Top 4 Ways to Manufacture Marriott Platinum status

Last week, my Marriott Rewards Gold Elite membership kit arrived in the mail.  You’d think I’d be happy to see it, but not at all.  For the past six years or so I’ve had Marriott Platinum status.  I originally got the status through a challenge that required 9 stays.  Since then, I’ve bought back my status every year with 40,000 Marriott points.  But this year Marriott has stopped allowing status buy backs.  I’m stuck with Gold status unless I do something about it.

Why Bother with Platinum?

Those who have an Amex Platinum card get SPG Gold status for free and that matches automatically to Marriott Gold status.  And truthfully, Marriott Platinum status doesn’t get you much beyond Gold status at Marriott hotels.  So why not be content with Gold?

For me, the primary motivation for wanting to keep Marriott Platinum is so that I can keep SPG Platinum and United Silver status:

  • SPG Platinum: Marriott Platinum status automatically gives you SPG Platinum status.  And, SPG Platinum status is way better than SPG Gold status.
  • United Silver Status: Through the Marriott / United partnership RewardsPlus, Marriott Platinum status gives you free United Silver status.

Other benefits of Platinum over Gold:

  • 50% point bonus for stays (vs. 25% with Gold)
  • 48 hour guaranteed room availability
  • Welcome gift upon check-in

Another reason to make the effort now is that Marriott is expected to unveil their new combined rewards program at the end of 2018 or early 2019.  It’s impossible to know what that will mean for their elite program, but I think it’s safe to say that it would be better to go into the new program with a top elite status rather than a mid-tier status.

Top 4 Ways to Manufacture Marriott Platinum status

The normal way to earn Marriott Platinum status is to stay 75 nights per year in Marriott hotels.  In my case at least, that is definitely not going to happen.  Here are my favorite alternatives:

  • Ritz Carlton Card $75K Spend
  • Complete a Marriott Platinum Challenge
  • Qualify on stays with SPG
  • Qualify on nights with Marriott (without staying that many nights)

Ritz Carlton $75K Spend

The Ritz Carlton card offers automatic Gold status for the first year and then lets you maintain Gold status each year thereafter with just $10K of credit card spend.  Further, they’ll grant you Platinum status with $75K spend.  The Ritz and Marriott rewards programs are identical programs with different names, so Ritz Platinum = Marriott Platinum.  When signing up for the Ritz card, you can even enter in your Marriott Rewards number so that you’ll get status directly with Marriott.  Then, of course, you’ll automatically get status with SPG as well.  Fortunately for those who don’t have the card yet, the Ritz card is not subject to Chase’s 5/24 rule.

Chase's 5/24 Rule: With most Chase credit cards, Chase will not approve your application if you have opened 5 or more cards with any bank in the past 24 months. Some exceptions that are NOT subject to the 5/24 rule include: British Airways, Hyatt, IHG, Iberia, Aer Lingus, and Marriott Business.

To determine your 5/24 status, see: 3 Easy Ways to Count Your 5/24 Status.

Marriott Challenge

Marriott makes Platinum challenges available to members with Gold status.  Once you have Gold status, you can request a Platinum challenge as follows:

  1. Request a status match or challenge to Platinum.  It is very unlikely that you’ll get an outright match, but you may get approved for a Platinum challenge.
    • Call Marriott Rewards, or
    • Fill out Marriott request form online (here)
  2. Choose stays or nights.  One version of the challenge requires completing 9 stays.  The other requires completing 18 nights. Depending upon your plans, one or the other might be better. Note that a multi-night stay only counts as 1 stay even if each night is booked separately.  So if you plan to have multi-night stays, the 18 night challenge is probably better.  If no offered it right away, ask to switch to the challenge that you prefer.
  3. Complete the challenge by completing 9 stays or 18 nights in the specified time-frame.  The challenge requires actual paid stays booked through Marriott.  Award stays or stays booked through online travel agencies don’t count.

