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Marriott Bonvoy’s Generous Elite Status Changes for 2021 Ricky January 11, 2021

Marriott Bonvoy’s Generous Elite Status Changes for 2021

Marriott Bonvoy has announced its elite status goodwill policy for 2021 to help members achieve and retain status in light of the continued challenges in travelling this year.

While the program won’t be offering members a blanket extension of status like last year, there will be several generous perks to make it very easy for us to reach the higher-tier Platinum Elite and Titanium Elite levels in 2021 and through February 2023.

Just Like Last Year: 50% Bonus Elite Nights for 2021

In mid-2020, Marriott Bonvoy announced that they’d be topping up members’ accounts with 50% bonus elite nights based on their current elite status. This measure is now being repeated for the 2021 elite cycle. In particular:

  • Silver Elite members will receive five additional elite nights
  • Gold Elite members will receive 13 additional elite nights
  • Platinum Elite members will receive 25 additional elite nights
  • Titanium Elite members will receive 38 additional elite nights
  • Ambassador Elite members will receive 50 additional elite nights

These bonus elite nights will stack upon any elite nights you’ve already earned, as well as the up to 30 elite nights from holding US- and Canadian-issued Marriott Bonvoy credit cards. The bonus elite nights will be deposited into your Marriott Bonvoy accounts in February 2021.

For example, I’m currently a Titanium Elite member who already has 30 elite nights in my account for 2021, because I hold both the Amex US Bonvoy Brilliant and the Amex US Bonvoy Business.

In February, I’ll expect to receive an additional 38 elite nights, bringing me to a total of 68 – which means that I’m only seven nights away from retaining Titanium Elite for 2021 and all the way through February 2023.

(Since the extra elite nights bring me past the 50-night threshold, that means I’ll already get to select my 2021 Annual Choice Benefits. I’ll most likely opt for the five Suite Night Awards. In theory, though, I could also select the five extra elite qualifying nights and reach 73 elite nights – only two nights away from retaining Titanium.)

Meanwhile, let’s imagine that you achieved Platinum Elite status in 2020 and have both of the US-issued Bonvoy cards. That means you started the year with 30 elite nights, and in February, you’ll earn an additional 25 elite nights for a total of 55. You’ll have easily requalified for Platinum Elite status – and you’ll get to select your Annual Choice Benefits – without a single night’s stay!

Similarly, if you never attained Platinum but only managed Gold, then the extra 13-night boost, combined with the elite nights you could earn from the Marriott credit cards, leaves you with only a small gap before you achieve Platinum. It’s never been easier to achieve Marriott elite status.

And best of all? The bonus elite nights count towards your lifetime elite night totals. Receiving a total of 76 free nights between 2020 and 2021 has certainly made my journey towards Lifetime Platinum Elite a lot easier.

Double Points & Double Elite Nights

To sweeten the deal even further, Marriott’s next global promotion will offer members double points and double elite nights on stays of two nights or more between February 16 and April 27, 2021.

To be eligible for this promotion, your stay needs to include at least one paid night – but a stay consisting of one paid night and 10 award nights, for example, should be eligible to earn a total of 22 elite qualifying nights.

This is in addition to the targeted promotions that have already been rolled out for Spring 2021. Combined with the 50% bonus elite nights, this promotion makes it pretty effortless for any Marriott Bonvoy elite member to retain their status for 2021 during the promotion period.

Taking my example above as a Titanium Elite member, I’d only need to stay for four paid nights during this promotion period to earn a total of eight elite nights and complete my retention of Titanium Elite.

Even if you aren’t planning to travel during the spring, a safe staycation somewhere nearby could easily help you wrap up your Marriott elite status plans early on this year.

Ambassador Elite Spend Requirement Reduced

Marriott Bonvoy will be reducing the spend requirement associated with its top-tier Ambassador Elite status for 2021.

