Marriott gifting elite night credit & dropping many redemption rates

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Today Marriott has announced a huge boost for members interested in qualifying/re-qualifying for elite status this year. They have also reduced redemption rates at many properties for those who travel by July 31st by charging only off-peak rates in some markets for those who reserve stays for next month by the end of June 2020. While elite status had already been extended until 2022, this should make it much easier to pick up a new set of elite choice benefits this year to stack with those which have already been extended.

The St. Regis Bora Bora is available for the off-peak price of 70K points per night…..for exactly 1 night in July.

Elite status boost

Marriott has announced that they will give all members elite night credit for 50% of the number of nights required to reach the elite tier they earned in 2019. This is on top of up to 30 elite nights from credit cards and any you may have already earned and these extra nights count toward lifetime status. Here is a look at how many nights members can expect:

Status earned in 2019 Regular requirement 50% elite night credits deposited in late July
Ambassador 100 nights + $20K spend 50 nights
Titanium 75 nights 38 nights
Platinum 50 nights 25 nights
Gold 25 nights 13 nights
Silver 10 nights 5 nights
General Member None None

That’s a pretty incredible boost, especially when you consider the fact that having a single Marriott credit card gives you an additional 15 elite night credits. Those who have both a Marriott consumer and a business Bonvoy card earn a total of 30 elite night credits from credit cards. That means that someone who qualified as Platinum last year and has both forms of credit card will already be at 55 nights this year without having stepped in a hotel — qualifying for an annual choice benefit like 5 Suite Night Awards.

For a full rundown of Marriott elite benefits, see our Marriott Bonvoy Complete Guide.

Those who qualified as Titanium last year and have the credits from both types of credit card will be at 68 total nights this year without having stepped in a hotel — just a stone’s throw from two choice benefits.

And perhaps making out the best in this is those Gold members who have both types of credit card, who will get 13 extra nights with this boost. Take that on top of the 30 they could get from both forms of credit card and they will be just 7 nights shy of Platinum status. That is a very big upgrade over Gold as it includes free breakfast and/or lounge access at most brands, 4pm late checkout at most brands, and an annual choice benefit (See: Which Marriott elite benefits apply? for a full run-down of elite benefits by brand). Picking up all of that with as few as 7 nights spent in hotels this year would look pretty good. My wife is in this boat and even though I have Titanium status, I may look to get her those 7 nights in order to ensure Platinum benefits on her free night certificates moving forward for next year. Granted, we currently have no travel plans, so I’m not positive that we’ll pursue this — but I’ll be keeping it in mind.

The only “loser” in this announcement (and I use that term here loosely) is an Ambassador member. While Ambassador status typically requires 100 nights and $20K spend, and Marriott is giving those members credit for 50 nights (and thus an easy choice benefit), there was no mention of a reduced spending requirement for Ambassador status in 2020. I’m only marginally surprised about this: since status has been extended until February 2022, anyone who earned Ambassador status with $20K spend last year is keeping that status until February of 2022 and only needs to worry about re-qualifying with $20K spend next year — this year’s qualification is really about choice benefits. My guess is that Marriott isn’t looking to expand cost in terms of offering Ambassador status to people who only previously earned Titanium and weren’t close to the spending threshold on Ambassador, so I’m not surprised that they aren’t making the tier easier to achieve. I should note that Marriott will also allow Ambassador members to “gift” Platinum elite status to one other member, which is a nice touch.

While 2020 travel has been remarkably disrupted, this elite night credit boost should prove very advantageous for those who also have Marriott credit cards and end up spending at least a few nights in hotels this year.

Note that Marriott reports that these extra elite night credits will be deposited into your account sometime in late July. As noted above, these bonus elite night credits will count toward lifetime status requirements.

Reduced redemptions at 5,500 hotels

For those looking to travel by the end of next month, Marriott has also announced that they will be offering off-peak pricing only at about 5,500 hotels worldwide and no hotel that participates in Marriott Bonvoy will be at peak pricing through the end of July. Both of those things apply to bookings made from June 15-30th for stays through July 31, 2020.

