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If you’ve found yourself in position where you’ll be falling just shy of earning the next tier of Marriott Bonvoy elite status there are a handful of strategies you could use to get yourself over the hump. You could try to find cheap rooms nearby and book a mattress run just to earn elite night credits, but this gets expensive if you need more than a few nights.
Alternatively, you’ll earn elite credit on Marriott award stays and off-peak category one properties only cost 5,000 Marriott points a night. You could take advantage of Marriott’s “Stay for 5, pay for 4” (one of the best ways to use Marriott points) and get five elite night credits for only 20,000 points. If you can find a category 1 PointSavers hotel you could do this for as little as 16,000 points, but that’s a rare opportunity.
The easiest way to secure 10 elite night credits is by booking your first meeting at a participating Marriott.
10 Marriott elite night credits for $100 + taxes
With most Marriott credit cards you’ll get 15 elite night credits every year just for having the card, so using this trick could be a quick way to get to Gold status, which requires 25 nights in a year. But Gold status isn’t that valuable, you’ll get the best benefits at 50 nights (Platinum status) including free breakfast and choice benefit (five suite night awards or five elite night credits, among other choices). You’ll also get additional perks at 75 nights (Titanium status) and 100 nights + $20,000 spent with Marriott annually will earn you Ambassador status.
Considering that you can get Marriott Gold status just by having The Platinum Card® from American Express or Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant™ American Express® Card this option makes the most sense to take advantage of if you can use it to hit 50 or 75 nights.
You can earn 10 bonus elite night credits for booking your first Marriott meeting and some hotels even allow you to do this easily online. However, the following hotels don’t participate in this program:
- Marriott Executive Apartments®
- Residence Inn®
- TownePlace Suites®
- Design Hotels™
- Bulgari Hotels & Resorts
- The Ritz-Carlton Reserve®
How to book a Marriott meeting online
This first thing you’ll need to to do is head to the Marriott event planning page.
Enter your search info
When you’re searching, remember that not every hotel will have meeting spaces and even if it does you won’t necessarily be able to reserve them online. So you might need to search around a bit. You should have better luck searching business oriented hotels (more meeting rooms) on weekend dates and entering “0” for the number of guest rooms will allow you to reserve a meeting room without an overnight stay.
Find the cheapest price
Next look for the cheapest price, which can be as low as $200. Keep in mind, you’ll need to show up to the hotel, so you’ll want to also find a convenient location.
Knock 50% off your booking at checkout
During checkout you can select the time for your meeting. The price of the room I selected dropped to $100 when I reduced my meeting length to 2 hours or less.
These meetings are also subject to taxes and fees, so keep an eye on those. Here are the taxes for this booking:
It looks like you’d be on the hook for an additional $22 in “mandatory” fees, but if you’re not using any AV equipment or food and beverage services I’d imagine you might be able to negotiate these fees down. Even if those fees stick, paying a bit over $12 per elite night credit is one of the cheapest ways to earn them quickly.
Other ways to earn points and status
- Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant™ American Express® Card – Comes with Gold status as long as you have the card, 15 elite night credits annually and you can earn Platinum status after spending $75,000+ on the card in a calendar year
- Marriott Bonvoy Boundless™ Credit Card – Comes with Silver status as long as you have the card, 15 elite night credits annually and you can earn Gold status after spending $35,000+ on the card in a calendar year
- Marriott Bonvoy Business™ American Express® Card – Comes with Silver status as long as you have the card, 15 elite night credits annually and you can earn Gold status after spending $35,000+ on the card in a calendar year
- Marriott Bonvoy Bold™ Credit Card – Comes with Silver status as long as you have the card, 15 elite night credits annually
If you’re just short of hitting 50 or 75 elite nights with Marriott you can earn 10 elite night credits just for booking your first meeting of the year with Marriott. This can cost as little as $100 + taxes and fees. Be sure to book a hotel you can actually visit because if you don’t show up you could be on the hook for cancellation penalties and also potentially not earn the bonus credits.
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Featured photo by zhu difeng/Shutterstock.