Prior to the August 18th Marriott Mergerpocalypse I talked myself into reaching for Platinum Premier 75-night status. And, I’m getting close. I see the end in sight. I have 70 nights “on the books” and a plan for earning the last 5.
The argument in favor of going for Platinum Premier 75-night status in 2018 begins with this: starting next year, holding more than one Marriott/SPG card won’t help to achieve status. Next year, you can get at most 15 elite nights credit regardless of how many cards you hold. But this year is different. Those who had the Marriott Premier consumer and business cards and the SPG consumer and business cards prior to the August mergerpocalypse got a total of 40 elite nights towards status (15 nights from each Marriott card and 5 nights from each SPG card). So, this year only, it’s possible to get to Platinum Premier 75-night status with only 35 elite nights above those from the credit cards. Starting next year, regular Platinum 50-night status will require 35 elite nights above the 15 granted by your credit card.
The next part of the argument for pursuing Platinum Premier 75-night status this year is the hope for a future soft landing. If I were to achieve Platinum Premier 75-night status now, that status would last the rest of 2018, all of 2019, and through February 2020. Then, my hope is that Marriott would “soft land” me down to Platinum 50-night status which would presumably last until Feb 2021. That was all a long way of saying that 35 nights earned this year might be enough to get me multiple years of high-level status.
Platinum Premier Progress
Shortly after the merger, my online account showed that I had 49 elite nights: 40 from credit cards and 9 from actual stays. Those elite nights were previously split between Marriott and SPG hotels but now they were added together.
From 49 to 51 nights
I was surprised to see only 9 “real” nights in my account, so I did some digging. I found that I hadn’t been credited for one of my stays. I submitted a missing stay request online and a few weeks later the two missing nights were added to my account.
From 51 to 52 nights
My wife and I had planned a mini vacation in Sedona where we stayed in the Sedona Kimpton (which was a bit of a disappointment compared to other Kimpton hotels we’ve enjoyed, but we loved Sedona overall). But we cut our trip short when we learned that our last day would be completely rained out due to a tropical storm headed our way. We checked out a day early and drove down to Phoenix where there is more available to do indoors (we spent the afternoon in the awesome musical instrument museum). I used a Marriott 25K free night cert to stay at the Renaissance Phoenix Downtown Hotel (which was selling for over $600 per night at the time) where we were upgraded to a junior suite and enjoyed their gorgeous executive lounge.
From 52 to 55 nights
Since I blog for a living, I can work from anywhere. So, when my wife’s work takes her to interesting places, I often follow along. And, I often add my loyalty number to her work-related hotel bookings so that we’ll both enjoy elite perks during the stay and so that I’ll inch my way closer to the next level of status. One such stay was at the Residence Inn Downtown Charlottesville. Wow. The hotel is stunning and in a perfect location. I loved this short stay. Unfortunately I apparently didn’t take any photos of it!
From 55 to 62 nights
We just completed a seven-night stay at the St Pancras Renaissance London. London has become one of our favorite cities and so we’re lucky that my wife is frequently invited to meetings there. We had a great time staying at our favorite hotel, going to shows (loved “Everybody’s Talking about Jamie”), as well as visiting friends and relatives.
From 62 to 70 nights
We have two more stays booked before the end of the year: one for three nights and one for 5 nights.
From 70 to 75 nights (the plan for the remaining 5 nights)
Rather than mattress run for these final five nights, I’ve decided to select Five Elite Night Credits as my 50-night Platinum Choice Benefit. It took me a while to find out how to go about doing this (I never received an email from Marriott about reaching 50 nights). Finally, I found the URL: choice-benefit.marriott.com/en-us/marriott-rewards/benefits. If you have earned 50 and/or 75 nights, you can go to that URL to select your Choice Benefit.
This was a tough call since I think that 5 Suite Night Awards (SNAs), which is another Choice Benefit I could have picked, has the potential of offering more value than 5 elite nights. That said, SNAs have some severe limitations: the way SNAs work is that the upgrades are not confirmed until, at best, 5 nights before your stay. Plus, you must use the exact number of SNAs to match your length of stay. For example, if you have a 7-night stay but only 5 SNAs, you can’t ask to upgrade 5 of the 7 nights. You would have to break your reservation into two to accomplish that.
Anyway, by picking the 5 elite nights, I should then reach 75-night Platinum Premier status whereupon I’ll be able to select another Choice Benefit. Maybe I’ll choose 5 SNAs at that point.
I have mixed feelings about the Marriott / SPG program overall. The merger was (and in many ways continues to be) a disaster. That said, while some SPG benefits decreased (especially their credit card earnings), many Marriott benefits got better, and their overall footprint increased. Now, more than ever, Marriott hotels are likely to be pretty much wherever you need a hotel. And, in some cases, I believe that Marriott truly has better options than their competition. So, even if I prefer Hyatt (and I do), and even if Hilton is a more than worthy competitor, I know that I’ll continue to spend time in Marriott hotels in the future. And, when I do, I like the idea of having at least Platinum status in order to snag the occasional suite upgrade, get access to the lounge when it’s not closed on weekends, etc.
Hopefully, my gambit will pay off and this spurt of Marriott stays will mean that I’ll have at least Platinum status through Feb 2021. At the very least, I know I’ll have Platinum Premier through Feb 2020. Then, when I dip below Platinum in March of 2020 or 2021 (depending upon whether or not I get a soft-landing to Platinum), I can decide what to do. Should I bother trying to get status again? I doubt I’d do so with 35 nights again, but maybe I could sign up for a Platinum challenge or spend $75K on either the SPG Lux or Ritz card (if the latter still exists by then). Or, most likely, I’ll simply stop chasing status with Marriott.