Should I go for Marriott Titanium Elite Status?

32

I have a bit of a conundrum here. I had previously decided not to re-qualify for 75-night Marriott Titanium elite status, but circumstances have me questioning that decision.  Surprisingly, this year to-date, I’ve earned 64 qualifying Marriott nights.  That puts me 11 short of the 75 needed for Titanium status.  Should I go for it?  I have three more nights booked, plus I could take 5 qualifying nights as my 50-night Choice Benefit.  I’d then be only 3 nights short.  Should I mattress run the final 3 nights (i.e. book & check-in to a Marriott hotel for the qualifying nights even if I don’t stay)?

To be clear, I haven’t actually stayed 64 nights in Marriott hotels this year.  40 of those nights came from having credit cards: My Bonvoy Brilliant card gave me 25 qualifying nights, and my Bonvoy Business card gave me another 15 nights.  Still, I was surprised to learn that I’ve spent 24 nights at Marriott hotels this year given how much I’ve shifted my stays to Hyatt.  But there you go.  And only 6 of those nights were earned in the 3 Cards, 3 Continents Challenge.

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 + $20K Spend 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).
 

Marriott’s Titanium Elite status, which requires 75 qualifying nights per year, offers 4PM late checkout; a welcome gift breakfast option; room upgrades (including suites); and lounge access at many hotels.  But 50-night Platinum status gives you all that too and there’s no evidence that Titanium Elites are prioritized over Platinum Elites for room upgrades.  The additional benefits of reaching Titanium status are a 75% point bonus on paid stays (vs. 50% with Platinum status); United Silver Premier status via RewardsPlus; Ritz-Carlton suite upgrade possibilities (Platinum elite’s are not eligible for suite upgrades at Ritz properties); and with 75 nights you get an additional Choice Benefit (such as a 40K free night certificate or 5 Suite Night Awards).

75% point bonus: The 75% point bonus means nothing to me. I pay for Marriott stays so rarely that the additional 25% bonus over Platinum Elite results in a nearly meaningless number of additional points.  If I was a business traveler who stayed often on paid stays at Marriott hotels, my perspective on this would be very different.

United Silver Premier Status: I really like having United Silver status.  I haven’t made much use of it because I don’t fly United often, but when I do it’s nice to be able to pick preferred seats and even to get a free upgrade to First Class when flying an unpopular route & time (such as Newark to Detroit on a Sunday evening at around 10pm).

Ritz Suite Upgrades: I don’t stay at Ritz properties enough for the possibility of a suite upgrade to matter much, but when I do and when it happens, it can be really great.  The one time the stars aligned for a Ritz suite upgrade was at the Ritz-Carlton Dove Mountain Tucson, which I loved.

My suite upgrade at the Ritz Carlton Dove Mountain Tucson

Additional Choice Benefit: At 75 nights it’s possible to pick a 40K free night award.  I’ve found it easy to get well over $300 in value for these.  The next best option is to pick 5 Suite Night Awards (which can also be chosen at 50 nights).  If you value suites, the Suite Night Awards have the potential to be even more valuable, but they’re frustrating to use.  Most hotels where I want to use them don’t accept them.  And when a hotel does accept them, the upgrade process doesn’t begin until 5 days before the stay.  Sometimes the upgrades get confirmed, but sometimes they don’t.  And when an upgrade is confirmed, it seems to lock you out of the possibility of a better upgrade at check-in (at least at some hotels).

Here’s the conundrum.  I value the 40K free night more than 5 Suite Night Awards, but I do value having Suite Night Awards around for the rare circumstances where I could use them.  If I have a chance of reaching 75 nights it will be because I’ll take 5 qualifying nights as my 50-Night Choice Benefit.  That means giving up the option of 5 Suite Night Awards for my 50-Night choice.  Then, if I get to 75 nights, I could pick either 5 Suite Night Awards or a 40K free night certificate as my 75-Night Choice Benefit.  With this plan, I can’t have both.

While I struggle with deciding whether I’d rather roll the dice on Suite Night Awards or play it safe with a 40K certificate, let’s simplify things and assume that I value the two exactly the same.  If so, I can simplify the results of going for 75 Night status.  By mattress running 3 additional nights, the primary benefits are that I’ll get United Silver Premier Status and the chance to get upgraded to a suite at Ritz hotels.  Of these two, only United status has material value to me.  So is it worth booking 3 nights to keep United Silver status?  Maybe!

Could I make 3 nights more rewarding?

