Marriott has made it much easier this year to keep your elite status or reach next level status. In addition to extending everyone’s current elite status into 2021, Marriott has added bonus elite nights to our accounts. If you earned status in 2019 for the year 2020 (or got status for free from a credit card, lifetime status, or other means), then Marriott should have added elite nights to your account according to this formula:
|Status earned in 2019 for year 2020
||Regular requirement||50% elite night credits deposited in late July|
|Ambassador||100 nights + $20K spend||50 nights|
|Titanium||75 nights||38 nights|
|Platinum||50 nights||25 nights|
|Gold||25 nights||13 nights|
|Silver||10 nights||5 nights|
I suspect that many readers received 13 nights due to having Marriott Gold status. The reason I think that many readers have Gold status is that it’s super easy to get to Gold status through credit cards:
- Amex Bonvoy Brilliant offers automatic Gold status.
- Chase Ritz Card offers automatic Gold status.
- Amex Platinum and Business Platinum cards offer free Gold status to primary cardholders and authorized users. You must enroll in this benefit. See: Your Platinum card arrived. Here’s what to do next…
- Those with both a Marriott consumer credit card and a Marriott business credit card automatically get 30 elite nights per year (15 from having one or more consumer cards plus 15 from having one or more business cards). 30 elite nights is enough to get Gold status automatically each year.
43 elite nights with no stays
Those who were gifted 13 elite nights due to having Gold status may have (or may be able to get) 43 elite nights without staying in a Marriott hotel. Anyone with both a consumer and business Marriott card should be in that position: 15 elite nights from consumer card + 15 elite nights from business card + 13 promo elite nights = 43 elite nights.
If you don’t already have 30 elite nights from credit cards, you may still be able to get there by signing up for a credit card or two (Please note: I’m not suggesting that this is a good idea, I’m just listing what is possible)…
Consumer cards available for new signups
If you don’t already have a Marriott consumer card, you can sign up for any one of these to get 15 elite nights added to your account (note that signing up for more than one consumer card will not result in more than 15 elite nights):
|Card Offer and Details|
Business card available for new signups
If you don’t already have a Marriott business card, you can sign up for this card to get 15 elite nights added to your account:
|Card Offer and Details|
7 nights to Platinum
|Elite Status Level||Requirements Per Year||Key Benefits|
|Silver Elite||10 Nights||Late checkout, 10% point bonus|
|Gold Elite||25 Nights||2PM late checkout; 25% point bonus; welcome gift (points only); room upgrade; enhanced internet|
|Platinum Elite||50 Nights||4PM late checkout; 50% point bonus; welcome gift w/ breakfast option; room upgrade includes suites; lounge access; Choice benefit (such as 5 suite night awards) when you achieve 50 nights.|
|Titanium Elite||75 Nights||All of the above, plus: 75% point bonus; United Silver Premier status via RewardsPlus; Ritz-Carlton suite upgrades; Additional Choice Benefit (such as 40K free night certificate) when you achieve 75 nights.|
|Ambassador Elite||100 Nights + $23K Spend (starting 2023)||All of the above, plus: Ambassador Service (dedicated Marriott agent); Your24 (Choose the 24 hours of your stay. For example, choose to check in at 9am after an overnight flight).|
In my opinion, Marriott’s Platinum status is quite valuable whereas Gold status is not. The question that I think many people are now facing is whether it is worth going out of one’s way to earn 7 elite nights this year to get from Gold to Platinum. Is it worth paying for extra nights even if you don’t need a hotel stay? We call this “mattress running”.
When you reach 50 elite nights, you’ll earn Platinum elite status plus a Choice Benefit selection. I suspect that most will choose to take the 5 Suite Night Awards which can be used to increase your chances of a suite upgrade on a stay.
The Platinum elite benefits that I value the most are:
- Free breakfast and/or lounge access at most (but not all) properties
- 4PM late checkout
- Free room upgrades, including to suites
How valuable is Platinum to you?
Before broaching the question of whether it’s worth going out of one’s way to earning 7 elite nights to reach Platinum status, I think it’s important to decide how valuable that status is to you. If you had an option to buy Platinum status (plus a 50 night Choice Benefit selection) for the year 2021, how much would you pay?
The answer should be a combination of how much you value things like suite upgrades and how often you’re likely to stay at the Marriott hotels that offer these perks. If you don’t think you’ll stay at Marriott hotels at all or you’ll only stay at low tier properties that already offer things like free breakfast to everyone, then your answer should be obvious: it’s not worth anything to you. On the other hand, if you’re planning one or more trips and are likely to stay at high end Marriott properties, having Platinum status may be worth a lot.
