Most programs haven’t announced reduced status-earning criteria for 2022. That means, ostensibly, that members have to earn their status under the ‘normal’ rules we haven’t seen since 2019.
But many businesses delayed return to office, many countries travelers might visit remain closed, and even leisure travel has taken a hit during the Omicron wave of the pandemic. That means loyalty programs are going to have to offer fast tracks to members to keep their elite status. That was true even before the current virus wave.
Marriott is out with their first gambit: double elite qualifying nights, and 1000 bonus points per night, February 8 – May 4, 2022. Registration required.
- That’s basically a three month period of double qualifying nights
- And that tells me not to expect them to do what they did each of the previous two years, gifting half of the required elite nights for a member to keep their current status level
- It may not be the end of status incentives for them, but it makes sense to do early while travel is still limited
Unfortunately the points part of this offer is weak. I value a Marriott point at 60 basis points making this an extra $6 rebate per night.
Put another way, Marriott members earn a base 10 points per dollar. 1000 points per night is equivalent to double points on a $100 room night. It’s double points on the first $100 of room rate only for nights costing over $100, so not as good as double points except at sub-$100 properties. And double points has been pretty much a baseline hotel offer. At least it applies starting with the first stay during the promotion period, rather than having that excluded.
Timeshares and homesharing aren’t eligible, nor are non-participating brands. That means no credit for Homes & Villas by Marriott International; Marriott Executive Apartments and Marriott Vacation Club owner-occupied weeks; Ritz-Carlton Reserve; BVLGARI; “and other hotels that do not currently participate in Marriott Bonvoy” are excluded.
This isn’t going to help a lot of members earn Ambassador status, which still requires $20,000 in spend in addition to 100 nights. But it’s going to help leisure travelers (and some business travelers) earn higher status in 2022. Upgrades are going to be harder to come by in 2023, even factoring how hard they are for a Platinum to get in 2022.