Our many articles about the new Marriott Bonvoy American Express Card are coming very soon, so subscribe to our free newsletter to get them. If you don’t want to wait, apply for the card now, it’s really a great offer. In the meantime, you can read about the Marriott program in this old article below.
How about 14 free nights in nice hotels? That’s possible if you maximize this card’s welcome bonus, and if you’re less flexible, you’ll still get many free nights. There is a great credit card offer that I’ve certainly taken advantage of… and you should too. If you’re financially responsible.
If you’ve read our introduction to Travel Hacking, you now know that credit cards are a great way to travel for free, as long as you’re financially responsible and always pay your balance in full every month, as if it was a debit or bank card. It’s important that you first read the 10 Rules About Travel Hacking Credit Cards.
You get to travel for free because credit card sign-up bonuses are incredibly generous. Take this example, one of the best credit card offers available right now in the Canadian market, the Marriott Bonvoy American Express card.
You simply need to apply for this credit card and you’ll get 60,000 Marriott Bonvoy Points, which can be redeemed for 14 free nights (no need to pay any taxes or fees) in very nice hotels if you are flexible (or less nights in more luxurious hotels if you prefer).
You can also transfer the Points to Air Canada Aeroplan Miles for 25,000 miles, which is a free flight anywhere in North America (you’ll need to pay taxes though), but that isn’t necessarily the best value (that’s the beauty of variable-value points and why we’ll share plenty of articles about this new card soon and also revamp our Travel Hacking section to help you see clearly through this lucrative hobby).
I don’t want to read the whole thing, I just want the link to the card.
As a footnote, there already are a lot of resources out there to tell you how Travel Hacking can be used for luxury travel (5-star hotels and business-class flights), but that’s not really our style. We prefer to travel more often. So we aim to become Canada’s destination for Travel Hacking tips aimed at people who want to use these techniques to travel more often, not necessarily more luxuriously.
Getting this credit card will net you an incredible 60,000 Marriott Points. What are those worth? Well it depends on the category of each hotel. Luxury hotels cost a lot more Points per night. Hotels in expensive countries cost a lot more Points per night.
But if you were to maximize those Points, you’d get 14 nights in Category 1 hotels during off-peak dates, which is crazy! That includes the “5th night free” benefit, so if you don’t want to stay in the same place for 5 nights twice, you’d get 13 or 12 free nights.
Your Free Hotel Nights
Category 1 hotels are actually only 5,000 Points during off-peak dates (which will be revealed in late March) or 7,500 Points per night, so you can potentially even get 8 free nights out in peak dates (9 with the 5th night free benefit)… however those Category 1 hotels are much much rarer. Keep in mind that North America and Europe are the most expensive hotel markets, but if you want to use these points in other parts of the world, you’ll get much nicer hotels for the same amount of points (and we’ll help you find great flight deals to get there).
One of our many articles will be a list of our 10 favorite category 1 hotels where you could potentially get 14 free nights.
Here are just a few examples of Category 3 hotels, of which you get 4 free nights at with the sign-up bonus:
Courtyard Lyndhurst (near New York City)
Courtyard Orlando Altamonte (Florida)
TownePlace Ventura (California)
Moxy Milan Malpensa (Italy)
JW Marriott Jakarta (Indonesia)
Scroll to the bottom of the article to see a useful map of all Category 3 Marriott hotels.
You could also use 30,000 points per night and splurge on two luxury stays, you have absolute flexibility.
Like I said, some markets have really cheap hotels, which means you could get 5 free nights in 5-star hotels like this one I just stayed at in Belgrade, the Metropol Palace Luxury Collection (a five-star hotel that was simply magnificient).
It really depends on where you travel and where you decide to use your points as the value you’ll get is variable!
Completely Free Nights
Unlike when redeeming airline miles and points (where you have to pay taxes out-of-pocket), hotel redemptions are really completely free. No taxes, nothing.
So up to 14 completely free nights, just by getting a credit card. Easy right?
Well, the only thing is that this credit card does have a $120 annual fee (as most premium credit cards usually do), but $120 is actually less than the cost of one hotel stay, so you’ll still get a lot of free nights.
Your points won’t expire and you don’t need to use them all in the first year. You can use them one night at a time or all at once (when you redeem 4 consecutive nights with Marriott the 5th is free as mentioned).
The simplest tip I give everyone who is a less experienced traveler is pretty simple: always pay your plane ticket with a travel credit card. Why? If you’re flight is delayed for more than 4 hours or cancelled, you will automatically get $500 completely free for necessary food expenses (and lodging if it is overnight). That is so easy. It’s called Flight Delay Insurance, and this card offers it.
And if you travel a bit, you know you will inevitably face a delay at some point. Do you want to be the one stuck at the gate complaining about it without being able to do anything? Because airlines owe you absolutely nothing, not a cent, when the delay is caused by weather.
Makes sense. How are they supposed to control the weather? So next time, you keep proof of the delay, you call up the credit card’s insurance and in 5 minutes you’re on your way with $500 to spend. Pretty simple. A detailed article on the subject is coming soon. Subscribe to our free newsletters to get it in your inbox, just like 40,000+ other travel enthusiasts who already receive them.
You’ll also get all the standard free insurance coverage that comes with the premium credit cards, like baggage delay insurance, purchase protection insurance, etc.
The card also offers Car Rental Loss/Damage Insurance, which means if you own a personal automobile insurance policy, by paying for your car rental with this card, you’ll be able to decline the ridiculously expensive insurance rental car companies try to sell you. That means you can rent a car for much lower prices, like I am doing right now in Oregon, for only $19US per day, all-included.
You will also get access to American Express Front of the Line, a program that let’s you buy tickets to popular (and sometimes exclusive) events before the general public.
You convinced me, I just want the link to the card.
Almost all credit cards that offer interesting bonuses require you to spend a certain amount on the card in the first three months, to unlock the bonus. It’s inevitable and it’s a one-off thing. Once you’ve hit the minimum threshold for the bonus, you can store the card in a drawer and never use it again, you’ve got your 60,000 Points.
In this case, you only need to spend $1,500 in three months, which should be easy (only $500 a month). American Express cards are accepted at most retailers now (Walmart, Shoppers, Metro, Best Buy, Home Depot, Canadian Tire, Amazon, all cellphone providers, almost all gas stations, almost all restaurants, almost all clothing retailers, etc.)
If you don’t have enough purchases to make to reach $1,500 in three months, ask your friends to let you pay for their big purchases or buy pre-paid retailer gift cards (not VISA pre-paid cards). Read our other tips to reach minimum spend.
You’ll probably get instant approval, or it will be very quick.
So for all the reasons above, but mostly because free nights in Marriott hotels is an incredible bonus, you should order the Marriott Bonvoy American Express if you’re financially responsible. The 60,000 Marriott Bonvoy Points is very good, it’s by far the best hotel credit card in Canada.
What do you think of this offer? Tell us in the comments below!
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