Pursuing Platinum @ Marriott

Update: Marriott now only awards elite status after the challenge has been successfully completed.

It’s amazingly easy to get high level elite status with Marriott, temporarily.  If you call and ask, they will likely offer you a Gold or Platinum status challenge.  Unless you start the challenge on the first of the month, it lasts to the end of the current month, and three months after that.  During that entire time, you will have Gold or Platinum elite status with Marriott.  If you complete the challenge, you will keep the newly earned status for about a year (depending on when you start the challenge, you can keep the status longer or shorter).  The challenge requires completing a set number of nights or stays at Marriott properties.  If you don’t complete the challenge, you can try again a year later.  In my mind, this is an awesome way to get high level elite status for a few months each year!

I called to see what kind of challenge I would be offered.  They suggested the Platinum challenge.  I could meet the challenge by completing 9 stays.  Hmmm.  I wasn’t planning to try to meet the challenge…  I was just going to use it for temporary status, but it might be fun to go all in.  What if I take advantage of the current “Stay 2, Get 1” summer promotion that I’ve registered for?  Could I buy my way to Platinum status and earn enough free nights to make it worthwhile?  What other Marriott promotions are on their way?

New Marriott Promotion

I logged into my Marriott account and found a new Megabonus promotion just like the current one.  Between September 15 and January 15 2013, every two paid stays will earn 1 free night in a category 1-4 hotel.  Sweet!  I clicked the “register” button and now I’m good to go.

Frequent Miler’s Plan

By starting the Platinum Challenge mid-August, I will have the rest of August and all of September, October, and November to finish 9  stays in order to complete the challenge.  During that time, I will get full Platinum benefits.  I only have one known stay during that time, so I may need to “manufacture” as many as 8 stays…  Here’s my plan:

  1. Find the cheapest local Marriott and book 8 separate 1 night stays.  After a quick look, I’m sure I can book nights for $80 or less.  Let’s assume $80 per stay for now…
  2. Book 3 stays before August 31 (the deadline for the first promotion).  Thanks to 1 stay already planned, I’ll earn 2 free nights from the total of four stays.
  3. Book 6 stays between September 15 and the end of November (when the challenge ends).  If I have any real need for stays before then, I’ll cancel booked stays as needed.  From these 6 stays, I’ll earn 3 free nights.
  4. Pay for all stays with gift cards.  I have Marriott gift cards that I bought for 20% off during the Daily Getaways earlier in the year.
  5. Earn extra points as a Platinum member.  Platinum members earn 15 points per dollar for stays rather than 10 points per dollar usually earned.

Add it up

The following numbers are approximate because they do not take into account hotel taxes on the one hand, or highly discounted nights that I might find on the other:

  • Total Cost: $80 x 9 = $720 – 20% off (via gift cards) = $576
  • Free nights earned: 5
  • Points earned: 640 x 15 = 9,600

Is it worth it?

If I was sure that I could effectively use the free nights before they expire (1 year after issue), then yes it could be a great deal.  Category 4 hotels can easily go for $150 per night (and sometimes much more) which would make the 5 free nights worth $750.  And, the points earned can be used toward another free night.  Normally, I probably wouldn’t bother with this because the payoff is modest.  However, I do know of some upcoming trips in which I may choose to stay at Marriott properties anyway.  So why not go for it?  Plus, it will make a good story for this blog Smile

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.

More articles by Greg The Frequent Miler »

38
Leave a Reply

avatar
35 Comment threads
3 Thread replies
0 Followers
 
Most reacted comment
Hottest comment thread
21 Comment authors
It may soon cost more to maintain Marriott elite status - The Frequent MilerMarriott Platinum Challenge = United MileagePlus Premier Silver | Travel with GrantAre you planning to buy Marriott gift cards on Monday for 20% off? - Frequent MilerFrequentMilermiha Recent comment authors
  Subscribe  
Notify of
g
Guest
g

640 x 15 = 9600. how did you arrive at 51,212?

FrequentMiler
Guest

Wow, my math was off! I’ve updated the post with the correct points earned. I also incorrectly stated that 5 free nights was worth $600. I’ve updated that to $750.

Steve: It’s true that you can’t earn more than 3 free nights with either promotion, but I hope to earn 2 free nights with the summer promotion and then 3 with the fall promotion.

THEsocalledfan
Guest
THEsocalledfan

As always, Miler, innovative blog content that blows the competition away and even though I won’t do it, it was a great read and I love how you think out of the box. You are a breath of fresh air and are my first stop of the day, and I am no longer a “newbie” at all this.

marZ
Guest

I’m with g…would like clarification on the points earned.

Thanh P.
Guest
Thanh P.

I think Miler was just in a rush to get on the plane with the calculation of points haha

MSPDeltaDude
Guest
MSPDeltaDude

I get 15,300 with the plat bonus.

