Marriott Bonvoy members who have several free night certificates in their account should pay good attention when redeeming them through the app or website as it often doesn’t use up the intended item.
Free night certificates can be obtained through various Bonvoy credit cards, promotions as well as Elite Choice options that members can pick when reaching their required thresholds.
It’s not uncommon to have several certificates at once in the account as members often carry different Bonvoy credit cards and also reach the 75-night threshold, at which point you can pick another one.
Last week I reserved one night at The Plaza hotel in Seoul that was 40,000 points/night and therefore that was an ideal use case for the 40k certificate that I got from Elite Choice.
Both the website and the app, however, wouldn’t let me redeem the 40k certificate for the Plaza, likely as it has a longer life than the 50,000 Points certificate I got from the Bonvoy Brilliant card. Any attempt to make a redemption would only let me use the higher value cert.
The only way around that was to make a second reservation using the 50k cert at a hotel that required a higher redemption value.
I chose to stay at the W Taipei anyway and put in the reservation accordingly:
The W is still one of the more expensive hotels to stay in Taipei and one of the few W properties worldwide that I actually like, so this was a good redemption for me.
Either way, after that reservation was done I was able to successfully make the reservation with the lower value cert at The Plaza for an even 40k:
The Plaza is an Autograph Collection property and one of the nicer hotels to stay at in Seoul as far as the Marriott properties are concerned.
I can see why Marriott would program the redemption process this way and Hyatt does the same thing when trying to redeem the free nights. If you can’t get around it by making a dummy reservation for the higher cert there is no other way than calling reservations.
Thankfully I was able to catch that Marriott tried to attach a certificate to my reservation that was a much higher value. The lifetime of the two certificates is just a few months apart, so that really doesn’t make much of a difference to me.
Redeeming these certificates either through the Bonvoy App or the website isn’t perfect, and the whole system has a lot of traps. Mistakenly redeeming the wrong certificate with a much higher value can be a rather costly misstep.