Qualify on stays with SPG

Another option for earning SPG Platinum status is to complete 25 stays in a calendar year.  Here are some reasons that this may be achievable even if you don’t have very many stays planned:

  1. Award stays count
  2. Up to 3 rooms count at once.  For example, if you book three rooms for 1 night at a cheap hotel, you’ll get 3 stay credits for that night.
  3. Amex offers both personal SPG and business SPG credit cards.  Both automatically give the cardholder 2 stays and 5 nights towards elite status.  This means that if you have both cards, you get 4 stays and 10 nights towards status.
  4. If you are staying multiple nights in the same city, you can change to a different SPG hotel each night in order to earn 1 stay per night.
  5. If you are staying multiple nights in the same hotel, you can alternate booking nights with another person in your group.  For example, if you plan to stay 5 nights, you could book nights 1, 3, and 5 as separate stays while your travel partner books nights 2 and 4.  Let the hotel know in advance that you’d like to stay in the same room the entire time.

Qualify on nights with Marriott

Marriott Platinum status requires 75 nights per year, but there are shortcuts for getting those nights:

  1. You can automatically get 15 elite night credits with the Marriott Rewards Premier credit card.
  2. You can get another 15 elite night credits with the Marriott Rewards Premier Business card.
  3. With either Marriott Rewards Premier card, you can earn 1 elite night credit with each $3K of spend.
  4. If you have any elite nights earned in 2017 above those used for the level of status you obtained, they will roll-over (for the last time ever) into 2018.
  5. You can earn 10 elite nights for each meeting or event that you plan and hold at Marriott hotels (details here).
  6. Award nights count.

My Plan

I already have both the personal and business Marriott cards.  Since they each give me 15 nights elite credit, I already have 30 nights toward the 75 needed for Platinum status.  My next step is to see if I can get a second Marriott business card for a second business.  If that works, hopefully that will give me another 15 nights credit (we’ll see!  NOTE: Reader Joe C says it did not work for him).  If that works, I’ll be up to 45 nights without breaking a sweat.  Then, I could try to get a second personal card as well.  That card is subject to 5/24, so I can’t just apply for it (and I doubt I’d be approved anyway since I already have one), but there’s a trick that just might work: I could apply for the Ritz Carlton card (not subject to 5/24) and then product change it to the Marriott card.  If that works, I’d be up to 60 nights out of the 75 needed.  I stay in Marriott hotels often enough that the final 15 nights would come easily.

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 »

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baccarat_guy
Guest

Love the article! How about inexpensive meetings at inexpensive properties? I believe “10 Elite Nights, regardless if you or your guest is paying for it” – is pretty far-reaching with regard to what is considered a meeting.

PV
Guest
PV

Please define “inexpensive properties”. I have yet to see any!

Joe C
Guest
Joe C

I tried getting a second business card for another business I have. It didn’t give me an additional 15 nights. There’s something in the Terms and Conditions about that. I actually didn’t even get the signup bonus, even though it’s on a different TIN. Unless something slips through the cracks with Chase and Marriott, you may want to develop an alternate plan.

Faisal
Guest
Faisal

Two questions. What is a “stay“ considered versus a night?

Also how does this compare to the SPG platinum challenge that is going on right now where you can do nine stays or 18 nights in three months? Is it essentially the same thing? I guess I’m confused as for Marriott it sounds like a stay could be considered one hotel night which would make it basically half of what SPG platinum challenge is asking to do. Can you help clarify? Thanks

Darren
Guest
Darren

A stay is one or many nights, I.e. it is when you stay at a hotel. You cannot have consecutive stays at the same hotel, you have to move hotels I.e. 9 nights can be 9 stays but you would need to move hotels each day

Bionic
Guest
Bionic

I love the strategy behind it but readers should really consider that a lot of this will change come 2019.

I tried to product change from a Ritz to Marriott last year. They said the Ritz being a premium product and something else? they could not product change. I hope you have better luck.

lennyj
Guest
lennyj

I was denied the Marriott Business card for being over the 5/24 rule.

Blue
Guest
Blue

I’m at 6/24 and just got it today.

Don
Guest
Don

If I qualify for Platinum status is that for “lifetime”?
Or for a year?

Ken
Guest
Ken

Greg, thanks for the article. I earned Platinum on a Marriott challenge last year and planned to buy it back. Thanks for the ideas.

Side topic based on a mention in your article. You said that Chase IHG is not subject to 5/24, which I understand to mean that an IHG app will not have the 5/24 test applied. Once the IHG card is issued, does it or does it not count toward 5/24 for subsequent apps?

