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With it looking increasingly likely that international travel won’t be an option for a lot of people until July at the very earliest, and with parts of the world announcing new lockdown measures, Marriott has taken the positive step of confirming that it will be extending the validity of some Marriott Bonvoy free night certificates and the validity of some Ritz-Carlton upgrade certificates.
Free Night Certificate Extensions
This is what Marriott has confirmed:
- Free night certificates whose original expiry date was in 2020 and whose current expiry date is 1 August 2021 (because Marriott already extended their validity at least once) will have their expiry date pushed back to 3 January 2022.
- All free night certificates whose expiry date shows a date in 2021 will have their expiry date pushed back to 3 January 2022.
- These extensions apply to all free night certificates that meet the conditions outlined above regardless of how they were earned,
- Marriott will process the extensions on/by 6 May 2021.
- Marriott will not be re-extending the validity of any free night certificates that were set to expire pre-2020.
Ritz-Carlton Upgrade Certificate Extensions
Those of us who hold the Ritz-Carlton Credit Card (which is no longer open to new applicants) are given 3 upgrade certificates per year to use exclusively at Ritz-Carlton properties. Following an exchange on Twitter, the Marriott Bonvoy team has confirmed (to me) that these certificates will also have their expiration date extended to 3 January 2022.
Marriott extended the validity of any Ritz-Carlton certificates that were issued in 2020 back in December, so this will be the second time that those certificates have had their expiration dates pushed back.
Marriott Extends Its Moratorium On Points Expirations
Marriott Bonvoy points usually expire following 24 months of inactivity but that policy was suspended through 31 August 2021 almost as soon as a pandemic was declared. Part-way through last summer, Marriott realized that the pandemic wasn’t going away and extended the suspension through January 2021 before announcing yet another extension on suspensions (though 1 August 2021) at the end of last October.
Now Marriott has confirmed that Bonvoy Points will not expire before 31 March 2022.
To be clear, if your account contains Bonvoy Points and has been dormant for 24 months or longer when 31 March 2022 rolls around, Marriott will expire all of your points. The good news is that, outside of staying at a Marriott property, there are a number of easy ways to generate some points activity in a Marriott Bonvoy account:
- Use a Marriott Bonvoy co-branded credit card to make a purchase (a purchase of just $1 will be good enough).
- Transfer points into your Marriott Bonvoy account from Amex Membership Rewards or Chase Ultimate Rewards (if you’re only transferring to keep a balance alive make sure you only transfer over the minimum number of points).
- Register a credit card (any credit card) with Marriott’s “eat around town” dining rewards program and dine at a participating eatery and pay with your registered credit card.
- Buy the minimum number of Marriott Bonvoy points allowed.
There’s no real reason that you should ever allow a Marriott Bonvoy points balance to expire and now that Marriott is temporarily pausing expirations through 31 March 2022 Bonvoy members have plenty of time to generate the required activity.
Marriott Bonvoy members who currently have one or more free night certificates that have a 2021 expiration date (and which were not originally set to expire before 2020) will be able to redeem those awards through 3 January 2022. Marriott has also confirmed that Ritz-Carlton upgrade certificates will also have their expiration dates extended to 3 January 2022 and that Bonvoy Points expirations will now be paused through 31 March 2022.