Staying at the W Maldives with the Marriott Bonvoy American Express card
W Maldives hotel, part of the Marriott network

Hotel Credit Cards That Come With a Free Night

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Last updated on November 7, 2022 Comments: 1

Hotel credit cards are popular because they offer useful perks like free stays, room upgrades, late checkouts, free Wi-Fi and more—all goodies that even infrequent flyers can likely use at least once or twice a year. But the state of hotel co-branded credit cards in Canada is sadly lackluster.

American travellers are totally spoiled when it comes to hotel credit cards. But Canadians have a grand total one such card that provide free nights: The Marriott Bonvoy® American Express®* Card. The cards have differing features and are designed for two separate types of travellers, so we’ve put each under close scrutiny to help you decide which best accommodates your needs.

Free Night vs. Annual Free Night

Let’s start by looking at what many cardholders would say is a hotel credit card’s most important benefit: a free stay. In Canada, there are three main ways credit cards offer free hotel nights:

  • An annual complimentary night just for being a cardholder (Bonvoy);
  • A one-time-only sign-up point bonus that allows for one free night or multiple free nights (Bonvoy again);
  • Accumulating enough points through regular spending to redeem for free nights (Bonvoy).

The Marriott Bonvoy® American Express®* Card is presently the only card in Canada that offers an automatic annual free night (more on that below).

The Marriott Bonvoy® American Express®* Card

Free Nights with Bonvoy

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With The Marriott Bonvoy® American Express®* Card, your annual free night award received every year after your first anniversary (valid for 12 months and includes taxes but not any eligible resort fee) lets you to stay in any category 1 to 5 hotel up to a value of 35,000 points. It’s worth noting that the annual certificate is only good for a single night; you can’t, for example, break it down into 5,000-point amounts and use if for multiple stays.

Generally speaking, it can be very hard to calculate an exact dollar value of any hotel point program, as they can vary so much based on location, time of year and intangible elements like a hotel’s exclusivity. Overall, Marriott Bonvoy® points are valued at approximately $0.01 each; so a category 5 hotel stay could be worth $350 or more.

Maximizing Your Free Night


To get the most value from your bonus, you’ll want to stay at the highest category of hotel (hence the highest monetary value) possible.

Marriott recently introduced peak and off-peak redemption rates so you’ll also need to consider what time of year to redeem your annual stay—a category 5 hotel will actually be 40,000 points during peak season, outside the 35,000-point value cap of your annual free night. Check out the new chart rankings below:


If all this talk of categories and point value leaves you with a bit of a headache, you can always check the up-to-date, real-world value of your points by comparing what it would cost you to pay for a hotel night in cash versus redeeming points for the exact same stay. So, for example, if you did a search for a Marriott property and found a great sale that got you a Category 5 hotel room for say $250 (instead of $350), it would be better to pay cash and save your annual free night certificate.

Other Key Features

In addition to its annual free night award, The Marriott Bonvoy® American Express®* Card has a number of other very attractive features, despite a lack of competition from other hotel credit cards in Canada. Here are its main offerings:

  • Points can be redeemed and earned at upwards of 7,000 of the world’s most desired hotels around the world with no blackout dates.
  • New Marriott Bonvoy® American Express®* Cardmembers earn 50,000 Marriott Bonvoy® points after you charge $1,500 in purchases to your Card in your first three months of Cardmembership. Subject to change at any time. Conditions apply.
  • Earn 5 points for every dollar in eligible Card purchases at hotels participating in Marriott Bonvoy®
  • Earn 2 points for every $1 in all other Card purchases
  • Automatic Marriott Bonvoy Silver Elite status membership
  • Each year, when you reach $30,000 in purchases, you’ll get an automatic upgrade to Marriott Bonvoy Gold Elite status (Gold Elite has attractive benefits like 25% extra points at Marriott properties, late checkout, eligibility for room upgrades and more)
  • Receive 15 Elite Night Credits each calendar year with your Marriott Bonvoy® American Express®* Card. These can be used towards attaining an automatic upgrade to Marriott Bonvoy Gold Elite status (25 required)
  • Points can be transferred (most at a 3:1 transfer ratio) to more than 40 airline partners
  • Includes a range of insurance coverage, like travel accident, car rental, flight delay, baggage delay/theft and hotel/motel burglary insurance. (Note: it has travel emergency assistance but no actual travel emergency medical insurance)
  • $120 annual fee

You can learn more by reading our complete Marriott BonvoyTM American Express® Card Review.

To Sum Up

 Marriott BonvoyTM American Express® Card
Annual Fee$120
Annual Free NightYes
Welcome BonusUp to 50,000 Marriott Bonvoy® points (conditions apply)
Insurance BenefitsExtensive

With its lucrative bonus, repeating annual free night, huge spectrum of properties, perks like airline transfers and wide-ranging insurance benefits, The Marriott Bonvoy® American Express®* Card is Canada’s best hotel credit card with free nights.

Recommended read: Best Hotels to Stay at in Canada

American Express is not responsible for maintaining or monitoring the accuracy of information on this website. For full details and current product information click the Apply now link. Conditions apply.

Author Bio

Sandra MacGregor
Sandra MacGregor has been writing about finance and travel for nearly a decade. Her work has appeared in a variety of publications like the New York Times, the UK Telegraph, the Washington Post, and the Toronto Star. She spends her free time travelling, and has lived around the globe, including in Paris, South Korea and Cape Town. You can follow her on Twitter at @MacgregorWrites.

Article comments

1 comment
Brandon says:

What about Wyndham Rewards? They have a credit card too.