Last Updated on August 1, 2022 by Anne-Sophie Reinhardt
It’s possible to get free hotel rooms, or rent luxury properties and hotels in remote international locations for free using travel hacks. Truck camping is also a great way to have fun and explore the world. However, spending a little bit every now and again for a nice spot to stay is also a good choice.
Airbnb is the best place to stay in, especially if you’ll be needing a fully furnished apartment where you can cook, relax, and hang out with friends. New members receive a $40 credit towards their first stay. Travel hacking and points are the way to go. This will enable you to travel completely free for the next year.
The Marriott Bonvoy Rewards Credit Cards for Free Hotel Rooms
These offer the best deal, with 75,000 points for every $3,000 spent within the first three month. Although $3,000 sounds like a lot for three months, it’s actually quite manageable if you’re savvy and know the tricks. These 75,000 bonus points can be used to get three nights totally free at any of their luxury Category 4 properties worldwide. These are luxurious, waterfront properties that can be rented at a cost of $200-$300 per night.
This will result in savings of up to $600+ on lodging at some truly amazing places. This offer was combined with regular spending on my credit cards and paid stays at other Marriott properties. I was able to accumulate 100,000 points, which I converted into five completely free nights in Downtown Manhattan.
At the current rate of $2,460, the hotel would have been about $1,460. Instead, it was free. The hotel even offered a hot breakfast each morning and a small kitchen, which is quite rare in Manhattan hotels.
What You Can Do
You can stay in luxury hotels around the globe for free and with no blackout dates. A credit card issuer can help you get free hotels. You can book with Marriott Bonvoy points and get the fifth night free if you book for four nights. This is how I was able to book five nights at 100,000 points, which is more than double what it cost me.
It’s not just one Marriott brand hotel chain, but 19 brands of hotels under their brand that have more than 5,000 hotels worldwide. It’s pretty impressive! Even if you don’t intend to travel abroad, you can still save money by staying at one of their properties in the United States. This is the best way to get a free hotel stay.
Marriott Bonvoy Rewards Categories for Free Hotel Rooms
Marriott categorizes its hotels into nine categories. Fairfield Inns & Suites is a Category 1 hotel that offers the most basic and affordable options. Their most luxurious and luxurious category 8 offerings are also available. The 75,000 points can then be used to redeem any of the many categories.
Category 1 properties are 7,500 points per night. This means you would have enough to redeem 10 hotel nights at the standard redemption rate (at the standard redemption rates) once you meet the credit card minimum spend. Each category has a different cost. For example, Category 4 properties are 25,000 per night which is undoubtedly the most expensive. Category 8 properties are 70,000 per night.
Note: These rates may vary depending on when you travel off-peak or peak season.
Meeting the Minimum Spend for Free Hotel Rooms
The only problem is that you must meet the minimum spend requirement. This is similar to airline credit cards. It is usually $3,000 within three months. Although $3,000 may seem like a large sum, the trick to meeting this requirement is not spending more than you would normally. This means that these credit cards offer a truly incredible benefit: free nights in luxury hotels. There is no catch as long as you spend the minimum amount.
What You Should Do:
- Focus all your spending on your card every day. You might have to give up cash and put all your bills, gas, and food on the credit card. This will take most people almost all the way.
- Apply for the credit card when you have large expenses such as concert tickets, plane tickets, new tires or car repairs.
- Manufacture spending by spending money on the card but not spending any money. You can think of things like buying gift certificates that you can use over the next few months or buying expensive items which you could sell on Amazon or eBay. Even though you may lose a little, it can still result in big savings considering the hotel stays you can make with a minimal spend.
- Ask your friends and family to pay large expenses on your card. They will reimburse you by writing a check or cash.
Even though you may have to pay an extra 3% to use your credit card (like taxes), it’s still worth it when you consider the actual redemption value of the points. Even the $3,000 processing fee is only $90. This is well below the benefits that you’ll get in return.
The Marriott Rewards Visa Card
Chase offers the Marriott Bonvoy Credit card, a Visa card. If you spend $3,000 within three months, you can earn 75,000 points that are good for three nights in a Category 4 hotel. For the first year, there is no annual fee.
Even without the bonus point offer, the credit card is solid. You get 6x points for every dollar you spend on Marriott lodging. 2x points on any flight purchased directly through the airline website. You will also earn 1x points for every dollar you spend on the card.
Silver Elite Status
You also get other perks like automatic qualification for Silver Elite status, which grants you priority late checkout and 20% bonus on Marriott Points. This card does not have foreign transaction fees which makes it great for travel. Check out the article on Travel Banking Fundamentals to learn more about how to manage my travel debit and credit cards for a lifestyle that is travel-oriented.
This card has a $95 annual fee (but it’s waived after the first year), but it is one of few cards that is worth the annual fee. They give you one night free in a Category 1-5 hotel every year on your anniversary.
You instantly trade $95 for a Category 5 hotel and get a free night. It’s a simple way to save money and travel. Check out my experience at the Medellin Marriott hotel using my Marriott free night certificate. It included access to their elite lounge and complimentary wine.
Other Choices for Free Hotel Rooms
Marriott is not the only one in town. You can also target Chase Ultimate Rewards points through IHG Rewards Club, Chase Sapphire Reserve, or Chase Sapphire Preferred. These are some of our most powerful points due to their transferability.
If you’d rather get a free flight, you can transfer your points to Marriott or United Airlines. You can earn enough points by spending in bonus categories (travel and dining) to get enough to receive both. In any case, it’s best to sign up for the Marriott Bonvoy program and learn how you can get your first stay free.