How to Qualify for Elite Status With Marriott Bonvoy [Stays and Spend Ways]

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Without a doubt, the complexity of the Starwood Preferred Guest and Marriott merger resulted in various levels of frustration and disappointment for elite members on both sides. However, as the dust has settled, the solidified Marriott Bonvoy rewards program now serves as our definitive guide for earning elite status going forward.

Granted, change is never easy but there is always the possibility of finding opportunity in the rubble — and that’s where we’ll start today. We’ll begin by taking a deep dive into Marriott Bonvoy elite status levels, the benefits that status can deliver, and the requirements for achieving elite status.

We know that Marriott Bonvoy status delivers elevated experiences such as upgraded hotel rooms, free breakfast, lounge access, and other perks that make your stay more comfortable. But is the effort required to achieve elite status worth it?

Here’s a look at the requirements, some shortcuts that can expedite the path to elite status, and if achieving it makes sense for you.

The Benefits of Elite Status With Marriott Bonvoy

The Marriott Bonvoy rewards program has several elite levels offering increasingly valuable benefits.

Here are the perks you can expect to receive when you sign up for Marriott Bonvoy and work your way up through the status levels.

Member Level Benefits

Sign up for the Marriott Bonvoy rewards program and receive these core benefits:

  • Free Wi-Fi.
  • Member-only room rates.
  • Receive the 5th consecutive award night free.
  • No blackout dates.
  • Mobile and keyless check-in.
  • Ability to use a combination of cash and points.
  • Ability to use points for meals, spa, experiences and more.
  • Access to PointSavers award rates.

Silver Elite Benefits

Silver Elite members receive all Member benefits plus these additional perks:

  • 10% bonus points.
  • Priority late checkout.
  • Dedicated reservation phone line.
  • Reservation guarantee.

Gold Elite Benefits

Gold Elite members receive all Member and Silver level benefits plus all of the following:

  • 25% bonus points.
  • Enhanced room upgrade.
  • 2 p.m. late checkout.
  • Up to 500 welcome points per stay.
  • Complimentary premium Wi-Fi.

Platinum Elite Benefits

Platinum Elite members enjoy all of the benefits previously mentioned plus these additional benefits:

  • 50% bonus points.
  • Enhanced room upgrade over Gold.
  • Welcome gift choice of points, breakfast or local amenity.
  • Annual gift choice after staying 50 nights in a calendar year.
  • Lounge access.

Titanium Elite Benefits

Titanium Elite members qualify for all Member, Silver, Gold, and Platinum benefits plus much more:

  • 75% bonus points.
  • Enhanced room upgrade including suites.
  • A second annual gift choice after staying 75 nights in a calendar year.
  • 4 p.m. late check out.
  • Complimentary United MileagePlus Silver Premier elite status.

Ambassador Elite Benefits

Ambassador Elite members are treated well. In addition to all other benefits listed previously, Ambassadors receive these personalized services:

  • Personal Ambassador service.
  • Flexible 24-hour check-in.
  • Guaranteed room availability 48 hours prior to arrival.

Bottom Line: Marriott Bonvoy elite status offers valuable benefits such as upgraded rooms, free Wi-Fi, lounge access, complimentary breakfast, late checkout, and bonus earnings. With base member benefits just for signing up and several levels of elite status to strive for, there’s a sweet elite spot for every Marriott loyalist. 

marriott hotel
Elite status benefits can include upgraded rooms and other perks that make your stay more enjoyable. Image Credit: Marriott

How to Qualify for Elite Status – The Traditional Way

Annual Elite Status Requirements

While there are multiple levels of elite status, the annual hotel night requirements to attain elite status with Marriott Bonvoy are simple.

Following are the number of elite qualifying nights needed to achieve each level of Marriott Bonvoy elite status.

  • Member — No requirements.
  • Silver — 10 nights.
  • Gold — 25 nights.
  • Platinum — 50 nights.
  • Titanium — 75 nights.
  • Ambassador — 100 nights plus $20,000 annual qualifying spend.

You can earn elite qualifying nights by staying at Marriott properties, hosting events, or through Marriott Bonvoy-branded credit cards.

Rewarding Events — Earn 10 elite qualifying nights when you book your first meeting or event plus 1 elite qualifying night for every 20 rooms booked. You’ll also earn up to 20,000 points for each event.

Lifetime Elite Status Requirements

Marriott Bonvoy also has a lifetime elite status level that rewards those loyalists who have made Marriott their brand of choice (or Starwood previously) for a good share of their lifetime.

