Middle Age Miles

Marriott Free Night Certificate Expiring? Call and Ask If It Can Be Extended by a Year

extend marriott free night certificate expiring bonvoy
The Pine Cliffs Hotel, a Luxury Collection Resort in Algarve, Portugal, is a Category 6
hotel and looks like a great place to use a 50k Free Night Certificate!
[featured image courtesy Marriott]


For all of the unfriendly changes and customer service issues we’ve seen from Marriott over the past year-and-a-half (#Bonvoyed), there’s an area where Marriott Bonvoy customer service has excelled for us and many others – extending the expiration date on free night certificates.

This is a fairly well-known data point, but we were so pleased with our experience this week that we wanted to write about it to make sure all Middle Age Miles readers are award that this is a possibility.

Extending a Marriott Free Night Certificate

In short, if you have a Marriott free night certificate that’s about to expire unused, call Marriott Bonvoy customer service and ask if it can be extended. There have been many data points, including our own, of Marriott extending free night certificates by a full year.

To be clear, Marriott does *not* have a written policy that will extend expiring certificates. To the contrary, the Marriott rep may describe the extension as a “one-time exception” or similar language.

Our Personal Experience

We have called Marriott twice in the past 2 months to ask about extending free night certificates, including once earlier this week. Both times, the agent has graciously agreed to extend the certificate by a year.

The agents described the process as cancelling the existing certificate and adding a new certificate that would expire one year from the date of the call. As a strategic matter, you might want to wait until just before the certificate expires to make the call to Marriott, to get the longest possible period of use

In each of our experiences, the new certificate appeared immediately in our Marriott Bonvoy online account, ready to be redeemed. On our extension yesterday, the new certificate showed the new expiration date exactly 1 year after our call:

Other Questions About Free Night Certificates

  • Does the expiration date mean that I have to book by the expiration date or stay by the expiration date?
    • You must stay by the expiration date of the certificate
  • Are certificate extensions automatic? What can I do to improve my chances of an extension?
    • No. The data points that we’ve read on this topic vary quite a bit. Sometimes people have had to give an explanation of why they couldn’t use the certificate by the original expiration date. Elite status probably helps – and if you have elite status, you definitely should call the special number for your elite status level. If you aren’t able to get the extension on your first try, hang up and call again (HUCA).

What’s been your experience with extending Marriott Free Night Certificates? Do you have any helpful tips? Please share with us and other Middle Age Miles readers in the Comments!

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8 thoughts on “Marriott Free Night Certificate Expiring? Call and Ask If It Can Be Extended by a Year

  1. JBTx

    Craig – one point I had missed, you must STAY BY the expiration date. Thank you for the article and that gem in particular.

  2. Sheryl

    Thanks for the great info! What’s your experience with extending Hilton FNCs? I have seen DPs all over the place…

    1. Craig at Middle Age Miles Post author

      Hi Sheryl – Glad you enjoyed the article! Good question. We haven’t had any direct experience with extending Hilton FNCs. We’ve never tried, primarily because the large majority of the DPs I’ve read say they’re unlikely to be extended. As you say, there are some conflicting DPs of people getting extensions as well. But I certainly wouldn’t rely on it, and if I needed to do this, I would call as far in advance as possible and with a specific booking ready to ask them to use with the expiring certificate. Thanks for reading Middle Age Miles and I hope you continue to enjoy it! ~Craig

    1. Craig at Middle Age Miles Post author

      Hi Steve – Great question, and I don’t know the answer. I don’t recall ever seeing DPs on extending certificates for a 2nd time. Thinking through this to take an educated guess, I see conflicting factors – On the one hand, I’m pretty darn sure Marriott doesn’t want to continue extending certs. On the other, thinking about the way the extension process works, on the first extension they cancel the original cert and issue a new one with a 1-year expiration. When an agent is looking at that cert nearly a year later, I’m not sure whether they can tell that it was a re-issued certificate. Thus, maybe Marriott would be none the wiser and it would work. Long way of saying, I still don’t know 🙂

    1. Craig at Middle Age Miles Post author

      That’s awesome – congrats, Jason! Good job being persistent and getting through to the “loyalty agent.” And have fun using the free night cert! ~Craig

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