Marriott news: has your Marriott status surprisingly dropped?, last chance to get 50% bonus buying Bonvoy points

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If you have Marriott Bonvoy status, you should take a quick look online and see what it shows.

During Sunday, Marriott Bonvoy dropped the status of a lot of people – including myself – who thought that they had been rolled over.

More annoyingly, Marriott did NOT impose a soft landing despite giving the impression on social media and elsewhere that they would.

In my case, this means that I have dropped from Titanium Elite to Gold Elite, which doesn’t get you too far.

I had received various emails from Marriott saying that I was still Titanium Elite and the Bonvoy website was saying ‘Congratulations on remaining Titanium Elite.  You need xx more nights to retain this for 2021’.

For total clarity, I should have been downgraded – I am not saying otherwise – but the hotel chains will often keep you at your previous status as a goodwill gesture.

It is also fair to say that the Marriott Bonvoy rules do not promise a soft landing.  However, Marriott Rewards did offer this and many people thought that the old Marriott Rewards policy would continue.  An official Marriott spokesperson on Flyertalk had posted various times that he expected soft landings to occur.

In the old days (ie 2017 and prior) Marriott Rewards went one step further and let you pay to keep your old status via a programme called Elite Buy Back:

  • 7,500 Marriott Rewards points let you keep Silver Elite status for another year
  • 25,000 Marriott Rewards points let you keep Gold Elite status for another year
  • 40,000 Marriott Rewards points let you keep Platinum Elite status for another year

I accept that Marriott Rewards was a far weaker programme than Marriott Bonvoy, so you can’t make a direct comparison about the buy-back pricing.   If it still existed, I’m sure it would be a lot more expensive.

It does seem like terrible timing to drop many customers from the top tiers to virtually nothing, with no soft landing and no way to buy back their status.  It puts Marriott Bonvoy in a difficult position when travel does start to pick up.

Even without coronavirus, this would not have been a smart move.  22nd March – with a quarter of the year gone – is not the best time to tell someone that, erm, they have not actually retained their status after all and need to start from scratch.  Even if we are back to some sort of normality in September it will be too late to requalify.

Does Marriott Bonvoy have a soft landing?

Last day to get a 50% bonus buying Marriott Bonvoy points

Marriott Bonvoy is currently running another deal when you buy their hotel points – but it ends tonight.

Via this page of the website, you will get a 50% bonus on all points purchases until Wednesday 25th March (ie today!)

Booking hotels is, I admit, probably not top of your ‘to do’ list at the moment.  However this is the most generous deal that Marriott has run in the last couple of years and you may want to stock up for a holiday later in the year.

The annual purchase cap of 50,000 points has been doubled to 100,000 points, although the maximum you can buy in one go remains 50,000 points.  With the bonus, this means that you could pick up 150,000 Bonvoy points across two transactions.

At the top end you are paying $625 (£485) for 75,000 points under this offer.

My rule of thumb is that a Marriott Bonvoy point is worth 0.5p so this offer is not great at 0.65p per point.

However, you might find it worthwhile if:

you are topping off your account before making a points booking, or

you are close to 60,000 Bonvoy points and want to make a transfer into airline miles (you get a bonus of 5,000 airline miles when you transfer 60,000 Bonvoy points into 20,000 airline miles), or

you are planning a stay at a property where you know you will get outsized value

The snag with Marriott Bonvoy is that the annual points buying cap is too low to allow you to exploit the deal.  The St Regis New York, for example, can easily run to $1,300 per night including taxes, which makes 85,000 Marriott Bonvoy points (on a ‘Standard Reward’ day) a great deal.  The problem is getting enough points.

However …. you CAN transfer up to 100,000 Bonvoy points per year from one member to another.  You need to ring up to do this, which is a bit annoying, but that is the only restriction.  This is one way around the limit on points purchases.

Because you can buy 60,000 points in one go, it is also a way of picking up 25,000 airline miles in programmes where you can rarely buy them cheaply.

Do NOT do this with Avios, because there are regular offers to buy Avios for 1p – 1.1p.  However, it might make sense for other airlines.

Buying 60,000 Bonvoy points under this offer will cost exactly $500 (£388).  If you turned this into 25,000 airline miles, you are paying 1.55p per mile.  With SOME airline schemes, you might find this valuable.  After all, there are not many easy ways to pick to Qatar Airways, Air Canada etc miles in the UK.

The link to buy Bonvoy points with a 50% bonus is here if you are interested.

Buy Marriott points at a discount

How to earn Marriott Bonvoy points via UK credit cards

As a reminder, there are various ways of earning Marriott Bonvoy points from UK credit cards.  Many cards also have generous sign-up bonuses!

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 Gold, Shangri-La Golden Circle Jade and Melia Rewards Gold status.  We reviewed American Express Platinum in detail here.

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

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Comments

  1. Perhaps it’s time to reconsider loyalty to any scheme. Just pick any hotel and any airline. I am beginning to think that travel won’t be possible at all this year. I also think with insurers adding Covid-19 as a known risk and effectively not insuring us we are going to have to make refundable bookings for anything.

    • RedEyeDonkey says:

      I’m hoping that will just be a temporary (and possibly sensible in the circumstances from their point of view to avoid all going out of business) move by insurers. H1N1 after all is just another ‘seasonal flu’ now after causing chaos in the first year (albeit nowhere near as much as this). Let’s hope this will fade into memory too over time – though I do wonder if the level of insurers losses from this leads to ‘pandemics’ not being covered in future at all…

  2. Adrian says:

    Marriott have systematically reduced the benefits since taking over. The points hikes in the last 2 years, the constant changes to the terms and conditions (without letting members know), their arrogance may come back to bite them. Again no communication on the 2 grade fall from Titanium or the timing of it. I’d made reservations for later in the year based on lounge access and breakfast, thankfully refundable reservations. There are plenty of choices in the hotel industry and i’ll be giving Marriott a miss once I’ve used all my points, Bonvoy!

    • TGLoyalty says:

      Why do they need to give notice of something that isn’t in the Bonvoy terms and conditions anyway?

      Soft landing was never a confirmed benefit it was at Marriot’s discretion

      Rob has his status for now but from what i saw in updating the number of nights etc in the new year it wasn’t working properly for about 6 weeks.

    • Similar to the author, I fully expected to be downgraded as deserved from platinum to gold. Yet the start of March came and site continued to say ‘Platinum for 2020’, so assumed it was recognition of almost lifetime years at platinum.
      So similar to Adrian, I booked (vacation) hotels for later in year based on platinum status i.e. they included lounge and breakfast, which are big freebies. As now correctly dropped to gold, will go in and review bookings as they are now substantially different (i.e. no platinum benefits)
      Was unusual they had it wrong for two months – correcting everyone’s status seems to be something your system should be ready to do on 1 January

  3. Ewen Bowman says:

    i have too been downgraded-what a ridiculous time to do it in my opinion. Rob have you gone down 2 tiers?
    i was once told by Marriott and i still have the email that like BA you only go down 1 tier per annu, if you have not achieved the correct number of points?

  4. Sounds like Marriott have managed fully continuity so their customers can continue to be Bonvoyed through this crisis without even having to set foot inside a hotel…

  5. Jason Cousins says:

    I have an AMEX Plat Card and I’ve been downgraded to BONVOY Silver, which is below the guaranteed Gold level. I think this is an IT balls up.

    • If you fill in the online form on the Amex website it will get kicked up again. My Hilton dropped to Silver too so I need to do the same at some point.

  6. I just checked & I now have no status with Marriot (was gold) but received an email from IHG saying they’ll extend mine. I guess I know where I’m likely to stay going forward.

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