Marriott Promos: Redeem 5500 Hotels At Off-Peak Prices, And All Elites Get Free Qualifying Nights

Marriott is making it easier to qualifying for a higher level of status this year – and a side effect is all current elites get free credit towards lifetime status, and many may receive additional ‘choice’ benefits without even staying at any hotels.

The Bonvoy program is also putting award nights on sale for stays through July, by letting you book rooms at off-peak redemption prices this month.

Redeem Most Hotels Right Now For Off-Peak Prices

When I wrote about the one man living in the deserted W Barcelona to keep the hotel running, I pointed out that they were planning to re-open and Marriott wanted either standard category 8 (85,000) or peak (100,000) points per night. Despite the worst times in history for hotels worldwide due to the global pandemic, there wasn’t a single off peak night available.

Back in the fall Marriott devalued their program by introducing ‘peak’ and ‘off-peak’ award pricing. When rooms are expensive and you’d normally get more value out of points, they charge you more points. When rooms are cheap and you don’t want to stay somewhere, those rooms are available for fewer points. It’s all about managing Bonvoy’s costs reimbursing hotels because when a hotel is near capacity the program has to spend more for the free night award.

With most hotels that is… not going to be an issue, although U.S. hotel occupancy has been steadily creeping up towards 40%.

For a two week period, though, Marriott is going to offer the deal that they ought to be offering all the time throughout the rest of this crisis and recession in travel: about 5500 hotels will offer only off-peak redemption prices if you book by June 30 for stays through July 31. (Marriott was unable to tell me the denominator, how many hotels are open globally.) Off-peak only hotels include places like:

  • The St. Regis Bahia Beach Resort; Bora Bora; Hong Kong; Venice; Maldives
  • The Ritz-Carlton, Laguna Niguel; Half Moon Bay; Kyoto; Tokyo; Dubai
  • Cosmopolitan
  • Scrub Island
  • W Koh Samui

Marriott offers that if you see “hotels in a market are offering a mix of standard and off-peak rates, for example, members should search another market rather than searching hotel by hotel in the same market if they prefer to book only off-peak rates.”

A spokesperson further explains,

If a market is entirely in off-peak, then all hotels in that market are deemed “participating.” The algorithm decides. It is worth explaining a market using the New York Metro area as an example. New York City is divided into submarkets. Each of those submarkets are entirely in off-peak. Therefore, all open hotels in New York City are “participating.” However, there are suburban New York markets where that may not be the case because there is more demand and they are not participating.

Elites Members Receiving Free Qualfiying Nights

Marriott already extended everyone’s status so no one with current elite status needs to re-qualify this year. However anyone looking to reach a higher status has a big head start. In late July Marriott will deposit 50% of the elite nights for the status level earned last year.

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

This is on top of the elite credits you receive from Marriott credit cards. In late March Marriott started allowing you to earn 15 elite nights from both their business Amex and from personal cards rather than capping you at 15 total elite nights each year.

What’s more 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 (including credit card-earned nights).

As a Platinum, then, I receive 30 credit card elite nights and will receive these 25 more elite nights – a total of 55 elite nights without a stay. That earns 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.

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.

Ambassador Members Can Nominate A Platinum At 100 Nights

Ambassador members who earned their status in 2019 and reach 100 elite nights this year can gift one Platinum status. And for some Ambassador members that just means staying 20 ‘real’ nights (50 nights gifted with this offer plus 15 each from the small business and personal credit cards). This offer will be extended by email upon hitting 100 nights this year.

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 — I can’t bring myself to pay any attention to Marriott. Their elite program is a chart of hollow promises, and you can be sure more massive devaluations will occur as soon as it is convenient for them. I’ll give my business to company that at least acts like they care about something other than sucking as much money as possible from me.

  2. Will these Elite nights count toward Annual Choice Benefit thresholds? These nights will put me over the 50 night threshold and within close striking distance of the 75 night threshold. I’m already Titanium and will keep it as a result of the extension…trying to decide if I push to get in the additional nights to give me a couple of choice benefits.

  3. When I call Ambassador service I get someone in China, unless I call mid-day and I get an American. They don’t even know who I am now. I have to go through 2-3 minutes of verification questions.

    By doing the status extension and now the elite nights bonus, they will be flooding the ranks of elites in 2021 making upgrades, etc all but impossible.

    And what about titaniums or ambassadors who legitimately requalify in 2020 for 2021 with no help or exemptions? They should get their status through 2022.

    I’m surprised you don’t mention that Marriott is no longer enforcing guarantees in the Bonvoy terms, including room type or breakfast/welcome amenity choice, etc.

  4. Funny, it seemed like Marriott had learned the lesson of handing out lifetime status like candy to its past legacy Marriott members (rollover nights, credit card nights, double promo nights, etc.)…and then they go and do this.

  5. One needs to remember that this is Marriott, all promises are made with one hand behind their back and fingers crossed. Unfortunately, the program is littered with too many broken promises, it will take more than one good gesture to regain my trust or money.

  6. By status earned does that mean that Platinum members last year from the Ritz card will get 25 nights?

  7. After reading Gary’s quote from the Marriott spokesperson who “further explains” the thing about sub-markets in NYC, my reaction is “huh? Did that person read their copy for hitting ‘send'”?

    WRT to loyalty programs in general, I’m starting to really understand why programs like SWA have appeal to many folks. For loyalty programs to move the needle with consumer spend, they have to offer things with every flight/stay that can be counted on without making the consumer wonder about the fine print that taketh away the big-font teaser.

    SWA may not give you that free business class seat to Europe, but if you have a bunch of points and want to go to Grandma’s house for Thanksgiving, you know you can go.

  8. Must say this does tempt me. Can move up from credit card gold to platinum with a 7 night mattress run for 24,000 points at a local hotel.

  9. Right now, nothing Marriott promises is worth anything because hotels were informed by Marriott corporate that Bonvoy benefits are not being enforced. Even in markets with no coronavirus restrictions on hotels, restaurants, etc.

  10. Do you suppose there’s any magic to the word “earned” with respect to last year’s status? I looked at their FAQs and they mostly say “status earned” but once they say “status achieved”.

    I ask for those of us who got Gold status from a credit card (e.g. Amex Platinum).

  11. So would these ENC count towards 2022 status since we already have status extended through 2021 ?

  12. So, let’s get this straight:

    1) Status extension
    2) Bonus elite nights
    3) Free platinum for a friend or family member of ambassadors

    In other words, everyone that wasn’t already a titanium will be a titanium in 2021. I feel sorry for platinums. The lounges, if they ever re-open, will be more crowded. Upgrades will be difficult to get, at least at desirable properties. Plus, everyone will have suite night award certificates. The only possible win are ambassadors but only at properties that differentiate between ambassadors and everyone else.

  13. And that whole give your family member or friend platinum status for ambassadors is a worthless gesture since an ambassador elite traveling with a family member or friend already gets lounge access, etc. for both. It’s only valuable if your family member or friend travels without you and even then only enough to never get the status on their own.

    Before coronavirus, more than 50% of the guests at popular hotels were platinum or higher. I’ve stayed at Courtyard properties in the middle of no-where and had 4 ambassadors and 25 titaniums on a Thursday night. I’ve been at the J.W. Marriott Grosvenor House with 125 other guests having lounge access — so, platinum and higher — on a given night.

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