How To Qualify for Elite Status With Marriott Bonvoy [Stays & Spend Ways]

St Regis Florence
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Marriott is one of the largest hotel groups in the world, with a portfolio of over 7,300 properties that participate in the Marriott Bonvoy rewards program. In this post, we will take a deep dive into Marriott Bonvoy’s elite status levels and the benefits that status can deliver, as well as 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 fifth 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 Elite 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 Elite
  • 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 Elite, Gold Elite, and Platinum Elite benefits plus much more:

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 Bonvoy loyalist. 

Sheraton Grand Rio de Janeiro room balcony view
Elite status benefits can include upgraded rooms and other perks that make your stay more enjoyable. Sheraton Grand Rio Hotel & Resort. Image Credit: Chris Hassan

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 Elite — 10 nights
  • Gold Elite — 25 nights
  • Platinum Elite — 50 nights
  • Titanium Elite — 75 nights
  • Ambassador Elite — 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 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 Bonvoy credit cards.

A Faster Path to Marriott Bonvoy Elite Status

The Laguna Bali Breakfast Seating by the Pool
Enjoy the perks of elite status immediately, like free breakfast, with Marriott Bonvoy-branded credit cards. The Laguna, a Luxury Collection Resort & Spa in Nusa Dua, Bali. Image Credit: Greg Stone

Complimentary Elite Status With Credit Cards

Having a 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 Bonvoy card.

Marriott Bonvoy Credit CardComes With:Spend Your Way to:
The Business Platinum Card® from American ExpressGold EliteN/A
Marriott Bonvoy Bold™ Credit CardSilver Elite + 15 elite qualifying nightsN/A
Marriott Bonvoy Boundless™ Credit CardSilver Elite + 15 elite qualifying nightsGold Elite — spend $35,000 on the card in a calendar year
Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant™ American Express® CardGold Elite + 15 elite qualifying nightsPlatinum Elite — spend $75,000 on the card in a calendar year
Marriott Bonvoy Business™ American Express® CardSilver Elite + 15 elite qualifying nightsGold Elite — spend $35,000 on the card in a calendar year
The Platinum Card® from American ExpressGold EliteN/A

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 30 nights that can be credited regardless of how many Marriott Bonvoy cards you have. You can receive 15 elite qualifying nights maximum on personal credit cards plus 15 elite qualifying nights via the Marriott Bonvoy Business card.

If you’re a Marriott Bonvoy loyalist, you’ll definitely want one of these credit cards in your wallet.

Hot Tip: Another non-traditional way to achieve elite status is through a status match or challenge.

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 Bonvoy points, each night stayed will count as an elite qualifying night.
  • Up to 30 Elite Qualifying Nights With Marriott Bonvoy Credit Cards — The 15 elite nights you receive by having a personal Marriott Bonvoy-branded card and 15 elite nights via the Marriott Bonvoy Business card will count towards elite status.
  • Fifth Award Night Free — Elite members qualify to receive the fifth night free when 4 consecutive award nights are booked. All 5 nights count towards elite status.
  • Host an Event — 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: Having a Marriott Bonvoy-branded personal credit card plus the Marriott Bonvoy Business card will give you 30 elite qualifying nights — more than enough to qualify for Gold Elite status. 

How Marriott Bonvoy-Branded Credit Cards Enhance Elite Status

Certain Marriott Bonvoy credit cards offer a free hotel night certificate for 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 card — free night certificate good for up 35,000 points in value
  • Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant card — free night certificate good for up to 50,000 points in value
  • Marriott Bonvoy Business card — 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 Bonvoy points for staying at Marriott properties, you’ll earn even more points when you pay for your stay with your Marriott Bonvoy-branded credit card.

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

Marriott Bonvoy Boundless™ Credit Card - Earn 100,000 Bonus Points after you spend $3,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. Get automatic silver elite status each account anniversary year; and a free night award (valued up to 35,000 points) every year after account anniversary. Plus, earn up to 17X points per $1 at over 7,000 participating Marriott Bonvoy hotels, and 2X points per $1 on all other purchases. Annual Fee is $95.
Marriott Bonvoy Bold™ Credit Card - Earn 50,000 bonus points when you spend $1,000 on purchases in the first 3 months of account opening. Earn up to 14X points per $1 at participating Marriott Bonvoy hotels, earn 2X on other travel purchases, then 1x on all other purchases. A solid card for Marriott loyalists looking for a no-annual-fee card offering Marriott Bonvoy Silver Elite status.
Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant™ American Express® Card - Earn 125,000 bonus Marriott Bonvoy points after you use your new Card to make $5,000 in purchases within the first 3 months. Plus, earn up to $200 in Statement Credits for eligible purchases at U.S. Restaurants within the first 6 months of Card Membership. Offer Expires 5/12/2021.

