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Marriott had previously announced that its Bonvoy elite members who did not renew their current level of status nor move up to a higher level would not be eligible for a so-called “soft landing” to a lower tier.
However, the chain recently did an about-face on this point, and will indeed offer eligible elite members a soft landing.
Here’s what you should know about this decision.
What Is a Soft Landing?
Marriott certainly isn’t the first to employ soft landings — the tactic has been used by many companies in the loyalty industry.
When a customer who has elite status isn’t able to renew that status level or achieve a higher one, many companies will, instead of removing status entirely, allow that customer to “land softly” at the level below they were at previously.
This method keeps the customer engaged in the company’s ecosystem and encourages them to maintain loyalty in hopes of renewing the previous tier they once held — or even to pursue a higher level.
Basically, there are 3 possibilities for having earned Marriott Bonvoy elite status:
- If you renewed the current tier you had, you’ll be able to enjoy that status through February 2024.
- If you earned an even higher tier than the one you previously had, you’ll be able to enjoy the benefits of that higher-tier status through February 2024.
- If you didn’t either renew or get to a higher tier, Marriott will be “soft landing” you to the tier immediately under where you were previously.
If you didn’t achieve status, here’s how the soft landings will work:
- If you had Bonvoy Ambassador Elite status, you’ll soft land to Bonvoy Titanium.
- If you had Bonvoy Titanium Elite status, you’ll soft land to Bonvoy Platinum.
- If you had Bonvoy Platinum Elite status, you’ll soft land to Bonvoy Gold.
- If you were Bonvoy Gold Elite, you’ll soft land to Bonvoy Silver.
Keep in mind that most of the benefits of Ambassador, Titanium, and Platinum are the same, save for a few exceptions, so soft landing to one of these tiers isn’t the worst thing in the world. Going lower than Platinum, however, would remove access to a significant number of benefits.
Why Is Marriott Doing This?
Marriott likely realized that it’s better off retaining those members who didn’t renew status, many of whom would probably attribute their inability to re-qualify to the implications of the COVID-19 pandemic. If Marriott can keep these Bonvoy members engaged — even at a lower elite level — it’s better than losing that customer entirely to another hotel brand.
Hot Tip: Read our complete guide that details how to earn Marriott Bonvoy elite status.
If you held Marriott status and didn’t renew it, you’re in luck. You’ll still be able to retain some sort of elite status within the Marriott Bonvoy program.
Check your account over the coming weeks to see what status level you’ll have for 2023 and into next year.
Featured Image Credit: Katie Seemann
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