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Earning elite status within a hotel rewards program is designed to motivate loyalty to a single hotel chain. In return, the brands that fall under that loyalty umbrella reward members with elite level perks and additional bonus points on spending.
To qualify for elite status, members are issued elite night credits for qualifying stays and as a benefit of holding select co-brand credit cards. There are also a handful of premium rewards cards that offer hotel elite status simply for holding the card and paying the annual fee.
Elite night credits are tallied over a calendar year, from January 1 through to December 31. Once you’ve attained an elite status level, you get to enjoy the perks for the remainder of the year you earn the status, and for the whole of the next year.
Update: In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, Marriott is extending elite status earned in 2019 through February 2022. You can learn more about temporary program changes here.
Marriott Bonvoy Elite Status Tiers & Benefits
Marriott’s new rewards program has expanded to include five elite tiers plus a basic membership level. The required nights to achieve elite status have changed during the recent program shakeup, as have the perks received at each status level.
Notable changes to elite status include the lack of complimentary breakfast for Gold Elite members, and members no longer have the ability to qualify for elite status via stays with Marriott only nights. Neither change affects members who qualify via nights, only those that qualify on stays, acquired status as a credit card perk or gained status via a status match.
Elite Status Tiers
Basic Member: 0-9 nights/year
- Complimentary In-Room Internet Access
- Member Rates
- Mobile Check-In/Services
Silver Elite: 10-24 nights/year
Basic Member benefits plus:
- 10% Points Bonus
- Dedicated Elite Reservation Line
- Priority Late Checkout (Not Guaranteed)
- Ultimate Reservation Guarantee
Gold Elite: 25-49 nights/year
Silver Elite benefits plus:
- 25% Bonus Points on Stays
- 2pm Priority Late Checkout (Based on Availability)
- Enhanced In-Room Internet
- Gold Welcome Gift (Points – Varies by Brand)
- Enhanced Room Upgrade (Based on Availability)
Platinum Elite: 50-74 nights/year
Gold Elite benefits plus:
- 50% Bonus Points on Stays
- 4pm Priority Late Checkout
- In Hotel Welcome Gift (Choice of Points, Breakfast Offering, or Amenity – Varies by Brand)
- Enhanced Room Upgrade Including Select Suites (Based on Availability)
- Lounge Access
- Guaranteed Room Type
- Annual Choice Benefit (5x Suite Night Awards or Gift Option – Awarded with 50 qualifying nights)
Titanium Elite: 75-99 nights/year
Platinum Elite benefits plus:
- 75% Bonus Points on Stays
- Additional Choice Benefit (5 Suite Night Awards or Gift Option – Awarded with 75 qualifying nights)
- 48-Hour Guarantee
Ambassador Elite (100 Nights + $20K Qualifying Spend): 100+ nights/year
Titanium Elite benefits plus:
- Ambassador Service
Alongside the new elite status tiers, Marriott released a table displaying the new Platinum and above welcome gifts, broken up by brand. With so many brands represented in the table, it makes for heavy reading. Making the welcome gift so complicated is a sure-fire recipe for misunderstandings and frustrated guests in our books, and without printing the chart or keeping the link handy, I can’t see many members remembering all the different combos on this list.
Lifetime Status Requirements
Leading up to the merger with SPG, there were plenty of elite members in both Marriott and SPG waiting anxiously to hear how lifetime status was going to pan out. For those close to achieving lifetime status, would it be easier or harder to get? Would Marriott count years spent as an SPG elite in addition to years as a Marriott elite? If you had elite status in both programs, how would they calculate your lifetime status count?
The good news is that Marriott really came to the party with lifetime elite status, looking after members with elite status from both loyalty programs.
- If you previously achieved Lifetime Elite status in SPG or Rewards, you will have that Lifetime Elite status in Marriott Bonvoy
- When you combine SPG and Rewards accounts, Marriott will combine your lifetime activity across both toward Lifetime Elite status in Marriott Bonvoy
- If you’ve achieved Elite status in both Rewards and SPG in a single year, it will count as two years toward Lifetime status
- Starting January 1, 2019, Elite status will be achieved on nights not stays.