Lifetime Status Qualifications

  • Lifetime Silver Elite — 250 lifetime nights plus 5 years with elite status.
  • Lifetime Gold Elite — 400 lifetime nights plus 7 years with elite status.
  • Lifetime Platinum Elite — 600 lifetime nights plus 10 years with elite status.

Bottom Line: There are several ways to earn elite qualifying nights that count towards Marriott Bonvoy elite status. You can stay at Marriott properties, host meetings, weddings, and other events, and earn elite qualifying nights through Marriott credit cards.

Marriott Resort
Enjoy the perks of elite status immediately with Marriott Bonvoy-branded credit cards. Image Credit: Marriott Vacations

A Faster Path to Marriott Bonvoy Elite Status

Complimentary Elite Status With Marriott Bonvoy-Branded Credit Cards

Having a Marriott credit card instantly grants you elite status with Marriott Bonvoy and the status remains valid for as long as you hold the card.

You may also have the opportunity to reach a higher level of elite status by spending on the Marriott card.

Marriott Bonvoy Credit CardComes With:Spend Your Way to:
  • 15 elite qualifying nights which subsequently qualify you for Silver elite status
  • N/A
  • Silver + 15 elite qualifying nights
  • Gold — spend $35,000 on the card in a calendar year
  • Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant™ American Express® Card
  • Gold + 15 elite qualifying nights
  • Platinum — spend $75,000 on the card in a calendar year
  • Silver + 15 elite qualifying nights
  • Gold — spend $35,000 on the card in a calendar year

Each Marriott Bonvoy-branded credit card awards 15 elite qualifying nights each year that can be used to expedite your path to higher elite status. There is a maximum of 15 nights that can be credited regardless of how many Marriott cards you have.

Elite Qualifying Nights Summary

There are so many options for earning Marriott Bonvoy elite qualifying nights, you’ll need a summary to guide you.

Here’s a list of the ways you can earn elite qualifying nights.

  • Paid and award stays at Marriott properties — whether you pay for your hotel nights or use Marriott points, each night stayed will count as an elite qualifying night.
  • Annual 15 elite qualifying nights with a Marriott Bonvoy credit card — the 15 elite nights you receive by having a Marriott branded card will count towards elite status.
  • 5th award night free — elite members qualify to receive the 5th night free when 4 consecutive award nights are booked. All 5 nights count towards elite status.
  • Host an event — your first event each calendar year grants you 10 elite qualifying nights plus you earn 1 elite night for every 20 rooms booked.
  • Choice Benefits — once you’ve acquired 50 elite qualifying nights in a calendar year, you can select a benefit from a list of choices that includes 5 elite qualifying nights. You can select another 5 elite qualifying nights once you have stayed 75 nights in a calendar year. These nights count toward elite status in the year you earned the 50/75 nights.

Hot Tip: Holding one small meeting at a Marriott property plus having a Marriott credit card would generate 25 elite qualifying nights — enough to qualify for Gold elite status. 

JW Marriott Phu Quoc Emerald Bay Resort & Spa
Use your free 35,000 point anniversary hotel night certificate to stay at the JW Marriott Phu Quoc Emerald Bay Resort & Spa off the coast of Vietnam and Cambodia. Image Credit: Marriott

How Marriott Bonvoy-Branded Credit Cards Enhance Elite Status

Certain Marriott credit cards offer a free hotel night certificate each card anniversary year. Each certificate is good for a free night that is capped at a stated point value.

Free Hotel Nights

  • Marriott Bonvoy Boundless — free night certificate good for up 35,000 points in value.
  • Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant — free night certificate good for up to 50,000 points in value.
  • Marriott Bonvoy Business — free night certificate good for up to 35,000 points in value and earn an additional free night after $60,000 spent on the card in a calendar year.

Accelerated Earnings

In addition to earning Marriott points for staying at Marriott properties, you’ll earn even more points when you pay for your stay with your Marriott branded credit card.

You’ll also earn valuable Marriott points by spending in bonus earning categories and on every purchase you make.

