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What is the best Marriott Bonvoy Annual Choice Benefit? And what are they?

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In another article today, I showed you the hugely impressive suite I received last week at Le Meridien hotel in Hamburg.

I got this my applying a Suite Night Award that I received from Marriott Bonvoy. Suite Night Awards are one of the ‘Marriott Annual Choice Benefits’ for reaching 50 and 75 nights in a year.

Obviously it’s pretty cool to get a huge suite like the one I had in Hamburg, especially when it is confirmed five days in advance. What are your options for the Marriott Annual Choice Benefit at reaching 50 and 75 nights and which is the best option?

What is the best Marriott Annual Gift Choice benefit?

How do I hit 50 elite nights?

Frankly, it isn’t possible for me to do 50 elite nights at any single hotel chain in a year. I got lucky with Marriott Bonvoy, however, over the last two years.

I get 15 elite night credits from having the Marriott Bonvoy American Express card – this is a benefit all cardholders receive each year:

Marriott Bonvoy American Express

20,000 bonus points and 15 elite night credits Read our full review

If you apply for the card now, you should receive your 15 elite nights within two weeks. Going forward, they appear in the first few days of January. You can apply here.

In 2020 I got 25 additional elite night credits as part of Bonvoy’s coronavirus compensation package which made it easy to hit 50 nights. In 2021, these rolled over and I even managed to hit 75 nights.

In 2022, I have been taking advantage of Marriott’s ‘double elite night credits’ promotion, which is why you have seen quite a few Marriott reviews on HfP recently. I’m now at 37 elite nights with 8 months remaining to do another 13. This won’t be an issue, and will trigger another five Suite Night Awards – if I choose that option – for 2023.

What are the Marriott Bonvoy Annual Choice Benefits?

On top of your usual elite status tiers – which I am not covering here for simplicity – Marriott Bonvoy offers two additional benefits for people who hit 50 and 75 elite nights in a calendar year.

You should be able to select your preferred benefit online within a few days of hitting the threshold. If you don’t make a choice by end of the first week of the following year, you are given 5 x Suite Night Awards by default.

Marriott does not provide a lot of information about these benefits online. The best page you can find is this one.

What is the best Marriott Annual Gift Choice benefit?

What are the Annual Choice Benefits at 50 nights?

Here are your options:

Five elite night credits

This is an interesting option. If you think you might have a chance of hitting 75 elite nights for Titanium Elite status, taking five elite nights may be worth it to get you on the way.

(The smart option is to wait until December to pick your 50 night benefit, if you are considering the five elite night credits. You will then be certain whether the extra five nights would make the difference between hitting Titanium Elite or not – if not, choose another award.)

The five elite nights also count towards lifetime status. This HfP article explains how Marriott Bonvoy lifetime status works.

Note that you CANNOT ‘trick’ Bonvoy by waiting until 1st January 2023 and then choosing five elite night credits. They will still credit into your 2022 total.

5 x Suite Night Awards

This is what I choose. Each award is good for a one-night upgrade into a premium room. Whilst they are called ‘Suite Night Awards’, they will generally book into higher category standard rooms or lower level standard suites. You can get lucky and do a lot better, however.

Marriott being Marriott, there is small print galore.

Upgrades are not confirmed until at least five days before arrival so you can’t lock them in when booking. Once you have booked a room, you can use the ‘manage my booking’ process to see which room types are offered for SNA certificates. You can select which categories would be acceptable to you.

In my experience, the ranges of rooms varies widely. Some properties will offer you five potential upgrades including their top suite, which is what I got in Hamburg. Others only offer smaller suites or even just premium rooms.

Here is an example of what I am offered at the Sheraton Frankfurt Airport for a stay next month. You can see which options I am willing to accept. As I currently have Titanium status I would probably get the lower options anyway so there is no benefit in using a Suite Night Award.

You need to upgrade your entire stay – you can’t use 5 awards to upgrade part of a 7-night holiday.

Hotels are not obliged to accept your SNA upgrade request just because they have a suitable suite or premium room available.

They expire on 31st December in the following year.

The following brands do NOT allow Suite Night Awards to be used: The Ritz-Carlton, EDITION, Protea, Aloft, Element, Design Hotels and the long-stay brands.

Give Marriott Bonvoy Silver Elite status to a friend

I don’t recommend this. Partly because Marriott Bonvoy Silver Elite status has few benefits (see the Marriott website here) and partly because you can get Silver Elite for free by taking out the Marriott Bonvoy American Express card.

(The Bonvoy Amex comes with 15 elite night credits, and that is enough to automatically trigger Silver Elite.)

