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Goodbye Marriott Platinum Elite After Negative Change – Here’s My New Plan

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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.

Final Thoughts

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.

Disclosure: Miles to Memories has partnered with CardRatings for our coverage of credit card products. Miles to Memories and CardRatings may receive a commission from card issuers.

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Ryan Smith
Ryan Smith
Travel hacker in 2-player mode, intent on visiting every country in the world, and can say "hello" or "how much does this cost?" in a bunch of different languages.

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  1. Your new plan has been mine for the last 18 months. I knew it would get worse. Marriott cut me off at the knees when I was in the middle of a Platinum challenge (during the merge of Sheraton to Marriott) 18 months ago. (Remember how difficult it became to log into your account?) Switched loyalty to Hilton. I had three several Marriott cards, primarily for the free nights and $95 fee but it was hardly worth the $95 a year for each just to keep up with the free night expiration dates. Some redemptions I barely got $100 of value, especially with increased point redemptions. I wouldn’t be surprised if they bumped free breakfast up to Titanium. Who knows? I really don’t follow them now days.

    • It’s hard to keep track of the perks already, because different brands have different policies. What you get for free as platinum with this hotel brand of Marriott is different than that brand. Some had free breakfast automatically as a platinum benefit, while others gave you an option of A/B/C as a welcome gift, one of which might be breakfast. Their luxe brands don’t have any free breakfast option.

  2. Totally agree. After years of being a Marriott customer, due to a bad experience with a NC Marriott, I will now go out of my way to avoid all Marriott properties in the future. Hello Hilton and Hyatt.

  3. This article sums it up for me as well, except I think you are only able to transfer a max of 50k points.

    On a separate note, Marriott doesn’t even secure our data properly, even after their major data breach. A few months ago, they allowed someone to transfer 180k points out of my account to purchase airline tickets. It took them over a month to retrieve my points; this all happened while I was on a trip in Hawai’i and needed the points to switch to another resort. There was no explanation of what happened to my account.

    I don’t consider myself entitled, but I do know that all is not the same after the merger. Unfortunately, they have some of the best hotels available. So to switch, there will be fewer choices and hotel chains with lower quality.

    This merger should not have been allowed.

    And, I think we have some Marriott trolls commenting on this article. They seem to be so passionate, what’s it in for them? They must have achieved lifetime already. Lol

    • Warren – were you able to get your points back? What happened with the switch, if you couldn’t get your points at the time you needed?
      You can transfer 100,000 points in a year, but some agents will only let you do 50k at a time, though there’s no policy in writing on this.

  4. Your 50 nights to platinum are reduced to only 35 by having the AMEX Brilliant. Also, would love to know how you plan on downgrading the Brilliant card to one that no longer exists for new applicants?

    • Not open to new applicants doesn’t mean you can’t product change to it. And I’m aware of the 35 by having 15 of credit already. Still not worth it to me if I have to spend more money now to earn the status.

  5. Complain about other things but seriously you’re complaining about them closing a loophole that got you a status you didn’t deserve? This is too much entitlement.

    • I’m guessing you haven’t read anything I’ve posted before if you think I act entitled. I’d encourage you to know a little more before making such large assumptions about someone you don’t know at all. But thanks for reading.

      • What you’ve written before is irrelevant to what this article is – entitled whining. Please stop being so full of yourself that you can’t see it. You’re discouraging people from reading more if all you can say is “look at my other articles”.

        • By telling people to read more things I’ve written I’m discouraging them from reading more things. That doesn’t make any sense to me. If you have a different opinion, you’e welcome to share it. Insulting someone in a way that’s not only incorrect but also built on a bunch of unfounded assumptions doesn’t produce good dialogue. I think you should check out Mark’s article from the other day about this kind of behavior of insulting others in this hobby.

  6. Too much crying in this article. Marriott closed an obvious loophole made (too much and too frequently) public by bloggers like you. I dont like some of the changes either, especially the dynamic pricing but adapting is the name of this game. It is a mistake to downgrade the brilliant card. The $300 credit and the 50000 point night voucher makes it worth it 100%. And you can get platinum by spending money and never staying in any hotel which is priceless. Stop crying…

    • Ricardo where is the complaining you speak of? He is saying the status isn’t worth pursuing for him any longer with the change and the downward trend of the program (he was already jumping ship anyway). Making a decision based on value is what this hobby is all about.

      And your comment on the Brilliant card – that is simply Marriott locking you in to spending $450 every year with them. If you would spend it anyway it is a good deal if not then it is not. This isn’t a one size fits all game. Why give Marriott any money unless you don’t have enough points to stay there or somewhere else free (a differing approach you don’t consider in your comment).

    • I’ve mentioned in several other places that I was going to downgrade the brilliant card just simply because the fee isn’t justifiable to me. Also that this was my last time pursuing Platinum with Marriott, because it’s not worth it, and that I was ONLY going to do it if I could get there without extra cash involved. If it’s about adapting, that’s what I’m doing.
      Since the status isn’t worth it in this simpler route, why would I want to spend my way to the status? This comment confused me.

  7. since the merger they know they can scoop up ‘new’ customers from either chain, and revenue from them will offset the loss of ‘fringe’ customers like us, ‘the noise around the edge’. Since we are making the chain lose money, they replaced us with customers who stumbled upon a MR hotel just by its ubiquity. I’m at 9yr Plat, I’d like to get 1 more in ’20 (there are 4 Cat 1 ~60 miles from me @16K pts for 5 nights). I will burn some points then freelance starting in ’21.

      • Didn’t see the report but i was talking about their mindset from the start based on what we saw. The intangibles, think about how many screw-ups their IT contributed to the #s, and how much word-of-mouth ads they lost from us. Although we may not send in as much $ as ordinary Plat, we spread the words & bring over readers/friends/family to its facility. They wanted to nitpick every sales then let them have it.

  8. Marriott sees customers as opponents, which strikes me as a particularly strange way to view people who are choosing to spend money with you. Since they see me that way, I think I’ll return the favor.

  9. This is why God invented Hyatt.

    Don’t know why you guys keep beating your heads against the Bonvoy wall.


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