Marriott is even more unpredictable than this year’s March Madness.
They launched a new promotion last month offering double elite nights on stays that included at least one paid night. You could even book 25 award nights and earn double elite night credits provided you had at least one paid night included on the same reservation (see Marriott launches easy elite status for 2021 and cheaper saver awards).
This was unlike past double elite night promotions which were only valid on paid nights, so we checked with Marriott and they assured us that this was correct – reservations with at least one paid night would earn double elite night credits (see Official word: Marriott mixed paid / award stays will earn double credit).
Nick subsequently republished a post originally written by Julian advising how to make a reservation with Marriott where you combine both paid and award and/or certificate nights (see Combining Marriott awards, certificates, and paid nights in a single booking).
It seems like a number of readers took advantage of this promotion to earn additional elite nights to lock in status through the beginning of 2023. However, it probably won’t be too shocking to you given that it’s Marriott that things haven’t exactly gone smoothly. We received report after report in the Frequent Miler Insiders Facebook group that double elite nights weren’t posting correctly.
Let’s say you booked a week-long reservation with two nights being paid and five nights being booked with points. The way the promotion should work is that you’d earn a total of 14 elite night credits for the 7 night stay because at least one night was paid. However, what was happening in this scenario is that people were being awarded 9 elite night credits – 5 elite night credits for the award nights and 2 elite night credits for the paid nights, with only the paid nights earning the doubled credits for an extra 2 nights of credits.
Greg reached out to Marriott to find out what was going on and they assured us that the correct number of elite nights would post within 14 days after an eligible stay. (See Marriott double elite nights not (yet) working as expected.)
I’ve since seen reports that stays still weren’t posting correctly, but it seems like Marriott might now have gone to the other extreme and started awarding double elite nights even when members weren’t eligible for them. #ReverseBonvoyed
The first I saw of this was in the Frequent Miler Insiders group. Austin shared that he’d received 4 elite night credits for a 2 night stay. He subsequently surmised that it was a glitch with their system when making a change with the certificates he was using, but I think his original assumption was correct – that Marriott awarded him double elite nights on an award stay.
The reason I think this is because I’ve had a chance to test this out for myself. A couple of days ago I was at 68 elite nights for the year. My wife and I just finished up a 12 night stay in Albuquerque booked entirely with points and so I expected to have my elite night total for 2021 to end up at 80 nights. Our stay didn’t include any paid nights, so I should only have received 12 elite night credits for our 12 night stay.
That didn’t happen though. Instead, I ended up with 92 elite night credits. That’s a total of 24 elite night credits earned for our 12 night stay, so Marriott clearly doubled all of them. When looking at the ‘Nights Detail’ section in my Bonvoy account, those 12 award nights are showing up as paid nights which is presumably why I earned double elite night credits.
As you can see, 50 of those 92 nights are promotional. 38 of them are due to Marriott awarding 50% elite night credits for 2021 based on your 2020 status. I earned Titanium status last year which got me a boost of 38 elite night credits, with the remaining 12 nights appearing after our 12 night award stay.
My suspicion is that after setting up this promotion to offer double elite night credits provided you book at least one paid night, Marriott’s IT team were rendered hairless after pulling it all out due to not being consulted as to their system’s capabilities. With the doubled elite nights not posting correctly when Bonvoy members booked stays with at least one paid night, I’m guessing that in recent days they decided the easiest thing was to flip a switch on their system so that all stays – regardless of how they were booked – get registered as paid stays. Award stays still wouldn’t earn points as 5x or 10x of $0 is still 0, but at least people who abided by the terms of the promotion would earn the correct number of elite night credits going forward, even if it meant ineligible stays would also earn double nights.
If my suspicion is indeed correct, that bodes well for anyone who has award stays booked through April 27 (the promotion’s end date) as it’d mean you wouldn’t need to include a paid night in your reservation in order to earn the double elite nights.
I should have an additional data point in the next day or two to confirm or refute my theory. A 3 night stay booked using free night certificates on my account just ended, so those elite nights should post to my account in the next 24-48 hours. If that stay earns 6 elite nights, it would support my theory that all elite night credits are now being doubled.
Have you checked out of an award stay with Marriott in the last few days? If so, have you earned double elite night credits too? Let us know in the comments below.