Marriott’s current public promotion offers up to 4,000 bonus points per stay.  That would be a pretty good rebate on 1-night stays, but the details make it less exciting:

  • Earn 2,000 bonus points per stay starting from your second stay
  • Earn an additional 2,000 bonus points per stay starting from your second stay per different hotel brand if you’re a Marriott Bonvoy credit card holder.
  • Only paid stays qualify

If I book 3 separate 1 night stays and make sure to vary brands, I could earn a total of 8,000 bonus points.  At a value of about 0.75 cents each, that’s like a $60 rebate.  That’s not bad, but it would be a lot more work than checking into a single hotel for a 3 night stay.  Still, if I can find cheap enough nights it may be worth it.  For example, if I paid $50 per night for $150 total out of pocket, a $60-equivalent rebate would bring my net cost down to $90.  That would be a cheap price to pay for United Silver status, but what’s the chance of finding a Marriott that’s that cheap without going way out of my way?

My real hope is that I’ll be targeted for a better Marriott promotion.  Every now and then Marriott offers targeted promotions where you could earn a free night or some number of bonus points after 2 paid nights.  A promo like that stacked with Marriott’s public promo would be great.

Waiting for a deal or opportunity

It’s possible, of course, that a real travel opportunity will appear before the end of the year to make it easy to knock off the additional 3 nights I need.  Short of that, I’ll still wait a bit to see if any great new promotions come out, or if I get a great targeted Marriott offer, targeted portal offer (maybe through Capital One Shopping), or something else.  That said, the time is ticking away and hotel prices are not likely to go down while I wait.

If you have suggestions for what I should do, tips for earning the final 3 nights, or thoughts you’d like to share about your own pursuit of elite status, please comment below.  If you’d like to follow along with what I ultimately decide, subscribe to the comments of this post.  I’ll post updates there.
3.9 9 votes
Post Rating

Subscribe
Notify of
guest

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

32 Comments
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Paul L Davis

kind of technical question. I’m on the cusp of Titanium again. I’m probably going to go the credit card spend route. Does everything I spend on the Bonvoy card count through 12/31? Or, does it have to post to a statement prior to 12/31? I’m probably overthinking this, but it’s going to be close and I don’t want to screw up. I need 15K more spend to hit the mark. thanks!

Ethan

Am I the only one felt Suite upgrade rate is slightly improved after hitting Titanium?
During Platinum it was only once in 30+ nights, then after Titanium, a few times auto, plus a few more times after asking nicely at front desk.
That being said, I won’t do mattress run more than a few nights either.
In addition, considering how low efforts Titanium nowadays, Globalist is much less palatable IMO, just had a fight with a Hyatt for major service issue and property can’t care less.

J Henderson

That money and time are better spent having a nice meal with family.

escot

related “conundrum,” to keep or dump the bonvoy brilliant card yet another year? For me, as things stand now (with massively higher fee, watered down benefits) it’s a “slam dunk” no…. When you get around to ‘that” write-up, (again) suppose you could factor in well, the card gets me so and so towards this or that elite status…. (and that’s worth…?) endless. Drew would be ‘eyes blinking.” Not worth it for mere mortals.

Last edited 25 days ago by escot
Michael Tarlow

As a lifetime platinum and 10 year titanium elite member I think a major consideration is what are your destinations. In my experience international Marriott properties beat US properties almost every time and its not even close. I just returned from a 24 day vacation. I stayed at 6 properties and I was upgraded in every one–1 bedroom suites in 3 of them. The buffet breakfasts were expansive and we were welcomed with all sorts of perks in our room from cakes and pastries, bottles of wine, fruit plates and even rose petals on the bed. In the US you are lucky to get upgraded to a larger room and ala carte breakfast fully covered by a voucher. So if you have plans for an international stay at a Marriott go for Titanium. Your brand loyalty will be appreciated. In the US, not so much.

Pam

I guess it also depends on where you are staying domestically. The St Regis Aspen butler recently brought a bottle of Piper-Heidsick champagne along with wonderful chocolate truffles & SR Aspen-monogrammed notebooks to our upgraded suite. The SR Atlanta brought us macarons, nuts, & a bottle of cab.

I really can’t say for sure if Hyatt Globalist or Marriott Titanium is better on the upgrades, service, or freebies but I intend to keep both to maximize benefits wherever I travel.

Shirley L

If you’re doing international and state-side, yeah, I would turn over one of your awards for 5 nights and get the remaining done. This assumes you value the elite nights > suite upgrades awards.