Ordinarily, Ambassador Elite requires 100 elite qualifying nights and US$20,000 in spending on room rates throughout the calendar year. For 2021, this spending requirement is being cut by 30% to US$14,000.

This is positive news for high-spending Marriott members who might be on the fence about retaining Ambassador status this year.

For me, it isn’t likely to entice me to chase Ambassador status (I ended 2020 with about US$4,500 in qualifying spend, so I was pretty far off), and I imagine the same is true for most readers who will be sufficiently happy with their treatment at the Titanium Elite level.

10% Discount on Off-Peak Awards

For stays booked between January 11 and February 21, 2021, and travel through September 30, 2021, Marriott Bonvoy’s off-peak awards will be reduced by 10%.

Looking at the regular award chart…

…we can see that Marriott hotels will thus be bookable from 4,500 Marriott Bonvoy points per night at the Category 1 off-peak level, up to 63,000 Marriott Bonvoy points per night at the Category 8 off-peak level.

You’ll still have to hunt for off-peak award nights, since the standard and peak nights are not being reduced by 10%.

However, assuming you can find off-peak space, then the ability to redeem 63,000 Bonvoy points per night for one of the high-end Category 8 properties is an incredible deal – reminiscent of back when Bonvoy first launched and these hotels were available for 60,000 points per night.

Conclusion

Earning and retaining Marriott Bonvoy elite status in 2021 should be a very straightforward affair, no matter which level of elite status you hold.

Between the 50% bonus elite nights and the opportunity to pad your night count through either the Double Elite Nights promotion or the 10% off off-peak award stays, you should have no trouble retaining the same elite status as you held in 2020, and you might even find that a higher status tier is well within your reach.

Personally, given that I’ll be retaining Titanium Elite status pretty effortlessly this year, I plan on diversifying my tastes and concentrating most of this year’s hotel stays with World of Hyatt whenever possible – whose very own easy path to Hyatt Globalist status through February 2023, of which I have taken advantage, likely forced Marriott’s hand in offering these generous perks for 2021.

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10 Comments
  1. Avatar
    Jack

    Does anyone know if the double elite nights promo applies for cash bookings made using the explore codes (family members who work for Marriot get a discounted rate)? Looking at making a cash booking for 2 nights to score 4 elite nights.

  2. Avatar
    steve

    Has this been confirmed as correct:
    To be eligible for this promotion, your stay needs to include at least one paid night – but a stay consisting of one paid night and 10 award nights, for example, should be eligible to earn a total of 22 elite qualifying nights.

    I’m sitting on a 7 night, 1-4 cert I have no use for. I would easily do an eight night (one paid) with it at a local Courtyard to grab 16 qualifying nights. Seems a bit generous on Marriott’s part though?

      1. Avatar
        steve

        Awesome – thanks! I think I will have to call in and make sure the paid stay and redemption all appear under one reservation number. Fingers crossed. This could be a easy way to reach Titanium quickly.

  3. Avatar
    Shawn

    Will the Double Elite Nights promotion apply only to paid stays or redemptions via points or vouchers? Thanks!

  4. Avatar
    Tim

    Hey Ricky, how long does status last for? For example, if I quality for plat in say March 2021, does it last until March 2022? Or is there a set date for status expiry? Thank you!

    1. Ricky
      Ricky

      Marriott status always lasts throughout the year you qualified for it, plus the following year, until February of the year after that. So in this case your status would end in February 2023. If you then requalified in 2022, it would last until February 2024, and so on.

      1. Avatar
        Dustin Lawtey

        How do you book one night cash and the rest on points in a single booking?!

        1. Avatar
          Jay*

          On the booking confirmation page, click the “+” sign next to the word “Customize Payments”.

          1. Avatar
            Mark

            Same for me: there is no “Customize Payments” toggle on the booking page when selecting a room. Followed the instructions listed here: https://help.marriott.com/s/article/Article-22190
            Been looking at making a 7-night stay at a Cat2 hotel, one night with cash and six paid with points.

Ricky

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