As a reminder, here is the full Marriott Bonvoy award chart:

Marriott did not provide a complete list of properties available at off-peak only, but they indicated that this will be determined by market. In other words, in markets where only off-peak pricing applies through the end of July, all hotels in that market will be off-peak only.

To illustrate what this means, here is a list of example properties that Marriott gave us (along with their category and normal points pricing).

  • The St. Regis Bahia Beach Resort, Puerto Rico (Category 8. Standard = 85K, off-peak= 70K)
  • Cadillac Hotel & Beach Club, Autograph Collection (Category 6. Standard = 50K, off-peak = 40K)
  • The Ritz-Carlton, Laguna Niguel (Category 7. Standard = 70K, off-peak = 50K)
  • The Ritz-Carlton, Half Moon Bay (Category 7. Standard = 70K, off-peak = 50K)

At the very least, we know that the other hotels in the same market as those above should be off-peak through the end of July as long as you reserve by 6/30 (and find award availability).

For example, the Cadillac Hotel & Beach Club is in Miami Beach. That tells me that all hotels in the Miami Beach market (likely within the greater Miami area) will be off-peak when available for redemption. The story checks out on that, with hotels like the Aloft Miami-Brickell (Cat 4, ordinarily 25K standard) and the W Miami (Cat 6, ordinarily 50K standard) pricing at off-peak rates for a random day in July:

That means that the W Miami should be bookable with a Titanium 40K choice benefit free night certificate.

In some cases, I noticed that hotels were not only off-peak, but also available at PointSavers rates. For example, I saw the Cadillac Hotel noted above, a Category 6 hotel that would ordinarily be 50K at standard pricing is actually available for 35K as an off-peak PointSaver rate. That means it should be bookable with a 35K credit card free night certificate.

That was not the only Category 6 property available for 35K in the Miami market:

Of course, with Florida showing increased cases of COVID-19 in recent days, Miami is likely not as popular a destination as it normally would be (and cash prices certainly reflect that right now). The above is meant to illustrate how this is working. Note that if you see a mix of properties showing off-peak and regular rates, that means nights at any hotel within that market may vary.

This could make for an opportunity for a relatively low number of points. For example, a Category 6 property with standard pricing would ordinarily be 50K points per night. If you’re able to find 5 nights of off-peak availability, you would pay just 140K points for five nights given the 5th night free on award stays (an average of 28K points per night).

Another interesting opportunity will be for those with a free night certificate from the Ritz-Carlton credit card. With Category 7 properties pricing off-peak (like those in California listed above), one could get a pretty solid deal with a 50K certificate.

Of course, the major wrinkle here is that these lower rates are only available through the end of July. Personally, I don’t think I’ll be ready to relax and enjoy a multi-night vacation by the end of next month, so I doubt this promo will come in handy for me. On the other hand, I’m sure that some folks are ready to head out and with restrictions lifted in much of the country, Marriott is making a safe bet that some people will be willing to begin traveling again. With a pregnant wife at home, I’m not in a rush to be the test case that proves whether or not it is safe, so I’ll likely sit this out.

Bottom line

Overall, this announcement is pretty good news for Marriott Bonvoy members. The additional elite night credits will be very useful for many readers, especially those with Marriott Bonvoy credit cards. It should be very easy to earn an extra set of Marriott elite choice benefits this year. Reduced redemptions for near-term travel certainly makes sense to try to entice customers to bring some business to Marriott and though I’m not personally in a hurry to travel just yet, there will be some savings available for those who are.

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wise2u
Guest
wise2u

nice analysis of changes. unfortunately whenever Bonvoy gives one thing, they eventually take back two…..they could give 99% towards watered down status, but in the end it is still Bonvoy…take advantage of any sweet spot, but don’t invest in this deceptive train wreck of a loyalty program merger.

Larry
Guest
Larry

For those with access to cat 1s you could do some elite night mattress runs. 5 nights should be 20,000 points?