I have a set to expire 12/31 and something tells me that this year overall the elite nights are more valuable than upgrades (I’ve gotten upgrades without using them or they get rejected) and I’m still short nights at this point. Considering I’m paying cash and each night averages $100, it’s worth $500+ to me.

Jake

Planning any 2023 stays at the St Pancras hotel in London? Titanium would come in handy.

Stvr

Why not book a Cat1?

Oren S

It may be relatively easy to mattress run with the crappy promotion out now.

Assuming you already need a stay between now and Dec 15 anyway…

You can get 4k points for experiencing a different brand +using a Marriott credit card which we probably all have anyway.. If you manage to find a cheap stay and also can get a points guarantee on it (another 5k points). That’s already 9k points for the stay…. + the bonus points you get for the welcome bonus + spend points + loyalty points (can’t remember the exact numbers though).

I have had pretty good success in the past matching a rate to Expedia although I think they have fixed their algorithm now. But Trivago has been working quite well lately for getting a lower rate to match to.

Mary Jane

We have been Ti Elite for 2 years and made the same evaluation. It came down to Time spent vs Reward and, at this point, Time spent won out. With auto Plat w/Am card, it was an easy way to go. It really comes down to whether the time spent is worth it to you. I just spent hours this summer trying to research and use up a 50,000 award night. This hobby is wonderful because it lets you individualize how much time and effort you want to put into it and what benefits are worth it to you. I have been following you for years now and it is my go-to recommendation to hobby newbies.

Lee

Look at only the points. No other benefits matter.

1. If you were to earn the 75% bonus instead of the 50% bonus, what would the value be (given your likely redemption) of those extra points?

2. What is it going to cost you to get there?

If you burn your 50-night annual choice, fine. You pick up the 75-night annual choice, so you’re not losing anything. Separately, you can likely book some lower level property for those three elite night credits for (say) $350. So, are those extra 25% points worth $350?

Edw3rd

Not worth it. Been LTT for 10 years and rewards member since the first year. Can’t name a time Titanium’s been of value. SNA’s don’t process. 24 hour guarantee doesn’t deliver at most hotels. Few desk people bat an eyelash. LTT don’t even get offered most of the bonus promos you’ll read about on these blogs. Last time Marriott Rewards provided me *extraordinary* service or value was when they initially launched the Black Card, which were few and far between. The only reason I continue to passively remain a member is the free nights.

eponymous coward

It was a slam dunk for me since I moved a Hyatt points stay to two Marriott paid stays. 40k FNC AND 27,500 Hyatt points for $350 Marriott spend is “duh”, especially since I triggered both ends of the current promo by moving a block on the third day of the stay, 4k additional points, thank you very much.

I don’t see requalfying for Titanium in 2023, it will actually take some work to get to a 50 night award since I will have 3 free nights, 40 credit card nights, 3 award nights. I will probably see where I am at year’s end, but I am likely to downgrade or cancel the Brilliant and try to move to a Boundless and (eventually) a Ritz Carlton card.

PJ CTR

​​I’m in a similar situation as T Jones below. I also have 56 nights, have not yet chosen my choice benefit, and have 4 planned nights booked, which would leave me 10 nights short of Titanium.​  ​

I currently have the Boundless card (SUB received on 12/16/20), and am looking to get the Brilliant card once I qualify (24-month mark is 12/16/22). I’d prefer not to fake a business, and I also plan to product change my Boundless to the Ritz after I get the Brilliant. I might have missed some comments in other posts, but here are a few questions:​  ​

1. If I add the Brilliant in addition to my​​ Boundless, will I receive 10 extra EQNs? Or will the 15 from Boundless be replaced with 25 from Brilliant? Either way, I think I should be still be getting a total of 25 personal qualifying nights?​  ​

2. If I get the Brilliant on or close to 12/17/22, will I get extra qualifying nights added to my account before the end of the year, in time to get me to Titanium?​​

Thanks for the help!

T. Jones

I recently product-changed my Amex Bonvoy to the Brilliant. I can’t say I’m certain as to when the extra 10 nights came in, but I know it wasn’t more than a couple of days.

Pam

Hi Greg – I am in the same position with 2 nights left (if I take the 5 free nights). I use my SNAs on 1-2 nights at a time generally, and those almost always go thru (v 5 together when suite availability can be much more limited for that length). I will definitely select those as my Titanium benefit. I recently snagged free St Regis suite upgrades at the St Regis’ Atlanta & Aspen and those alone were worth $1,500+/nt.

