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In brief: Dave Stringer passes away, Marriott Platinum Challenge surprise

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News in brief:

Dave Stringer passes away

Regular readers may remember that, back in January, I posted a link to Dave Stringer’s travel site.

I get a lot of emails from readers who tell me of all the great places they have been able to visit and all of the great hotels they have been able to stay in as a result of reading Head for Points.  I’m always pleased to receive them.

I got a similar email from Dave, but unfortunately the circumstances were different.  Dave, despite being only 49, had incurable lung cancer despite having never smoked.  HfP was helping him spend much of his last year travelling so he could see the world whilst he has the chance.

Unfortunately, Dave passed away yesterday.  His family posted this on his blog:

On behalf of him and the family, I’d like to extend my thanks to everyone that has read his site. From the amusement of the hooker in London to the sadness of his pain and low points, he thoroughly enjoyed sharing his experiences with you. Your comments and support never failed to lift him up and the support network it allowed him to form helped him battle on for this long. You made him feel like a superstar.  Today is a sad day, but we are happy that dad is at peace now. He had the best last days he could ask for and passed away without pain or suffering.

Dave had set up a JustGiving page for the Roy Castle Lung Cancer Foundation which is here.

Pleasant surprise for Marriott Platinum Challenge participants

I wrote a couple of articles in recent months about the Marriott Platinum Challenge, which elevated you to Platinum status in Marriott Rewards for completing nine stays within 90 days.

As I will have over 1 million points in the new combined Marriott / Starwood scheme when it launches in August, the idea of getting Platinum status to Jan / Feb 2020 appealed.  It will literally pay for itself within weeks – the cost of the ‘mattress run’ nights I did on top of stays I had to make anyway was less than I will save from getting 12 free breakfasts at the JW Marriott Venice in late August.

Quite a few HfP readers decided to follow my example.  Suddenly, at the start of the week, all of them were upgraded to Marriott and Starwood Platinum status despite not completing the challenge.  Some had not completed a single night.

There are two possibilities here:

it is a big mistake, or

Marriott has realised that it doesn’t have the IT capabilities to track challenge stays once the two schemes merge in a few weeks, and thought it was easier to ‘clear the decks’ by upgrading everyone and then not having to worry about it

For clarity, it is not certain that this ‘comped’ status will last until early 2020.  Marriott would be in its rights to drop you down in early 2019.  If you want to be certain that your Platinum status will last until 2020 then I recommend that you complete your challenge as originally planned.

Some people will have got lucky over this. On the other hand, others were unlucky when Marriott pulled the challenge without notice.  That’s how it rolls.

How to earn Marriott Bonvoy points and status from UK credit cards

How to earn Marriott Bonvoy points and status from UK credit cards (September 2023)

There are various ways of earning Marriott Bonvoy points from UK credit cards.  Many cards also have generous sign-up bonuses.

The official Marriott Bonvoy American Express card comes with 20,000 points for signing up, 2 points for every £1 you spend and 15 elite night credits per year.

You can apply here.

Marriott Bonvoy American Express

20,000 points sign-up bonus and 15 elite night credits each year Read our full review

You can also earn Marriott Bonvoy points by converting American Express Membership Rewards points at the rate of 2:3.

Do you know that holders of The Platinum Card from American Express receive FREE Marriott Bonvoy Gold status for as long as they hold the card?  It also comes with Hilton Honors Gold, Radisson Rewards Premium and MeliaRewards Gold status.  We reviewed American Express Platinum in detail here and you can apply here.

The Platinum Card from American Express

30,000 points and a huge range of valuable benefits – for a fee Read our full review

You can also earn Marriott Bonvoy points indirectly:

and for small business owners:

The conversion rate from American Express to Marriott Bonvoy points is 2:3.

Click here to read our detailed summary of all UK credit cards which can be used to earn Marriott Bonvoy points

(Want to earn more hotel points?  Click here to see our complete list of promotions from the major hotel chains or use the ‘Hotel Offers’ link in the menu bar at the top of the page.)

Comments (51)

This article is closed to new comments. Feel free to ask your question in the HfP forums.

  • BJ says:

    Why so many RIP? Have Faith, Dave is a traveller, I am sure he has just begun his greatest ever journey 🙂

  • Matt says:

    Off topic – Curve card adding 2 pound fees (hidden) to each Foreign ATM withdrawal in addition to the 1% spread. Has everyone else seen this?
    I had not seen this fee in the card term’s or conditions, or read of this anywhere in Rob’s reviews (not that I am blaming you Rob!) I only noticed after 10 or so transactions, not best pleased, I only noticed when I got a really bad rate on a small withdrawal. Time to use other cards people!

    • Andrew (@andrewseftel) says:

      The £2 fee is in the schedule of fees in the T&Cs. Agree that it’s not ideal that it’s not called out on the pricing page though.

      • Genghis says:

        It’s been in the T&Cs and de facto being charged since April 17 (first time I noticed and then stopped using Curve for ATM use abroad), all wrapped up in the amount charged and not separately disclosed.

    • Genghis says:

      Not if you change the currency on Curve to local currency. Only advantageous with the Lloyds Mastercard for a handful of points.

  • heggers03 says:

    As an Amex Platinum SPG Gold I unfortunately was declined the Marriott Platinum status challenge when I applied in late June.

    A bit miffed I did not apply earlier as I will genuinely start doing up to 75+ hotel nights a year due to work changes and Marriott is probably my best option in the city I need to be in.

    Problem I have is that this year with my first Marriott/SPG stay this year having only being in the past two weeks I will rack up less than 40 nights so would only remain Gold in the new scheme in 2019.

    Anyone have any idea if the new Marriott/SPG scheme will have a similar platinum challenge or have I missed the boat?

    • Rob says:

      We don’t know – but the new scheme is ‘Plat heavy’ and they may want to thin the ranks first.

  • Ptw9911 says:

    The post around Dave’s devastating passing needs to be separate from all others. This is rather insensitive…’

This article is closed to new comments. Feel free to ask your question in the HfP forums.

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