  • Marriott Bonvoy Bold — 3 points/$1 spent at Marriott, 2 points/$1 on travel, 1 point/$1 all other purchases.
  • Marriott Bonvoy Boundless — 6 points/$1 spent at Marriott, 2 points/$1 all other purchases.
  • Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant — 6 points/$1 spent at Marriott, 3 points/$1 spent at U.S. restaurants and flights booked directly with the airline, 2 points/$1 all other purchases.
  • Marriott Bonvoy Business — 6 points/$1 spent at Marriott, 4 points/$1 spent at U.S. restaurants, U.S. gas stations, U.S. wireless providers, and U.S. shipping, 2 points/$1 all other purchases.

Additional Benefits

You’ll find several useful travel and purchase protections on Marriott credit cards. Benefits such as secondary car rental loss and damage insurance, travel accident insurance, roadside assistance, purchase protection, and extended warranty coverage can save you money during your travels.

Check your card’s specific guide to benefits for actual benefit descriptions, limits, and conditions.

Bottom Line: Marriott credit cards support Marriott Bonvoy elite status with more free hotel nights, accelerated earnings that help your points balance grow quickly, and by offering additional benefits that can be useful during your travels.

Where Your Points Can Take You

When it comes time to redeem your Marriott points or use your free night certificates, you’ll have some very desirable options.

Here’s a sample of where your 35,000 and 50,000 free night certificates or your Marriott Bonvoy rewards points can take you.

Marriott Puerto Vallarta Resort & Spa, Mexico — 35,000 Points per Night

Book the Marriott Puerto Vallarta Resort & Spa with your free night certificate (worth 35,000 points) or redeem just 35,000 Marriott points per night. You can also take advantage of the 5th night free benefit and book 5 nights for 140,000 points.

Marriott PVR
Book your free night at the Marriott Puerto Vallarta Resort & Spa. Image Credit: Marriott

J.W. Marriott Venice Resort & Spa, Italy — 50,000 Points per Night

Enjoy a complimentary luxury hotel night in Venice by using your free night certificate (worth 50,000 points) or by redeeming your Marriott points.  A single night can be booked for just 50,000 points or book 5 nights for a total of 200,000 points using the fifth night free benefit.

Marriott Venice
Luxury is foremost when you redeem for free nights at the J.W. Marriott Venice. Image Credit: Marriott

For more ideas on redeeming your Marriott points, our writers have put together their recommendations of the best ways to redeem your Marriott points for hotelsflights, and even Hotel + Air packages.

Everything Else You Need to Know

For the latest pricing and welcome offers, visit our reviews on these Marriott Bonvoy-branded cards.

We’ve also written about the best ways to earn Marriott Bonvoy rewards points and how to use your points for hotel and air travel packages.

Final Thoughts

Hotel elite status offers valuable benefits that make your trip more comfortable and potentially save you money.

If you value Marriott Bonvoy benefits and stay frequently at Marriott properties, having elite status makes sense.

If you stay just a few nights a year but want those stays to include free Wi-Fi, the ability to take advantage of the fifth night award night free, and the other perks of Silver or Gold status, a Marriott credit card could be a viable option.


FAQ

Is Marriott elite status worth it?

Yes, Marriott Bonvoy elite status is worth it if you value the benefits.

Qualifying for Silver or Gold status is not difficult if you stay at Marriott properties just a few times per year and have a Marriott Bonvoy-branded credit card.

Do hotel nights booked with points count towards elite status?

Every stay booked through Marriott earns elite qualifying nights that count towards elite status whether you pay for the night or use Marriott points to book an award stay.

In addition, if you use the fifth award night free benefit, all 5 nights will count towards elite status.

How do elite qualifying nights work?

Elite qualifying nights are not actually free hotel nights you can use, they are credits that accumulate on an annual basis and count towards elite status. You can earn elite qualifying nights by staying at Marriott properties, holding events, having a Marriott Bonvoy-branded credit card, and through various promotions/bonuses.

Once you have accumulated the required number, you qualify for the corresponding level of elite status.

For example, once you have earned 10 elite qualifying nights, you have earned Silver level elite status. When you reach 25 elite qualifying nights you have earned Gold status, and so on.

Do Marriott points expire?

Even with elite status, Marriott points expire after 24 months of inactivity in your Marriott Bonvoy account.

To keep your account active, you just need to earn or redeem points. Activity will extend the validity of your points for another 24 months.

Christine Krzyszton

About Christine Krzyszton

Christine, who lives in Northern Michigan, travels about 300,000 miles a year despite her remote location. Her expertise is traveling the world on a weekend with no pre-determined destination in mind, letting the cost of the airfare determine where she will go. She has over four million flown miles and elite status on all three major domestic carriers.

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