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Your Marriott Bonvoy elite status will be extended by 12 months due to coronavirus

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Marriott Bonvoy has announced how it intends to deal with Marriott Bonvoy elite status for next year.

Whilst the company admits that the fine print needs to be worked out, the following announcement was made today in a blog post from the Marriott International CEO:

“I also want to take a moment to address our Marriott Bonvoy members. Like many of you, frequent travel is a way of life for me and most of the Marriott team. It is the way we connect, get inspired and evolve our business every day. While it is the right thing to do, it’s been hard not to be able to travel. We know that when you get back in the air and on the road, your points and status will be important to you.

Status Extension: We want you to be able to enjoy the status that you earned in 2019. With that in mind, the status you earned in 2019 will be extended to February 2022.

Points Expiration: To provide you ample time to redeem points, the expiration of points will be paused until February 2021. At that time, your points will only expire if your account has been inactive for at least 24 months.

As the days unfold, we will continue to monitor and evolve our program requirements as necessary.”

It has already been announced via the main Marriott coronavirus advisory page that

Suite Night Awards for status members will be extended by 12 months, to 31st December 2021

Free Night Awards, whether from the Marriott Bonvoy American Express credit card, annual choice benefit, promotions or a travel package will be extended to 31st January 2021

Marriott Bonvoy has decided that 2020 never existed

This is a very simple solution to Marriott’s problem.

Very simply, whatever status you have in Marriott Bonvoy today, you will have next year.

Of course, there is a problem ….

For a lot of people, including myself, the status they have in Marriott Bonvoy today is not the status they were expecting to have.

As we covered recently, Marriott Bonvoy has not implemented a soft landing on existing members.  Members who did not requalify and thought that they would only drop one level in 2020 have been dropped multiple levels.

This is despite the fact that the Marriott website implied, for three months, that they would not drop at all.  Drops were then done three weeks later than expected, leading to further confusion.

Marriott Bonvoy elite status will be extended by 12 months due to coronavirus

Some questions remain unanswered

We don’t yet know what will happen to people who do not currently have Marriott Bonvoy elite status or want to improve it.  Will they be offered a reduced target in 2020 to reflect months of no travel?  We don’t know.  I’m sure it will come clear in time.

This is a good move though

I don’t want to be too critical.  This is a good move by Marriott Bonvoy and almost as good as the coronavirus status extension Hilton Honors announced the other day.

IHG Rewards Club now remains the weak link, offering nothing more than a small reduction in the status points needed to requalify for next year.  It is going to have a pretty small elite tier in 2021 if it doesn’t move soon.

If you want information on the Marriott coronavirus cancellation policies, they are in our coronavirus cancellation and refund master thread here, covering BA, Virgin Atlantic, easyJet, IHG, Hilton and Marriott.

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

How to earn Marriott Bonvoy points and status from UK credit cards (April 2024)

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

40,000 bonus 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 (37)

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

  • Chrisasaurus says:

    Well, beat me to it…

    I dont really see this is the right incentive, but it is a start. I would have thought a. accelerator for the remainder of 2020 makes more sense ! Assuming we are travelling in june 2x qualifying nights would encourage people back into hotels while allowing us to maintain status…

    I’d already got past platinum but for many people with more evenly distributed stays who are missing at least a full quarter this will be welcomed

    • TGLoyalty says:

      I don’t know how you can fault the move. Elite status earned in 2019 is now the status until Feb 2022.

      What I’ve learnt from this is that no matter what you do someone will complain because it doesn’t meet their specific needs.

      All I can hope for is a decent promo when this is all over to incentivise me to keep staying with Marriott.

      • Sam says:

        Good for you then, but we all know Marriott has demotivated a lot of other titanium and platinum members. This gist is that, this hard landing policy virtually ignores the situation surrounding late 2019 and the rest of 2020 when typically members (maybe not you but at least many others) would have made up their qualifying stay/night/points without sacrificing their benefits too much. This has been a practice for years, even back in the time of Marriott Rewards. I can understand the disappointment about why Marriott chooses to make such negative change at this time of uncertainty.

        Hilton is by far the most generous major chain – if you are Diamond now, you’ll be Diamond until 2021. If you’re gold, you’ll be gold until 2021. An extension is an extension, no more bs, that’s how Hilton gets things done.

        I’ve also learnt that customers would vote with their feet. Let’s wait and see Marriott’s and Hilton revenue figure at year end and see if Marriott can retain their loyal customer despite many has (or will be) gone.

