I Earned 55 Marriott Elite Nights Without A Single Stay This Year

I haven’t spent a single night with Marriott so far this year, but I now have 55 elite nights in my account. Others have even more elite nights than I do without staying once. What a strange year this is (and this is perhaps the least of the reasons why).

  • At the end of March, Marriott doubled the number of elite nights you can earn for having their credit cards. A Marriott credit card earns 15 elite nights per year. That used to be capped at 15 nights total, regardless of how many cards you have. But now you can separately earn 15 for a personal card and a small business card, and I have both.

  • Marriott gave all current elite members 50% of the elite nights for the status level earned last year, and those posted overnight. They already extended everyone’s current status so no one with current elite status needs to re-qualify this year. However this was meant to make it super easy to qualify for higher status.

    Ambassador 100 Qualifying Nights and $20k stay spend 50 Elite Nights
    Titanium 75 Qualifying Nights 38 Elite Nights
    Platinum 50 Qualifying Nights 25 Elite Nights
    Gold 25 Qualifying Nights 13 Elite Nights
    Silver 10 Qualifying Nights 5 Elite Nights
    Member Not Applicable Not Applicable

These bonus elite nights count towards lifetime status. For instance, lifetime Platinum is earned after 10 years of Platinum or higher and 600 lifetime nights

This should earn a Choice Benefit (for crossing 50 nights) too. My Platinum status is already secure for 2021, but just 20 nights (and I already have a few) gets me Titanium. And if my choice benefit is 5 elite nights, I only need 15 actual nights in hotels for Titanium. I can actually have 60 elite nights without staying in a Marriott hotel.

Unfortunately they aren’t giving any break on the $20,000 spend requirement. Odd after laying off Ambassador agents they still expect as much spend from you but don’t deliver the promised personalized service.

The irony in all of this is that just 7 months ago Marriott eliminated earning 15 elite nights per year for hosting a meeting because they believed it made elite status too easy and low cost to get.

About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community InsideFlyer.com, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

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  1. @AlexH: hahahahahahaha! Funny! 🙂
    Gary: I still only have 15 Nights from my Bonvoy card, no trips this year. Was I supposed to be given more?

  2. No, the additional nights did not hit for all elites overnight. Lifetime Gold still waiting for the additional 13 nights.

  3. Im still waiting for my 38 nights. Ironically i had 48 nights already from amex and stays. Did a lot of travel this year prepandemic

  4. Had two nights next weekend booked at Ritz Laguna Niguel, using free night certificates. Cancelled because of the horrible reviews during Pandemic. Sad when don’t even want to stay at a hotel for free. Can’t imagine how the poor folks feel paying $800 a night.

  5. Mine posted this morning when checking. Had a week in Europe before the pandemic plus two card and it took me to 75 nights for Titanium. Not bad – 5 nights from Lifetime Gold now.

    Make sure to find the links for the 50 and 75 night milestones. got another free night cert out of the deal.

    For all that the Marriott has screwed us over the past two years this one feels redeeming.

  6. It’s going to be brutal in 2021 trying to get suite upgrades or using the club lounges. There are going to be way too many elites. Marriott needs to rethink lounge access for Bonvoy platinums, which was the gold status in legacy Marriott. Alternatively, offer room service breakfast for ambassadors. Something. Because the lounges were already overcrowded before coronavirus. They’re going to be much worse in 2021.

  7. Mine just got posted today. I’m now at 55 nights and just requested the additional 5
    planning a lengthy stay at a really cheap property to get to Titanium. Once i get to 75 nights I’m Titanium for the balance of this year as well as all of next year, right?

  8. Sadly, you’ll quickly realize that top-tier Marriott elite is almost worthless. Sure, you can get some great free breakfast at properties…oh wait, those were almost all buffet style and are now shut down indefinitely.
    Since Marriott long ago stopped ensuring elite members were properly upgraded, there’s literally no other benefits. Hyatt, IHG & even Hilton are better options!

  9. Haven’t stayed one night and already have 68 nights (38 for personal and business card) plus 38 for being Titanium last year. This is surprisingly generous, but I wish Marriott would do more to get me back in a hotel. Hyatt is doing great with discounts and the award rebates, hopefully Marriott catches on.

  10. @Gary – For lifetime Platinum status, which the minimum level to reach for tangible benefits, Marriott’s website says that you must have 10 years of Platinum + 600 lifetime nights. Any idea if the two have to be during the same years or can I get my nights first then the last couple years of status later.

