Marriott Extends Elite Status, Takes Additional Measures

Marriott is extending current elite status through February 2022. And while they had already paused expiration of points through August they have extended that out to February 2021.

Marriott doesn’t appear to be using its elite program to incentivize continued travel – 2020 elite nights will only be helpful if you earn a higher level of status next year. They will not roll over to 2021 and help towards qualifying towards 2022 status.

Elite members who made ‘choice benefit’ selections like Suite Night Awards already are having the validity of those benefits extended. They won’t get to make new, additional benefit selections next year (unless they stay the requisite nights to earn more).

Giving Away Rooms To Health Care Professionals

The chain has also worked with credit card partners American Express and Chase to provide $10 million in hotel stays for healthcare professionals (“Rooms for Responders”) in New York City, New Orleans, Chicago, Detroit, Los Angeles, Las Vegas, Washington, D.C. and Newark. They’re matching rooms with doctors and nurses through the American College of Emergency Physicians and the Emergency Nurses Association. They’re also making discounted rooms available at approximately 2500 hotels in the Americas.

This adds to the million rooms that Hilton and American Express announced for health care workers. The Four Seasons New York was the first hotel I became aware of donating rooms to hospital staff needing a place to stay near their medical centers, to avoid having to commute in and out of the city after a long day. This is incredibly admirable, and of course benefits the hotel owners as well as those working to help fight the virus.

Flexible Bookings

A week ago Marriott extended their flexible booking policy through June 30. Existing prepaid rates can be changed or cancelled by June 30, including for travel beyond that day. Meanwhile new reservations made through June 30 will be changeable and refundable up to 24 hours prior to arrival.

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, 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. Gary,
    Since there is a requirement of a certain number of night AND a certain number of years to earn a lifetime status with Marriott, do we know if this extension of another year counts as another year towards overall lifetime status?


  2. This is BAD for me. I have already re-qualified for ambassador status on nights and spend in 2020 for 2021 status. Why should I stay another night in 2020 at Marriott given the automatic extension with no rollover? Marriott needs to re-think this, especially for ambassadors. My nights and spend for 2020 should be applied to 2021 for 2022 status.

  3. @FNT Delta Diamond – if you’ve already qualified for 2021, what incentive would you have to stay another night in 2020 even if there was no COVID-19? Nothing is being taken away from you.

  4. Points, etc. But now Marriott has eliminated any incentive for anyone with status earned in 2019 for 2020 to spend a single night in 2020 at a Marriott hotel. Might as well match to Hyatt and come back to Marriott in 2021 for 2022.

  5. @FNT Delta Diamond – Marriott isn’t taking away points earning, or elite benefits for 2020 stays. If COVID-19 had never happened, you’d be in the exact same position, with the exact same reasons to defect to Hyatt for the rest of the year. Indeed, if they extended your status through 2022 you’d have no *status earning* incentive at all to stay at Marriott until 2023.

  6. No, Marriott could easily rollover earned 2020 nights to 2021 for purposes of 2022 re-qualification, just as Delta did with miles earned in 2020. I still have to spend $20,000 in 2021 for 2022 ambassador status. Rolling over nights recognizes loyalty without actually costing them anything since the $20,000 threshold remains.

  7. @FNT Delta Diamond – except your original post says “my nights AND SPEND for 2020 should be applied to 2021 for 2022 status.”

  8. Sure. You ask for nights and spend and then settle for nights. It’s called negotiation.

  9. In my negotiations, I prefer my opening salvo to be backed by a logical argument. I find having reasoning that supports the initial ask, even if the ask is more than I would ultimately settle for, puts me in a better position to negotiate. But to each his own.

  10. Ambassador program has already been decimated even before CV19. I wouldn’t expect much going forward. Put the nights toward Hyatt and enjoy Globalist!

  11. We’re all in agreement that they did this not out of the ‘goodness of their hearts’, but because the industry was leaving them behind, right?

    I only started paying attention to Marriott because of SPG merger, but it sure as hell seems like Marriott is a rudderless ship or perhaps with a Captain asleep at the wheel only engendering goodwill and loyalty amongst those that are ignorant of other programs.

  12. Gary,

    Per Ben’s post on his OMAAT site, he said a Marriott spokesperson said all FN certs will extend 12 months from expiration dates to 2021 – but you have not mentioned anything on this, so as the latest CEO’s letter up on Marriott website today Apr 8th – it has not mentioned ANY change to the FN extension from the prior Jan 31, 2021 policy.
    I sure hope the spokesperson with whom Ben talked to, did not confuse the policy for Greater China to the current policy for the rest of the world, since you have not mentioned anything about another FN extension changes.

    The 12 months extension was ONLY given to the members reside in the Greater China region when this pandemic started. The rest of the world got up to Jan 31, 2021 extension only.

    Now with the source region has largely recovered while the rest of the world is getting hit much harder, why Marriott does not give the rest of the world the same treatment it gave to Greater China?

    Do you think you could get a clarification from Marriott?

    Thanks a lot.

  13. The extensions on free night awards (FNAs) are little help and there is disparity in treatment depending on where you live.

    First, the extensions on free nights expiring in 2020 is only to January 31, 2021 for most members. That is an extension of about 30 days for one award I have and less than 60 days for the other award.

    But members in China, Hong Kong, Macau and Taiwan get a one year extension from the expiration date of their FNAs. Marriott states:

    “Members who currently have an active Free Night Award (FNA) expiring in 2020 as part of their credit card benefit, annual choice benefit, promotions or travel package will be able to use it through January 31, 2021. (Exception: Members in mainland China, Hong Kong SAR, Macau SAR and Taiwan the Free Night Awards will be extended 12 months into 2021 from the date of expiration).”

    Unless you live in China, its SARs or Taiwan, you are a second class member. Members should be treated equally.

    Also as Gary notes, suite night awards and other choice benefits are not included when status is extended. This is the result of Marriott fake “decoupling” of choice benefits from the status they go with. Marriott says a Platinum does not get choice benefits unless they stay 50 nights. But you can’t be Platinum unless you stay or get credit for 50 nights. So decoupling is bogus.

    Delta gets it. Platinum and Diamond members who have status extended in 2021 still get to make choice benefit selections in 2021 even if they have not qualified through flights and spend in 2020.

  14. @Jake – there are some good legacy SPG properties, but that great customer service & benefit culture I and many others (and maybe you) enjoyed for years is long gone. Marriott killed it off. It’s the definition of mediocrity now.

  15. I’m honestly miffed that people are upset about this. This is fair way to account for what’s going on. Entitled people make me laugh

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