Although the Marriott Rewards enrollment bonus isn’t anything new, it is one of the best hotel program enrollment bonuses out there. New members can earn a free night just after two paid stays, which could be worth $300+.
Even though the the points can be redeemed at either hotel brand and virtually interchangeable, Marriott Rewards and Ritz-Carlton have separate loyalty programs. The interesting part is that both program are offering an enrollment bonus within their own brand, but you will only be eligible for one offer.
Marriott Enrollment Bonus: Free Night at a Category 1-5 Hotel
Currently Marriott is offering an enrollment bonus for new members to earn a free night at a category 1-5 hotel after completing two paid stays at any hotel. All you have to do is join Marriott Rewards and you will automatically be enrolled for the promotion. After two paid stays at a participating hotel within 120 days of enrolling you will earn a free night certificate to use at a category 1-5 Marriott hotel.
Here are some of the terms (
full terms here):
- Your earning period starts the day you enroll through the end of that month, plus an additional 120 days.
- Make two paid stays at a participating Marriott® hotel during your earning period to receive a free night certificate at any participating Category 1-5 hotel.
- Stay at participating Marriott hotels, which include the following brands: JW Marriott®, EDITION®, Autograph Collection® Hotels, Renaissance® Hotels, AC Hotels by MarriottSM, Marriott Hotels & Resorts®, Courtyard by Marriott®, Fairfield Inn & Suites by Marriott®, SpringHill Suites by Marriott®, Residence Inn by Marriott®, TownePlace Suites by Marriott®, Gaylord Hotels® and Marriott Vacation Club® brands.
- Stays at our exclusive luxury hotel partner, The Ritz-Carlton®, will count toward achievement.
- A stay is defined as consecutive nights spent at the same hotel, regardless of check-in/check-out activity.
I recently took advantage of this during my stay at the JW Hanoi as Susan was not a Marriott Rewards member as of yet. She signed up and we completed our two paid stays at $130 per night and we were even upgraded to an Executive Suite with Club Lounge access! Originally we had booked two separate stays with a night in between as we were going to explore Halong Bay for one night, but a typhoon was heading towards us so I had to book another night in between to fill the gap at the hotel.
Total cost to earn the free night was $260 and the free night certificate was deposited the day after she completed the second night stay. We already booked a night at the JW Kuala Lumpur (category 5) which runs $256 or 25,000 points per night, almost making it a 100% return on the paid stay.
Many of the most valuable category 5 Marriott properties were moved up to category 6 earlier this year, making the free night less valuable. Just for value comparison, some other category 5 properties that are a great value for using the free night include the:
- Courtyard Paris La Defense West – Colombes = ~$283 per night
- Residence Inn Salinas Monterey = ~$354 per night
- Bogota Marriott Hotel = ~$350
- JW Marriott Hotel Quito = ~$245 per night
- Courtyard Port Of Spain = ~$229 per night
- Renaissance Seoul Hotel = ~$280
- Costa Rica Marriott Hotel San Jose = ~$241
- Long Beach Marriott = ~$274
- Warsaw Marriott Hotel = ~$142
Ritz-Carlton Summer Promotion: Free Night at a Category 1-3 Hotel
Ritz-Carlton is offering an Explore Beyond the Expected summer promotion giving the opportunity to earn a free night in any 1-3 tier Ritz-Carlton property. The terms say this is a targeted promotion so your mileage may vary, but it is worth a shot to enter your membership number if you have upcoming stays.
Link: Registration Link
New members that enroll in the Ritz-Carlton Rewards program after June 4th will automatically be registered for the promotion, and existing Ritz-Carlton Rewards members must register using their membership number. However if you are already an existing Marriott Rewards member you are not eligible for this promotion unless you converted your membership to Ritz Carlton prior to June 4.
Official terms: “Registration is required. The Ritz-Carlton Rewards® members who register for this promotion by September 30, 2014, will earn one award for a complimentary night at a Tier 1-3 hotel after the completion of two paid stays at participating Ritz-Carlton hotels between July 1 and October 31, 2014, up to a maximum of two complimentary night awards. A stay is defined as consecutive nights spent at the same hotel, regardless of check-in/check-out activity. An earned complimentary night award will be added to the member’s account within 3-5 business days after the second qualifying stay. Awards are not transferable and may not be given as a gift. The member receiving this offer has been specifically targeted. Awards will expire six months from date of issuance and other restrictions apply. Only one room per hotel per stay is counted toward earning for this promotion. Promotion excludes The Ritz-Carlton, Millennia Singapore; Phulay Bay; Dorado Beach; The Ritz-Carlton Destination Club®; The Ritz-Carlton Residences®; and Partner Hotels. Members of The Ritz-Carlton Rewards program as of June 4, 2014, and new members who were not previously members of the Marriott Rewards® program are eligible to receive this offer. Offer is non-transferable, subject to availability, does not apply to groups, and cannot be combined with any other offer. All Ritz-Carlton Rewards terms and conditions apply.”
Although stays at Ritz-Carlton hotels can be much more expensive than other Marriott Brands it still could be a good value and considering the majority of Ritz-Carlton hotels fall under category 1-3 you will have more flexibility when using the free night.
Ritz-Carlton Hotels by Tier:
- Tier 1 = 18 hotels
- Tier 2 = 26 hotels
- Tier 3 = 17 hotels
- Tier 4 = 7 hotels
- Tier 5 = 3 hotels
For value comparison, it would be possible to stay twice at the Kuala Lumpur Ritz-Carlton (Tier 1) for ~$200 per night for a total cost of $400 and redeem the free night at a more expensive Tier 3 property such as:
- The Ritz-Carlton, Boston Common = ~$773 per night
- The Ritz-Carlton, Lake Tahoe = ~$550 per night
- The Ritz-Carlton, Washington D.C. = ~$450 per night
- The Ritz-Carlton, Moscow = ~$ 890 per night
- The Ritz-Carlton, Dubai = ~$431 per night
The Bottom Line
If are new to either Marriott Rewards or Ritz-Carlton Rewards these promotions are a great way to earn a free night or two. Remember you can leverage the free night for a stay at a more expensive hotel to maximize the value of the free night certificate.