Best Western and Marriott Free Night Summer Promotions

LoyaltyLobby says that Best Western is bringing a free night offer for their summer promotion — stay 3 times between June 17th and August 19th and earn a free night certificate valid through January 31st, 2013. You’ll have to register for the promotion prior to the stays, and registration isn’t live yet.

The offer is limited to one free night per member, and while ‘use by January 31’ is a reasonably long period compared to some similar offers, it’s still less than six months from the end of the promotion period. But at least it’s valid for any Best Western, worldwide which is valuable.

Marriott’s summer bonus is a version of their usual ‘MegaBonus’ this time offering a free night every two stays, up to 3 free nights (though some members have slightly different offers). Register by June 30 and stays count between June 1 and August 31.

Marriot’s MegaBonus offers one free night every two stays, but caps the number of free nights you can earn and caps the redemption category of the hotel you can redeem for at category 4. (Update: to be clear, these free nights expire one year from date of issuance so when you earn the night determines when the night expires.)

A category 4 night costs 20,000 points. But a MegaBonus night isn’t worth as much as 20,000 Marriott Rewards nights since it has a short expiration period (whereas you can use the points later, and in practice don’t even expire though the terms and conditions say they will), and since 20,000 points can be used towards a more expensive redemption while a MegaBonus night can only be used at up to category 4, not as credit towards something pricier.

Thus Marriott MegaBonus is really less rewarding than “20,000 bonus points every two stays” would be. Marriott Rewards gets much more breakage out of unused reward nights than they’d get out of awarding bonus points.

Ultimately I prefer bonus points equivalent to free nights more than free nights, though those are more expensive to a program. Expiration dates limit cost by making it more likely that free nights go unredeemed.

I also prefer free night promotions that are uncapped, earning a single free night or even a couple does not a vacation make. And limiting the tier of property you can redeem for makes a promotion sound much more exciting than it is in reality.

About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

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  1. To avoid confusion, update the date to reflect 2013 vice 2012 in January 31st.

  2. I think this time around the free nights are valid for one year. I was surprised, as the 6-mo expiration also turns me off.

    from T&C:

    “An earned free night award can be redeemed for a future stay at participating Marriott Rewards category 1-4 properties for one (1) free night. Free night award will expire one (1) year after the date of issuance.”

  3. Is the Summer Bonus targeted, or limited to US?
    Anyone with T&C to post? thanks

    I’m Canadian and don’t see the promo in my Marriott account, and link says invalid for me 🙁
    I did join the MegaBonus promo last year

  4. Once I login, it becomes 5000 point bonus for every 2 weekend stays, up to 15000 points… would much rather have megabonus nights for weekday stays since I’ll rarely make a paid weekend stay.

    I’m a Marriott Silver and do about 30 nights/yr. (Not a Marriott fan, but the vicinity of it to our NY office is what always has me staying there).

  5. Again it all depends. Marriott has a Courtyard in Seoul which usually sells for $150-$250 – often almost as expensive as the Seoul Ritz. It’s category 4 (the Renaissance was recently upgraded to 5) – which gives you a $100 ‘discount’ per Marriott stay. I’ll take it 🙂

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