Who is eligible for Marriott’s Elite Status Buy Back?

Marriott's Elite Status Buy Back Prices

One of the things I love about Marriott’s elite status program is that once you get status it is incredibly easy to keep it.  Each year they offer their Elite Status Buy Back program.  If you didn’t earn enough elite nights during the previous year to keep your current level of status, you can exchange points to keep that status.  Years ago I completed a Taste of Platinum Challenge in order to earn Marriott Platinum status.  Since then, I’ve bought back Platinum status each year by trading in 40,000 points.  I plan to do the same this year.

This photo shows my room at the Renaissance Bangkok Ratchaprasong Hotel. I was upgraded to a suite thanks to having Marriott Platinum status.

This photo shows my room at the Renaissance Bangkok Ratchaprasong Hotel. I was upgraded to a suite thanks to having Marriott Platinum status.

Unfortunately, not everyone is eligible to buy back status.  Whether or not you can buy back status depends how you earned the status in the first place.  The following lists are my attempt to clarify who is eligible.  I’d recommend checking this post again in a few weeks, though, because I’ll update the details as I learn more from readers.

Yes, you can buy back status if you obtained your current level of elite status by…

  • Staying at Marriott properties the required number of nights
  • Automatically earning 15 elite nights by owning a Marriott Premier Rewards credit card
  • Earning elite nights through spend on a Marriott credit card
  • Completing a Marriott Gold or Platinum challenge
  • Buying back status last year

No, you cannot buy back status if you obtained your current level of elite status by…

  • Linking your SPG and Marriott accounts (i.e. if you have Marriott status only because you had SPG status, then you cannot buy back that status. However, if you continue to hold that level of SPG status, you will continue to hold the equivalent Marriott status)
  • Enrolling in, but not completing, a Marriott elite challenge that offered temporary elite status
  • Automatically earning Gold status as a first year Ritz Carlton card* holder
  • Earning Gold status in subsequent years through $10K annual spend on your Ritz Carlton card*
  • Earning Platinum status through $75K annual spend on your Ritz Carlton card*

*Ritz Carlton card owners

I don’t have much evidence to support the claim that you cannot buy back status earned as a cardholder.  I vaguely remember a comment on my blog to that effect (but I cannot find it).  I did find a comment on this Loyalty Lobby post where a reader said that they tried to buy back status but “I was not eligible because I had gold status last year due to having a Ritz card, which I had cancelled, and that the offer was just automatically generated and was a mistake.”  Maybe if you still have the card open you can buy back status (but I doubt it).  I don’t think that would make sense to do at the Gold level (since you can keep Gold with just $10K annual spend, or by getting SPG Gold status a variety of ways).  At the Platinum level, though, it would make sense to do (if possible) since the required $75K spend for Platinum status is a huge investment.

Readers with Ritz cards: Have you tried buying back status?  What were the results?  Please comment below!

Shortcuts to Marriott Elite Status

If you don’t already have elite status, there are many ways to get there more easily than actually spending the required number of nights at Marriott properties.  You can find a comprehensive list of shortcuts in the following two posts:

When to Buy Back Status?  A recommendation…

The Marriott elite year goes through February of the next year.  For example, if you had Platinum status in 2016, you will continue to hold Platinum status through the end of February 2017.  Unless your plans include a Marriott stay right around March 1, I recommend waiting to see if your status actually drops before buying back status. If your status drops, you’ll probably get a membership kit in February for the lower level status.  If not, at worst, you’ll see your new status when you log into Marriott on March 1.

You have until March 31 to buy back status.

About Greg The Frequent Miler

Greg is the owner, founder, and primary author of the Frequent Miler. He earns millions of points and miles each year, mostly without flying, and dedicates this blog to teaching others how to do the same.

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  1. I’ve use this buy back twice now and will need to do it again this year. I’m having trouble, however, finding out when my current status expires.

