Using points to make a hotel night ‘free’ is a fun way to save money while still being able to maximize travel opportunities. I added the quotation marks since the night is not truly free. Rather, you are trading in your hard earned points for that night in lieu of paying cash.
But, what if there was an opportunity to get a free hotel night without using points, money or even free night certificates? This is where one of my favorite hotel program benefits comes into play. One that has saved me and my family thousands of points throughout the years: fifth night free.
What is the Fifth Night Free?
Fifth night free is very simple. When booking hotel stays using your points on stays of 5 nights , you will only be charged for 4 nights. Assuming that all 5 nights cost the same amount of points, this is a 20% reduction in the total points cost, which are especially noticeable at properties that charge 100,000+ points per night.
Let’s say you booked a stay for 5 nights at the Conrad Bora Bora Nui, a Hilton property that charges 120,000 points per night for the standard room. Rather than charging 600,000 points for the stay (120k x5), Hilton will only charge 480,000 points. Not a bad savings for an extra day in paradise.
Who Offers It?
Both Hilton and Marriott offer a fifth night free benefit, although they work slightly differently due to charging varying numbers of points on different nights.
When booking stays with Hilton, whether your fifth night costs the most or least number of points, your 5th night will be the one that is free. If your fifth night happens to cost 20,000 more points per night than the night before, you are in luck.
However, with Marriott, it will be your cheapest night that is free. So whether your first night or your fifth night costs the fewest points, that will be the one that is discounted off of your stay.
How Do I book It?
You would book a fifth night free stay the same way that you would book any other hotel stay on Hilton or Marriott points. After selecting the destination, dates and making sure to select the ‘Use Points’ button, the discounted night will automatically be taken off of your points bill. You can verify this at checkout.
There are some slight rules, although this should not impact most stays. Hilton only grants a fifth night free for “Standard Rooms” bookings. Marriott, on the other hand, when upgrading room type with points will give you the “standard” fifth night for free, leaving you to still pay the upgrade cost in points for that night.
These redemptions also have to be fully using points. Cash+Points bookings as well as free night certificates will not apply towards fifth night free.
The Last Point
Fifth night free bookings have personally saved me well over 500,000 points over the years of booking 5 night hotel stays. It also ends up leading most of my hotel stays to be exactly 5 nights or 10 nights to maximize the discount.
The terms and conditions are simple enough that they should not create any problem, so why not stay on vacation for an extra day? It’s free!
IHG has a 4th night free if you have their $99 annual fee credit card.
I have the $49 AF credit card (not available any more) and that gives me 10% of the points that I used back into my account.
Payton Turner says
Correct, IHG does offer 4th night free with the card which is a nice perk. If you have both you can stack both benefits, which makes it increasingly lucrative and a compelling option during dynamic pricing.