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Track Hotel Free Night Certificates & Credit Card Annual Fees with my Spreadsheet

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Good afternoon everyone.  Last month, I was reading an article by Nick at Frequent Miler called Almost #Bonvoyed: a cautionary tale on free night certs.  In that post, Nick shared that after cancelling a Marriott stay booked with a free night certificate, the free night certificate did not automatically redeposit into his Marriott account.  He had to track down the cancelled reservation and call Marriott to get the free night certificate redeposited into his Marriott account.  Bonvoy!  Toward the end of the article, Nick stated, “You shouldn’t need a spreadsheet to track the history of your Marriott free night certs — but the reality is that you do need to stay organized with them.”

That’s when the idea hit me, I should create a spreadsheet to track my Marriott category 1-5 free night certificates… as well as my Hilton free weekend night certificates, Hyatt category 1-4 free night certificates, IHG 40k free night certificates, and Radisson Rewards anniversary points.  Here is my Hotel Free Night Certificate Tracker, maybe it will help you stay organized too.

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This spreadsheet is still a work in progress, but as of today, this is how it looks.

  • In the upper left corner, I have my outstanding free night certificates along with the date the free night certificates posted to my account and the dates that they expire.  I sorted this list by the expiration date, so I know which free night certificates I need to book sooner rather than later.
  • In the upper right corner, I have details regarding the hotel credit card, including the annual fee, and the date the annual fee posted.
  • On the bottom half, I have the free night certificates that I have already redeemed this year and the expected dates the free night certificates will post, along with the credit card annual fees, and the expected annual fee post date.

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On the right side, I have a section where you can track future hotel reservations.  I actually don’t have any hotels booked for my free night certificates, so I just made up info, but this is how I would use this section.

  • Date booked is not very important, but can be important if you need to search your email for the hotel reservation.
  • Stay date is very important and needs to be before the expiration date of the free night certificate (some hotel programs do not enforce the expiration date or can extend the expiration date, but that is the exception, not the rule).
  • Location is the hotel name.
  • Confirmation number is the hotel reservation number.
  • Points is how much the hotel would cost if you used points instead of a free night certificate.
  • Price is the cheapest cash price on the date you booked the hotel reservation (can be useful if you want to calculate Cents Per Point or see if you booked a hotel room for more than your credit card annual fee)

If you have any ideas for ways to make this spreadsheet better or easier to use, please leave a comment below.  Thank you for your feedback and have a great day!

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15 thoughts on “Track Hotel Free Night Certificates & Credit Card Annual Fees with my Spreadsheet

  1. Jennifer

    I do something similar, but in two-player mode, as well. One thing I do in the top section is to note the stay that is reserved. Then, if I cancel, I check to make sure it has gone back into my account. I only move them down to the bottom section once the stay is completed. I keep stacking on the top of the bottom section so that I can see where I used each one in prior years, and also make sure there isn’t one that I had in a prior year and have lost track of this year.

      1. lorem ipsum

        Slightly off-topic, but do you know whether the free nights from Hilton, Hyatt, and Marriott are transferable? I’m in 4 player mode, but P3 and P4 (my parents) don’t travel much these days. It’d be handy if they can transfer those nights to me, P1.. I’ll definitely be using the spreadsheet to track all the free nights.

        My parents allowed me to open cards under their names to collect the sign-up bonuses. I can use their points without much trouble, but I might not keep their cards past the first year if I can’t use their free nights.

        1. Grant Post author

          What I have done in the past is book a hotel reservation for two people, the first person is the account owner which would be one of your parents, and the second guest would be you. I always try to add my name to the reservation. You probably have the same last name as your parents, so checking in should be very easy.

  2. Apx

    In my spreadsheet, one thing I do against my Hilton Free Weekend Night is also store the Reward ID, so that I’m not looking for it in my inbox when I’m calling in for a reservation.

  3. Michael Koh

    Thanks Grant! Helpful. I made one but this one is more organized so I’ll use it instead. Hyatt I know you can definitely transfer award nights. Especially the free annual night. I always transfer the booking from my wife to mine because I’m Globalist. The best thing is the reservation totally transfers to you so you get the night credit and also you get all your Globalist (or whatever status you have) benefits.

  4. lorem ipsum

    I’m not finding anything explicitly allowing transfers of Hyatt nights, but I’m also not finding anything explicitly disallowing it either. Would you mind pointing me to a link about transferring the award?

  5. lorem ipsum

    I *think* I’ve found where Hilton allows transfers. Paragraph 1 of Hotel Reward Terms and Conditions states, “Reward Certificate may be issued to the Hilton Honors Member, any person in the Member’s family, or to any other person, as directed by the Member. Once issued, rewards are not transferable and may be used only by the individual named on the reward. If a person other than the individual named on the reward documentation attempts to redeem the reward, the reward will be deemed void and accommodations and/or transportation will be denied.” This sounds like anyone can use the award night, but that cannot be changed once you’ve made the reservation. How are others interpreting this?

  6. Pingback: The Upside of Free Night Certificates over Hotel Points

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