From May 15 – September 2, if you stay twice at a Marriott property, you can get a free night certificate [max 2] for any category 1-5 hotel worldwide! To me, this sounded like a pretty good opportunity, so I did some searching for hotels near my home and work to see if a mattress run would be worth it.

The trick here would be to stay for one night at a time, to maximize your value for the free nights.

Luckily for me, the Fairfield Inn Detroit/Auburn Hills is within about 10 minutes of my work, and has rates (including taxes) of $75.56 on weeknights (3 nights), and $70.08 on Sunday nights (1 night). I work about an hour away from where I live, so this is perfect for me! I will be spending a total of $296.76 for 4 nights at a hotel, that includes free internet, breakfast, and an outdoor pool (which if the weather cooperates, I will take full advantage of!). Normally I spend approximately 2 hours a day driving, which costs me time and about $15 in gasoline. I will be able to save the majority of that, and get to sleep a little more than normal by taking advantage of this! Subtracting the $45 (since I will still be driving just as much for the Sunday night) in gas I would spend alone, brings my cost down to $251.76 for 4 nights.

Now, I do have a use in mind for these free nights (although I could find one if I didn’t)! I will be riding my bicycle across the country this summer, ending in San Francisco, CA. I have never been to San Fran, and am very much looking forward to spending a few days there and sight seeing along the west coast! At this time, some potential stops include Portland, OR (Portland Marriott Downtown Waterfront/Portland Marriott City Center: Category 5, $219/$249/night), Seattle, WA (Residence Inn Seattle Downtown/Courtyard Seattle Downtown: Category 5, $289/$229), and Vancouver, BC (Residence Inn Vancouver Downtown: Category 5, $224CAD/night).

Even if I were to stay two nights at the Portland Marriott Downtown Waterfront, at $219/night (the least expensive of the above options),  I would be coming out just under $200 ahead. And that doesn’t even get into the fact that this strategy will save me around 6 hours of driving, and I get free breakfast out of it! I’d call that a win.

Keep in mind when looking at options for this promotion that Marriott just changed the categories of some (a lot) of their hotels, and it’s mostly not good. You can survey the damages here. Unfortunately, this change went into effect yesterday, so there is not a whole lot you can do about it at this point, besides make the best of the current hotel categories! There is still a lot of value in this promotion even with Marriott’s devaluation. Do the math and see if it makes sense for you — it definitely did for me!