Return of the Marriott Platinum status challenge

Last night, Greg wrote about the updated program terms for Marriott Rewards (See: Marriott publishes the new rules re: point transfers, suite upgrades, etc.. (finally!)), and there were some positives for Platinum elites: from reservation guarantees to suite upgrades when available (and benefits we already knew about like breakfast at resorts and 4pm late checkout), Platinum status is looking great. There had long been a Marriott Platinum status challenge available, but it got shut down ahead of the merger (presumably to keep the IT easier to manage in migrating people….seems like that’s gone swimmingly). Good news: the Marriott Platinum status challenge is back.

The Deal

  • You can now registter for a Marriott status challenge to earn elite status faster based on the following number of nights:
    • 8 nights in 90 days = Gold Status
    • 16 nights in 90 days = Platinum Status
  • To register, call Marriott Rewards, at 801-468-4000, or SPG, at 888-625-4988. Be aware not all agents are aware of this promo. See more below.

Key Terms

  • There is confusion as to whether or not award stays count. Most phone agents say no, some say yes, apparently a Marriott rep on the Chinese version of FlyerTalk says yes. My bet would be no, but I’d love to be wrong.
  • Reports are mixed as to whether stays must be within 90 days or by 12/31.
  • TPG reports that you can only register once every 3 years
  • No current status required to register (though you may have to HUCA a few times to find an agent who knows this)

Quick Thoughts

The fact that phone agents are under-informed about this promotion is surprising (said no one who has dealt with Marriott customer service post-merger). Reports indicate that information is all over the map, but View from the Wing reported this matching opportunity last night and both TPG  and God Save the Points appear to have received information directly from Marriott on this. The key details from all sources match: you can take Marriott up on a 90-day status challenge that requires 16 nights in 90 days for Platinum status.

Beyond that, it gets murky. Reports on Flyertalk indicate that a Marriott rep on a Chinese Flyertalk-like site has confirmed that award stays count, though reports from those who have spoken to agents are mixed on this point. I believe that past challenges have always required paid nights (while award stays do count toward status, challenges usually require revenue nights) and based on that I would expect paid stays to be required here.

With Platinum status, you should be able to get upgraded to the best available room, including suites — like the Dorothy Parker Suite at the Algonquin Hotel in NYC.

That said, if award stays do count, that could be particularly interesting for folks with 7-night travel package certificates. Two 7-night certificates would get you pretty close to completing the challenge, and surely many readers are sitting on two or more certificates.

Keep in mind that TPG’s report says that Marriott will allow a challenge like this once every 3 years. I take that to mean that those who have previously completed a challenge in the past 3 years may not be eligible — and if you accept the challenge now, you won’t be eligible again for 3 years.

Also remember that not all agents are going to know about the challenge or understand it properly. If you call within the next few days few weeks few months, expect that you will likely need to HUCA (Hang Up, Call Again) in order to get on with an agent who knows all of the details. Even then, I wouldn’t take anyone’s word for it as to whether or not things like award stays count until reports start trickling in from people who have tried it. I imagine there will be mass confusion among agents between those who know prior challenges required paid stays those who look to the program terms to see that award nights generally count for status and those 3 agents who have apparently been trained about how this should actually work. At least one report said that you should call the Starwood line, but I think it’s anybody’s guess.

Still, with the suite of benefits for Platinum members, this could certainly be worthwhile if you have nights coming up within a 90 days cluster.

H/T: View from the Wing

About Nick Reyes

Nick Reyes is a (fairly) regular guy with an animalistic passion for maximizing the value of miles and money to travel the world in comfort and style. There is little in life that he loves more than finding a fantastic deal and helping you shop smarter & harder to achieve your travel dreams.

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Probably
Guest
Probably

I’m just wonder if their IT issues are fixed enough to properly track this or even if tracked properly to credit the customers properly with their status?

Michael
Guest
Michael

If I did the Marriott Platinum challenge last year (9 stays) and had Platinum status at merger time and now have Platinum Premier Elite, does my current status lasts until Feb. 2019 or Feb. 2020? Can’t find status expiration anywhere on the app or desktop.

Julia
Guest
Julia

I seem to be on a different wave length when it comes to this new challenge. It’s now 18 nights instead of 9 stays i.e. previously 8 nights only, we’ve gone from definite upgrades to definate maybe upgrades and the promised breakfast benefits at most hotels has been squeezed. What am I missing which makes this challenge so great?

I take it you have to do 18 nights without having the use of the Prem elite benefits unlike Hilton’s taste of diamond challenge?

Leo
Guest
Leo

Hi Rick, a quick question.

I was Gold before and Gold after the merger.Does it make sense? From what I read, I am supposed to be Platinum in the new combined program. Please let me know. Thanks

Bern
Guest
Bern

Were you Gold with SPG or Marriott?
Gold with Marriott you should be mapped to Plat…
SPG Gold remains Gold in the new program..

wadacash
Guest
wadacash

It depends on how you earned that gold status. If you earned it from SPG (such as through having the Amex platinum card), then you would be gold in the new combined program. If you earned it from Marriott (such as having high United status or the Ritz card), then you would be platinum in the new combined program.

Ivan Y
Guest
Ivan Y

@ Nick — don’t really trust the systems to track this correctly given how many issues they’ve had so far. Could you update this post or do another post when/if people report successful challenges?

josh
Guest
josh

Any news about a platinum premiere challenge? It would nice to be able to also get united silver status.

Also if I got the Ritz card in December of last year and now have platinum status as a result, how long is my platinum status valid? Until Feb 2019? I’m guessing not 2020..?

Mark
Guest
Mark

I have a full copy of the terms and conditions on this I got via email from a CSR. It specifically says:

“Nights spent while redeeming an award are eligible for credit towards this promotion”

Jac
Guest
Jac

Hi Mark, can u please put a link up for the T&C you got for the status challenge?

Jayson
Guest
Jayson

Do you know if people who took the SPG challenge previously are eligible?

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