Dima
Guest
Dima

Nice, was able to move my Sun-Mon cert booking to Sat-Sun. It was 40k pts previously, and not bookable with the cert.

Pam
Guest
Pam

Had been regretting the 15 nights I got in so fast pre-covid (since Plat status extended thru next year). But now only 5 nights by year end for Titanium I never thought I would hit.

Wondering if Marriott would then extend a soft landing to Plat at end of 2021 (for 2022). Regardless this is very good news, thanks Nick!

T. Jones
Guest
T. Jones

It sure would be nice of Marriott to offer soft landings to elites. They did NOT soft land 2019 status into 2020, but perhaps COVID may give them a change of heart.

Bill
Guest
Bill

I’m someone in the 30 nights from both cards Gold boat. But I wonder if it’s even worth pushing for the extra 7 nights into platinum when we don’t know when full service breakfast/lounges etc will even be available.

benjinito
Guest
benjinito

“Status earned in 2019” – does that exclude Gold status through Amex Plat?

Aloha808
Guest
Aloha808

Great question

T. Jones
Guest
T. Jones

Any news if these elite night credits add to your lifetime balance? That’d be really nice if they did.

Treesha
Guest
Treesha

Would the Gold status conferred from an Amex Platinum card count as earned? P2 has 30 nights from having two Marriott cards, and if he gets 13 from Marriott for being Gold through Amex, then it might be worth trying for 7 nights like you’re planning for your wife. My Platinum status has been extended through Feb 2022 but it would be nice if I could get Plat for him too so that we can use either of our Marriott accounts for our FNCs since we have five of those right now split between us.

Akuma
Guest
Akuma

I’m wondering the same thing. Is this based exclusively on actual nights stayed during 2019 or your current/2020 status, regardless of how it was earned (e.g. including credit card status and elite night credits from holding various Bonvoy and Amex Plat cards)? Also, when does this show up in your elite nights tally?

Geo@YQB
Guest
Geo@YQB

50k for the RITZ Montreal. Could be a nice little roadtrip from NY State.

Simon
Guest
Simon

Can one double-dip on elite choice benefits, or will Marriott restrict that this year since they are gifting elite night credits?

For example, I am Plat Elite on 44 nights. The additional 25 nights will push me to 69 nights. Will that trigger the Plat Elite elite choice benefit?

Then, if I stay another 6 nights and reach Titanium, will that also trigger the Titanium elite choice benefit?

Lydia
Guest
Lydia

I am confused. The elite status has already been extended to Feb 2022. Why would anybody be incentivized to make hotel stay this year? Just because of the suite upgrade award? Anything else? Did I miss anything? Not being cynical. I truly don’t understand the logic.

cee bo
Guest
cee bo

This is great news! I did 7 nights in Europe earlier this year, 30 nights from two AMEX cards and combined with the upcoming 38 nights from Titanium status, should hit the 75 night target exactly. Will look forward to the titanium milestone selections as free nights are looking better than the suite night awards that (even pre-Covid) have become unusable

BML
Guest
BML

Thanks Nick for the post. Can you please clarify what you mean by “status earned in 2019”? My status was Platinum in 2019 but since I didn’t stay enough last year, got downgraded to gold in Feb this year(also have Amex) , how many nights will they give me in this case?

FreeFreeFree
Guest
FreeFreeFree

Good: I’ll be at 74 nights with the 38 extra. So that should be an easy 50 and 75 night elite choice.

Bad: seems like lots of gold can become platinums.

Annoying: I’ll be at 840 lifetime nights next January. Which is good for nothing since 600 is all that is required to make the highest tier of lifetime status. Any chance they introduce a lifetime 1000 night titanium level? Gotta have something to strive for!

Sue
Guest
Sue

I thought we received elite night credits from only one card, even if we have multiple Marriott cards. Was that changed back to how it used to be: receiving elite nights for all the cards we have?
Forgive me if this has been covered.