Mike
Guest
Mike

Do the free nights count as “stays”? I’ve had free nights with both Hyatt and SPG that have registered as stays on my account…

Steve
Guest
Steve

You can’t earn more than 3 nights with the marriott megabonus

“Earn up to 3 free nights with MegaBonus® when you stay at any participating Marriott® hotel worldwide. With more brands in more locations, one rewarding experience leads to another.
See Details

To earn your free nights:

Register online or call 888-MARRIOTT (627-7468) by October 31, 2012
Stay twice between September 15, 2012, and January 15, 2013
Earn 1 free night after every second paid stay, up to 3 free nights

Enjoy your free nights at any of nearly 3,000 category 1 – 4 hotels.”

Tyler
Guest
Tyler

Don’t forget the value of the free breakfasts you will get and lounge access w/ platinum status. In Thailand we had free dinner at night at the lounge w/ good casual Thai food and the best breakfast you could ask for that would have cost $25/person.

Mars
Guest
Mars

As SPG Plat . . . would this torch the ‘once a lifetime’ status match?

Don T
Guest
Don T

Did you have to tell Marriott that you were at gold/platinum with another chain before they would do the challenge?

Dina
Guest
Dina

If you recieved gold/platinum status could that be used to status match with a different hotel chain?

Dave
Guest
Dave

You don’t need status elsewhere to be given a challenge. Though they may try to talk you into gold. If so HUCA.

If you miss, you need to wait a year from the end of the challenge period to try again. I am going to miss on my challenge come the end of August on the old “nights” challenge. I’d make it on stays had that been offered. Oh well, not a biggie to me.

awg137
Guest
awg137

I thought PLAT status challenge require 18 nights, not 9 “stays”. Has this changed recently?

james
Guest
james

what if you booked 2 room in one night,will the 2 rooms count 2 nights in Platinum challenge?

trackback

[…] Miler further points out that Marriott is pretty generous with giving out Platinum status challenges (though not matches), […]

Dave
Guest
Dave

AWG – the challenge rules have changed in the last 60 days or so.

Pedro
Guest

Do elite qualifying nights earned by spending $3K on the Marriott Visa count toward the challenge?

KT
Guest
KT

I got the gold status match deal, requires six seperate stays. I plan on just switching hotels every night on my next trip….

trackback

[…] Platinum Status: In the recent post “Pursuing Platinum @ Marriott” I detailed how I plan to secure Marriott Platinum status through Feb 2014.  If you’re […]

Michael Pevnympevny
Guest
Michael Pevnympevny

Some Marriott and Renaissance Cat 4 properties in the Asia Pacific region are incredible properties. some of the most luxurious. Some Cat 4 in APAC would be considered Cat 7 JW’s here in the US.

FrequentMiler
Guest

Michael: Thanks for the tip. I will soon have lots of Cat 4 free nights so I might need to plan a trip to Asia!

trackback

[…] month, in the post “Pursuing Platinum @ Marriott” I described my plan for securing Marriott Platinum status through Marriott’s Platinum […]

sushiguy
Guest
sushiguy

Would the a friends and family rate count towards a paid stay? Thanks.

FrequentMiler
Guest

sushiguy: I don’t think that the friends and family rate would count, but it would be worth asking Marriott if you intend to do that.

trackback

[…] Miler – Pursuing Platinum @Marriott (August 9); Marriott Savings & Status (Aug 15); Marriott Challenge Checkpoint (Sep […]

trackback

[…] Pursuing Platinum @ Marriott […]

trackback

[…] Bonus tip: if you want instant Marriott status, you can try simply calling them and asking!  It worked for the Frequent Miler… […]

trackback

[…] went with Marriott since I’m still in the middle of a Marriott Platinum Challenge (see “Pursuing Platinum @ Marriott“).  While I already knew a lot of what was discussed, I still learned a few […]

trackback

[…] can take it even further by doing a Marriott Platinum Challenge at the same time!  See “Pursuing Platinum @ Marriott” for […]

trackback

[…] a few months of each other, consider going for their Gold or Platinum challenge.  See “Pursuing Platinum @ Marriott.”  This way you’ll be treated better as an elite and you’ll earn more points […]

trackback

[…] I described in the post “Pursuing Platinum @ Marriott,” you can sign up for Marriott’s “Taste of Platinum Challenge” simply by […]

miha
Guest
miha

“If you call and ask, they will likely offer you a Gold or Platinum status challenge. ”
Who did you call? I currently have a gold status expiring in February…

trackback

[…] a few months of each other, consider going for their Gold or Platinum challenge.  See “Pursuing Platinum @ Marriott.”  This way you’ll be treated better as an elite and you’ll earn more points […]

trackback

[…] My confidential informant told me that he was able to call Marriott and ask for a Platinum Challenge.  Within minutes, his account was updated to Marriott Platinum.  If you are curious about the Marriott Platinum Challenge, read Frequent Miler’s post. […]

trackback

[…] few years ago I took part in Marriott’s Taste of Platinum Challenge (details here).  The challenge offers a way to fast track to Marriott Platinum status by completing 9 stays […]