Million Mile Secrets reader, Cindy, commented:
Does Marriott give the 5th night free for award stays like Starwood?
Thanks for reaching out, Cindy!
I’ll show you which hotels offer free nights during award stays. And give you ideas of how to take advantage of the Marriott – Starwood merger.
Stay 5+ Consecutive Award Nights and Stretch Your Savings!
Hotels with 5th night free award benefits are a great way to save points for longer award stays. You can use fewer points to cover the cost of award stays lasting 5 night stays (or more!). There are currently 3 hotel chains that give you the 5th award night free. If you stay 5 nights, that’s like getting a 20% discount!
When you stay at least 5 consecutive award nights with Hilton, you’ll receive the 5th night free! In other words, every 5th night of a single stay is free. However, you must have elite status with Hilton. You’ll get elite status if you have any Hilton credit card.
You can use this benefit an unlimited number of times, but you can’t get more than 4 free nights per stay. So any award nights you book longer than 20 nights will not qualify for the 5th night free benefit.
Again, you must book consecutive award nights to get the 5th night free. And if you make a 10-night award reservation, you’ll get each 5th night free (for example, the 5th and 10th night).
You don’t need elite status with Starwood to take advantage of the 5th night free benefit.
3. Marriott and Ritz-Carlton
You can book any available Standard Room for 5 consecutive award nights at Marriott or Ritz-Carlton hotels, and you’ll receive the 5th night free. But the room must be available with points for all 5 nights, and all nights must cost the same amount of points.
Marriott has the fewest restrictions for using the 5th night free perk. It can be used at any hotel category, and no status is required!
The Marriott-Starwood Merger Makes Starwood Points More Valuable
If you’re interested in stretching your Starwood points, the 5th night free is a welcome benefit. But now that Marriott and Starwood have merged, you have the option of transferring your points between the programs for even more savings!
If you want to stay 10 nights at a category 1 hotel, you’d spend ~28,000 Starwood points (3,000 points for weekdays, 2,000 points for weekends). But if you transfer the same amount of Starwood points to Marriott, you’ll be able to stay 13 nights, and still have points left over!
You can also get an instant status match if you have elite status in either program. So you can enjoy your perks like free breakfast and late checkout with either hotel chain, even on award stays!
Both Hilton, Marriott, Ritz-Carlton, and Starwood give you the 5th night free when you book with points. But the programs have different rules.
This is an excellent way to extend your hotel stays to get Big Travel with Small Money!