HPN-HRL
Guest
HPN-HRL

Earlier this year Marriott started giving both 15 elite night credits for holding a personal Marriott CC (either Chase or Amex) and 15 more elite night credits for holding a business Marriott CC (I think Amex is the only CC company to offer a business CC now).
Note that if you have two or more Marriott personal CCs but no Marriott business CCs you still only get 15 elite night credits.

I hope this helps!

Sue
Guest
Sue

Yes. Thank you!

quasimodo
Guest
quasimodo

Next year – Senator Level. (Lufthansa?) After that – Cabinet Level. Later – Presidential Level. (Hertz?) After that – Kaiser Level. Later…Dictator Level

Kisaan
Guest
Kisaan

Amazing article. Great work and guidance , also helpful post. Thank you for sharing it , I would revisit your blog.

Kenneth Bush
Guest
Kenneth Bush

Please, please use correct English when writing. The word is “giving,” not “gifting.” You can’t always make nouns into verbs, especially when perfectly adequate verbs already exist.

Greg The Frequent Miler
Admin

This is from Merriam-Webster (https://www.merriam-webster.com/words-at-play/gift-as-a-verb):
“Gift as a verb has a 400 year history of use and means “to present someone with a gift.” Some feel strongly that give is the correct word, but gift-as-a-verb is an acceptable and efficient alternative. Since the 1990s the word has surged in popularity, perhaps in part because of a well-known Seinfeld episode concerning “regifting” and “degifting.””

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[…] I am not sure the point behind Marriott’s move here, I guess they decided it can’t hurt their evaporating bottom line too much: Marriott gifting elite night credit & dropping many redemption rates. […]

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[…] Marriott gifting elite night credit & dropping many redemption rates […]

Christine B
Guest
Christine B

Interesting. I was platinum in 2019, dropped to gold in 2020, but asked for and was granted an extension of my platinum status. So I’m currently Platinum with 31 nights (30 from credit cards + 1 actual stay). I’m wondering if I’ll get treated as a gold or platinum at end of July.

We are considering a road trip later this year to visit my 93yo grandmother—would stay in a hotel and visit in her back yard sitting 6ft away wearing masks. The Marriott closest to her has a few individual cottages (at a premium)…so this promo has likely swung my business.

Bill
Guest
Bill

Nick, I apologized if I missed this somewhere, but has Marriott said when we should be able to see the “elite credit boost” in our account?

Paul Davis
Guest
Paul Davis

I haven’t been able to glean the answer to my question elsewhere. I have platinum elite status extended to 2022. I achieved this status in 2019 primarily by overspending on the bonvoy brilliant card. It seems like my timing was good. I have 2 credit cards, so i’ll get 30 nights off of those and i should get 25 extra elite night credits for a total of 55. I was NOT planning on spending anymore on the brilliant card this year. But, if i did would that plus the nights credited bump me up to Titanium? I think probably not, but this makes my head hurt….

or, is the only way to get to Titanium to do 20 nights at a property?

thanks!

Lee
Guest
Lee

Any thoughts on whether or not they’ll give elite nights for both personal and business cards next year? Also, at one point in the year do they grant them (i.e. when do you have to be in possession)?

Art Larsen
Guest
Art Larsen

Lifetime Platinum – Will the free extended status for 2021 count as a status year towards 10 years required for Lifetime Platinum? If not, there’s another potentially very good reason to earn Platinum in 2020. Glad to hear you discussing this at the end of the podcast.

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[…] to more heavily consider Marriott than Hilton would be those chasing Marriott elite status. Given the status boost Marriott is giving to members who earned any level of elite status in 2019, many members will find themselves within reach of qualifying for a higher tier and/or elite choice […]

farnorthtrader
Guest
farnorthtrader

Just booked 7 nights for me and six nights for my wife at a local cat 1 to bump us both from gold to platinum. Cat 1 was also a pointsaver, so 44,000 points total for both of us to move up. This will make the 6 free nights certs we already have much more valuable, in addition to the 6-9 we will earn and use over the next year and a half. Even if we book no other nights with them, about 3000 points per night for breakfast, lounge access, and much better chances of meaningful upgrades seems like a pretty sweet deal.