Suppose you and a partner are likely to spend 10 nights in Marriott hotels next year in properties where elite perks matter. In that case, you might estimate how much you’d pay like this:
- Free breakfast for two for 10 mornings: Maybe you’d be willing to prepay $10 per person, so that comes to $10 x 2 x 10 = $200.
- 4PM Late Checkout: Maybe that will matter one time? If so, maybe you’d be willing to prepay $25 for that benefit.
- Free room upgrades, including to suites: In general, these are great when it works out but personally I wouldn’t necessarily recommend paying much extra for the chance of good upgrades. Let’s go low on this one: $25.
- Choice benefit selection: The best bet is probably to pick 5 Suite Night Awards. This gives you a better chance of landing in a suite for up to 5 of your 10 nights in Marriott hotels in 2021. In some cases this can be extremely valuable. Other times, not so much. Let’s say that you have a 5 night stay planned where an upgrade is very important. In that case, it might be worth paying $200 or more to increase your chances of a great upgrade. $200.
- Total you might be willing to pay for these perks in this example: $450
In the above example, you can see that it may be worth paying up to $450 to secure Platinum status for next year. Each person should make their own estimates.
What if you prefer to pay points instead of cash? Let’s take the Reasonable Redemption Value (RRV) of Marriott points, which is currently 0.72 cents per point. We can then turn the cash estimate into a points estimate:
- $450 = 45,000 cents
- 45,000 cents / 0.72 cents per point = 62,500 points.
In this hypothetical example, you might be willing to spend up to $450 or up to 62,500 points to reach Platinum status.
Earning nights with cash
Based on your own estimates of what you’d be willing to pay, you can calculate how much you’d be willing to pay per night to earn your 7 nights through mattress runs. For example, if you estimate that you’re willing to spend $450 for Platinum status, then you would need to find hotels that cost no more than $450 / 7 = $64 per night after taxes. Note that you do need to check into the hotel to earn the elite nights.
The trick is to find the cheapest 7 nights possible. Search Marriott.com and make sure to try different combinations:
- Weekends vs. Weekdays. Some hotels are much less expensive on weekends. Others are much less expensive on weekdays.
- Vary the season. Some hotels are much cheaper in the summer. Others are cheaper in the winter.
- Try discounts. Make sure to re-run your searches with these various “special rates” available through Marriott.com (sometimes these make a huge difference!):
- AAA / CAA
- Senior Discount
- Government & Military (note that public school teachers may qualify for the local or state government rate)
- Corporate code: the company you work for may have their own corporate code that may offer terrific rates.
If you find that a property is cheaper on certain days of the week, it may make sense to book separate stays over a number of weeks in order to keep the price as low as possible.
Earning nights with points
Based on your point estimates above, you can calculate how many points you’d be willing to spend per night on a hotel that you plan to check into even if you don’t plan to stay overnight (e.g. you check in only to earn the elite nights). Since Marriott offers 5th Night Free awards, you would only have to pay for 6 nights with points: 62,500 / 6 = 10,417 points per night.
Is that workable? Take a look at Marriott’s award chart:
Ignore the PointSavers column for now since those rates are unpredictable. As you can see, category 1 hotels are available for as few as 5,000 points per night and category 2 hotels are as low as 10,000 points per night.
If you have easy access to a category 1 hotel with off-peak pricing, you could earn 7 elite nights for only 5,000 x 6 (thanks to 5th Night Free) = 30,000 points. A category 2 off-peak hotel would cost a total of 60,000 points. If the best you could find is a category 2 hotel at standard rates, then 7 nights would cost 12,500 x 6 = 75,000 points. That’s more than we estimated in the example above, but it’s not necessarily an unreasonable price to pay depending upon how much you value Platinum status.
Player 2 with 43 nights
In my case, I had earned 75 night Titanium status last year and so I was given 38 bonus elite nights this year. Combined with a few Marriott stays in January and February, that put me well over Titanium again. That’s super cool for me. My wife, though, is in exactly the situation described above. She has both consumer and business Marriott cards and so she started with 30 elite nights and was just given 13 more bonus elite nights. She is now 7 elite nights away from Platinum status. Should we mattress run to get her to Platinum?
Given that I have a higher level of status, there are only a few reasons that I can think of where it would make sense for my wife to spend more to achieve Platinum status:
- If she’ll be traveling on her own and staying at Marriott hotels, then it would be nice if she had Platinum status. I don’t think this is likely. Plus, we’ve had decent luck in the past with putting my Marriott number on her reservations for travel within the US. This didn’t work in Toronto though.
