Marriott Bonvoy Elite Status: Here’s What You Get & When It’s Worth Going After

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Marriott Bonvoy Elite Status:  Here’s What You Get & When It’s Worth Going After

Jason StaufferMarriott Bonvoy Elite Status:  Here’s What You Get & When It’s Worth Going AfterMillion Mile Secrets Team

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Hotel and airline rewards programs are designed to create loyalty.  I’ll be honest, I love playing their game and leveling up to get new perks.  But before you go chasing down the next elite status tier, it’s good to know what you’re getting.  Otherwise, how will you know if it’s worth it?

Marriott unveiled the new Marriott Bonvoy rewards program and made changes to more than just the name.  If you travel a lot, even small changes can make a big difference in how you’re rewarded.

But for the occasional leisure traveler, you’re probably better off deal hunting or taking advantage of limited-time promotions.  So if you want to stay in the loop for the latest travel deals and discounts, then subscribe to our newsletter.

Here’s what to know about Marriott Bonvoy elite status.

Marriott Bonvoy Elite Status has changed this year, but Marriott points are still the best hotel points to transfer to airlines.

Marriott Bonvoy Elite Status Review

All hotel rewards programs function basically the same way.  You stay with the hotel and they give you points, which can be redeemed for free nights and other (usually less valuable) rewards.  They’ll also reward you with elite status and the more you stay, the higher the level of status you’ll earn.  The perks associated with each elite status level vary.

The biggest catch for any hotel loyalty program is that you’ll almost always need to book direct in order to earn points and elite status credit for your stay.  So if you book through a 3rd party site like Expedia or Hotels.com, then no points for you!  Also, in order to take advantage of your elite status benefits, you’ll need to book directly with the hotel.

There are tradeoffs depending on how you book, and you’ll have to decide if staying loyal to one hotel chain is worth it for you.

How to Earn Marriott Bonvoy Elite Status

Marriott Bonvoy is divided into 6 different status levels.  You start off at the Member level when you sign up, which gets you access to member-only rates, mobile check-in, and free WiFi.

To earn higher elite status you’ll need to meet the following requirements in a calendar year:

  • Silver Elite – Stay 10 nights
  • Gold Elite – Stay 25 nights
  • Platinum Elite – Stay 50 nights
  • Titanium Elite – Stay 75 nights
  • Ambassador Elite – Stay 100 nights & make $20,000+ in qualifying purchases

Once you earn an elite status level it will be valid for the rest of the calendar year you’ve earned it, and an additional 14 months after that.  So if you earn Gold status in 2019, it will be valid until February 2021!

You can also earn lifetime elite status by meeting these requirements:

  • Lifetime Silver Elite – 250 lifetime nights + 5 years of elite status
  • Lifetime Gold Elite – 400 lifetime nights + 7 years of Gold elite status or higher
  • Lifetime Platinum Elite – 600 lifetime nights + 10 years of Platinum elite status

You’ll earn elite night credits for award nights and eligible cash or points + cash rates.  You can also earn elite night credit for hosting meetings or events at Marriott hotels.

One way to fast track Marriott Bonvoy elite status is by opening a Marriott credit card.  For example, you’ll earn automatic Silver status and 15 elite night credits each calendar year with these cards:

If you happen to have more than one Marriott credit card the 15 elite night credits won’t stack.  So you won’t get 30 elite night credits if you have both of those cards.  Also, with both the Marriott Bonvoy Boundless and the AMEX Marriott Bonvoy Business cards you can earn Gold status after spending $35,000+ with your card on eligible purchases in a calendar year.

If you have the Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant™ American Express® Card you’ll also get 15 elite night credits per calendar year, and the card comes with automatic Gold status.  And you can earn Platinum status if you spend $75,000+ with the card in eligible purchases in a calendar year.

You’ll also get complimentary Marriott Gold status with these AMEX cards:

Marriott Bonvoy Elite Status Perks

As you climb the elite status ladder, at each new level, you’ll get the same perks as the previous level plus extra benefits.  Remember, as a general member you’ll receive free WiFi, member-only rates, and access to mobile check-in.

In order to take advantage of these perks, you’ll need to book directly with Marriott (online, mobile or phone).  And for eligible hotel purchases you’ll earn 5 to 10 Marriott points per $1 depending on the brand you’re staying with.

Bonvoy Silver Elite Perks

  • 10% bonus points on eligible hotel purchases
  • Priority late checkout (when available)
  • Dedicated elite reservation line

Bonvoy Gold Elite Perks

  • 25% bonus points on eligible hotel purchases
  • Free enhanced internet
  • 2 PM late check-out (when available)
  • Upgrade to enhanced rooms (when available)
  • Welcome gift of 250 or 500 Marriott points depending on the brand

Bonvoy Platinum Elite Perks

As a Platinum Elite, you’ll get all of the Bonvoy Gold elite status perks plus:

  • 50% bonus points on eligible hotel purchases
  • 4 PM late check-out (when available)
  • Welcome gift of either points, breakfast, or an amenity, depending on the hotel
  • Lounge Access (if there is one)
  • Room upgrade, including suites (when available)

Once you’ve earned 50 elite night credits in a calendar year you’ll get an Annual Choice Gift of one of the following:

  • 5 Suite Night Awards
  • 5 elite night credits
  • $100 charity donation
  • 40% off a Marriott mattress purchase
  • Gift Silver elite status to someone else

One thing to note is that the Annual Choice Gift is awarded after you earn 50 elite night credits.  It doesn’t come automatically with Platinum elite status.  So it’s not something you’ll get if you earn Platinum elite through credit card spending.

But the 15 elite night credits you earn by having a Marriott credit card will count toward the 50 elite night credit requirement.

