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Marriott just announced that it's bringing back one of the best perks of its top-tier Ambassador Elite status. Starting in mid-2023, Marriott Bonvoy Ambassador Elites will be assigned a personal ambassador to help with reservations, special requests, and issues with stays.
However, starting in 2023, earning top-tier Ambassador Elite status will cost a bit more. Instead of a $20,000 spending requirement, Bonvoy members will need to spend $23,000 in Annual Qualifying Spend to earn Ambassador Elite.
Didn't Ambassador Elites Use to Get a Personal Ambassador?
If this perk sounds familiar, that's because it wasn't too long ago when Ambassador Elites used to get a personal ambassador. For years, this perk was one of the signature perks of reaching Marriott's top-tier Ambassador Elite status. So much so that Marriott dubbed its top-tier status “Ambassador Elite” when launching the Bonvoy program.
Unfortunately, personal ambassadors were a casualty of the pandemic. At first, ambassador service was suspended as travel ground to a halt. By August 2020, reports emerged that Marriott laid off its ambassadors. To compensate, Ambassador Elites were given 50 Elite Night Credits toward requalifying, and the spending requirements for Ambassador Elite were lowered to $14,000 for 2021.
Already, those days seem like they are from a bygone era. Travel has quickly recovered through 2022 and travel spending is through the roof. Now that travelers are back on the road, Marriott wants to incentivize the most valuable travelers to choose to stay at their hotels.
New Ambassador Elite Spending Requirements
Starting in 2023, Marriott Bonvoy members will need to spend $23,000 in qualifying spend plus earn 100 Elite Night Credits to earn Ambassador Elite status. That's up for a $20,000 spending requirement in 2022 and a $14,000 requirement in 2021.
This spending requirement is the biggest hurdle to earning Ambassador Elite status. After all, Bonvoy members can now earn up to 40 Elite Night Credits just from carrying two Marriott credit cards. That puts the 100 Elite Night Credits within reach for frequent travelers.
However, there's no shortcut to the annual spending requirement. Bonvoy members must actually spend $20k — soon to be $23k — at Marriott hotels to qualify for Marriott's top-tier Ambassador Elite status.
Perks of Ambassador Elite Status
Now that personal ambassadors are back, travelers might consider whether it's worth earning Ambassador Elite status. So, let's review the benefits of Ambassador Elite. But first, we need to start with Bonvoy Platinum Elite and build up from there. Platinum Elite is earning after 50 Elite Night Credits and is a sweet spot in the Bonvoy program as it offers:
- Suite upgrades
- Lounge access
- 4 pm guaranteed checkout
- 50% bonus points
- Annual Choice Benefit — such as confirmable Suite Night Awards
That's going to be most of the perks travelers are looking for. And you can now get Platinum Elite status just by carrying the Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant® American Express® Card.
- Earn two 85K Free Night Awards after you spend $6,000 in purchases on the Card in your first 6 months. Each award can be used for one night (redemption level at or under 85,000 Marriott Bonvoy points) at hotels participating in Marriott Bonvoy. Card Members could enjoy a value of up to $1,200 when redeeming each reward. Certain hotels have resort fees. Offer ends 11/1/2023.
- $300 Brilliant Dining Credit: Each calendar year, get up to $300 (up to $25 per month) for eligible purchases made on the Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant Card at restaurants worldwide.
- With Marriott Bonvoy Platinum Elite status, you can receive room upgrades, including enhanced views or suites, when available at select properties and booked with a Qualifying Rate.
- Earn 6X Marriott Bonvoy points for each dollar of eligible purchases at hotels participating in Marriott Bonvoy®. 3X points at restaurants worldwide and on flights booked directly with airlines. 2X points on all other eligible purchases.
- Marriott Brilliant Free Night Award: Receive 1 Free Night Award every year after your Card renewal month. Award can be used for one night (redemption level at or under 85,000 Marriott Bonvoy points) at hotels participating in Marriott Bonvoy®. Certain hotels have resort fees.
- Each calendar year after spending $60,000 on eligible purchases on your Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant® American Express® Card, you will be eligible to select an Earned Choice Award benefit. You can only earn one Earned Choice Award per calendar year. See https://www.choice-benefit.marriott.com/brilliant for Award options.