      • Chrisasaurus says:

        What it does mean is that those of us travelling a lot in Q1 2020 have essentially got no utility from those stays, since our 2021 status is based on 2019, not 2020.

        As I said in my comment for me personally it’s a moot point, plat vs plat- but unless I can reach titanium in what is now likely to be 2/3 of a usable year at best, I may as well not have done those early 2020 stays at MR , they’d have been better served st HH for example where I would have regained diamond

  • N says:

    An accelerator/challenge for those who dropped two status levels in one go in March is the least we can expect. Having dropped Titanium to Gold, I had made my plans for Q3/4 based on having Marriott Plat. I now get Gold till 2022? Great, I have that anyway from my Amex Plat.

    • TGLoyalty says:

      But you didn’t stay enough to earn Plat in 2019, so 2020 was going to be a different travel year to 2019?.

      You would have earned Plat in 2020 if you were staying in hotels in during March and April?

      • N says:

        But I had made a concerted (£££) effort to earn Titanium in 2018 so that I would have Titanium for 2019 and Plat for 2020. That was the deal as per Marriott’s reps on FT and their own forum.

        The status extension is good overall. But for me it makes no difference.

        • TGLoyalty says:

          Titanium replaced Platinum Premier Elite in Feb 2019. No one could have said what the soft landing policy for Bonvoy was in 2018.

          I know in 2019 there was talk from the FT lurkers that soft landings would be a thing but the T&C’s didn’t mention them at all.

          There’s only one sure fire way to guarantee status in any programme and that’s to follow the T&C’s and stay the nights required every year (plus Perhaps get a credit card)

          • Sam says:

            Sorry even if you follow the T&C, any hotel chain can change them at the last minute or of a very short notice because the company has the final right to choose whether to exercise their policy or not. Hilton does not promise a late checkout in the T&C, but a lot of them offers. Hilton does not promise an executive lounge access for gold members but lot of them (especially in Asia) offer this to gold members. And of course, Hilton T&C does not promise a genuine extension but they are doing this for you. Marriott of course did choose not to exercise their hard landing policy stated in the T&C until this year. If Marriott wanted to, they could as well assume Titanium as Platinum Premier Elite and exercised hard landings last year.

            So, at the end of the day it is hotel the decision maker, and for me the only one sure fire way to act in my best interest is looking at what the company does in the past and be smart about it in the future.

          • TGLoyalty says:

            Sam Agree T&C’s can change at any time.

            Hilton do offer late checkout but it’s not guaranteed and outside of Asia getting late checkout past 1pm is like getting blood out of a stone.

            RE Lounge access Golds ARE guaranteed lounge access if you are upgraded to an exec room.

  • Dominic says:

    So I will now get free breakfast in 3 major hotel chains for all of next year! That’s a result, as I was only expecting it in one.

    Taking the positives from Covid-19…

  • Sam says:

    This is known for a while and the email we received this morning was nothing new, more like a reminder to us only. This gist of the problem is not about extending – it is about that the extension basis. For Marriott it recalculates the number of s/n/p achieved in 2019 at the time of the adjustment, for Hilton simply extend the membership tier as of the date of adjustment. As such, a lot of Marriott members simply received a hard landing without an opportunity to make it up in let’s say 2021. In contrast, Hilton honours the extension on whatever you have. As long as you are a Diamond as of the adjustment date Hilton practically honours your Diamond until 2021. There is a BIG difference.
    We all know how difficult to get these statuses (especially for a tier like titanium) and the move of Marriott simply demotivates people.

  • Peter K says:

    What this makes me think, and I have thought this for a while, is that Marriott only really cares about corporate customers who can make large numbers of stays and looks down on those who make a small number.

    You may think that’s obvious, as someone who stays 50 nights is obviously more valuable than someone who stays 10/20 nights a year. The problem is though, that if you alienate all the 10-20 night a year stayers you lose a lot of potential custom.

    • TGLoyalty says:

      Isn’t that approach the basis of all loyalty programmes with different tiers?

      The individual hotel can still look after you if you are loyal to them.

  • Berneslai says:

    Meh. Dropped from Titanium Elite to Gold Elite and now I can ‘enjoy’ that status for a while longer. I’ve cancelled all my Marriott stays for Q3 and Q4 except my Ritz Carlton ones (they think I’m a scumbag whatever Marriott status I hold)

  • Graeme says:

    If they could just follow this up with a drop in redemption costs, that’d be great!

  • Laura says:

    What about the tier status given via Amex Platinum

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