Nearly all airline and hotel chains have announced over the past week how they intend to deal with elite status seeing as most of their loyalty program’s members will have a hard time attaining status during 2020 for 2021 as a result of COVID-19.
One of the last remaining holdouts was Marriott, but they’ve finally announced today how they plan to deal with elite status.
The status you earned in 2019 would normally be valid through February 2021. This is being extended by a full year, so it’ll now expire in February 2022. That’s in line with the announcements made by other hotel loyalty programs and is a welcome decision.
No Marriott Bonvoy points will expire before February 2021. Beyond that, your points will only expire if you haven’t had any activity on your account during the prior 24 months. They’d previously announced that points expiration would be paused until August 31, 2020, so it’s good to see an additional six months being added to that date.
Free Night Certificates & Suite Night Awards
Marriott had already announced that they’d be extending free night certificates and Suite Night Awards. As a quick reminder, Suite Night Awards are being extended to December 31, 2021, while free night certificates are being extended to January 31, 2021 if they were originally due to expire in 2020.
Update: Marriott has advised that their policy on free night certificates is as follows:
Members who have active Free Night Awards or The Ritz-Carlton Club Level Upgrade E-Certificates (where available) as part of a credit card benefit, 75-Night Annual Choice Benefit, Promotion or Travel Package, and have an expiration date of March 1, 2020 through December 31, 2020, will be extended through January 31, 2021.
Our System will automatically complete these updates. You will see updates in your Account on marriott.com by the end of April 2020. You do not need to take any action. I regret the inconvenience this delay may cause.
Cancellation & Change Policy
That prior announcement also provided details of their updated cancellation and change policy. Here’s a reminder as to what that was:
For guests with existing reservations for any future arrival date, including reservations with pre-paid rates that are typically more restrictive, we will allow full changes or cancellation without a charge up to 24 hours prior to arrival, as long as the change or cancellation is made by June 30, 2020. Please note that any changes to existing reservations will be subject to availability and any rate differences.
For guests making new reservations for any future arrival date, including reservations with pre-paid rates, between March 13 and June 30, 2020, we will allow the reservation to be changed or cancelled at no charge up to 24 hours before your scheduled arrival date.
It took Marriott a while, but it’s good to see them extending status through February 2022. It’s also good to see them pausing points expiration until February 2021 as that provides much more time to generate some kind of activity on your account.
It would’ve been nice to have some kind of idea as to what elite status earning requirements will be this year. However, it’s understandable that Marriott hasn’t announced their policy on that yet seeing as there’s no knowing right now as to quite how long COVID-19 will have an impact on travel. It therefore doesn’t make sense for them to announce a policy on that right now, only to have to potentially change it in a few months.
If you have both a personal and business Marriott credit card, your elite earning is already easier as you can now earn 30 elite nights per year by holding both types of Marriott credit cards. Quite how much easier will hopefully become known in the coming weeks, although it might take even longer than that.