You now have Marriott elite status. Here’s what to do next…

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Thanks partially to the Marriott SPG merger, meaningful Marriott status (Gold or higher) is easy to get.  Simply sign up for an Amex Platinum card (personal or business) and enroll in the SPG Gold status benefit. Then link your Marriott and SPG accounts and viola, you are a Marriott Gold elite.  Other options include spending $30,000 on a SPG credit card, or signing up for the Chase Ritz Carlton card.

3 things to do once you have Gold status or better…

#1: Link your Marriott and SPG accounts

Marriott SPG

If you haven’t already linked accounts, you might as well do so now as it will give you SPG status.  Marriott Gold = SPG Gold.  Marriott Platinum = SPG Platinum.  If you don’t already have a SPG account, sign up here.

#2 Check for better Marriott credit card offers

marriott-rewards-credit-card
Marriott elites often receive better signup offers for the Marriott Rewards credit card.  The best way to find the best offer is as follows:

  1. Log into your Marriott account
  2. Go through the steps of booking a hotel reservation
  3. On the final screen, look for an ad to sign up for the Marriott credit card
  4. Compare the offer on that screen to the best public offer shown on the Frequent Miler Best Offers Page.
  5. You do not have to complete your hotel booking in order to take advantage of the signup offer

#3 Check to see if you’ll get good elite perks before booking a stay

marriott-m-club-lounge

Marriott Gold members are entitled to a long list of perks (found here), including lounge access / free breakfast.  Marriott says this about that perk:

Free daily continental breakfast, light snacks and beverages for members and one guest in the Executive Lounge at JW Marriott®, Autograph Collection®, Renaissance® and Marriott Hotels®, Delta Hotels® (resorts excluded). In the U.S. and Canada, select hotels will provide 750 or 1,000 points in lieu of breakfast in the event the lounge is closed.

There are some gotchas not obvious in the above description unless you’re reading very carefully…

  • Resorts are excluded. Some resorts, at their own discretion, provide breakfast benefits to elite guests, but it is not a Marriott Rewards requirement.
  • Not all Marriott brands are included: Missing from the above list are Courtyard Hotels, Ritz Carlton properties, Starwood properties, Marriott Vacation Club, etc.  Of course properties that offer free breakfast to all customers (such as Fairfield Inn & Suites, SpringHill Suites, and Residence Inn) are also excluded.
  • In the US and Canada, some hotels will give you a few points instead of free breakfast when the lounge is closed.

Thanks to the above rule exceptions, and exceptions to exceptions (such as the few Courtyard Hotels that do offer lounge benefits), it’s pretty difficult to predict your experience in advance. Fortunately, this Flyertalk thread does a great job of listing Marriott properties around the world along with what to expect with regards to free breakfast or lounge access.  I always check this thread before booking a Marriott stay.

4 things to do once you have Platinum status…

Once you have Gold status, it may then be possible to challenge your way up to Platinum status.  Or, you can put high spend on a Ritz Carlton credit card.  Or, you can earn SPG Platinum status in order to get Marriott Platinum status.  Full details can be found here: Marriott SPG 4 New Shortcuts to Platinum Elite Status.

Once you get to Platinum, here’s what to do…

#1: Enroll in RewardsPlus

rewardsplus-marriott-platinum-benefitsRewardsPlus is a partnership between United and Marriott.  Click here to enroll.  Marriott Platinum elites get automatic United MileagePlus Premier Silver status!

#2 Check for better United credit card offers

united-credit-card-50k

United elites often receive better signup offers for the United MileagePlus credit card.  Sometimes these offers are mailed or emailed proactively (so, you can simply wait to see if you get one).  Or you can try the following steps:

  1. Log into your United account
  2. Go through the steps of booking a flight
  3. On the final screen, before actually paying for the flight, look for an ad to sign up for the United MileagePlus credit card.
  4. Compare the offer on that screen to the best public offer shown on the Frequent Miler Best Offers Page.
  5. You do not have to complete your airfare purchase in order to take advantage of the signup offer.

#3 Sign up for Hertz Five Star status

hertz-five-star

Thanks to United’s partnership with Hertz, United elites get free elite status with Hertz.  United Premier Silver & Gold members get Hertz Five Star status.

Click here to enroll.

#4 Match Hertz Five Star Status to National Executive Status

national-matchI’m a big fan of National Executive status.  When you book a mid-sized car, you can then select any car from the Executive Aisle.  I’ve used this benefit to rent large SUVs, minivans, and high end cars.  To match your Hertz status to National, click here.

Hat Tip: yochiek93 via Twitter

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