$100 charity donation

The charity offered tends to change each year, but you can see some of those supported by Marriott here.

Whilst this is a good cause, you will get more value from the Suite Night Awards. Taking a cold hard look at this, you could make a equivalent charitable donation from your own pocket – and reclaim Gift Aid – and effectively buy the Suite Night Awards for £15 each …..

40% off a mattress from any Marriott International brand

You’re either looking for a new mattress or you’re not …..

What is the best Marriott Annual Gift Choice benefit?

What are the Annual Choice Benefits at 75 nights?

If you hit 75 nights, you get another pick at an Annual Choice Benefit.

The options are the same as those above, with two differences:

You can now gift Gold Elite status to a friend instead of Silver Elite

This is a more valuable offer than giving away Silver Elite. However, the benefits of Gold Elite, which are explained here, are still slim – no free breakfast, no lounge access.

You can take a free night voucher valid at a hotel costing up to 40,000 points

This isn’t a bad deal, given that 40,000 points should get you a hotel selling for around £200.

Starting at some point soon (it was meant to be this month) you will be able to top up your voucher with an additional 15,000 points. This will allow you to book a hotel costing up to 55,000 points which opens higher quality properties.

The voucher lasts until 31st December in the following year (or the same year if you wait until the first week of January to pick your award).

To some extent, the option you choose at 75 nights may depend on what you took at 50 nights. If you took the 5 extra elite nights as your ’50’ award – to ensure you hit 75 nights – you might want the Suite Night Awards at 75. If you took the Suite Night Awards at 50, you might think that five is enough and that the free night voucher has more value at 75.

There is little value in taking five additional status night credits at 75 nights unless you are chasing lifetime status. Ambassador Elite status, the level triggered at 100 nights, also requires $20,000 of annual Marriott spend which you are unlikely to have achieved if many of your nights came from the credit card or the covid extra nights bonus.

Conclusion

Hitting 50 nights or 75 nights in Marriott Bonvoy means that you have acheived or renewed your Platinum Elite or Titanium Elite status.

You also get to select an Annual Choice Benefit, and hopefully this article has helped you decide which one is most valuable.


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

How to earn Marriott Bonvoy points and status from UK credit cards (December 2022)

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 bonus points and 15 elite night credits 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 unbeatable travel 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 (19)

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

  • NSL says:

    All fair points but YMMV. Most of my stays are either with my family or in the USA. I still have the same number of SNAs I started 2022 with and I’ve never ended a calendar year with less than 3 SNAs still in my pocket.

    It would be nice if Marriott could extend or swap for points at year end.

  • Matt says:

    I’ve always picked SNAs at 50 nights and also struggled to use them. On a few occasions they’ve been declined due to availability, and on others I’ve probably ended up with a similar room to what they would have given me as an upgrade for Ambassador status.

    I’ve got 6 SNAs on my account now due to expire at the end of June. All are attached to a booking at Domes Miramare so fingers crossed they come through! I’ve selected every possible room for upgrade as it’s a use it or lose it situation.

    • Rob says:

      For clarity, the hotel has NO control over SNA use. Marriott allocates them automatically. The only control the hotel has is some leeway of the number of rooms that are allowed to remain in the system for last minute sale.

      • Matt says:

        I assume the hotel retains some freedom to choose which suites are not eligible for SNA? For example, at Domes Miramare, only the Emerald suites are eligible – you can’t select the more expensive Pavilion suites. Similarly, a lot of the Marriott hotels in the Maldives won’t permit you to use a SNA for an overwater villa.

        • Rob says:

          Yes. St Regis NY is also odd – I have always got suites there based on status but now I have SNA all it offers me is the bigger standard rooms.

  • Harry T says:

    There are a few problems with SNAs. IME, exSPG properties at the higher end will upgrade you to a suite anyway, if you are Titanium or above (probably Platinum if low occupancy). The other problem is that they can’t be used at hotels they would useful at like EDITION, who don’t tend to upgrade very well anyway (madness considering it’s a Marriott bespoke brand). The other big issue is that hotels are allowed to put sarcastic quality rooms in the SNA pool, which makes a mockery of the S part of SNA – from what I’ve seen, the US hotels are especially cheeky with this. IME the only hotels that put proper suites in the pool are exSPG hotels… that would probably give you a suite anyway, unless you’re in the USA, in which case they won’t put suites in the SNA pool…

    The problem is that the alternatives are generally rubbish, especially now there is dynamic pricing and the Titanium FNA covers about the price of a Moxy. Sure, they are going to let you top them up with a few extra points, but this is a token gesture when the top up hotels are 100k+ a night.

