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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 with select co-brand and premium 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.
Marriott 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 SPG members losing the ability to qualify for elite status via stays with Marriott only allowing members to qualify on nights from 2019. 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)
Gold Elite: 25-49 nights/year
Silver Elite benefits plus:
- 25% Bonus Points on Stays
- 2 p.m. Priority Late Checkout (Based on Availability)
- Enhanced In-Room Internet
- Gold Welcome Gift (Points – Varies by Brand)
- Enhanced Room Upgrade (Based on Availability)
- Ultimate Reservation Guarantee
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 (5 Suite Night Awards or Gift Option – Awarded with 50 qualifying nights)
Platinum Premier 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
Platinum Premier Elite (100 Nights + $20K Qualifying Spend): 100+ nights/year
Platinum Elite Premier benefits plus:
- Ambassador Service
Alongside the new elite status tiers, Marriott released a table displaying the new Platinum 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 the new program
- When you combine SPG and Rewards accounts, Marriott will combine your lifetime activity across both toward Lifetime Elite status in the new program
- 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. Until then, SPG members can achieve status based on stays at SPG-associated brands only
- Members who reach 750 nights and 10 years at Platinum by December 31, 2018, will be grandfathered into Lifetime Platinum Premier Elite status (notified January 2019). In addition, members that achieve Marriott Rewards Lifetime Platinum under the legacy requirements by year-end will also be grandfathered into Lifetime Platinum Premier Elite status
- Beginning in 2019, qualification into Lifetime Platinum Premier Elite status will not be available
Lifetime Elite Status in the new Rewards Program 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 Rewards Elite Status & Elite Night Credits via Credit Cards
An easy way of obtaining elite status, or reducing the number of nights required for elite status, is acquiring one of the Marriott or SPG co-brand credit cards, or a premium card like The Platinum Card® from American Express. Unlike the Marriott Rewards program of old, you can no longer stack elite night credits received with co-brand credit cards as Marriott has capped the total night credits members can receive at 15 across all your cards.
- Marriott Rewards® Premier Plus Credit Card – Guaranteed Silver Elite status, plus receive Gold Elite status when you spend $35,000 in an account year. You'll also receive 15 Elite Night Credits each calendar year
- Marriott Rewards® Premier Business Credit Card – Guaranteed Silver Elite status, plus receive Gold Elite status when you spend $35,000 in an account year. You'll also receive 15 Elite Night Credits each calendar year
- The Ritz-Carlton Rewards® Credit Card – Guaranteed Gold Elite status, plus receive Platinum Elite status when you spend $75,000 in an account year. You'll also receive 15 Elite Night Credits each calendar year
- Starwood Preferred Guest® Credit Card from American Express – Guaranteed Silver Elite status, plus receive Gold Elite status when you spend $35,000 in an account year. You'll also receive 15 Elite Night Credits each calendar year.
- Starwood Preferred Guest® Business Credit Card from American Express – Guaranteed Silver Elite status, plus receive Gold Elite status when you spend $35,000 in an account year. You'll also receive 15 Elite Night Credits each calendar year. Terms Apply.
- Starwood Preferred Guest® American Express Luxury Card – Guaranteed Gold Elite status, plus receive Platinum Elite status when you spend $75,000 in an account year. You'll also receive 15 Elite Night Credits each calendar year.
- The Platinum Card® from American Express – Receive complimentary Gold Elite Status. Terms Apply.
- The Business Platinum® Card from American Express – Receive complimentary Gold Elite Status. Terms Apply.
Following the merger of Marriott and SPG, earning elite status within the new Rewards 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 and SPG 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.
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