Marriott Bonvoy has announced a number of aggressive changes to try to win your depleted hotel business for 2021.
We have already seen similar moves by Hyatt (halving elite requirements and doubling night credits), Hilton (halving elite requirements and carrying over elite nights from 2020) and Accor (halving elite requirements).
Here is what Marriott Bonvoy is doing.
You will receive a chunk of free elite night credits, based on your current status
All Marriott Bonvoy members are getting elite night credits equivalent to 50% of the status they earned in 2020.
This is what you will get:
- Ambassador Elite – 50 elite night credits
- Titanium Elite – 38 elite night credits
- Platinum Elite – 25 elite night credits
- Gold Elite – 13 elite night credits
- Silver Elite – 5 elite night credits
For me, as a Platinum Elite member, I can expect 25 nights to be dropped into my account.
Bonus elite night credits will arrive by the end of February.
Remember that if you get the Marriott Bonvoy American Express credit card (apply here), you will receive another 15 elite night credits.
I have this card, so I will be sitting on 40 elite night credits towards 2022 status. This means I only need to earn 10 elite night credits during 2021 to retain Platinum Elite for next year.
And this will get even easier because …..
Marriott’s new promotion will give you double points AND double elite night credit
Marriott Bonvoy has given early notice of its first promotion for 2021.
On all stays between 16th Febuary and 27th April, you will earn double points AND double elite night credits.
The only rule is that you must stay at least two nights.
Redemption stays will count for double elite nights as long as the stay includes at least one paid night. This means, if I understand it correctly, that a stay of four reward nights which finishes with one paid night would earn 10 elite night credits.
This offer means that I would only need to do 5 nights between 16th February and 27th April to get to the 50 nights I need for Platinum Elite status in 2022. Result!
In reality, I might try to squeeze in 2 or 3 nights, to get me to 44 or 46 elite nights credits, which will take any pressure off requalification.
Double points would mean 20 points per $1 – I would get 25 points as a Platinum Elite member. Based on my valuation of 0.5p per point, this means a minimum return of 13.5% on your ex-VAT spending.
Save 10% on off-peak Marriott Bonvoy redemptions
Marriott is also launching a ‘sale’ on off-peak redemptions.
ALL Marriott Bonvoy hotels have seen their points cost reduce by 10% for off-peak redemptions.
You can book from now until 21st February, for stays until 30th September.
The snag is that there is no mention of greater off-peak availability than usual. You would expect virtually all Marriott Bonvoy hotels to be selling redemption nights at off-peak prices at the moment, but it isn’t happening. There is no evidence that the split between peak, standard and off-peak has changed.
That said, as redemption rooms are fully refundable in almost all cases it makes sense to book now for later in the year if the hotel you want is showing off-peak for your dates.
This is a solid announcement by Marriott Bonvoy. It is also strategically smart.
It makes it clear, without saying so directly, that you cannot expect a status rollover for 2022.
If you want to retain your status for next year, you have been given a big head start with 50% of the nights you need.
Throw in the Marriott Bonvoy American Express (apply here) and you get another 15 nights.
You have been substantial advance notice that stays of 2+ nights from mid February to late April will earn double elite nights.
I don’t think anyone can complain that Marriott is treating them unfairly. Assuming travel starts to open up – at least domestically – by Easter you will have opportunities to knock up some double elite night credits and make good progress towards 2022 status.
How to earn Marriott Bonvoy points from UK credit cards (January 2021)
There are various ways of earning Marriott Bonvoy points from UK credit cards. Many cards also have generous sign-up bonuses!
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 Elite 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 MeliaRewards Gold status. We reviewed American Express Platinum in detail here and you can apply here.
You can also earn American Express Membership Rewards points with American Express Gold (20,000 bonus points), the American Express Rewards Credit Card (5,000 bonus points) and – for small business owners – American Express Business Gold (20,000 bonus points) and Business Platinum (40,000 bonus 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.)