11 Shortcuts to Marriott Platinum Elite status (2019 edition)

Updates: -Added birthday elite night benefit. -Clarified lifetime status

Breakfast shown here is from the US Grant Luxury Collection hotel. This is one of many properties where Platinum Elites get free breakfast.

Marriott Rewards, Starwood Preferred Guest, and Ritz-Carlton Rewards are now one program with multiple names.  Starting February 13th, however, they’ll also share one name: Marriott Bonvoy.  You can find everything you need to know about Marriott Bonvoy in our complete guide.

One of the cool things about Marriott Bonvoy, besides its delightful name, is that elite perks are pretty good for a hotel chain of its size.  Here’s a summary of Marriott’s elite perks:

Note: Until Feb 13 2019, Titanium Elite is named “Platinum Premier Elite”, and Ambassador Elite is named “Platinum Premier Elite with Ambassador”.  Even though Titanium Elite lifetime status is not available for anyone pursuing it now, those with lifetime Platinum Premier status will be converted to lifetime Titanium Elite.

The sweet spot elite status, in my opinion, is Platinum Elite.  This will get you the vast majority of the best benefits: 4pm late checkout, 50% point bonus, welcome gift, free breakfast at most properties, and lounge access.  And, when you earn 50 elite nights you also get a Choice Benefit, such as 5 Suite Night Awards.

Of course, you might not have the opportunity to actually stay 50 nights at Marriott properties.  But all hope is not lost.  There are quite a few shortcuts to status that you can pursue instead…

Two Distinct Shortcut Paths: Elite Nights vs. Other Shortcuts

There are two types of shortcuts to elite status.  One type of shortcut offers a way to get elite nights more quickly or easily.  Elite night shortcuts are stackable.  That is, you can mix and match these shortcuts in order to earn whatever level of status you want. The other shortcuts are not stackable. Each offers a way to get to a specific level of status, but if you want to go for a higher level of status, these generally won’t help.

Elite Night Shortcuts

The following shortcuts are stackable.  You can earn elite nights from one or more of these options in order to add them up to the 50 nights you need.

  1. Credit Card 15 elite nights.  This is by far the simplest option. Almost all Marriott, SPG, and Ritz credit cards offer 15 elite nights per year simply by being a card member.  You can find a complete list of cards here. Please note that holding multiple credit cards will not give you more than 15 elite nights.
  2. 1 Elite Night Per $3K Spend.  Three legacy Marriott cards offer 1 elite night per $3K spend (you can find a complete list of cards here, along with a chart showing which cards offer elite nights for spend).  Of the three legacy cards that have this feature, readers are most likely to have the Marriott Rewards Premier Credit Card, but only if they turned down the offer to get bonus points by upgrading to the Plus version of this card.  Unfortunately each of the cards that offer this feature only give cardholders 1 point per dollar spent (except in certain categories of spend), whereas all other Marriott cards offer a minimum of 2 points per dollar.  This means that this spend is costly in that you lose the ability to earn more points for your spend.  It’s especially costly if you consider that you can earn far more than the value of 2X Marriott points for that same spend.  See: Best Rewards for Everyday Spend.
  3. Host a Meeting: If you host a meeting at a Marriott property, you can get 10 elite nights per calendar year, plus 1 elite night for every 20 rooms booked and actualized.  Important: Make sure the elite night benefit is listed in your meeting contract.
  4. Book award nights.  Marriott hotels are available for as little as 7,500 points per night (6,000 points per night when point saver awards are available).
  5. Book 5th night free awards (even if staying 4 nights).  Best deal for mattress running: Book a category 1 hotel for 5 nights.  For 30,000 points, you’ll get 5 elite nights.  Note that you do have to check into the hotel to get credit.
  6. Choice Benefit: 5 Elite Night Credits.  This is a weird one.  You won’t have access to this Choice Benefit until you’ve earned 50 elite nights, and the 5 elite nights can only be applied to the same calendar year in which you earned the Choice Benefit selection.  Therefore, the only good use of this option is to help you get to Titanium Elite or Ambassador Elite status.  Also note that these 5 elite nights do not count towards lifetime status.  Learn more about Choice Benefits here.
  7. Birthday Elite Night Credit: Make sure your birthday is on your Marriott account and that you are opted in to promotional mailings.  If you don’t get an email on your birthday offering you a free elite night, contact Marriott to request it.  Hat Tip: TPG reader Soheil.