- If she gets Platinum status, then the two free night certificates that come with her credit cards will be a little bit more valuable since we’ll get Platinum elite benefits during those stays.
- If we expect that we’ll need more Suite Night Awards, then it might be useful for her to reach 50 nights. I’m pretty sure though that we won’t need more.
Thanks to Marriott’s bonus elite night promotion, many people have (or can get) 43 elite nights this year without stepping into a hotel. 43 nights is tantalizingly close to the 50 elite nights needed for Platinum Elite status. Those who think they are likely to visit Marriott hotels a decent amount next year, may get a lot of value from that status. If that’s the case, it may make sense to mattress run your way to Platinum. That is, even if you don’t need the hotel stays, you would book and pay for 7 nights in order to make it to Platinum. Those nights could be booked with cash or with points. As long as you book directly with Marriott, the nights will count as elite qualifying nights.
Even if you plan to mattress run your way to Platinum status, I recommend waiting. You might find that something comes up where you actually want or need to stay in a hotel. It would be much better to spend your cash or points on a stay that you actually need. Also, it’s possible that Marriott will run additional promotions such as offering double elite nights or huge discounts. Either way, by watching for these deals you may be able to earn 7 elite nights for far less.
Does anyone know how quickly the 15 elite nights actually post after opening a new Amex Bonvoy card? The T & C’s say within 60 days, but if I open a new card on 12/18 will the nights post in time for me to count them to the 50 I need for 2020, or will I just get them for 2021?
[…] Are you close to earning Marriott Platinum or Titanium status? Many people are very close, even if they didn’t stay in Marriott hotels at all this year because Marriott added bonus elite nights to many accounts. I covered this topic in-depth previously here: Marriott Bonvoy: 7 nights to Platinum. What to do? […]
[…] A second thing to note is that only paid stays are valid for this promotion, not award stays. That’s a little bit of a shame because if you could book a one night award stay at an off-peak category 1 property, getting 2,500 points back would be an excellent way to rack up elite nights cheaply, especially if you only need a handful of nights. […]
[…] My first thought is for those folks who lament the Hilton program by saying, “If everyone is elite, nobody is elite”. Marriott certainly seems to be doing everything it can to swell the ranks of elite status this year. Between giving everyone credit for half the elite nights required for the status they earned last year and some good targeted offers, we’ve previously asked if it might be worth mattress running Marriott elite status. […]
Sorry, being late to this thread. I am currently Gold with 45 nights (30 from business and personal CC, 13 from COVID, and 2 actual stays in 2020). If I did reach 50 nights giving me Platinum, when would my status last until? Assuming Marriott does not offer another status extension, am I correct that any status earned in 2020 will expire at the end of February 2022? Thanks
Would that then count as 3 years towards lifetime plat status? Or just 2?.. Or just 1? In same situation as above poster.
Good question. I don’t know.
[…] it’s great to see a gift card promotion return. This might make a difference for some considering mattress runs for Platinum or those who are starting to consider travel again this year or whoa re making plans for […]
Hope this isn’t stupid question but I am current Platinum member for 2020 so understand Marriott will in any case extend my status to end of 2021. They have posted the bonus nights aswell so I am currently at 43 for this year – I’m struggling to understand what the point is making another stays this year is as my platinum status will already be extended or will doing so gain my platinum through end of 2022?
Mostly to get the choice benefit – most would choose the 5 Suite Night Awards.
For the people that aren’t close ie. thinking about applying for 1-2 CCs and also mattress running 7 nights to hit Platinum, at a certain point, wouldn’t it make more sense to just get the Hilton Aspire and be done with it? Granted Hilton hands out Diamond status like candy, I can’t imagine there are more Hilton Diamond members than Marriott Platinum in the world.
Being Platinum myself (and Hyatt Globalist/Hilton Gold), I never felt that Platinum gets me anything special. I feel like I get treated about the same as Marriott Platinum as I do as Hilton Gold: Free breakfast and some benefits here and there but there’s always going to people with higher status staying there on the same day. Given [Insert Aspirational Marriott Here], what are the chances that there will be a complimentary suite upgrade leftover after all the Titanium and Ambassadors got theirs?
Every situation varies but I would recommend realistically considering what Platinum and the 50 night choice benefit gets you before you invest your time and money. Some of my colleagues say they notice a bigger difference at Titanium level so maybe while the written benefits of Plat to Titanium are negligible, being able to distance yourself from all the Platinums is something worth striving for.