  2. I had originally received Platinum status through spend on Ritz card in 2015 which gave me all of 2015 and 2016. But it should have expired in 2017.

    However, I am still Platinum. Not sure why. But will take it for now.

    I was going to try the Buyback option but since I have Platinum again for whatever reasons, I won’t get to try to buyback status.

    • 2016 status is good through February 2017, so that’s probably why you still have it. If your status drops on March 1, you can try buying back status at that time. You have until March 31 to do the buy back.

      Please let us know what happens!

      Do you still have the card open?

        • Did you end up having to buy back status? Was it possible, given that previous status was earned via spend on the Ritz-Carlton card?

  3. I got approved for a platinum challenge and if I do the 9 stays, I will be spending about $1500 total in stays. My husband doesnt think it’s worth it since from reviews from TripAdvisor, gold marriott members are treated like platinum as well.

    But I still think we should do it since we both got the 7 day travel package and companion pass and this status should come in handy.

  4. I earned Platinum status through spend ($75k) on the Ritz Carlton card in January 2017. When I called to confirm the expiration date of status, the agent said it was Jan. 31, 2018. I HUCA and got the same answer. She said Marriott status is the same expiration of Jan. 31 (same program, so it should be). However, when I first earned Gold status through $10k spend on RC card, I was told it was valid through the year it was earned PLUS the following year. Greg – do you know if they have changed policies? I’m concerned that it doesn’t last as long now. Please clarify.

    BTW — LOVE your site and follow it religiously.

    • Hmm, I’ve never had that card so I can’t speak from experience. I do know that the credit card terms state:

      Each account anniversary year you make Net Purchases totaling $75,000 or more you will qualify for Platinum Elite Status through December 31 of the following year.

      Since you completed your spend in January 2017, my reading of the terms suggests that you should have status at least through December 2018. I don’t know where the January 31 date comes from unless they throw in a bonus month. My guess is that in reality, you’ll keep status the same amount of time that a regular elite member does. That is, when status is earned in 2017, you keep status throughout 2018 and through end of Feb 2019. But maybe they handle it differently with the credit card. I don’t know.

      And… Thank you!

  5. I have a really good friend who completed the $75K on the Ritz card in 2015. His status is still good through February but I just asked him the other day if he got the buy back option. He said he did receive the email to buy back Platinum status for 2017. I believe he does still have the card open as well. Interested to hear more data points on this.

  6. I got Marriott gold status through challenge and I have been renewing it through the Elite buy back the last two years. I got the American Express Business Platinum card at the end of 2016 and I should able to maintain Gold status through the American Express Business Platinum card.

    My concern is if I cancel the Platinum Card when it comes renewal time at the end of 2017, will I able to buy back in 2018 since I skip the 2017 buy back? If it will, I should just buy back for 2017 so that I can continue for 2018. Any suggestion? Thank you!

  7. I am Marriott Gold Status and have booked to stay at the Renaissance Bangkok for a week over the new year. As usual I just booked a regular room and hope they upgrade me to something better. Did you also get lounge access and if so what was the food/drink selection like? Any other tips about your stay there would be appreciated. Thanks

  8. I completed RC $75K spend in 2015, received platinum status end of 2015 and all of 2016. Noticed today on Marriott account it said, “Congratulation on renewing Platinum Status.” I was a little confused and sent Marriott Rewards a tweet and they confirmed I have Platinum until January 31, 2018.

    • I did the same thing as you did, however I did not receive the “Congratulation on renewing Platinum Status” yet but I have not been downgraded yet. My status is still showing Platinum as of today.

      Not sure when it really expires yet.

      • Actually just called Marriott Platinum line and they said my status was extended till 01/31/2018

        I didn’t spend but 4 nights the entire year last year.

        So, not sure what triggered the additional year for status.

  9. Hi Greg, any update on the RC credit card holders who did a Plat challenge and want to buy back for the next year? Thank you and nice post.

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