  11. Great post, I didn’t realize any of this. I am at 62 nights already (7 taken, 25 platinum, 30 credit cards). Thank you!

  12. I need some help understanding how this works: I was Titanium Elite in 2019 and earned Platinum for 2020. Will I be getting 25 nights or 38 nights with this bonus Marriott is given?

    I’ve seen information saying that I will get half of what it requires to earn the status I WAS in 2019, and then information saying that I will get half of what it requires to earn the status that EARNED in 2019 for 2020.


  13. So these ‘bonus’ nights just suddenly appeared: no explanation via email, no breakdown on the account page, no way of checking if they’re accurate. Typical Marriott…
    Seems probable I got 50+ extra ( 1/2 2019 nights), but it would be nice to see a breakdown without trawling back through the account. We would have got clarification from SPG.

  14. @Geoffrey – You’ll get 25 nights added to your account. The number is based on status for this year.

  15. Just wanted to add a data point here:
    • In 2018, I earned Marriott Platinum through a status challenge (actually the Marriott Gold challenge, pre-SPG merger), good through February 2020.
    • In 2019, I only had 8 nights with Marriott, not actually qualifying for any 2020 status.
    • In 2020, I hit 51 nights by mid-March (before the pandemic hit the US), qualifying for Platinum through February 2022.

    Based on Marriott’s wording, you’d think my extra elite nights deposited would be based on my status earned in 2019, which is none, right?

    Welp, I woke up today to 25 nights deposited in my account, bringing my 2020 total to 76 and qualifying me for Titanium status. For me, it was apparently based on the status I earned early this year.

    Strangely, this goes directly against a FAQ posted on this Marriott help page: https://help.marriott.com/s/article/Article-24119

    Q: “I achieved Platinum status in April this year but only received 13 Elite Night Credits in my Account. Why did I not receive 25 Elite Night Credits?”

    A: “The 50% Elite Night Credits is based on the status tier that you earned in 2019. It is not based on the tier you achieved in 2020. The Elite status that you earned in 2019 was Gold Elite, which is why you received the 13 Elite Night Credits in your Account.”

    The only difference is that I earned mine in March, while this hypothetical question cites earning theirs in April. I guess it’s possible that they set the cutoff to the end of March 2020 instead of December 2019? Otherwise, my only guesses are:
    • It somehow happened specifically because I *didn’t* earn status in 2019 (a system bug in my favor that made it look to my status earned in 2020 instead), or
    • It somehow based it on the status I earned in 2018 *for* 2019 (even though I only earned it via a status challenge back when it was still called Marriott Gold).

    Another commenter on another site mentioned he was lifetime Gold, had only 5 nights last year, and got his 13 nights deposited today.

    So contrary to Marriott’s wording, we know it’s not strictly based on “earned” status in 2019…we just don’t know exactly what it’s really based on.

    On a separate note, I’m strongly hoping Marriott extends status earned this year. I earned mine right before the pandemic really hit here, and now, it’s not truly going to be safe to travel again until an effective COVID vaccine comes out – estimated early-mid 2021 at the earliest. So I’m losing out on at least 12 months of travel, and thus at least 12 months of the value I would’ve gotten out of my Platinum (or now Titanium) status. Since I got it in March and it’s good through February ’22, that’s 24 months of status, 12+ of which I don’t really get to use. It only makes sense to give us an extension, for the same exact reason it made sense to extend the status of those who earned it in 2019: we paid good money (and points, which cost money) to get that status, and now we’re losing out on over 50% of the value we should’ve received from it. I’d even be happy if that extension didn’t take into account the extra nights they just deposited – meaning just Platinum, not Titanium, in my case. Just something so we’re not getting screwed out of over half the value of the status we earned. (And yes, as much as some people complain about Marriott, I do find that Platinum or higher still has plenty of value. The breakfast/lounge access and guaranteed 4pm checkout alone make it worth it for me. I wish they wouldn’t play so many games about which properties do and don’t participate in those things, but as long as you check first, I find them pretty valuable. Hyatt’s still my #1 choice whenever possible, but Marriott’s my #1 backup to them, and it mainly comes down to that 4pm checkout which other chains just don’t offer.)

  16. I checked my account this morning. My extra nights posted. I’m lifetime Gold (9 years), but not even close to Platinum.

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