Marriott Bonvoy is known for putting on regular global promotions a couple of times per year, which can often be a great way to rack up bonus points, elite nights, or free night certificates.
This is one of the Marriott’s most generous promotions in recent times, making it now easier than ever before to earn a meaningful level of elite status within the program.
Double Points & Double Elite Nights
You’ll earn double Bonvoy points and double elite qualifying nights on all paid stays between February 16 and April 27, 2021 of at least two nights or more.
According to the FAQs on the Marriott website, a stay will count as a “paid stay” for the purpose of this promotion as long as it includes a single paid night on the reservation, even if other nights are booked using Marriott Bonvoy points.
Registration is required prior to your first eligible stay, so make sure to go ahead and register for the promotion now.
Double Points: An Extra 5–10x Bonvoy Points
Ordinarily, Marriott Bonvoy members earn points on their hotel stays at the following rates:
- 5 Bonvoy points per US dollar spent at Element, Residence Inn, and TownePlace Suites properties
- 10 Bonvoy points per US dollar spent at all other hotel brands
With double points under this promotion, you’ll earn a further 5–10x Bonvoy points on all eligible stays. Since we currently value Bonvoy points at 0.9 cents per point (CAD) / 0.6 cents per point (USD), this translates into a further 3–6% return on the cost of your hotel stay.
These base points and double points are separate from any points you might earn from paying with a Marriott Bonvoy co-branded credit card. These include the Amex Bonvoy Card or the Amex Bonvoy Business Card, which earn 5 Bonvoy points per Canadian dollar spent at Marriott properties.
Double Elite Nights: A Great Opportunity for Mattress Runs
The more exciting part of this promotion lies in the opportunity to earn double elite qualifying nights on all eligible stays during the promotion period. Even if you don’t have any trips planned, you can leverage some clever “mattress runs” to take care of your Marriott Bonvoy elite status plans for the next two years.
Don’t forget that a stay consisting of a single paid night, with the remaining nights booked with Marriott Bonvoy points, will count towards this promotion and earn double elite nights.
These “hybrid” stays can be booked online: you’d search for a stay using points, and then use the Customize Payments feature to select which nights to redeem points and which nights to pay cash.
However, it seems that the Customize Payments feature is only enabled on stays of up to 10 nights. So if you’re booking a stay of 11 nights or more, you’ll need to call in and work with an agent to book the stay with your desired currency combination.
Optimal Mattress Running Strategies
As you’ll recall, as a temporary measure for 2021, Marriott Bonvoy is offering members 50% bonus elite nights based on their elite status in 2020.
These bonus elite nights have been rolling out to members’ accounts throughout this week. I’ve already received my 38 bonus elite nights as a Titanium Elite member, bringing me to a total of 68 elite nights for 2021 without having completed a single stay (on top of the 30 elite nights I’ve earned for holding the personal and business US-issued Bonvoy cards).
After factoring in these 50% bonus elite nights and any nights you’ve earned from credit cards (whether it’s 30 nights for holding the twin US cards, or 15 nights in all other circumstances), you’ll be able to decide how many nights you’d need to “mattress run” to achieve your elite status goals.
For example, since I’m currently sitting at 68 elite nights, I could book a four-night stay during the current promotion period in order to earn eight elite qualifying nights and help me retain Titanium Elite status for 2021.
In my case, I’m confident that I’ll be racking up seven nights at Marriott hotels organically throughout 2021, so I don’t see a need to do a mattress run.
However, if you don’t see yourself travelling much for the rest of the year, or perhaps only staying a night or two somewhere, then now’s the time to take action and plan out any stays you need to book.
If you were a Platinum member in 2020 and held the personal and business US-issued Bonvoy cards, you’d currently be sitting at 55 elite qualifying nights. You might be interested in taking aim for Titanium Elite status, especially because there’s likely going to be an influx of Platinum members in the Bonvoy ranks this year, and having higher status would give you the edge in competing for suite upgrades and the like.
A 10-night stay under the double elite nights promotion would do the trick, helping you reach the 75-night threshold for Titanium Elite. You could also reduce this by choosing the five extra elite qualifying nights when it comes time to select your 50-night Annual Choice Benefit (which should be rolled out shortly).
Meanwhile, even if you’re someone who doesn’t want to get into the US credit card game and would prefer to stick with Canadian offerings, you’re still currently looking at the easiest path to Platinum Elite status that we’re likely to see for a long time.
From holding a Canadian-issued Marriott Bonvoy credit card, you’ll earn 15 elite qualifying nights. Assuming you held Gold Elite status in 2020, that’s a further 13 elite qualifying nights under the 50% bonus, bringing you to a total of 28.
Thus, an 11-night stay under the double elite nights promotion would earn you 22 elite qualifying nights and propel you towards the 50-night threshold for Platinum Elite.
With Marriott Bonvoy also simultaneously also offering a 10% discount on off-peak award nights through February 21, this means that your 11-night stay could be booked for as little as 36,000 Bonvoy points + ~$80 at one of Canada’s Category 1 hotels, factoring in the Fifth Night Free benefit.
(There’s also the matter of checking in for these stays. Thanks to the “second guest trick”, enterprising Edmontonians, Winnipeggers, and Petawawans (?) have developed a solid track record for helping out their fellow Canadian points enthusiasts. If you’re looking for a local mattress-running plus, I’d recommend the Prince of Travel Elites Facebook group as a starting point.)
For those of you who might be hesitant to dive into US credit cards, then 36,000 points + ~$80 is going to be one of the easiest and lowest-cost pathways to attaining Platinum Elite status that we’ll see for a long time.
So if you have any desire to stay at Marriott hotels throughout 2021, 2022, and early 2023, and would like to enjoy elite perks such as free breakfast and suite upgrades while you’re at it, now’s the time to take action.
Registration is now open for Marriott Bonvoy’s “Better Two-gether” promotion, which gives you double points and double elite nights on all paid stays of two nights or more between February 16 and April 27, 2021.
If you play your cards right under this promotion, you can easily achieve your Marriott Bonvoy elite status goals through February 2023, allowing you to take comfort in elite benefits on any travels you’ve planned for the next few years, while also giving you the freedom to try out other hotel brands that pique your interest without worrying about retaining status with Marriott.
Don’t forget that this promotion also stacks upon Marriott Bonvoy’s recent round of targeted promotions, so there’s an opportunity for even more earnings if you’ve been targeted for one of the better promotions there.