Hotel Elite Status: Marriott Bonvoy

Having Elite Status in hotels is extremely rewarding for those who travel a lot (and therefore spend a lot of time in hotels). Here is a brief overview of the Marriott Bonvoy program’s elite status levels, since it is by far the best hotel rewards program for Canadian travelers.

Hotel reward programs all offer elite statuses, as a reward for your loyalty. The more you stay, the higher the elite status level you get. Marriott is no exception, being one of the world’s largest hotel chains.

Here are the Marriott elite status details.

 

Basics of Marriott Elite Status

There are multiple levels of elite status with Marriott and each has its own set of benefits. You need to stay quite often in a Marriott hotel to reach the top Elite Status levels, those that offer the most benefits. For most casual travelers, it’s not worth chasing these statuses.

But thankfully, there are two credit cards that give you automatic Marriott elite status:

That said, both cards are quite different:

Most importantly, having the Marriott Card also gives you a shortcut to the next elite levels, like for example Gold Elite, which is quite a step up and a lot more interesting than the initial level offered automatically.

 

Marriott Elite Status Levels

There are 5 levels of Marriott Elite Status, which require a certain number of annual nights to reach:

  • Silver (10 nights)
  • Gold (25 nights)
  • Platinum (50 nights)
  • Titanium (75 nights)
  • Ambassador (100 nights + US$20,000 in spending)

The shortcut I was telling you about is simple: with the Marriott Bonvoy American Express Card, you’ll get 15 “Elite Night Credits”, meaning just by having the card, it’ll count as if you had stayed 15 nights.

In other words, you can deduct 15 nights from the actual annual night requirement for each elite status.

So the number of annual nights required for Marriott Bonvoy card members is:

  • Silver (automatic)
  • Gold (10 nights)
  • Platinum (35 nights)
  • Titanium (60 nights)
  • Ambassador (85 nights + US$20,000 in spending)

Therefore, there is an easy and valuable opportunity, depending on your amount of travel: reaching Gold or Platinum.

Marriott also offers “Lifetime Elite Statuses” which are exactly what the name says: an elite status you earn for life, with no need to requalify each year. I’ll talk about those separately soon.

Here’s what each Marriott elite status level entails.

 

Marriott Silver Elite Status

It’s not much honestly, since it’s the entry-level elite status and everyone who has the Marriott Bonvoy Card gets it. But it’s better than nothing, especially the late check-out.

You get these benefits as a Silver Elite member:

  • 10% bonus on points earned with paid stays
  • priority late check-out at 2pm

 

Marriott Gold Elite Status

This is the status you get automatically with the American Express Platinum Card if you’re a frequent traveler, but for those who don’t travel as much, reaching Gold Elite status should still be very easy. It will allow you to get the room upgrades benefits like better views, larger rooms… but no suites—see the next level for that.

Staying just 10 nights in a year should be doable, especially if you maximize your welcome bonus and pool your points with a travel buddy. There are many affordable Marriott properties where staying 10 nights wouldn’t cost too much, and remember that nights you stay with your points (including the Welcome Bonus) count towards elite status qualification: all stays count.

The Marriott Bonvoy American Express also gives you Gold Elite status automatically if you spend $30,000 on your card, but that’s definitely not for everyone—and not recommended anyway (if you spend that much, use that spending to unblock more welcome bonuses).

Here are the Gold Elite benefits:

  • enhanced rooms
  • 25% bonus on points earned with paid stays
  • priority late check-out at 2pm
  • premium Wi-Fi

Both of us Flytrippers cofounders were Gold Elite in 2017 and 2018 thanks to the Platinum Card and we very much enjoyed the preferential treatment and experience, even if we’re not luxury travelers at all. So much so that we then decided to stay 50 nights each in 2018 to qualify for Platinum Elite, and I even reached 75 nights for Titanium in 2019.

That’s how much we appreciate the Marriott Bonvoy elite program ourselves!

 

Marriott Platinum Elite Status

This is the next level, and the one that is by far the most interesting. Platinum Elite requires staying 35 nights (normally 50 but the 15 elite night credits apply here too), so it is a bit more restrictive. But for those who travel a lot, it’s clearly worth it for 3 reasons: suites, lounges, and breakfast.

I was actually writing this article from an insane suite at the 5-star Grand Hills Luxury Collection Resort in Beirut. I had two balconies, about 8 places to sit down and so much space that I didn’t know what to do with it. It took me 10 minutes just to turn off all the lights to go to sleep. All for the same price as the cheapest room. Being Platinum Elite gives you great rooms.

You probably know about airport lounges, but you might not know that most full-service hotels also have lounges, and often dinner is provided for free (or appetizers at least). Free breakfast at 26 or so of the 30 Marriott brands is another very useful benefit.

