Caution: Marriott Bonvoy App Used My Points Instead of My Free Night Certificate

Good morning everyone, I hope you had a great weekend.  Yesterday, I was trying to use my Free Night Certificate from my JPMorgan Chase Ritz Carlton Visa Infinite Credit Card to book a hotel in New York City and experienced some issues booking through the Marriott Bonvoy app.  My Ritz Carlton Free Night Certificate is good at Marriott properties that cost up to 50,000 Marriott Bonvoy Points and the property I wanted to stay at cost 50,000 Marriott Bonvoy Points.

When I used the Marriott Bonvoy app to book the hotel, I assumed the app would use my Ritz Carlton Free Night Certificate to pay for the 50,000 point redemption.  Unfortunately, the app used 50,000 points and I only realized it when I refreshed AwardWallet and saw that my account balance decreased by 50,000 points, but my Ritz Carlton Free Night Certificate was not used.  I immediately canceled the points booking and went through the Marriott website on my iPhone.  I repeated the same steps and when I got to the payment option, it defaulted to selecting my Ritz Carlton Free Night Certificate (the 50,000 point option was also shown).  I completed the booking on the website and refreshed AwardWallet to make sure my point balance did not change, but that my Ritz Carlton Free Night Certificate was used.

Here is the screenshot of the “Summary of Points” from the first reservation that I made through the Marriott Bonvoy app.  I used 50,000 Marriott Bonvoy Points for the reservation and I was left with 56K points.  It is a little confusing because it shows a “Marriott Bonvoy Certificate Number” on the reservation.

Here is a screenshot of the “Summary of Points” from the second reservation that I made through the Marriott website.  I used my Ritz Carlton Free Night Certificate to pay for the room, so my points balance was not touched.

I’m not sure if this is an isolated event, but the next time you want to use a Free Night Certificate, I would recommend using the Marriott website on your phone or computer, not on the app.  If you have had a similar experience, please let me know.  If you have any questions about booking hotels with your Free Night Certificate, please leave a comment below.  Have a great day everyone!

16 thoughts on “Caution: Marriott Bonvoy App Used My Points Instead of My Free Night Certificate

    1. Grant Post author

      Hi Glenn, that’s good to know, I never knew that. I think I can use Free Night Certificates with the Hyatt app and maybe the IHG app, but I’m not 100% sure.

      Reply
  1. dhammer53

    Just as a data point, when booking a Marriott free night cert (online), the free night cert, in this case 35,000 points, is deducted from the total reservation. In my case, a 100,000 point redemption showed up as 65,000 points. That didn’t happen last June 2019. Maybe M is on the road to getting their act together??

    Reply
  2. John K

    Happened to me as well, even following the steps provided. But they could not have fixed it faster, situation very well handled.

    Reply
    1. Grant Post author

      That’s good to hear. I considered calling Marriott, but figured I could fix it myself online (and take a few screenshots for this blog post).

      Reply
  3. Steve Lam

    I have had a case where I used a certificate, then cancelled the reservation and the certificate was not re-deposited, i.e. it didn’t show back up in the app or in my account. Of course I didn’t see this until I tried to make another reservation. I had to call an agent to make the reservation and it take a bit of wrangling from the agent to get it to work. I guess the moral of the story is to monitor your account activity as these kinds of shenanigans seem to be rampant

    Reply
    1. Grant Post author

      Yes, I’ve heard of that happening before. Strange that the free night certificates do not automatically redeposit into your Marriott account. I believe it works smoothly for Hyatt and IHG free night certificates.

      Reply
  4. Suzanne

    This is not just an app problem. I had a similar experience, but with a hotel in Paris, which decided to help itself to a week’s worth of points rather than use the 7 night certificate that had been attached to my reservation. It was a nightmare to sort out, with Marriott pointing fingers at the hotel and saying only they could sort this out and reverse the points grab, and the hotel saying only Marriott could fix it. It took almost two months of frequent phone calls to finally get it rectified – by Marriott. Marriott is so different – read so much worse – than Starwood.

    Reply
    1. Grant Post author

      Wow, 7 nights worth of points must have been a huge number, I’m guessing somewhere between 200K and 300K points? That’s terrible that you were out that many points for 2 months, despite numerous attempts to fix the issue.

      Reply
  5. christ

    i can verify that using the website rather than the app won’t solve the problem. i just had the same issue when i reserved on the website — points were deducted rather than the cert. i called them, and (not surprisingly) the cert was applied but the points weren’t deposited back. finally the points were redeposited, but the reservation showed a points advance booking (points to be deducted 15 days before check-in). finally i canceled everything, got the cert back (long phone call) and booked with cash. glad to hear it’s not just me.

    Reply
    1. Grant Post author

      Wow, that sounds like a real headache. Sorry you couldn’t get the hotel booked with your free night certificate. Hopefully you have another opportunity to use your free night certificate before it expires.

      Reply
  6. Stg

    Booked a travel package on my sons account. Got to the hotel and added my name to the reservation to get the elite benefits ( I was staying in the room). Marriott took both my sons travel package AND one of my travel packages from my account. They seriously have to get their issues fixed. There are just too many!

    Reply
    1. Grant Post author

      Oh boy, how is that even possible to use 2 7 night packages for a single 7 night stay and pull the package from 2 different accounts. Just wow!

      Reply

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