    I know I sound a bit grumpy here, but it’s probably worth mentioning I have done incredibly well with SNAs in the last year or so, including that upgrade for five nights at the W Abu Dhabi to a massive suite overlooking the race track for the Grand Prix weekend. I’ve also used them to get massive suites at W Amsterdam and W Barcelona. Conversely, I didn’t bother using them at the Alfonso or the Augustine, and received suites that were either at the top of the SNA pool (Alfonso) or two categories above the highest suite in the Augustine SNA pool.

    Bottom line – they are annoying to use and rarely useful there you would want them to be. If you are enormously tactical, you can attract obscene perceived value. With Hyatt offering guaranteed suites at time of booking and even IHG moving towards proper guarantee suites two weeks out, Marriott need to step their game up.

    • Matt says:

      To be fair Hyatt SNAs are also a pain to use – you need to call up their reservation line, and some hotels also refuse them. I’ve had them declined at Park Hyatt Maldives and very oddly the Hyatt Regency Manchester because they don’t have any rooms classified as Standard Suites…

      • Harry T says:

        Good to know other schemes play games, I guess. Thanks for the data point!

        • meta says:

          I don’t know what you do @HarryT, but I always have to argue to get any sort of upgrade at higher end Marriott properties (and ex-SPG too) both as Titanium and in the past as Platinum. And no the occupancy wasn’t high at all. And I am yet to see a suite upgrade without applying SNA. They even denied me a late checkout once and moved me to a standard room on SNA. However, I really like Hilton automatic upgrades. Even before the new system, I had 100% success of upgrades to a suite with higher end Hilton properties before arrival.

          • Harry T says:

            I am just clearly very charming haha. I did very well as Platinum and Titanium too. Forgot to say I managed an SNA to a suite at Prince De Galles when they were full.

            I didn’t get a suite at Waldorf Astoria Amsterdam as Hilton Diamond but it also didn’t show me any automatic upgrade thing, so who knows how their system works.

            Very occasionally a hotel tries to deny me late checkout but it doesn’t go well for them.

          • krys_k says:

            I too am sure of the value of SNA vs upgrade as Platinum and Titanium. My sample size is small admittedly, but I’ve always received a suite in the Westin in Warsaw over probably 25 nights on various stays having bought the cheapest room (sometimes as low as £50); and I’ve always got the better room at AC in Birmingham (granted they only have two types of room). I’m staying in the Marriott hotel in Bath tomorrow so we’ll see what happens there. And from reading various sites, it seems an email or call to the hotel prior to stay elicits a suite upgrade as Platinum / Titanium. Maybe there is a specific set of circumstances where the SNA is already worth applying?

        • Rob says:

          Hyatt does say in the booking system if a suite is Standard or Premium. Some hotels play games with labelling but at least you know where you stand.

    • Pangolin says:

      +1 to everything Harry said.

      I’ve got 5 SNAs to use by end of June and the only place I might be able to use them is Sheraton Rhodes Resort, where there’s a good chance I’d get the upgrade to the Aegean Suite anyway (Titanium, regular guest). But if I don’t put them in they’ll just go to waste.

      W seems like an excellent brand to try SNAs for (as Harry T did for Abu Dhabi). That’s the one ex-SPG brand that has always been very stingy on upgrades to me.

      Since I’m heading for lifetime Platinum, I might even take the 5 elite nights this time. The 40K FNC at 75 nights still seems like a no-brainer to me, even with the dreaded dynamic pricing.

      • Harry T says:

        W hotels in Europe seem to put real suites in the pool, so they are the usually the best option for me. Only time it failed was at W Amsterdam for a five night stay that was accidentally over Grand Prix weekend – they actually had no suites at all but still gave me a very nice Bank room. SNAs worked for a bilevel Bank suite there the next time I stayed.

        • Harry T says:

          Ps Sheratons have given me a suite 95% of the time as Platinum or above, often without prompting.

          • Pangolin says:

            Pretty much the same success rate for me, but I don’t have any other stay planned before the end of June apart from Sheraton Rhodes. I’m only bothering to put in the SNA request because they will expire otherwise.
            It would be ironic if the SNAs didn’t go through and then I actually failed to bag a comped suite upgrade there for the first time :-0

    • Rob says:

      Edition has very little to do with Marriott. The UK PR team, for example, cannot arrange review nights for us by clicking their fingers as happens at all other hotels.

  • P says:

    Hi,

    Is there a way to get The 25 additional elite night credits as part of Bonvoy’s coronavirus compensation package?

    • Rob says:

      You would have got it, had you had status in 2020. Half of those nights were given to you in 2021. There is no leeway for 2022 apart from the current ‘double elite night credits’ offer which has run for 3 months.

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

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