Easy Marriott Elite Status


a bottle of champagne and two glasses in a roomMarriott Platinum status can be yours with as few as 10 nights spend in Marriott hotels this year. This week, we discuss how to bridge the gap to get yourself to the 50 or 75 night thresholds to score Marriott Platinum or Titanium status without much effort or many nights on the road.  If you prefer to read about easy ways to get Marriott elite status, see: Shortcuts to Marriott Elite status.

Elsewhere on the blog this week, we wrapped up our Party of 5 Challenge. I’m sure that there will be more posts forthcoming with reviews and tips from experience we ran, but the winner is in and the summaries are out. Watch, listen, or read on for more from this week at Frequent Miler.

Podcast: Easy Marriott elite status

00:00 Intro
00:45 Giant Mailbag: The Bilt card’s hidden bonus
03:28 Lessons learned from traveling as a group of 5 
Card Talk: Marriott Bonvoy Boundless card
20:20 Award Talk: Booking an IHG free night with a certificate when there is no points availability
24:35 Mattress Running the Numbers: New Hilton offers include a free night certificate for a limited time
31:50 Main Event: Easy Marriott Elite Status
1:03:06 Question of the week: Can you cover travel insurance given your recent loss?

If you prefer to read about easy ways to get Marriott elite status, see: Shortcuts to Marriott Elite status.

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This week on the blog…

And the Party of 5 winner is… (Final Answer)

Frequent Miler Party of 5 Team TYO Day 1

With this year’s Party of 5 challenge in the bag, Greg took to the readers to crowdsource inspiration to pick the winner. In my Instagram story yesterday, I wrote this: “Victory is spending two weeks with this motley crew and calling it work. On that note, I demand a rematch soon”. Hopefully readers learned something between how to find amazing Airbnbs, the best ways to master South America using miles, and more from our various bookings. Speaking of things you may have learned, see the next two posts for full summaries of each trip, including all costs.

All about the gameplay: How & why Team TYO booked their hotels, flights & activities for Party of 5

Airbnb Le Manoir des Bougainvilliers - Party of 5 living it up
Party of 5 living it up

I often say that this game isn’t about “free” travel, but rather about getting far more for the same you’d have otherwise spent or less. In Team TYO’s trip summary, you can read all about how we flew around Asia and stayed in incredible lodging and ate well without spending an unreasonable amount of money or miles. These full-blown summaries include everything you need to know in terms of costs out of pocket.

Business class for 5 to South America, four countries, five days, one helicopter: Team SFO Party of 5 recap

Mural Workshop in Buenos Aires with artist LUXOR

Looking back, I was very pleased with the fact that we were able to book a trip to South America, visiting 3 distinct places and engaging with exciting activities like a home-cooked meal in the home of locals, creating a mural that we left behind, helicoptering over Iguazu Falls and riding the rapids below them, and more while spending less than $600 per person out of pocket in addition to a reasonable number of miles and free night certificates.

Forgotten South America airline partnerships

a screenshot of a website

One of the cool takeaways for me from our recent trip to South America was how much I need to brush up on my knowledge of airline partnerships for travel to this region. While I’ve got a pretty solid handle on award chart sweet spots and partnerships in other regions of the world, I hadn’t realized that Gol features Air France / KLM branding and is bookable with American Airlines, Avianca, and Air Canada Aeroplan miles. I didn’t think about how powerful Alaska Mileage Plan is for South America itineraries. Read about some of the partnerships you may have forgotten that could really enhance your next trip to the other half of the Americas.

Marriott to enhance and rename Suite Night Awards (bodacious bedroom bumps?)

a room with stairs and bed

This is a rare instance where I think that a chain announcing an “enhancement” could be good news. That’s mostly because I can’t possibly imagine anything Marriott could do to Sweet Night Awards to make them less useful — it’s pretty much all guaranteed to be improvement from where they are now. that’s not to say that they can’t be useful at all — the featured image above is from an amazing suite upgrade I got last year at the St Pancras Renaissance London last year using a Suite Night Award — but as they stand now, there is plenty of room for improvement. I’d love to see Marriott confirm these at the time of booking, but more realistically I expect that they will bump out the confirmation window to a couple of weeks and/or require hotels to upgrade you to whatever they define as a “standard” suite if that suite is available at T-5 days.

Iguazu Falls helicopter on the cheap & the best way to see Iguazu Falls

a waterfall with rocks and trees

While our trip to Iguazu Falls is covered in the summary post linked farther above, I thought I would still include this post that demonstrates how we saved a bundle on our helicopter tour of Iguazu Falls by stacking a shopping portal and coupon code (and could have stacked farther with the right card-linked offer). We paid far less than retail price and while I think the helicopter wasn’t actually our favorite way to see the falls, I’d totally do it again at the price we paid.

Reminder: IHG Free night certs sometimes work when points don’t

a group of blue and white striped chairs and tables

This is a simple tip: IHG Free Night Certificates sometimes work even when there is no availability to book with points. See the post for my recent experience with this and don’t forget to select your free night certificate from the drop-down menu of rates so you don’t miss an opportunity like this.

55K ANA First Class Suites, 45K Business Class to Chile/Argentina and fountain-view suites in Macau (Best Redemptions of Party of 5)

a group of people sitting in a chair and a television

We had some amazing redemptions during our trip over the first half of June. It’s hard to imagine one being better than getting an entire first class cabin to ourselves, complete with free-flowing Krug 2004, Hibiki 17, and ANA’s massive entertainment screens. Still, it stands among a number of other awesome redemptions that show just how far you can stretch things. I feel like we got an absolute bucket-list-worthy “dream” trip for well below the cost most people would have imagined thanks to some of these redemptions.

