Reader Question: Marriott Bonvoy vs. Former SPG Award Reservations, Offering To Combine Certificates With Points!?

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Today we got a Reader Question about Marriott Bonvoy and the way the site offers members to combine several options to pay for award reservations.

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Indeed Marriott Bonvoy is now a bit more flexible (although more expensive as well) compared to the former SPG and when booking there is a range of possibilities what one can do.

What was the readers question about? Here is the email I received:

Hi John & Sebastian.

I’m about to redeem points for a 5 night stay in combination with their fifth night free discount and noticed they offer me to combine the five night stay with adding a certificate that is in my account or a cash rate on a single night. How does that make sense, doesn’t it defeat the purpose of 5th night free?

Regards, Daniel

He didn’t include a screenshot but I believe what he means is this:

I found this when looking at one of my own award reservations at a hotel in Seoul and while it was initially displayed, none of these options turned out to be bookable.

Cash & Points under the new Marriott Bonvoy (totally irrespective of the 5th Night Free benefit) is a lot more expensive under Bonvoy than it was under SPG. I have pretty much abandoned even checking for it due to the high pricing though it’s definitely more flexible now. If you wanted to combine C&P with regular award night bookings you needed to make separate reservations. Marriott now allows you to do everything within one reservation.


There are still plenty of snafus and dead ends in the Marriott Bonvoy site that don’t end up working in the final step. I like finding and trying them sometimes just for experimental purposes.

As the reader properly stated, the combination of 5 award nights with a free night doesn’t make any sense and wouldn’t help lower the required points here. It should be disregarded and the member can redeem a regular 5th night free award.