- Members who reached 750 nights and 10 years at Platinum by December 31, 2018, were grandfathered into Lifetime Titanium Elite status. In addition, members that achieved Marriott Bonvoy Lifetime Platinum under the legacy requirements by year-end were also be grandfathered into Lifetime Titanium Elite status
- Beginning in 2019, qualification into Lifetime Titanium Elite status and above will not be available
Lifetime Elite Status with Marriott Bonvoy requires:
- Lifetime Silver Elite – 250 Lifetime Nights + 5 Years Elite Status
- Lifetime Gold Elite – 400 Lifetime Nights + 7 Years Gold Elite Status or Higher
- Lifetime Platinum Elite – 600 Lifetime Nights + 10 Years Platinum Elite Status
Earn Marriott Bonvoy Elite Status & Elite Night Credits via Credit Cards
UPDATE 10/15/2020: Amex has launched increased offers on the Marriott Bonvoy Business™ American Express® Card and Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant™ American Express® Card, which includes complimentary Platinum Elite status for the 2021 status year. This is a fantastic offer, and only available until 1/13/2021.
An easy way of obtaining elite status, or reducing the number of nights required for elite status, is acquiring one of the Marriott Bonvoy co-brand credit cards or a premium card like The Platinum Card® from American Express. Marriott recently announced that Bonvoy members will receive up to 30 elite night credits for holding both a personal and business card.
Previously, you could only receive 15 elite night credits, even with multiple Mariott co-brand cards in your wallet. For example, if you hold the Marriott Bonvoy Business™ American Express® Card and the Marriott Bonvoy Boundless™ Credit Card, you'll receive 15 elite night credits from each card for a total of 30 elite night credits per year. However, if you hold two personal Marriott cards, you will only receive 15 elite night credits per year total.
Co-brand cards include:
- Marriott Bonvoy Bold™ Credit Card – Silver Elite status, 15 Elite Night Credits each calendar year.
- Marriott Bonvoy Boundless™ Credit Card – Silver Elite status, plus receive Gold Elite status when you spend $35,000 in an account year, 15 Elite Night Credits each calendar year.
- Marriott Rewards® Premier Business Credit Card – Silver Elite status, plus receive Gold Elite status when you spend $35,000 in an account year, 15 Elite Night Credits each calendar year
- The Ritz-Carlton Rewards® Credit Card – Gold Elite status, plus receive Platinum Elite status when you spend $75,000 in a calendar year, 15 Elite Night Credits each calendar year
- Marriott Bonvoy™ American Express® Card – Silver Elite status, plus receive Gold Elite status when you spend $35,000 in an account year, 15 Elite Night Credits each calendar year.
- Marriott Bonvoy Business™ American Express® Card – Silver Elite status, plus receive Gold Elite status when you spend $35,000 in an account year, 15 Elite Night Credits each calendar year.
- Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant™ American Express® Card – Gold Elite status, plus receive Platinum Elite status when you spend $75,000 in a calendar year, 15 Elite Night Credits each calendar year.
- Earn 75,000 bonus Marriott Bonvoy points after you use your new Card to make $3,000 in purchases within the first 3 months.
- 6x points at participating Marriott Bonvoy hotels.
- 4x points at U.S. restaurants, at U.S. gas stations, on wireless telephone services purchased directly from U.S. service providers and on U.S. purchases for shipping. 2x points on all other eligible purchases.
- Receive 1 Free Night Award every year after your Card account anniversary. Plus, earn an additional Free Night Award after you spend $60K in purchases on your Card in a calendar year. Awards can be used for one night (redemption level at or under 35,000 Marriott Bonvoy points) at a participating hotel. Certain hotels have resort fees.
- Enjoy complimentary Marriott Bonvoy Silver Elite status with your Card. Plus, earn Gold Elite status after making $35,000 in eligible purchases on your Card in a calendar year.
- Terms apply.
- Rates & Fees
- 6x points at participating Marriott Bonvoy hotels
- 4x points at U.S. restaurants, at U.S. gas stations, on wireless telephone services purchased directly from U.S. service providers and on U.S. purchases for shipping
- 2x points on all other purchases
- The Platinum Card® from American Express – Receive complimentary Gold Elite Status.
- The Business Platinum Card® from American Express – Receive complimentary Gold Elite Status.
Following the merger of Marriott and SPG, earning elite status in the new Marriott Bonvoy program can gain you elite benefits and additional bonus points at over 6,700 hotels worldwide. The reshuffle of benefits for Gold and Platinum members will leave those that qualify for status via credit card without a free breakfast, and if you rely on the ability to qualify for status on stays rather than nights, the new qualification requirements will make it much harder to attain your desired status in the coming years.
The co-brand Marriott cards still offer the easiest method of qualifying for lower elite tiers, but the new 15-night-cap on elite night credits makes it harder to leverage credit cards to achieve Platinum Elite and above.
For rates and fees of the cards mentioned in this post, please visit the following links: Marriott Bonvoy Business™ American Express® Card (Rates & Fees)
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