Bonvoy Titanium Elite Perks

As a Titanium Elite, you’ll get all of the Bonvoy Platinum elite status perks plus:

  • 75% bonus points on eligible hotel purchases
  • 48-hour room guarantee
  • United Premier Silver status through RewardsPlus

Once you’ve earned 75 elite night credits in a calendar year, you get one of the following as a 2nd Annual Choice Benefit:

  • 5 Suite Night Awards
  • 1 Free night award (worth up to 40,000 points)
  • 5 elite night credits
  • Gift Gold status to someone else
  • $100 charity donation
  • 40% off a Marriott mattress purchase

Ambassador Elite Perks

  • Your24 – choose your check-in & check-out times to cover any 24-hour period during your stay.  So if you check-in at 6 PM you can check-out at 6 PM.
  • Ambassador service – get your own personal assistant

Is Marriott Bonvoy Elite Status Worth It?

Marriott has undergone a lot of changes recently with the completion of the merger with Starwood and the transition to Marriott Bonvoy.  As with any change, there are a lot of people upset with the fact that things aren’t the way they used to be.  And there are certain perks that have been devalued.  But rather than lament what we had, it’s better to consider what we currently have.

Personally, I think the most valuable hotel elite status perk is breakfast and/or lounge access.  Complimentary upgrades are great too, but getting a meaningful upgrade can be hit or miss.

Under the new Marriott Bonvoy program, you’ll need Platinum status to get lounge access or free breakfast.  That means you’ll have to stay either 50 nights or put a whole lot of spending on a Marriott credit card.  Getting Platinum status is a bit easier once you factor in the 15 elite night credits you get for holding a Marriott card, but you’ll still need another 35 nights a year.  If you’re looking for hotel status with free breakfast, the easiest route is with Hilton Gold status.

That said, Marriott points are much more useful than Hilton points because they transfer to dozens of different airlines.  And some of those airline miles, like Alaska Airlines and Japan Airlines, are very valuable and hard to earn.  So climbing the elite status ladder and earning extra bonus points on your spending can pay dividends.  If you’re interested in learning more about Marriott transfers, be sure to check out this post:  Why Marriott Points Are the Best Hotel Points to Earn for Award Flights.

What do you think?  Is Marriott status worth earning over say Hilton or Hyatt status?

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For rates and fees of the Marriott Bonvoy Business Card, click here

For the rates and fees of the Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant™ American Express® Card, please click here.

For rates and fees of the The Platinum Card® from American Express, click here

For the rates and fees of the The Business Platinum® Card from American Express, please click here.

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Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant™ American Express® Card

Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant™ American Express® Card

  • Earn 75,000 bonus Marriott Bonvoy points after you use your new Card to make $3,000 in purchases within the first 3 months.
  • Enjoy up to $300 in statement credits each year of Card Membership for eligible purchases at participating Marriott Bonvoy hotels.
  • Earn 6 Marriott Bonvoy points for each dollar of eligible purchases at participating Marriott Bonvoy hotels. 3 points at U.S. restaurants and on flights booked directly with airlines. 2 points on all other eligible purchases.
  • Receive 1 Free Night Award every year after your Card account anniversary. Award can be used for one night (redemption level at or under 50,000 Marriott Bonvoy points) at a participating hotel. Certain hotels have resort fees.
  • Enjoy unlimited airport lounge visits when you enroll in Priority Pass™ Select membership.
  • No Foreign Transaction Fees.
  • $450 annual fee.
  • Terms Apply.
  • See Rates & Fees

More Info

Editorial Note: We're the Million Mile Secrets team. And we're proud of our content, opinions and analysis, and of our reader's comments. These haven’t been reviewed, approved or endorsed by any of the airlines, hotels, or credit card issuers which we often write about. And that’s just how we like it! :)

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Hi Andrew,

I´ve used Marriott for my personal and business trips. I have earned titanium elite status; however, that is worth nothing. My last stay left a sour taste. Just like Milan I’m switching to Hilton.

The points required to book even a night have gone up 2 or 3x over the last two years.. and they’ve gotten away from the Marriott experience. Example: the AC Hotel. The cheapness of a TPS, but without the value. 250 a night, paper thin walls, obnoxious grandpa cologne smells everywhere, and a lackluster salami and cheese breakfast for 15 dollars. A 7 year platinum member, and now I’m moving to Hilton, because they focus on their customers.

After 10 years of loyalty to Marriott, I finally had enough. The customer service has gone down the tubes. Takes weeks to get answered via email if at all. Now I see that my Lifetime Platinum status is actually the equivalent of the old Marriott Gold level. Horrible move for people that spent years bringing in revenue that allowed Marriott to become what it is today.

Hi Milan,

Sorry to hear about your experience. It’s never a good feeling when you’ve shown such long term loyalty and be treated that way.

I’m more of a Hyatt person, so I don’t have any firsthand experiences with Marriott, but I’m hoping your experiences are more of an outlier (hopefully)!

I´ve used Marriott for my personal and business trips. I have earned titanium elite status; however, that is worth nothing. My last stay left a sour taste. Just like Milan I’m switching to Hilton.

Hello, I’m new to the Marriott Bonvoy program. Plan on opening the Brilliant card. Question: Do the 15 night credit also count towards lifetime elite status? Thanks.

Author

Yes, they will count toward lifetime status.

Platinum mbr – on 1/30/19. Marriott sent me an email that promisedYour Annual Choice Benefit, Five Elite Night Credits, is confirmed.

We will credit your account with five Elite Night Credits in the next 48 hours. When I called Marriott to inquire as to when I would see them on my current balance, they informed me those 5 night credits had been applied to 2018 balance. They were very rude and said read the terms and conditions! My response: Learn how to write better emails that explain those five nights would be added to last year’s balance.

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