Centurion Lounge São Paulo Guarulhos Airport (GRU)

Centurion Lounge São Paulo Guarulhos Airport (GRU)

I have occasionally seen Amex Centurion lounges abroad, but this was my first time actually visiting one. A pleasant surprise for me (that Stephen had discovered in advance) was the fact that it is still possible to guest someone in with a Platinum cardholder, a tip that we tested successfully. While the lounge was a bit crowded, we did manage to score a table and some decent food before taking off to return to the real world at the end of the challenge.

That’s it for this week at Frequent Miler. Keep your eye out for this week’s month-ending last chance deals to be sure you grab them before the end of June.

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If the elite night credit promotions are in your favor you can luck out and reach good Marriott status with pretty minimal stays plus the credit card bonus nights.

I was able to reach Platinum status in April with only 5 paid stays and $220 in annual fees!

Last year I picked up the Chase Bonvoy Boundless card for the 5 FNC offer. That was great for some free hotel nights and to boost points earned with the occasional hotel stay for work but I didn’t think I’d pick up much else past that. Then I was one of the lucky ones targeted for the earn 10 bonus elite nights for two stays offer in December, and in January Marriott released the Earn Twice promo for double elite nights + 1K bonus points per night. By waiting to accept the 10 elite night offer until January the promo periods overlapped and the offers stacked, giving me 15 bonus elite nights + 5K points for only 5 paid nights.

At that point getting the AMEX Bonvoy Business card for 15 more elite nights looked tempting to jump to Platinum for the free breakfast and room upgrades on a stay in June. Getting the Boundless card last year meant being ineligible for the Business welcome bonus though per Greg’s chart so I was hesitant to lose out on that. Then AMEX came out with the +5X referral offer for grocery store spend… my wife has a BCP that we hadn’t spent on since we were using up the CFF 5X grocery welcome offer instead. That meant the full $6K of grocery spend at 6% was available. The timing worked out perfect – used her referral to pick up the Bonvoy Business card, earned a $175 bonus plus 11% cash back on $6K grocery spend for her card, and we got the breakfast credit for two days on a resort stay in June. Cherry on top the spend $300 get $125 credit AMEX offer for Marriott showed up on that business card and cut the meal and resort fee expenses on that stay to around $200. All told over $1000 back from picking up the Bonvoy Business card despite no welcome offer!

I really appreciate the detailed content you all have to put together here, stacking offers and card benefits to get that kind of pay off would not have happened without the posts and information on FM.

Daniel Alexander

My understanding is the easy way to find standard award availability across multiple dates is to look for max 120k then click and it should show standard room availability. Yes?
If I’m correct, you can add Hilton Moorea Lagoon to the list of NO free night certificate availability. As the lowest points looking at the full is the 270k. If wrong, I want to find how I can find availability!


Regarding your statement that IHG does not require award night availability if a standard room is available: it may be just a one time thing (I do not have status other than from my cc) but I called them as it showed the entire year as unavailable when I wanted another night in Rome. I said I was seeing standard rooms as available but no award nights. The next morning I received a call from someone at the hotel itself saying they opened up award availability and I should book my night. I did. Then I noticed the hotel went back to showing no availability. It was a very strange situation but a happy one. I guess it shows it doesn’t hurt to ask.
I really enjoy your podcast!

Last edited 10 months ago by Dale
Greg The Frequent Miler

For those who prefer to read about easy ways to get Marriott elite status, see: Shortcuts to Marriott Elite status.


I am not fan of the format of that video podcast. It’s an hour long. Just get to the topic and have a podcast that is a few minutes long. It is also a paid promotion, which is even more annoying. There are other ways to get status much easier.

  1. There is the Marriott Amex Credit Card that offers Platinum status plus an 85,0000 point coupon and 25 nights as well as a $300 dining credit divided into $25 per month and other perks. Between the 85,000 point coupon and the dining credit this could be worth more than the annual fee and then is the lounge or breakfast and/or other perks you get at the properties and then annual perks for having Platinum status.
  2. If you additionally hold a Marriott business credit card you will earn a 35,000 point certificate and 15 nights. This would take you to 40. Given that this card is $125 the hotel room of 35,000 points could be worth more, alone!

You can hold multiple business and personal cards but one business and one personal card would earn night credits. Marriott also every year offers a double nights double points promotion making it easier and to get the the remaining ten nights. 50 nights is required to maintain Platinum status, but it is important to maintain this as if you reach 10 years of Platinum status and 600 nights or more you will become a lifetime Platinum member. After this status you may wish to consider getting rid of the Amex card because you no longer need the nights, while the restaurant credit and free night coupon could make it worthwhile to hold on to still. ….

Greg The Frequent Miler

Our podcast is most definitely not a paid promotion. You know us better than that.

Marriott status is useless.   Bonvoyed repeatedly.  

The casual observer might look at the Brilliant’s $650 annual fee and regard it. But, if the sole purpose is raising a person from Platinum to Titanium, its incremental cash value would factor in:
– $300 dining credit
– value of 85k FNC from the card (low-ball ~$250)
– value of 40k FNC from the choice award (~$250)
– value of extra 2.5X on paid stays (just to pick a number ~$100)