When you regularly go from 5-star hotels to hostels during the same trip like we love to do, it’s also quite valuable to have 4pm late check-out. I usually get to the hotel at 10 am and my room is almost always ready, so that means I almost get 2 full days at a nice hotel for the price of just one night. Maximizing.

Platinum elites get 5 annual suite night awards (SNAs), which allow you to guarantee you get a suite before arriving (although it’s subject to availability). SNAs are used to avoid a situation where there are no more suites available for upgrades when you check in.

Finally, the 50% bonus on points earned is also quite lucrative since you obviously earn a lot quicker.

Here’s what Platinum Elites get:

  • suite upgrades
  • free breakfast for 2 in most brands
  • hotel lounge access
  • 5 annual suite night awards
  • 50% bonus on points earned with paid stays
  • priority late check-out at 4pm
  • premium Wi-Fi

 

Marriott Titanium Elite Status

The last status that is realistically attainable, and it is only for very frequent travelers. I reached it on the very last day I could (December 31st 2019) to be a Titanium Elite for 2020, but with the coronavirus I haven’t been able to enjoy the status much. The benefits are awesome, most importantly the near-guaranteed suite upgrade every time (in hotels that have suites) because you get priority over Platinums.

But the best benefit (and my main motivation to reach Titanium) is that Marriott has a partnership with United Airlines. Being a Marriott Titanium Elite automatically gets you United Silver Elite Status (and Star Alliance Silver Status).

That’s not very high, but it allows me to pick Premium Economy seats for free. For someone who is used to very little space and is a bit uncomfortable on planes, it’s amazing to get that for free. I even got an upgrade to lie-flat United Polaris business class seat on a 4-hour flight, but since that took a literal global pandemic and the imminent potential collapse of the entire airline industry, I know that was exceptional. But United Silver also gives you priority boarding and a priority phone line too.

In addition to the 5 SNAs from the Platinum level, Titanium members also can choose from 5 more SNAs or a free night certificate for Category 5 hotels. It even includes “Peak” nights, unlike the certificate from the Marriott Bonvoy card, so it’s worth even more. That benefit alone is at least $400 in value.

I also earn 75% more points on my (rare) Marriott stays that are paid in cash, which is quite significant. For example, a US$250 night paid by my credit card’s flight delay insurance gave me an earn of 5,500 points (without the seasonal promos and my credit card earn). That’s enough for a free Category 1 hotel! That’s fast.

Here’s what Titanium Elites get:

  • United Silver status
  • suite upgrades
  • free breakfast for 2 in most brands
  • hotel lounge access
  • 5 annual suite night awards (SNAs)
  • 5 more SNAs or a free Category 5 night
  • 75% bonus on points earned with paid stays
  • priority late check-out at 4pm
  • premium Wi-Fi

 

Marriott Ambassador Elite Status

This level is the only one with a spending requirement in addition to the nights requirement. Staying 100 nights (or 85 with the card shortcut) is one thing, but spending US$20,000 in a year on Marriott hotels is completely insane, and only something business travelers or obscenely rich people can do, so we won’t spend any more time discussing this level.

 

Earn Rate Bonus

It’s really important to understand that sometimes it makes more sense to pay for some nights in cash if the redemption value is bad with Marriott points, as we mentioned this in our article about How To Use Marriott Bonvoy Points To Maximize Their Value. It’s really one of the things travel rewards beginners have the hardest time understanding.

This is especially true for Elite members, thanks to bonuses on points earned, especially during great promos. Even Silver Elite members can earn a ton of points easily with these. Especially if you charge it to your Marriott Bonvoy Card and earn an extra 5 points per Canadian dollar!

We’ll have all the details shortly so you can take advantage of the promo, so be sure to subscribe to our new free travel rewards newsletter to get great tips to earn more free travel. 

 

Summary

That is a good intro to Elite Status in the Marriott Bonvoy program. It is worth chasing if you plan on spending many nights in hotels.

 

Do you have any questions about the Marriott Bonvoy Card or the Marriott Bonvoy program? Ask us in the comments below!

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Andrew D'Amours

Andrew is the co-founder of Flytrippers. He is passionate about traveling the world but also, as a former management consultant, about the travel industry itself. He shares his experiences to help you save money on travel. As a very cost-conscious traveler, he loves finding deals and getting free travel thanks to travel rewards points... to help him visit every country in the world (current count: 61/193 Countries, 46/50 US States & 9/10 Canadian Provinces).

This Post Has 2 Comments

  1. Joan Evans

    I just applied for the Marriott Bonvoy card … thru your site of course! Now that the minimum spend was extended to 6 months, it made sense for me in these lockdown/ slow reentry to “normal life” days.

    1. Andrew D'Amours

      Absolutely, it makes it a lot easier. Thank you so much, don’t hesitate if you have any questions!

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