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Can you mix hotel points and free night certificates for a fourth or fifth night free?

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Several hotel loyalty programs offer a valuable perk to select travelers: a fourth or fifth night free on award stays. But, some of the best hotel credit cards also offer free night certificates to cardmembers. In particular, some of the best hotel credit cards offer an annual free night.

As such, travelers often wonder whether you can only get a fourth or fifth night free when redeeming solely points. We often get asked whether you can use a mixture of points and free night certificates when getting a fourth or fifth night free. So, in this guide, I’ll answer this question for three popular loyalty programs that offer a fourth or fifth night free on award stays.

Marriott Bonvoy

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Marriott Bonvoy offers a “Stay for 5, Pay for 4” perk that allows you to get a complimentary night when you redeem Marriott points for five consecutive nights. In particular, when you redeem points for a standard redemption or PointSavers award stay under one reservation, you’ll only need to redeem points for four nights. You won’t get the fifth night free, though. Instead, you won’t need to pay for the lowest point redemption night within your stay.

However, the Marriott Bonvoy terms and conditions note:

Stay for 5, Pay for 4 Offer does not apply to Award Redemption Stays using Free Night Awards, Premium Room Redemption Awards, Cash + Points Awards, and Nightly Upgrade Awards.

So, you can’t use the “Stay for 5, Pay for 4” perk unless you redeem points for five nights. Here’s an example where redeeming an up to 35,000-point free night award would only provide 4,500 points of value. After all, you’d need to redeem 81,000 points for your stay if you use the free night award or 85,500 points if you use the “Stay for 5, Pay for 4” perk instead of your free night award.

However, you can get the “Stay for 5, Pay for 4” perk and redeem credit card free night award certificates on the same stay if you redeem points for at least five nights. For example, consider this sample six-night stay:

MARRIOTT.COM

Redeeming a free night award on a six-night award stay could provide good value. After all, between the certificate and the “Stay for 5, Pay for 4” perk, you’d get two of your six nights free. You can earn free night awards in several ways, including through select Marriott Bonvoy cards and Marriott Choice Benefits.

Related: 5 ways to maximize Marriott Bonvoy award night redemptions

IHG One Rewards

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Several IHG credit cards offer a fourth-night-free reward perk. Cardholders of eligible cards can use this perk each time they redeem IHG One Rewards points to book a standard room reward night stay of four or more consecutive nights at the same property. Using this perk, you’ll pay the award night rate for the first three nights and zero points for the fourth night.

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I’ve saved a ton of IHG One Rewards points thanks to the fourth-night-free reward perk, and I’ve gotten a lot of value from IHG anniversary night certificates. But, unfortunately, you can’t use these perks together in the same reservation. After all, IHG directs members with anniversary nights to:

Please book your Free Nights in their own separate reservation transaction, one room at a time. To book additional paid nights, please create separate, additional reservations.

Meanwhile, the offer details of the IHG One Rewards Premier Credit Card, the IHG One Rewards Premier Business Credit Card and the IHG One Rewards Traveler Credit Card all state the following for the fourth-night-free reward:

Applies only to 4 or more consecutive nights within the same Reward Night point redemption room stay at the same property. With this benefit, eligible members will be charged the Reward Night point redemption rate for the first 3 nights, and 0 points for the 4th night of the stay, as applicable.

If you want to use an anniversary night and a fourth-night-free reward at the same property, you must stay at least five nights and book two separate reservations. After booking, you could ask the hotel to link your reservations so you can stay in the same room.

Related: How to maximize redemptions with the IHG One Rewards program

Hilton Honors

EMBASSY SUITES BY HILTON ARUBA RESORT

You can earn Hilton free night certificates with select Hilton Honors credit cards. Plus, Hilton Honors elite members get every fifth night free on standard room reward stays of five or more consecutive nights (up to four times per stay).

HILTON.COM

The Hilton Honors terms and conditions note that the fifth-night free perk is only available “within the same full Points Standard Room Reward stay at the same property, up to 20 nights, when confirmed at time of booking.” As such, you’ll need to book consecutive reservations and stay for at least six nights if you want to use a free night certificate and receive the fifth night free on reward stays perk.

Related: 7 great ways to use 100,000 Hilton Honors points and a free night reward

Bottom line

Marriott Bonvoy, Hilton Honors and IHG One Rewards don’t allow members to mix hotel points and free night certificates to get a fourth or fifth night free, but Marriott Bonvoy will let you book a stay using a combination of points, cash and certificates. You may also be able to extend your fourth- or fifth-night-free award booking by reserving a separate one-night stay with a free night certificate on either end of your Hilton Honors or IHG One Rewards stay.



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