As a reminder, you have until January 15, 2020 to make your selections for 50-night and 75-night Marriott choice benefits. At the very beginning of the year, 75-night choice benefits were not working for several days, but the tool is once again working to make your choice, so it’s worth logging in now and choosing sooner rather than later.
At 50 nights, you get your choice between the following benefits:
50 Night Choices
- 5 Elite Night Credits: These add to your prior year total if you wait until January to make your selection. In other words, you can use this choice to help you get to the next level of status (75 night or 100 night, but 100 night status also requires $20K Marriott spend).
- 5 Suite Night Awards: Each Suite Night Award is a one-night confirmable upgrade to a standard suite or select premium room, depending on the hotel’s availability of those rooms. The number of Suite Night Awards used must match the entire length of stay; it cannot be used for part of a stay (e.g., the first two nights of a five-night stay). Once Suite Night Awards are requested to be applied to a stay, Marriott will begin checking upgrade availability 5 days in advance of your stay, up until 2pm on the day of your arrival. If your Suite Night Award request doesn’t clear, you’ll get the awards back to be used later.
- Gift Silver Elite Status
- $100 Charity Donation: Make a $100 (USD) donation to UNICEF.
- 40% off a Marriott bed: Get 40% off retail prices for Westin Heavenly Beds, St. Regis beds, etc.
If you do not choose by 1/15, you’ll get 5 Suite Night Awards.
At 75 nights, you get a second choice from all of the above or two additional options:
75 Night Choices
- Any of the 50-night choices
- 1 Free Night Award (Up to 40K Points): “Must be redeemed for a stay that occurs no later than December 31 of the year following the year in which the additional benefit is selected (e.g. if the benefit is selected in 2019, the deadline for redemption is December 31, 2020).
- Gift Gold Elite Status
Again, if you do not choose by 1/15, you’ll get 5 suite night awards.
Greg has previously written about which you should choose and why. See: Marriott Choice Benefit valuations. Which to pick?.
As noted at the top, this function was not working for several days at the end/beginning of the year. I had made it to 75 nights just a couple of days before the year ended and waited to select my 50-night choice benefit until I made it to 75 nights (I was holding on to it in case by some stroke of bad luck I missed my last night or two and needed to select 5 elite nights; thankfully, I made it to 75 without issue). Once I reached 75 nights, I selected my 50-night choice benefit: 5 suite night awards. However, once I selected that, I was not able to make a selection for 75 nights — it just kept saying that I’d already made my 2019 selection of 5 suite night awards.
I figured there may have been some lag and gave it a couple of days. When it still wasn’t working a few days into the new year, I started to get a little concerned, so I headed over to Flyertalk to see that there were widespread reports with the choice benefit not working for several days, so I let it go a couple more days yet.
I’m glad to report that 75-night choice benefits can once again be selected. I finally got around to logging in and selecting my 75-night benefit. I chose the free night award that’s valid for a night at up to 40K points as I know I’ll get at least $150 in real-world value out of it and quite possibly more than $200. It was good timing on this as I have an upcoming need for a night in New York City where several Cat 6 properties are off-peak at 40K. However, I’ve got a bit of a dilemma now in deciding whether or not to use it right away. When I went to select my choice benefit, the page stated that the free night award would be valid until 12/31/20.
However, after making my selection, I was surprised to find in my Marriott account that the free night award actually shows an expiration date of 12/31/21.
That may be a glitch. The email confirmation I received after selection shows an expiration date of 12/31/20.
I don’t know if the cert will definitely work beyond 12/31/20 — for all I know, it’ll disappear in the night the way Marriott points have been vanishing lately at the hands of Marriott Bonvoy. But it’s at least possible that it will be honored as it shows. With that increased flexibility, I’ll have to at least debate whether to use it now or save it for later, but I’m glad to have some potential flexibility here. For once, procrastinators may get a win.
Whether or not you make the same selections that I did, be sure to make your selections by 1/15/20 or else you’ll get 5 suite night awards for each choice benefit.