@petersfo thanks for the comment! Already Hilton diamond… problem is there are lots more Marriott properties out there.
Haven’t *really* seen this question answered yet…kinda sidestepped it above, so anyways here i go. If someone just got 13 nights (amex plat), but doesn’t currently hold any Marriott cards, is it worth signing up for a Marriott personal and a biz card to get to 43… then staying 7 nights to make platinum status? Plat status would be useful for the breakfast benefit (big family), and let’s just say in normal times the family stays at Marriott properties about 2 weeks a year.
I have a question about when to trigger the platinum and titanium benefits. I have been platinum for years and about 3 weeks ago I got to 50 nights again. Almost immediately Marriott sent an E-Mail telling me to select a benefit. This week Marriott credited the 25 nights which got me to titanium and Marriott again sent me an e-mail telling me to select my Second Annual Choice Benefit. So I am going to select the 5 night suite platinum benefit and the extra night titanium benefit but my question is when should I make the selection. If I make it now are the awards only good through 7/21 or is it year end 21?
The awards are good until the end of next year regardless of when you pick them
I needed five nights and I just couldn’t’t see forcing the stays “mattress runs”. But then I found something that I did want and will give me the five needed nights. I rented a house through Marriotts in Tahoe. With everything going on a trip and stay in a hotel wasn’t appealing, but a house by the Lake with family sounded exciting. I am sure there are desirable places to do the same all across the country.
I have 35 nights with the 13 added to my account this week. I would get to 50 if I can get the Bonvoy Business card, but I’m not sure if I should:
What do you guys think?
Personally I’d go for it. $125 isn’t too much to spend to get Platinum status IMO
Hi Greg, I need your advise.
My wife lost her Platinum status (form 2018 Ritz CC) in March. So she is Gold now and got 13 bonus nights for that plus 15 for having Ritz card.
I have 7 nights certificate and we will try to use it by the end of the year as it expires in February 2021. If we would add her membership to my reservation would it added those 7 nights to her account? (totaling 35 nights). Is there any way to switch my cert to her account? If yes she would applied for Marriott Bonvoy Business to reach 50 nights (no bonus as she had SPG business in the past) but well worth to spend $125 AF to get back Platinum status till 2022?
I’ve never had any luck in getting a free night certificate stay to get credited to a different account, so I think that you’ll have the same problem with the 7 night certificate. You can try upon check-in to ask them to change the reservation to her Bonvoy number. But when I did that once (from my wife’s free night), I still didn’t get credit for the night.
Nice post, Greg.
I’m at 30 days and I’m striving for 75 days, so that I can be Titanium for a special trip planned for January
I’m moving into a Residence Inn when I’m between apartments, so I think I have a decent chance to get to 75, but I could use the bump that comes with having a business credit card.
Greg – I have three personal Amex cards and one business credit card (Blue Biz). In light of the current Amex card limit, do you think I can product change the Blue Biz for a Marriott Biz card? I assume I won’t be eligible for a signup bonus, but I should get the 1 night voucher, right?
I was under impression that current Amex credit card limit is 5. Is that not the case anymore? If it is 5, you should be able to get Marriott Biz.
It’s been reduced to four – perhaps temporarily – per this post:
Be the data point you seek! … I applied and was approved for my fifth card.
FWIW – High credit score and long time Amex member.
Just checking: all 5 are credit cards and none are charge cards?
I don’t think Amex lets you cross brands when product changing.
I am sitting at Silver but now only 5 nights from Gold thanks to 15 from an Amex, 5 from Marriott. I have a 7 night stay booked as part of Category 1-4 package from Dec 26 to Jan 1st. Will I get 7 nights when I check out on Jan 1st and get Gold status or do I have to check out on Dec 31st to get the 2020 status valid till Feb 2021?
You should get 7 nights when checking out on Jan 1 and they’ll apply to your 2020 total.
Does Marriott differentiate between chase and amex cards? I have Ritz and I have amex business bonvoy, so I did get my 30k. I suppose there’s not much else I can open or downgrade my Ritz to anything to get additional nights?
No they don’t differentiate between them. You can’t get additional nights from holding a credit card. The Max is 30: 15 from one or more consumer cards and 15 from one or more business cards.
Thanks for the response Greg.
I am sitting at Silver but now only 2 nights from Gold thanks to 15 from an Amex, 5 from Marriott, and 3 from stays in Feb/Mar. Quite possibly I will get to gold this year if some business travel resumes, even if just in December. But if not … I have my free cert from 2019-2020 that currently expires Jan 31 2021. And the question is if it is worth one more night (either my 2020-2021 free night cert, points, or paid) to get to Gold.
