Is It Worth Pursuing Marriott Platinum Status (or Higher) This Year?

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Marriott Platinum status 2020

Is It Worth Earning Marriott Platinum Status in 2020?

After enjoying Marriott Titanium status for a year through a Platinum status challenge (which was converted the year Bonvoy launched), I decided that trying to requalify for either Marriott Platinum or Titanium status made little sense. We enjoyed the benefits during a few stays, most notably during my time in Beijing with our two older kids a the Renaissance Beijing Wangfujing. But with a new path to status through their revamped co-branded credit card, Hyatt held more appeal for 2019-2020. However, now that Marriott has reduced the status requirements due to the COVID-19 pandemic, is it worth pursuing Marriott Platinum status in 2020? Let’s break down the requirements and level of effort.

Marriott Slashes 2020 Elite Status Requirements

Like other hotel programs, Marriott has rolled over 2020 status to 2021. The Gold status I hold now will be good all the way through February 2022, although I don’t value it all that highly. Platinum is where the first real benefits come into play. But Gold is nice, and I expended no effort to attain it.

The more interesting part of Marriott’s status adjustments for 2020 is the 50% extra elite nights credit (EENC) that they are offering members. Rather than changing the elite requirements, they are depositing extra elite nights into their elite members’ accounts.

The number deposited is based on 2019 earned status, which appears to be the status for which you qualified during 2019 that you are enjoying this year. You’ll receive 50% of the nights that it would take to requalify for that status. Here is what elite Marriott Bonvoy members will receive:

The elite nights are a nice gesture, but I initially glossed over them. A Gold elite with a co-branded Marriott Bonvoy card would be sitting at 28 elite nights (13 from EENC + 15 from card). But this make no difference, since status is already extended.

But…there are some plays here if you want higher status with Marriott.

The Path to Marriott Platinum Status in 2020

Marriott Gold elite status provides me diddly squat. Sure, I enjoy a few extra points and maybe I’d get an upgrade or two. But there isn’t anything to write home about. The real magic begins to happen at Platinum with free breakfast at many properties, potential for suite upgrades, and lounge access.

As I mentioned, the current Gold elite with a co-branded Marriott card is sitting at 28 elite nights. This is just over halfway to Platinum with zero effort expended. Not bad at all. You have 22 to go.

This seems pretty attainable to me, even if you don’t have a ton of travel planned. If you can stick to Marriott wherever you’re headed through the end of the year, it might be no problem to pocket Marriott Platinum for 2021.

This is pretty much where I’m at. I’m at just 1 Marriott hotel stay for the year and will be at 14 elite nights once the EENC posts (this will happen in late July). I ditched the co-branded credit card over a year ago, so this doesn’t come into play. However, I am in the market for another Chase card, and if the welcome offer is elevated, I could justify it again. Hard to believe after I pretty much wrote off Marriott after 2018.

It gets better, though. If you’re one of the lucky people to have both the Marriott personal and business co-branded cards, you’ll receive 30 nights from these. Add this to the 13 from the EENC, and you’re just 7 nights from Platinum! Shout out to commenters and our own Ryan for bringing this to my attention. This was a fairly recent positive change.

Marriott Platinum status 2020
Enjoying the top-floor lounge of the Renaissance Beijing Wangfujing

How Hard Is the Reach to Titanium Elite?

I did enjoy Titanium elite while I had it. My status challenge, mostly completed through work stays, was an easy path to this upper tier. From Gold status now, even with the card nights and EENC, I’m still almost 50 nights away. Not worth it.

But what about the person who is currently Platinum elite and has a co-branded card? I’d be tempted to just be content in this position, as you have Platinum locked in through 2021. I’d be content with that.

With EENC and co-branded card nights, though, you’re at 40 nights total. If you had a couple Marriott stays early in the year, you might be at over 50. If a decent amount of travel is in the cards for you in the latter half of 2020, making the push from 50 to 75 elite nights doesn’t seem out of the question. Maybe you can also use the 5 elite night credits? I’m not sure which year those apply to.

If you have both the Marriott personal and business credit cards, you’d be at 55 nights without any stays this year. That’s just 20 away from Titanium. I’d certainly make the push if I was in that position.

Final Thoughts

Elite status has been pretty much off the radar this year for me. I had some solid plans rolling into 2020. But the pandemic has upended everything. It’s not something really worth worrying about right now, plus nearly every company has extended benefits. Gotta wait to next year to jump back on the hamster wheel.

I guess this is a final reason, though, why trying to hit Marriott Platinum status in 2020 makes some sense for me. I won’t be giving up any other status up by trying to reach it, as my Hyatt plans don’t involve butt-in-bed nights.

Marriott Platinum status will be especially attainable if a few work stays pan out. There is a Fairfield Inn & Suites in Salem, Virginia that I’ve stayed at when in town for work, and it’s actually quite nice. That may be my choice again.

Ian Snyder
After igniting his passion for award travel while planning his honeymoon, Ian now enjoys using points and miles to see the world with his wife and three internationally adopted kiddos. He loves dissecting loyalty programs to find maximum value. His goal is to demonstrate that extraordinary travel is possible for the ordinary family.

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9 COMMENTS

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9 COMMENTS

  1. If you have both personal and business Marriott cards, you’re starting at 30 nights. I have 37 so far and was Platinum last year so I’ve already qualified

  2. With both a business and personal card, you now can get 30 credits. With your Gold credits and your previous stay, you would be at 44.

    • Duh! Forgot about that change. A friend highlighted this as well. Will update the post, as it’s now an even better proposition.

  3. If Marriott offered a soft landing these offers would be a lot more enticing. Since they don’t and Marriott being Marriott will continue with frequent program downgrades, customer-unfriendly policies in general, and wildly inconsistent fulfillment of elite benefits, I think I’ll just stick with my platinum status until it dies.

    • I’m honestly not sure how I ended up with Gold this year…it seemed like a soft landing from Titanium? I no longer have a card with them.
      The inconsistency and award price changes are frustrating. The award value is certainly one reason I vastly prefer Hyatt, plus overall much better treatment at top tier. But it might be nice to “diversify” this year, since I have the opportunity.

  4. Marriott continues to ignore the fact that many of their flagged properties simply won’t provide upgrades or breakfast for platinums and they won’t enforce this. So, no, its not worth pursuing Marriott status.

    • If they want to play the upgrade game, I don’t really care. I’ve experienced this with multiple chains (although Marriott is on the worse end of the spectrum). I’d be ticked, though, if they weren’t willing to honor a published breakfast benefit. Will keep that in mind. What have some of your personal experiences been?

    • @rjb – you really use breakfast now as a differentiator? Don’t know about you but I’ve stayed I 4 different hotels over the past 5 weeks since some travel restrictions were lifted. Basically “breakfast” is packaged muffins that have lethal levels of sodium and protein bars!

      Did stay in one that served (as opposed to buffet) a limited breakfast of powdered eggs, turkey sausage etc.

      Basically breakfast shouldn’t be on anyone’s radar as an expectation for the next year.

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