Once you earn elite status this year, your status will be good for the rest of this year, all of the next, and through February of the year after that.

Advantages to elite night shortcuts:

  • You’ll earn Choice Benefits when you reach 50 elite nights in a calendar year, and again at 75 nights.
  • Elite nights earned with these shortcuts count towards lifetime status as well (One exception: choosing 5 elite nights as a Choice Benefit does not add 5 nights to your lifetime total).

Other Shortcuts

The following shortcuts will get you to a specific elite level, but you can’t stack them with elite nights to get higher status.

  1. Credit card Gold status.  The SPG Luxury Card and the Ritz-Carlton Card (no longer available to new applicants) both offer automatic Marriott Gold status.  Similarly Amex Platinum and Business Platinum cards offer free Gold status (you must enroll).
  2. Spend $75K for Platinum. The SPG Luxury Card and the Ritz-Carlton Card (no longer available to new applicants) offer Platinum Elite status with $75K spend.  With the SPG card, the spend must be within a calendar year whereas the Ritz card spend must be within your membership year.
  3. Marriott Platinum Elite Challenge. Earn Platinum status by completing 16 paid nights at Marriott properties within 90 days of enrolling in the challenge.  Please note that award nights do not count.  Call Marriott Rewards (soon to be “Bonvoy”) to enroll.  You cannot enroll in the Platinum challenge if you already have Platinum status or higher.
  4. Timeshare Ownership: Marriott Vacation Club and Vistana are timeshare ownership programs affiliated with Marriott, and each offers elite status under certain conditions.
  5. United MileagePlus Premier Gold or higher status: Via RewardsPlus, United elite’s with Gold status or higher get Marriott Gold.

Disadvantages to “other” shortcuts:

  • Earning one level of status doesn’t help you get to the next. For example, if your Amex Platinum credit card gives you Gold status, you’re just as far from earning Platinum status as someone with no status at all.
  • You won’t earn Choice Benefits.
  • You won’t make progress towards lifetime status elite nights (but you will add lifetime elite years).

My Take

If you have plans to spend 16 nights in hotels within a 90 day period, then go for the Platinum Elite Challenge.  Ideally you would do this early in the calendar year so that you’ll earn status for the rest of this calendar year, all of the next, and through February of the year after that.

Last updated on May 29th, 2019

About Greg The Frequent Miler

Greg is the owner, founder, and primary author of the Frequent Miler. He earns millions of points and miles each year, mostly without flying, and dedicates this blog to teaching others how to do the same.

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Blue
Guest
Blue

Pretty grim compared to 2018. Hoping for a soft landing to Plat in 2020 is my best plan!

Sandy
Guest
Sandy

Thanks for this awesome post Greg! Does anyone know when 15 elite nights get posted for AMEX SPG Business card this year? I just noticed I haven’t seen them yet? TIA

Max
Guest
Max

It’s way cheaper (and healthier) to buy your own breakfast. Alternatively, stay in a Hilton with much fewer hoops to jump through.

Busy
Guest
Busy

Many blogs (I think including this one) said that we’d get Platinum status until 2020 if signing up for the RC card. Is that true or not?
I signed up at the end of July and after the merged program, was made Platinum. Will that stay put after Jan of this year?

Bryant
Guest
Bryant

I’d like to know this as well. I’m trying to “requalify” for platinum through this method.

frugalman
Guest
frugalman

Even though I can’t be 100% sure. I think so. Typically you should get at least a full year elite status, not half a year or a few month. If you agree on that, since you signed up last July, it is natural to expect you still have that status until this July. But as you know, if you are a Platinum this July, that status will last until Feb 2020. Sound logical?

Mary Jane
Guest
Mary Jane

Join the discussion…Hi Greg, my new RC platinum status expires in Feb 2020 (I also signed up in July). My question is: to requality for platinum, do I have to then complete my $70,000 new RC charges between July 2019 and January 2020 to requalify for Platinum thru to July 2020. I get confused when it is based on anniversary year and not calendar year.

MCO
Guest
MCO

I wonder if anyone knows the answer: I expect to have 25 nights by the end of March. Will Gold status only begin in 2020, or will I have benefits this year? Thanks.

jessica
Guest
jessica

As soon as the nights are credited to your account, you’ll have gold status. It then will last until the end of 2020,

MCO
Guest
MCO

Great. Thanks for the quick response.

