeem a free annual night hotel certificates with Marriott, you start with a search.  Marriott has 35K, 50K, and 85K certificates depending on the card you have with them.

Let’s say that I want to go to Costa Rica and want to use one of my annual night certificates. I just put my dates in to book with my certificates as if I was booking with points. I click the box that says use points or certificates. This is what pulls up for the JW Marriott, a hotel I would be interested in.


Screenshot of Marriott Redemption stay


I would hit select, and there I will see my award certificates. I check the free night certificate + miles needed to “top-off” my points and can book it. These certificates are automatically sent to the hotel. If I cancel, the points return to my account.



screenshot of Marriott redemption



IHG gives you a free night certificate that can be used on a stay that would cost 40,000 points or less if you were redeeming points. This gives you quite a few options. Considering that the IHG World Rewards Premier Credit Card only has a $99 annual fee, it is a really good deal.

On the “my account” page, you will see your point balance and the free night awards you have after you log in. I recently booked one, so mine says zero right now, but you can see where you would select the area to book a free night.


screenshot of IHG page with free nights



One of my favorite uses of IHG points and certificates 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 low, 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



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

You click on “My Awards” on your home page 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 with redemptions of less than 15,000 points. 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 with a kitchen and sofa bed for her boys was just the thing. The hotel room is only $140, but I still saved money as my annual fee is $95. It’s all about what works in your situation.


Screenshot hotel reservation



To redeem, call 1-800-446-6677 and provide the certificate ID to the customer service representative to make your booking. Unfortunately, you cannot book them online.

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 book them for a staycation. Whether you are booking internationally or closer to home, they are a great credit card perk and make the annual fees worth paying.



White hotel with blue water in front of it

Opinions, reviews, analyses & recommendations are the author’s alone, and have not been reviewed, endorsed or approved by any of these entities. American Express is a Travel Mom Squad advertiser, but we always show the best public offer even when we don’t earn a commission. Terms Apply. 

Share this post

  1. Heather says:

    Can you cover the Hilton free night certificate also?

Responses are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser’s responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Want to know the most popular card for beginners? 

click here

Advertiser Disclosure: Travel Mom Squad has partnered with CardRatings for our coverage of credit card products. Travel Mom Squad and CardRatings may receive a commission from card issuers. This compensation may impact how or where products appear on this site. Travel Mom Squad has not reviewed all available credit card offers on this site.

Editorial Note: Opinions expressed here are author's alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, hotel, airline, or other entity. This content has not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of the entities included within the post.