Goodbye Marriott Platinum Elite After Negative Change – Here’s My New Plan
Goodbye Marriott. Since they announced another negative program change (if anyone has a count on how many this is since merging with SPG, let me know) I won’t be pursuing Platinum Elite status with them for next year after all. I recently wrote about my plan to earn Platinum status next year and that being my last year going for it. With these recent changes and losing a simple way to qualify for Platinum Elite, here’s how my plans have changed for next year.
What’s Stayed the Same
Some things haven’t changed. I still have points and will use them as planned next year. And I’ll still enjoy my Platinum perks. If something opens up in Japan around the Olympics (currently nothing available), we’ll look at those options.
Also, I will still refer my wife for the American Express Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant Card. I’ll get a referral bonus, and we can use those points for stays. Immediately after getting my referral bonus, I’ll still downgrade my card to the American Express Marriott Bonvoy Card to reduce the annual fee significantly ($450 to $95).
My wife can still transfer 100,000 points to me to make bookings from my account for perks and upgrades. We’ll still do these 3 things, because points are points, and I’m not bailing on this hobby altogether. I’m just done with Marriott’s games.
What Has Changed
Since the meeting perk doesn’t offer any credits for nights, just measly points earning ratios, I won’t have a meeting at Marriott next year. Yes, it was kind of too easy, but Marriott has gone overboard here. Now, you need to book a group of 20 rooms from an event or wedding to get just 1 night of credit. That’s ridiculous. Even at a cheaper property with $75/night rooms, I need to spend $1500 to get 1 night credit. I can stay a night at a St. Regis or a Ritz-Carlton for less than that and get the same number of credits: get real.
I also won’t build any itineraries for travel with Marriott in mind. I’ve never gone out of my way to wind up at a Marriott property, but it’s been in my mind that I needed to arrive at 50 nights at the end of the year. Now, I don’t care. I won’t get close to 50 nights, I won’t earn Platinum Elite status in 2020 for 2021, and that’s fine. I already wasn’t planning to work for it the following year anyway. My only status with them will be the credit card-based automatic status from having the Platinum Card from American Express. Complimentary Gold status, which is worth less every year in Bonvoy.
I will downgrade my Bonvoy Brilliant Card from American Express as early as possible and am considering if I want to downgrade or change other cards. Sure, I can still use the free night on the other cards. Maybe I’ll keep them for another year, but that’s a decision to make later when the fees are due.
Marriott continues to devalue and change its program time and time again (see Mark’s rankings here). I was already in the “burn the remaining points then say goodbye” stage. Now, I’ve moved to the next stage: Goodbye, Marriott. It’s not worth real cash out of my pocket to pursue extra nights to earn status at a hotel that continues to devalue its program every year. Mark my words: this won’t be the last devaluation.
Bold prediction: Marriott changes the 15 night credits you get from their credit cards and reduces this to only 10 nights in 2020.