Marriott “Free Night” Certificates – Can You Give Them To A Friend?

Over the last few months, Josh and I have both accumulated a little collection of “free night” certificates from Marriott. We earned them during Marriott’s frequent promotions, where you can get a certificate for one free night after every second paid stay. (Check out their current MegaBonus promo if you are interested; I also wrote a detailed post about how to maximize this promotion here).

We anticipated that we were going to be able to use all of our free nights for a couple of quick trips sometime this fall, but it turns out that our plans have changed slightly. For awhile it looked like we weren’t going to be able to use the certificates at all, which was absolutely killing me. The fine print on the awards clearly states that “awards are not transferable and may not be given as a gift,” so I wasn’t able to give them to a friend.

Finally I was able to figure out a fun use for one of them: Bird and I were going to stay for a night in a nearby hotel with another mom and daughter, just for kicks. Kind of like a slumber party. Since our friends were meeting us at the hotel, I called to add them to the reservation. That way I knew that if they arrived ahead of us, they would be able to check in without me being there.

The problem was that we were never able to make it to the hotel at all. By the time our friends had checked in, Bird had come down with a fever (en route, in the car!) and we had to turn around and head home again. Sigh. Not only was this a big disappointment for Bird, but now I wasn’t really sure what to do about the hotel reservation. I decided to just let it ride. I figured if Marriott charged my credit card for the room, then it would be a treat for my friends. But they never charged my card – they simply honored the free night certificate.

So, I learned a little something from this (lack of) adventure: you can sort of give your certificates to a friend. In other words, you can have your friends join you, and if you never show up, that’s probably okay. Of course I am not recommending that you do this on purpose, but it is good to know that if it does happen, at least someone can get a free night.

Does anyone else have experience with this?



  1. My daughter and her husband routinely make reservations for others using their free night certificates. There has not been a problem yet. Sometimes what the hotels say and what they do might be very different. In any case, daughter and her husband have had incredible good luck with giving away their free nights.

  2. I’ve read on other blogs that some people have had success having their Free Night Certificates converted into points instead, just by calling Marriott. This way, they don’t expire as quickly and you gain more flexibility with how you use them.

  3. Does it still work?

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