Love your work, thanks for clarifying!

SteveH
Guest
SteveH

Yes. It counts towards your 5/24 on subsequent apps.

don
Guest
don

Can someone explain how and what it means to “buy it back ” ?

Nick Reyes
Editor

I’ll add this: all cards that appear on your personal credit reports count *toward* 5/24. I’m not aware of any major personal credit cards that don’t count towards 5/24 (and even some business cards will count towards 5/24 if they are on your personal report (i.e. Capital One Spark).

tinytavosa
Guest
tinytavosa

Has the consensus been made about store cards? Most of my personal experience says that they don’t, but seems mixed reports.

tinytavosa
Guest
tinytavosa

* correction, I more mean to say what is the recent consesnus on the subject?

Don
Guest
Don

I’m not sure this is the right place to post this.
I need help in choosing which Chase card(s) to apply for and when. I’m trying to be as thorough as possible. Sorry about the length of this.
According to Credit Karma I am 4/24 with 832 Transunion and 838 Equifax scores. I have 0 Equifax hard inquiries in the past 24 months and 4 Transunion hard inquiries in the past 24 months. All 4 Transunion hard inquiries are from Chase. 1 Chase hard inquiry expires 2/19/18. 1 Chase hard inquiry expires 3/28/18. 2 other hard inquiries were from a personal and a business application for Chase Southwest cards on 9/29/17 (of which I was approved for both and received my companion pass today).
I do not have any other Chase cards at this time. My thought is to have 5 Chase cards that count towards 5/24, and then apply for other cards.
I’m thinking CSP, CSR, and INK.
What are your suggestions? Next card? When? Then what card? When? And what card and when after that?

MarkG
Guest
MarkG

Why just dont spend 75k (of the 3 billions that you spend in Delta cards) with the Ritz card? :0)

kim
Guest
kim

are you reselling delta gift cards? Why the reference to the 3 billions?

MarkG
Guest
Frank
Guest
Frank

I have a couple questions!

1) Do the SPG cards night or stay credits count towards the challenge?
2) Do award nights count towards the 9 stays at Marriott?

Thanks!

Nick Reyes
Editor

1) No
2) No

Sorry to be the bearer of bad news!

Frank
Guest
Frank

No worries! I thought so!

Garrett
Guest
Garrett

Nice article! One important thing to note though: 1 reservation for multiple rooms counts as 1 stay. You get night credits for each of the 3 rooms. I’m 100% on this b/c when I travel for work I always book for two of us, and the stay credits as 1. I believe I’ve done it in separate reservations as well and it only counts for 1 stay, but I’d have to look back for that.

Garrett
Guest
Garrett

^that’s with SPG sorry forgot to say that

BigMac
Guest
BigMac

Your right that the SPG Platinum is much better than SPG gold – lounge access for one, but eventually the programs are going to merge so the question is which way will they flip. Will they keep the SPG platinum versus gold differential and deny Marriott Gold lounge access? Boy that would be a major bummer that would tick off thousands of loyal MR fans or will they go the other way and let SPG gold have lounge access which would make just about everyone happy. You’d hope the latter happens.

Philipp
Guest
Philipp

Does every hotel brand (e.g. Courtyard or other cheaper ones) count for the platinum challenge as long as I book directly on Marriott homepage or does it have to be a “normal” Marriott hotel? Thanks a lot!

vtfritz
Guest
vtfritz

For getting nights via a “conference” have you just booked online to reserve the conference room or requested a quote? Is there a minimum that you usually try to spend (what is the cheapest that you have spent to get the 10 nights)? It sounds like you don’t normally book a room but that you do get the 10 elite nights, is that right? The contract (online) doesn’t explicitly call out the 10 elite nights have you had any issues in getting? How long until they show up in your account? Sorry for all the questions, trying to manufacture 40 or so nights before August 1st to get LTPP since there is no evidence yet that if you get legacy marriott platinum by end of 2018 that they will upgradge you to LTPP.

amy sullivan
Guest
amy sullivan

I have the exact same problem. I need 40 nights before 8/1 to qualify for LTPP – has this question been answered?