For now I am just holding out for a couple business nights to get me over that hump. If that does not pan out, then I will have to make a choice since Gold is not that great. Adding the Business card to get 15 more and only be ~10 short of Platinum … yeah I do not see that happening without a significant uptick in likely business travel the rest of the year.
That’s a tough call! Normally I’d say to forget about it since Gold isn’t worth much. On the other hand it sounds like maybe you travel to Marriott hotels quite a bit for business? If so, it might be worth mattress running one night in order to get extra points for your stays: welcome gift + 25% bonus on points (vs 10% with Silver)
Greg, Lifetime Gold here. I’m not sure I’d say that Gold isn’t worth much. Over the years, on several occasions, I’ve been given free breakfast as a “welcome gift” (this happened a couple of times on business stays in Chicago). Usually, it was when I was super nice to the desk agent and told them something like I was in no hurry to get into the room if it wasn’t ready. I’ve even asked for it once or twice and batted about .500 (as Nick says, you hit zero percent of the balls you don’t swing at…).
I just made Platinum due to the COVID promotion. So my tune may change after I try out my new found status.
I would not call it “quite a bit” … I probably average ~6 Marriott nights per “typical” year in fairly vanilla hotels (i.e. not aspirational properties). I was probably 35-40 nights in hotels for work pre-2020, many of which are not in locations that are conducive to attractive hotel loyalty options (very few Hyatt opportunities). On the personal side, when we travel as a family-of-6 we often shoot for Airbnb or Embassy Suites; the last time just the two of us went on a trip was ~6 years ago. And no family trips are planned the rest of this year, but who knows about any of it for next year.
So … ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
Got 13 nights promotional. Had Platinum last year due to Ritz card. Any chance I can get 25 promotional nights? I cancelled my Marriott business card a week before the change to permit 15 nights to stack.
It depends on when your Platinum status with the Ritz card is valid through. If it expired in March and you dropped to Gold, then 13 nights is correct.
For me the big risk is spending for a mattress run this year, when I am becoming more and more pessimistic about travel next year. The status is worthless if travel is still restricted and/or services have not been restored. Breakfast is the big platinum benefit, but lounges are shut and many hotels are not extending the benefit to the restaurant.
Right. I wouldn’t go for it if I were you then
So I have 47 nights as gold – Only 3 to go to Platinum – Does using 1 of the free night certificates from the credit card count?
I am Gold, have both Personal and Biz cards and was only given 5 nights. Should I write in about that or is it strictly YMMV?
Same for me. I called and got five different answers from a very confused agent. Then she said she escalated it to a supervisor who said it was wrong and put in a request to look into it. Then I called back again few days later and got five more different answers. Then the agent escalated it to a supervisor who said it was right because it is based on the number of actual stays not on nights earned by credit cards. In both cases the agents really had never heard of the program before and didn’t even know what I was talking about. Then I messaged Marriott on Twitter and they said they will look into it. So in other words they have no idea how the promo is supposed to work and it may be right or worng and you may or may not be entitled to more but I doubt you will get it without a struggle.
Update: Just received an email from a loyalty rep. She manually reviewed and credited me 8 additional nights.
Org: Same here. Called in first time and got a case #. Just called in and rep asked to wait a few more days. Will report back if they get this resolved.
I have 37 nights (9 stays and 28 bonus). I have an old business premier card that I don’t use, and an Amex Business Marriott. So if I open a personal Marriott – I will get 15 nights to qualify to Platinum?
Hey Greg, is this a typo?
“ In my case, I had earned 75 night Titanium status last year and so I was given 38 bonus elite nights this year. That put me well over Titanium again.” 38 bonus nights plus 30 from CCs would put you well above Platinum, but seven nights shy of Titanium. Or did you have head in bed nights earlier this year?
Not a typo. I had quite a few real nights already this year before the virus hit. I’ll update that section to make it clear.
I’m in this exact situation – thanks for information! I’m pretty new to this, and have a question about the need for checking in at the hotel (which I assume requires being there physically): Once I have arrived and checked in, can I just put the ‘do not disturb’ sign on the room door and go back home for the duration of my ‘stay’?
Again, thanks for the article and all of the other great information you and the team regularly provide.
Great question. No, I wouldn’t recommend using the do not disturb sign. The best option is to talk with the desk manager to tell them what you’re up to. Let them know that you need all 7 (or however many) nights to credit to your account and so they shouldn’t check you out until the end of the full stay. It’s probably best to call them ahead of time to avoid a wasted trip if they’re for some reason opposed to it.