Earn 6x per $1 at participating Marriott Bonvoy hotels plus 3x at U.S. restaurants and flights booked directly with airlines. Annual Fee is $450. Terms Apply. For rates and fees of the Bonvoy Brilliant card, click here.
Marriott Bonvoy Business™ American Express® Card - For a limited time, earn 100,000 bonus Marriott Bonvoy points after you use your new Card to make $5,000 of eligible purchases within the first 3 months of Card Membership. Plus, earn up to $150 back in statement credits on eligible purchases made on your new Card within the first 3 months of Card Membership. Offer ends 5/12/21.

This is a solid card for business owners who will get complimentary Marriott Bonvoy silver elite status. Annual fee is $125. Terms Apply. For rates and fees of the Marriott Bonvoy Business Card, click here.

Additional Benefits

You’ll find several useful travel and purchase protections on Marriott Bonvoy 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 Bonvoy credit cards support Marriott Bonvoy elite status with more free hotel nights and accelerated earnings that help your points balance grow quickly. They also offer additional benefits that can be useful during your travels.

Where Your Points Can Take You

When it comes time to redeem your Marriott Bonvoy 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) — 50,000 Points per Night

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

Book the Marriott Puerto Vallarta Resort & Spa with your free night certificate (worth 50,000 points) or redeem just 50,000 Marriott Bonvoy points per night. You can also take advantage of the fifth night free benefit and book 5 nights for 200,000 points.

J.W. Marriott Phu Quoc Emerald Bay Resort & Spa (Vietnam) — 35,000 Points per Night

JW Marriott Phu Quoc Emerald Bay Resort Spa
JW Marriott Phu Quoc Emerald Bay Resort Spa. Image Credit: Marriott

Enjoy a complimentary luxury hotel night in Vietnam by using your free night certificate (worth 35,000 points) or by redeeming your Marriott Bonvoy points. A single night can be booked for just 35,000 points or book 5 nights for a total of 140,000 points using the fifth-night free benefit.

Hot Tip: For more ideas on redeeming your Marriott Bonvoy points, our writers have put together their recommendations of the best ways to redeem your Marriott Bonvoy points for hotelsflights, and even Hotel + Air packages. We even have a guide on the best Marriott luxury hotels to book with points for maximum value!

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 compared the perks and benefits of the Marriott Bonvoy credit cards.

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 award night free, and the other perks of Silver Elite or Gold Elite status, a Marriott Bonvoy credit card could be a viable option.


For rates and fees of the Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant™ American Express® Card, click here.
For rates and fees of the Marriott Bonvoy Business™ American Express® Card, click here.


Frequently asked questions

Is Marriott Bonvoy elite status worth it?

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

Qualifying for Silver Elite or Gold Elite 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 Marriott Bonvoy 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 Bonvoy 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 Marriott Bonvoy's 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 Elite status. When you reach 25 elite qualifying nights you have earned Gold Elite status, and so on.

Do Marriott Bonvoy points expire?

Even with elite status, Marriott Bonvoy 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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10 comments

  1. Has Marriott modified the required nights needed to qualify for Elite status in lieu of Covid-19 travel restrictions this year (like most of the major airlines have)?

    Reply

    • Hi RC. There is no reduction in elite qualification requirements, however, Marriott Bonvoy elite members have had their current status extended through February 2022.

      Reply

  2. I was Titanium last year so this year due to Covid, Marriot gave me 38 nights free toward my yearly total to try to achieve status again. I did not do anything to get this, it just happened automatically. They basically gave me half the nights needed this year to qualify for Titanium again. I’m guessing others got this too, based on your previous years status, YMMV

    Reply

  3. I haven’t been able to find info on how long the status lasts. If I achieve 50 elite nights by June 2021, does the platinum status last till Dec 31, 2021? Dec 31, 2022? Or something else?

    Airlines award your status until the end of the following year, but they are super clear about it. It seems that if you hit 75 nights by like September, there’s not really any motivation to book extra nights with Marriott. Am I missing something here?

    Reply

    • Hi Sanjay,

      If you achieve elite status in the middle of the year with Marriott, that elite status will last for the remainder of that year, plus all of the next year, and expire at the end of February of the year after that.

      Using your example above, if you were to reach 50 elite nights by June of 2021, your Platinum status would last until February 28, 2023.

      Reply

  4. I was too late for the Status Match promotion. I hold Spire elite status with IHG and Diamond Status with Hilton. I called Mariott to enquire upon an alternative way to reach Elite status faster, and to my amazement, none. I am an American Express Platinum cardholder and as indicated on their website I will automatically qualify for Gold Status. I then called American Express and was informed that’s for the UK and not South Africa.

    Here when companies need business, I am turned away. I can’t join a group and start over as I am rewarded more with the groups I am with currently. Therefore, it’s a true loss Marriott, that you couldn’t assist me. One should understand I travel frequently and my perks are important, I cannot sacrifice and start over. By turning clients away in these times the group must be doing exceptionally well.

    Reply

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