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Select Your 2021 Marriott Bonvoy Choice Benefits (Ending Soon)

Marriott Bonvoy members who achieve 50 or 75 elite qualifying nights during a calendar year are entitled to an Annual Choice Benefit, which allows them to choose one of several different benefits that may enhance their Marriott Bonvoy experience.

The deadline for selecting the 2021 Choice Benefit is fast approaching, so members who had crossed the 50- or 75-night thresholds in 2021 – especially those who, like me, had waited until the new year to choose the 75-night benefit more advantageously – are hereby reminded to go ahead and complete their selection.

Let’s take a look at what Annual Choice Benefits are available for you to pick from. 

Select Your Annual Choice Benefit Before January 7

You can head to the dedicated page on the Marriott website to complete your Annual Choice Benefit selection.

You’ll be prompted to log in to your Marriott Bonvoy account, and then you can make either one or two Choice Benefit selections depending on which elite night thresholds you’ve crossed.

visual of all marriot choice benefits

Once your selections are made, they’re final and cannot be changed.

The deadline for making your selection for the 2021 Annual Choice Benefits is January 7, 2022. If you haven’t made your selection by this date, you’ll receive the set of five Suite Night Awards as a default benefit for both the 50- and 75-night Choice Benefits.

In the case of the 75-night Choice Benefit, it might’ve been more advantageous for you to wait until early 2022 (i.e., between January 1 and January 7) to finalize your selection, as we’ll discuss below.

If that’s the case for you, don’t forget to finish the job before the deadline. 

Annual Choice Benefits at 50 Elite Qualifying Nights

Upon earning 50 elite qualifying nights in a calendar year, you’ll get to choose one of the following rewards as a Choice Benefit:

  • Five Suite Night Awards
  • Five extra elite qualifying nights
  • 40% off a Marriott hotel bed
  • A US$100 charity donation
  • The ability to gift Silver Elite status to another member

Personally, I think the best choice here is the set of five Suite Night Awards, which allow you to request (but not necessarily confirm) an eligible suite upgrade on up to five nights’ worth of hotel stays over the upcoming year.

After confirming a hotel reservation, you have the ability to apply Suite Night Awards to a select suite that the hotel makes available for Suite Night Award upgrades.

Starting five days before your stay, the system will begin checking with the hotel whether your Suite Night Awards can “clear” into your desired suite upgrade.

If so, your suite upgrade will be confirmed prior to your arrival; however, there’s no guarantee that they will clear, and the suite upgrade may still be denied in the end, with your Suite Night Awards being returned to your account.

Fantastic Bund View Suite at the W Shanghai The Bund
Fantastic Bund View Suite at the W Shanghai The Bund, which I booked using a Suite Night Award.

Each night of your booking will require one Suite Night Award, so you could use your set of five Suite Night Awards towards a single five-night stay, five separate one-night stays, a two-night stay and a three-night stay, etc. Certain brands, such as Ritz-Carlton and EDITION, are excluded from Suite Night Awards. Prepaid stays are also not eligible.

Altogether, the value proposition of Suite Night Awards is somewhat lacking, because they can’t be used to guarantee a suite upgrade after all – they’re simply a more official tool for requesting a suite upgrade than the art of “suite-talking”, but the latter could still net you very impressive results when aiming to score some memorable hotel suites.

Nevertheless, I still find Suite Night Awards useful in those circumstances when I really want to confirm a suite upgrade, such as when I’m travelling with Jessy on a special occasion.

In these instances, I apply Suite Night Awards to give myself the best shot at confirming an upgrade five days in advance, and I’ll fall-back on my suite-talking abilities if the Suite Night Awards don’t clear. And if a Suite Night Award request does clear, you can often suite-talk your way to an even bigger suite!

Overwater Bure Villa at the Marriott Resort Fiji Momi Bay
Overwater Bure Villa at the Marriott Resort Fiji Momi Bay, which I booked using a Suite Night Award.

Aside from the Suite Night Awards, the only other potentially useful benefit in my view is the five extra elite qualifying nights.

These nights will count towards your elite qualification for 2021, not for 2022. So they’d only be useful if they would retroactively qualify you for a higher tier of elite status, or for the purposes of counting towards lifetime elite status.

Meanwhile, a 40% discount on a Marriott hotel bed is a great choice for anyone who was in the market for a Marriott hotel bed (especially considering the prices on some of those things), but pretty worthless for everyone else.

Similarly, you’d be better off making your own US$100 charity donation since you’d at least get a tax receipt.

And Silver Elite status would be a rather pitiful gift for another member, given the very limited benefits you enjoy as a Silver Elite, not to mention the fact that anyone can earn this status simply by applying for the American Express Marriott Bonvoy Card or American Express Marriott Bonvoy Business Card.

Annual Choice Benefits at 75 Elite Qualifying Nights

Upon earning 75 elite qualifying nights in a calendar year, you’ll get to choose one of the following rewards as a Choice Benefit:

  • A Free Night Award worth up to 40,000 Bonvoy points
  • Five Suite Night Awards
  • Five extra elite qualifying nights
  • 40% off a Marriott hotel bed
  • A US$100 charity donation
  • The ability to gift Gold Elite status to another member

Personally, I think the Free Night Award worth up to 40,000 Bonvoy points is the clear winner here.

Whereas Suite Night Awards offer potential value that’s not guaranteed, the Free Night Award can be cashed in for a one-night stay that would’ve otherwise cost you either your hard-earned cash or your hard-earned points.