Sandy
Guest
Sandy

You should check if you’re eligible for Platinum Challenge by calling Marriott Rewards or Bonvoy. It only requires 16 nights (not 16 stays) with in 90 days.

Fat Ted
Guest
Fat Ted

Any chance Amex Platinum ups from the gold to platinum status? Seems like that benefit has devalued from what it was at SPG.

frugalman
Guest
frugalman

None of the paths are doable for me. That’s why even though I have quite a few 7-night or RC-free certificate stays this year, I am moving to Hilton holding my Amex Apsire card. Marriott really drive people away by taking back the free breakfast option for credit card holders. For me, a Mr. Nobody, what I care most is the location and free breakfast.

CaveDweller
Guest
CaveDweller

Me Toos ..Cheers

Boonie
Guest
Boonie

Do we get anything at the Marriott Vacation Clubs now?

Alex
Guest
Alex

I need 1 more year to get Lifetime Platinum. Time to apply for a credit card to get 15 elite nights.

Kyle
Guest
Kyle

I’m genuinely concerned that the 1 EQN for $3,000 spent on the Marriott Rewards Premier Visa will go away with the change to the new Bonvoy cards. I’m hoping the benefit will stick around, but I’m not holding my breath.

Jonathan S
Guest
Jonathan S

I have the same concern in the long run. However, I don’t think they will drop this benefit immediately given the page from their website that shows the benefits of each replacement card: https://credit-cards.marriott.com/en-us/chase-us

The website shows that the Marriott Rewards Premier Credit Card will become the Marriott Bonvoy Premier Credit Card (which is different than the Marriott Bonvoy Boundless Credit Card) and will earn 1 Elite Night Credit per $3,000 spent on purchases.

kciflyer
Guest
kciflyer

By holding several Marriott/SPG credit cards last year (and getting 15 elite night credits for each) and taking advantage of the 10 night elite credit for booking a conference room, I managed to get 75 elite nights sufficient to earn Platinum Premier Elite Status (soon to be Titanium) this year through Feb. 2020. I definitely won’t earn that status again this year and may not earn Platinum status through the 50 elite night requirement. My question is, if I only am able to earn Gold status this year (through credit card or via 25 elite nights) is Marriott likely to step me down one level to Platinum status for 2020 or plunge me all the way down to Gold? I seem to recall that the old Marriott typically allowed you a soft landing and only dropped you down one level, but I may be wrong. I’m trying to figure out if I need to spend $75k on my Ritz card or Lux card this year (setting aside whether that is a wise move) to earn Platinum status for next year (or if I can wait until 2020 to worry about earning status for 2021).

Mary Jane
Guest
Mary Jane

Join the discussion…Greg, if you have Plat Elite thru the RC sign up in July and it is good thru 2/20, and you spend 75,000 by 2/20, would your Plat Elite status only be good thru 7/20?

Joseph N.
Guest
Joseph N.

Can it be true? Do my eyes deceive me? Marriott is going to do something about multiple tiers with the name platinum?

OMG, they finally listened! Too bad they only wised up AFTER months of member confusion about tiers during the transition.

As I’ve said before, they could’ve avoided all this confusion if they had jettisoned the word platinum at the start.

Eric
Guest
Eric

SPG Luxury Card Spend Question – If you spend $75K to earn Platinum Elite Status, does this Platinum status count towards a year for Lifetime Status even if you don’t have the 50 nights needed for Platinum in a calendar year? I need two more years to reach Lifetime Platinum and $75K annual spend would be easier for me to achieve than 50 nights.

Spud
Guest
Spud

I am a bit confused about how they are dealing with existing lifetime status. I am lifetime prem platinum. I assumed I would get 75% extra points on stays for life but it looks like you have to get to Titanium every year to get that (i now wonder do we even get 50% extra for life). That seems like a bait-and-switch for those who pulled out the stops last year to get to 2 million points and 750 nights. Any thoughts?

Joseph N.
Guest
Joseph N.

This is the confusion caused by Marriott using the label “platinum” for multiple different tiers.

If you earned LTPP status in 2018, under the old rules or the new rules, you will get Titanium status and that 75% bonus. Only the name of the tier is changing. Here is the relevant part of the Marriott members FAQ:

“If I will not be grandfathered into Lifetime Platinum Premier Elite, will I have the ability to earn into this level in 2018?