I am going for Titanium again since I had a recent business trip that required 10 nights, leaving 2. I feel that with all the new Plats out there from the credit card, its status & value will certainly dilute. So I will finish up Titanium more as a protective measure for 2023. And even though I rarely pay for rooms, I do use Marriott restaurants & golf courses for business meetings or their better spas – 75% bonus points from those amenities (25% more than Plat) have significantly added up over the year.

Jacob

I only need 1 night, so I booked a cheap hotel at the beach using my government employee rate. Never had Titanium status, so interested to see if it will differ, sounds like it wont. I do have a question about the 40k certificate, can you top off with 15k points like you can with the free nights from the credit cards?

Buzz

Yes. I just made a 55k point reservation with a 40k cert.

T. Jones

I’ve been Titanium with Marriott. It was nice, but only marginally better than Platinum. I’m currently at 56 nights, and haven’t yet chosen my choice benefit. If I started a business and grabbed the extra 15 EQNs, I’d be at 71. I have 2 nights of currently planned Marriott stays that would get me to 73.
So I could make a 2 night mattress run, open the Bonvoy Business card, and get both 5 suite night awards and the 40K cert. I just don’t value Titanium that much more than Platinum.
If, however, Bonvoy benefits became believably better… I’d basically begin building a business to bump my status.

Todd

A+ on your choice of B words in that last sentence!!

jake

More like a B+.

Kestie

I’ve been Platinum for 6 years, but I had Titanium status this past year. Over the past year, I stayed at several Marriott properties in NYC as well as in Minnesota, Wisconsin and Ann Arbor, MI and I did not find that there was any difference at all between how I was treated as a Platinum. In fact my stays this year seemed pretty lack-luster. The staff seemed rushed and distracted in every single property. No one mentioned upgrades. Not sure this makes sense unless it is fun for you. By that I mean, I still enjoyed the feeling of being Titanium, but that is because I like the game of points and elite status. Good luck!

rjn

Why bother?

Buzz

Of course you’re going for it. I was in a similar situation last year and thankfully Marriott was running a stay one night get one free promo. My final two nights to titanium got me two 35k certificates.

Also, the 40k is more flexible now with the top up. I’m currently booked into the Austin Proper with a 40k and 15k extra points. Rooms are running almost $700 a night.

Pam

I booked the Austin Proper December a year also for 40k points. We got a Titanium upgrade to a Deluxe Suite…great point redemption at well over $1k/nt.

Nice design, features, & fixtures but the suite was SO small! Reminded me of the W with all its real space devoted to the common areas.

This may have been corrected by now, but I had issues with my points posting from this stay. The Proper was then on a separate system so watch out for that nuisance.

Try & catch the Austin Trail of Lights while there (drive thru holiday light park) & maybe dinner at Vespaio, nice neighborhood restaurant, enjoy!

eddie ed

Similar predicament, but if I was in your situation, I’d be more likely to go for it.

In my case, I received 30 nights via credit cards & achieved Platinum last year for the first time every by staying a few times (due to lower pandemic reqs).

This year I had a few paid stays & redeemed some very cheap nights in Turkey. All of the spots upgraded me without using suite night upgrades & I was impressed for once with Marriott (I’m a Hyatt loyalist). I’m at 41 nights.

I was so please that I was going to go for it, but then I realized I missed redeeming one of my free night certs by 3 days. I tried phone and email support and they wouldn’t budge. This definitely turned me off. 9 days more seems like a stretch, but I’d tentatively assumed 3 when I’m Argentina later. That would leave 6.

I’ve not used any of the 5 suite nights. I guess these were awarded from last year’s qualification. I don’t think I did anything to choose that benefit?

Do you know is it possible to convert those to EQNs? They’re otherwise expiring end of December 2022. Seems like it would be retroactive & therefore very unikely, especially given how inflexible I’ve found Marriott to be. I’d almost certainly mattress run one “extra” night (begrudingly) to achieve 50. Platinum is useful, especially in Europe and more not- South America.

T. Jones

I think if you don’t choose a specific benefit, you get suite night awards by default. However, I don’t think you can convert suite nights to EQNs

Stookey

This is not a real question, right? Of course you’re going to go for it. Read my post on FMI about the Fairfield Inn in Gillette, WY and make that reservation. Dec. 25-30.
5 nights, 24,000 points. It’s practically free! Call the manager about checking you in due to a weather delay and Bob’s your Uncle!