You can redeem this Free Night Award at a Category 5 hotel on any date. Alternatively, if you wanted to maximize its usage, you could aim for a Category 6 hotel on an off-peak date, which would otherwise cost you exactly 40,000 Bonvoy points.

outside view at Wailea Beach Marriott Resort Maui
Wailea Beach Marriott Resort Maui, where I had redeemed a 40,000-point Free Night Award.

Note that the Free Night Award you get from the 75-night Choice Benefit will carry an expiration date of December 31 in the year after it was selected. That’s why it might’ve made sense to wait until early January 2022 to officially make your selection.

This way, your Free Night Award would have an expiration date of December 31, 2023, rather than December 31, 2022. You’d be giving yourself an extra year’s time to redeem the Free Night Award in optimal fashion.

Similar to the 50-night level, the other 75-night Choice Benefits are rather uninspiring.

Five extra elite qualifying nights may be useful if you’re gunning for Ambassador Elite status at 100 elite nights. Of course, Ambassador Elite also requires spending US$20,000 with Marriott to qualify for, which I imagine is out of reach for most of us.

The only other distinct benefit at the 75-night level is the ability to gift Gold Elite status to another member.

But again, Gold Elite isn’t the most useful elite status level in the first place, and it can easily be earned as a perk of signing up for the American Express Platinum Card or American Express Business Platinum Card.

My Strategy for 2021 Marriott Bonvoy Choice Benefits

Given my thoughts as outlined above, I had chosen a set of five Suite Night Awards for my 50-night Choice Benefit.

graphic of how suite night rewards work

Meanwhile, after reaching 75 elite qualifying nights in 2021 (in large part thanks to already earning 68 elite nights without completing a single stay, between my US-issued personal and business Marriott Bonvoy credit cards and the 50% bonus elite nights we received in 2021), I had waited until January 2022 to complete my 75-night Annual Choice Benefit selection.

On New Year’s Day in 2022, I logged back in to the Annual Choice Benefit website to select my 75-night benefit.

Note that the terms and conditions appear to say that the Free Night Award worth 40,000 points would have an expiration date of December 31, 2022, instead of December 31, 2023.

This is contrary to how the benefit has worked in the past, and would’ve defeated the purpose of waiting until 2022 to select the benefit if it were true.

However, upon confirming my selection, I saw an extra Free Night Award instantly deposited into my account, along with the expected expiration date of December 31, 2023. That gives me ample time to decide on the optimal redemption.

Conclusion

The deadline for selecting Marriott Bonvoy‘s 2021 Annual Choice Benefits is approaching soon. If you’re like me and waited until 2022 to select a Free Night Award for the 75-night benefit, don’t forget to make your selection before January 7. 

Among the pool of Choice Benefits, I’ve personally picked the five Suite Night Awards at the 50-night level and the Free Night Award at the 75-night level, with a delay in choosing the latter in order to extend its expiration date through to 2023. 

16 Comments
  1. Kevin He

    if we choose the five Suite Night Awards in Jan 2022 for achieving the 50nights in 2021, will the five Suite Night Awards expire in Dec 31,2023 instead of Dec 31, 2022?

  2. Oz

    I noticed you got the 7 day partial package. Is there a good deal there? If possible please share the ins and outs of why you got that.

  3. Andrew Cole

    Did not receive credit for a stay in December to get me to 75 nights. Filled out the missing stay form and was told to expect a decision in early January. This should bump me up to titanium but what happened to my elite choice benefit if the nights do not get added untill after the January 7th deadline for selecting my titanium benefits? Has anyone been in a situation like this before? I would like to chose the FNA

    1. Ricky YVR

      The default selection if no selection is made by January 7 is the Suite Night Awards, so I’m guessing you’d receive that. Let’s hope your missing night credit comes through before the 7th.

  4. Stephane Delisle-Lavoie

    This is a follow up to Al’s question…I now have 56 nights and 14 more are coming up, so I can choose the 5 extra nights as a platinum member right now to reach 75 nights by the end of April until Feb 2023? The assumption is that the 5 nights post right away.

    1. Ricky YVR

      That’s correct.

  5. Duane

    Thanks Ricky for the update! Taking the 40% of a bed this year, moving! Did you get your years with status updated yet? Seems to be taking forever this year.

    1. Ricky YVR

      Mine hasn’t updated either, so I’m still patiently awaiting that sweet sweet Lifetime Gold…

      1. Duane

        Well, this is promising…

        Thank you for contacting Marriott Bonvoy™.

        I regret to inform you that we have not been notified when the 2020 tenure year will be added to accounts. It may be added late March or early April or early 2022.

        Thank you for being our guest and a valued member of Marriott Bonvoy™.

  6. Al

    If I understand correctly, you can choose 1 benefit when you reach Platinum and if you reach Titanium in the same year, you can choose another benefit? That means as Titanium you can have 5 suite night award and the Free night award? Mistakenly, I though Titanium only entitles you for more choices for award, not addition awards. Thanks

    1. Ricky YVR

      Correct. One Choice Benefit at 50 nights and another one at 75 nights.

  7. Max

    Ricky, I obtained Plat status via US Brilliant promo and its not allowing me to choose benefit even though I am Plat. What is going on?

    1. Ricky YVR

      You need to earn 50 elite qualifying nights first.

  8. Jay*

    Great to see you most likely making the 75 night Choice Benefit selection later this time 😌.

    1. Ricky YVR

      Got called out for it on here a while back, so now I’m paying more attention. 😉

Ricky Zhang

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