- $100 Marriott Bonvoy Property Credit: Enjoy your stay. Receive up to a $100 property credit for qualifying charges at The Ritz-Carlton® or St. Regis® when you book direct using a special rate for a two-night minimum stay using your Card.
- Fee Credit for Global Entry or TSA PreCheck®: Receive either a statement credit every 4 years after you apply for Global Entry ($100) or a statement credit every 4.5 years after you apply for a five-year membership for TSA PreCheck® (up to $85 through a TSA PreCheck official enrollment provider) and pay the application fee with your Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant® American Express® Card. If approved for Global Entry, at no additional charge, you will receive access to TSA PreCheck.
- Each calendar year with your Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant® American Express® Card you can receive 25 Elite Night Credits toward the next level of Marriott Bonvoy® Elite status. Limitations apply per Marriott Bonvoy® member account. Benefit is not exclusive to Cards offered by American Express. Terms apply.
- Enroll in Priority Pass™ Select, which offers unlimited access to over 1,200 lounges in over 130 countries, regardless of which carrier or class you are flying. This allows you to relax before or between flights. You can enjoy snacks, drinks, and internet access in a quiet, comfortable location.
- No Foreign Transaction Fees on international purchases.
- With Cell Phone Protection, you can be reimbursed, the lesser of, your repair or replacement costs following damage, such as a cracked screen, or theft for a maximum of $800 per claim when your cell phone line is listed on a wireless bill and the prior month's wireless bill was paid by an Eligible Card Account. A $50 deductible will apply to each approved claim with a limit of 2 approved claims per 12-month period. Additional terms and conditions apply. Coverage is provided by New Hampshire Insurance Company, an AIG Company.
- $650 Annual Fee.
- Terms Apply.
- Rates & Fees
- 6X points on purchases at Marriott Properties
- 3X points at restaurants worldwide, including takeout and delivery
- 3X points on flights booked directly with airlines
- 2X points on all other eligible purchases
At 75 nights, you earn Titanium Elite. This status grants you all Platinum Elite benefits plus 75% bonus points, an additional Annual Choice Benefit, United Silver Elite status, and better priority for upgrades.
Additional Benefit(s) of Marriott Ambassador Elite Status
Before the return of personal ambassadors, the only additional perk of Ambassador Elite status was Your24. This perk promises Ambassador Elites the ability to choose their check-in and checkout time, allowing up to 24-hour stays. That can be a valuable perk for some travelers, even saving them from having to pay for an extra night. However, many Ambassador Elites have reported difficulty using Your24 in practice.
So, you might see why Marriott is now brining back personal ambassadors. Marriott's top-tier status hasn't offered much in the way of concrete perks since the personal ambassador program was paused during the pandemic. To incentivize travelers to spend heavily at hotels, Marriott needed to add more value to the Ambassador Elite. And it seems to be trying to do that with the return of personal ambassadors.
Marriott Personal Ambassador Service
Marriott shared some details of how the new personal ambassador service will work. First, Ambassador Elites will be assigned a personal ambassador “based on the language and time zone that matches their preferences.” The ambassador service team will be available to assist outside of your ambassador's working hours.
Personal ambassadors will be available to Ambassador Elites to do tasks such as:
booking or changing hotel stays and services, such as spa and golf appointments and dining reservations, as well as helping facilitate other specific requests members may have, such as tickets for tours and activities, dining options, and ground transportation.
In addition, Marriott is expanding self-service tools. Hopefully this will enable Ambassador Elites to submit requests without needing to go through their ambassador — such as late checkout or Your24 requests.
Marriott is bringing back one of the best perks of the Ambassador Elite program: personal ambassadors. This is a critical perk for Marriott to incentivize travelers to earn 100 Elite Night Credits and spend $20,000 ($23,000 starting in 2023) at Marriott hotels in a calendar year. Without this perk, there wasn't much difference in concrete perks between Titanium Elite and Ambassador Elite.
The question remains to be seen if this is enough to woo valuable travelers away from other hotel loyalty programs.
For rates and fees of the cards mentioned in this post, please visit the following links: Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant® American Express® Card (Rates & Fees)
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