“Yes, members can earn Lifetime Platinum Premier Elite in 2018 if they achieve 750 Lifetime nights and 10 years at Platinum Elite status. This requirement is only for 2018 and will not be continued in future years. Members will receive notice of this Lifetime achievement in January 2019.

“We are keeping members “whole” in the applicable night tier in which they earned their Elite status. Example: If a member has 4 years of Elite status at the 50 night level (Gold Elite status) they will be counted in August and beyond as 4 years at the new 50 night level (Platinum Elite status). Only the names of the levels are changing. How we account for tenure is not changing.”

Teo
Guest
Teo

I was not aware with the Ritz card it’s membership year, not calendar year. I’m glad I read the whole post.
Is there a way to see the progress toward 75k spend for the Ritz card?

Pam
Guest
Pam

Greg,

Thank you for a timely & pertinent post with all the announced changes. I have Platinum status thru 2.20 from when I got the RC card last July (thanks to you & Nick!). I want to look ahead to next year when that runs its course.

I can’t do a Challenge (& not sure I would anyways at the volume they require) since am already Platinum. Looking thru my options, it seems I am back to spend which is more doable & easier for me anyways. At the same time, I want to make sure my timing & selection of cards is maximized.

I don’t have Luxe yet cos am waiting on a decent upgrade offer. But if I go ahead & apply as a new account is it, or the RC card, the better option for $75k of spend for status? And when is the ideal time to complete the spend? Am ok with having a several month gap in status after mine runs out 2.20.

Thanks for your advice, Greg.

Pam
Guest
Pam

(btw I have/will always have Gold via Vistana)

P-nope
Guest
P-nope

For some reason, my account keeps saying 22 nights to platinum elite when I haven’t stayed a single night in 2019.

Denise
Guest
Denise

I did request Chase to lower the credit line on my RC card to $1500 and got the AF refund in October. Is it possible to send them a request to increase my credit line now and not having to pay $450 AF? With $1500 credit line it will take forever to meet 75K spend.

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Clueless about elite challenge until now
Guest
Clueless about elite challenge until now

Do you know if Marriott will retroactively apply 16 nights within a 90 day period if I do the challenge today? Didn’t see this post until today, AFTER I had already spent 14 nights in November and an additional 2 nights in December.

Nanette Cruz
Guest
Nanette Cruz

I was gifted Gold Elite Status from another Marriott Platinum Member. If I get the new Bonvoy card that offers 15 elite nights. Does that mean I will just need 10 nights to reach Platinum Elite?

Amiksh Patel
Guest
Amiksh Patel

I have the Amex Bonvoy Brilliant ( SPG lux) card. I get gold status and 15 elite nights. Would applying for the Chase Bonvoy Premier also make sense so that I can earn 1 elite night for every $3k spend. In case I fall short of elite nights can I manufacture spends and get elite nights. Please help.

Nick
Guest
Nick

In this day and age I’m amazed that a big hotel chain would still give free access to lounges to airline pilots..never flt attendants.Pilot group being 95%male is obviously more important than the FA group that are traditionally female and gay males.Such discrimination

Donald
Guest
Donald

Greg:
Thanks for a very thorough article. Missing from the “other shortcuts” section is the United RewardsPlus route to Marriott Gold status. Does this stack with a credit card Gold status since in effect the different parties, United Airlines and American Express (or Chase) each has paid Marriott to give its member the status level? It’s obvious why Marriott disallows credit card stacking for elite status, but airline partner/credit card partner elite status stacking should be beneficial to Marriott. Has anyone gotten Platinum status or additional elite nights with this route?

Jason
Guest
Jason

If I am currently Lifetime Gold and have the old Premier Plus Visa card which includes 15 EQNs per year, will that mean I only need to earn 10 more qualifying nights to reach Platinum Elite (50 nights)?

Nick Reyes
Editor

No. You need 50 nights – 15 = 35 nights. You don’t get elite night credit for having Gold status — you just keep that status without needing to earn it. You still need to earn Platinum with the full nights requirement (minus the nights you get from the credit card)

Nicole Deschesne
Guest
Nicole Deschesne

What status match would I get from Best Western Diamond to Marriott? My idea was to get a BW credit card, spend $10,000 to get diamond status then request status match. Thank you for your help.