(EXPIRED) Return of the Marriott Platinum status challenge

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Last night, Greg wrote about the updated program terms for Marriott Rewards (See: Marriott publishes the new rules re: point transfers, suite upgrades, etc.. (finally!)), and there were some positives for Platinum elites: from reservation guarantees to suite upgrades when available (and benefits we already knew about like breakfast at resorts and 4pm late checkout), Platinum status is looking great. There had long been a Marriott Platinum status challenge available, but it got shut down ahead of the merger (presumably to keep the IT easier to manage in migrating people….seems like that’s gone swimmingly). Good news: the Marriott Platinum status challenge is back.

The Deal

  • You can now registter for a Marriott status challenge to earn elite status faster based on the following number of nights:
    • 8 nights in 90 days = Gold Status
    • 16 nights in 90 days = Platinum Status
  • To register, call Marriott Rewards, at 801-468-4000, or SPG, at 888-625-4988. Be aware not all agents are aware of this promo. See more below.

Key Terms

  • There is confusion as to whether or not award stays count. Most phone agents say no, some say yes, apparently a Marriott rep on the Chinese version of FlyerTalk says yes. My bet would be no, but I’d love to be wrong.
  • Reports are mixed as to whether stays must be within 90 days or by 12/31.
  • TPG reports that you can only register once every 3 years
  • No current status required to register (though you may have to HUCA a few times to find an agent who knows this)

Quick Thoughts

The fact that phone agents are under-informed about this promotion is surprising (said no one who has dealt with Marriott customer service post-merger). Reports indicate that information is all over the map, but View from the Wing reported this matching opportunity last night and both TPG  and God Save the Points appear to have received information directly from Marriott on this. The key details from all sources match: you can take Marriott up on a 90-day status challenge that requires 16 nights in 90 days for Platinum status.

Beyond that, it gets murky. Reports on Flyertalk indicate that a Marriott rep on a Chinese Flyertalk-like site has confirmed that award stays count, though reports from those who have spoken to agents are mixed on this point. I believe that past challenges have always required paid nights (while award stays do count toward status, challenges usually require revenue nights) and based on that I would expect paid stays to be required here.

With Platinum status, you should be able to get upgraded to the best available room, including suites — like the Dorothy Parker Suite at the Algonquin Hotel in NYC.

That said, if award stays do count, that could be particularly interesting for folks with 7-night travel package certificates. Two 7-night certificates would get you pretty close to completing the challenge, and surely many readers are sitting on two or more certificates.

Keep in mind that TPG’s report says that Marriott will allow a challenge like this once every 3 years. I take that to mean that those who have previously completed a challenge in the past 3 years may not be eligible — and if you accept the challenge now, you won’t be eligible again for 3 years.

Also remember that not all agents are going to know about the challenge or understand it properly. If you call within the next few days few weeks few months, expect that you will likely need to HUCA (Hang Up, Call Again) in order to get on with an agent who knows all of the details. Even then, I wouldn’t take anyone’s word for it as to whether or not things like award stays count until reports start trickling in from people who have tried it. I imagine there will be mass confusion among agents between those who know prior challenges required paid stays those who look to the program terms to see that award nights generally count for status and those 3 agents who have apparently been trained about how this should actually work. At least one report said that you should call the Starwood line, but I think it’s anybody’s guess.

Still, with the suite of benefits for Platinum members, this could certainly be worthwhile if you have nights coming up within a 90 days cluster.

H/T: View from the Wing

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