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You should get a 2024 soft landing from Marriott Bonvoy if you don’t requalify

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There was a lot of concern in early 2023 about the ‘status cliff’, with literally millions of frequent travellers due to lose their airline or hotel status due to reduced 2022 travel and with all covid mitigation policies removed.

Hilton Honors decided to offer people who would otherwise lose their Diamond status a full year reprieve if they did just one night. I was happy to oblige and retained my Diamond status.

In early 2023, Marriott Bonvoy decided that downgrading millions of elite members to nothing for 2023 would be bad for business. It announced a ‘soft landing’ after 2022 had finished. This annoyed people who had gone out of their way to requalify because they otherwise expected to drop back to nothing.

According to a message on the Bonvoy website, which has now been removed, you will be getting a soft landing again for 2024.

Marriott Bonvoy soft landing 2023

A ‘soft landing’, if you’re not familiar with the phrase, is when a loyalty programme only demotes you by one tier if you do not retain your existing status. British Airways operates soft landings – if you are a Gold member and don’t take a single flight in the following year, you will only drop to Silver, not Blue. If you don’t take a single flight in the year after that, you only drop to Bronze and not Blue.

For a couple of days last week – until it was mysteriously removed – the Marriott website said:

Will all Members that do not reach status in 2023 be downgraded to the next Elite tier?

We are pleased to offer all members who did not re-achieve their existing Elite status in 2023 one tier below their current status through February 2025.

So …. if you are currently Titanium, you will not drop further than Platinum. If you are currently Platinum, you won’t drop further than Gold. If you are Gold, you won’t drop further than Silver.

Marriott Bonvoy soft landing 2023

Let’s look at whether this benefits you:

  • Currently Bonvoy Silver? You are on the lowest elite tier already, so there is no soft landing. If you don’t requalify, you will drop to ‘no status’ as you would have even without this policy.
  • Currently Bonvoy Gold? The benefits of Gold status are slim, so you may decide that you’d be happy with Bonvoy Silver and stop chasing renewal of your Bonvoy Gold status.
  • Currently Bonvoy Platinum? Platinum is the sweet spot in Marriott Bonvoy due to lounge access, free breakfast, guaranteed 4pm check-out and a shot at a good upgrade. The gap between Platinum and Gold is so big that it’s not worth accepting a soft landing – you should push on in your attempts to retain Platinum.
  • Currently Bonvoy Titanium? The difference between Titanium and Platinum is slim, so you may decide that you’d be happy giving up your attempts to requalify and accept the Platinum soft landing. However, remember that hitting 75 elite nights for Titanium would unlock another five Suite Night Awards or other benefits.

The question now is what Hilton, IHG and Hyatt decide to do in return, if anything.

Remember that this is not official yet. The wording appeared on the website and was then removed. I can’t believe that Marriott will go back on their plan but you have some risk. Someone may have decided that giving advance notice may lead to some people moving nights elsewhere.

PS. Don’t forget that the Marriott Bonvoy American Express card comes with 15 elite nights towards status – every year! These even count towards lifetime status. If you don’t have one yet, here is our full review of the Marriott Bonvoy American Express credit card. You can apply here.

Click here for a complete guide to getting hotel elite status from UK credit cards.

Comments (26)

  • Bungalow says:

    Rob, I don’t think you have to be Titanium to get the 5 Suite Night awards, I’ve been Platinum for the last 4 years (never Titanium) and have been given the option of 5 Suite Nights or 5 night credits every year

    • Rob says:

      Correct, but you get another 5 at 75 nights.

      • chris says:

        Many would say the free night up to 40,000 points is the best value at 75 nights – however not that many hotels are within that point range in big cities.

        Very frustrated with the soft landing with being ambassador for 7 years – I also wish lounge access was for titanium or above or else it will start to end up the mess of Hhonors.

        • Rob says:

          I’d take the suite nights – if you assume the 40k voucher is worth £200 then this means you are valuing a suite upgrade at less than (£200/5) £40.

          • krys_k says:

            But if you don’t get the upgrades, or the suite isn’t really a suite, both of which can often be the case they’re worth nothing. And then voucher becomes worth it.

          • meta says:

            I value SNAs at 0 because they are not guaranteed. This has been promoted on this site for over a decade. I had trouble with SNAs this year at hotels where they used to clear no problem last year and the year before. Now I am at the point where two will probably go to waste.

          • Rob says:

            I’ve only ever one had one not clear and unsurprisingly that was in the US.

            Admittedly I am tactical. I will book on dates where suites are widely available and once booked rooms in different hotels on the same night, cancelling the one that delivered the worst upgrade.

          • meta says:

            @krys_k you shouldn’t select anything other than suite when applying SNA. I never do and never will even if it means that SNA goes to waste.

          • meta says:

            @Rob Mine are not clearing in Europe. In Asia I had no problem. I recently tried at Berlin Marriott and it didn’t clear even though there was still Executive Suite available for cash right until the day before. I’m also very tactical, but I am now beginning to think that there is clearly some extra layer of priority even for SNAs.

          • Rob says:

            I got an Executive Suite in Berlin during ITB in February when virtually every decent hotel in town was sold out 🙂

            I liked it so much I’ve booked one for cash during ITB 2024.

            Last one I used was June at the Alphonso XIII in Seville when I got one of the very top suites for two nights (this is a top heavy hotel to be fair, as historic hotels often are). Still need to write that one up ….

            I will say that I would be shocked if suites were not available at Newport Marriott (RI) when we were there over Easter because this is a huge hotel and it was out of season. This is the one that failed to clear.

        • matt says:

          That’s impressive given Ambassador status hasn’t been around for 7 years!

          • chris says:

            I have had for 6 years and with 1,347 nights and have already qualified for this year and so i have taken that as 7 years. i did a fasttrack for whatever the SPG status was just before the merger (the one which gave lounge access) and ambassador post.

          • matt says:

            Fair enough, I qualified for Ambassador in 2018 and 2019, had multiple COVID extensions and then dropped down to Titanium this year as I have only been doing around 10-20 nights per year post-COVID. The soft landing makes no difference for me next year, as I qualified for lifetime Platinum when SPG merged with Marriott, so would be Platinum anyway.

            I’ve not really noticed any difference in service or benefits as a Titanium member and can’t imagine it will be much different as Platinum.

        • Will says:

          I may have been lucky, I’ve also been let down too by hotels with confirmed SNA’s that decide on check in not to honour them, but the value in a well used SNA can be extraordinary.

          Between 15 nights on the cc and double night credit offers I’ve recently made an effort to push for titanium because I can fairly easily extract £500-£1000 per night from the SNA’s.

          Since the merger I’ve found Marriott a brilliant program.

          Even post revenue based there remains plenty of value in the scheme up to now.

      • bungalow says:

        Ahh, right, wasn’t aware of that

        • chris says:

          I did actually take the SNA for both 50 and 75 this year but i often find you get better upgrades when you do not use. I do not find them as valuable as hyatt upgrades where you can upgrade to a standard suite if it is available at booking (though have to call Hyatt) and it is valid for up to 7 nights.

          • Rob says:

            The Hyatt certificates are far more valuable, no doubt about that.

          • Will says:

            It pays to be smart with SNA’s.
            Only use them on hotels which offer decent options through them and ideally hook a refundable room that you can drop (and a backup room that you actually want to stay in) so if they don’t trigger you have options.

            Also pays to check what rooms are on sale for cash in advance of 5 days out and wether or not the hotel has already upgraded you in the app prior to the SNA’s triggering.

          • chris says:

            i should say the best upgrades i have had are at JW London and Marriott Park Lane – all to the biggest suites despite not being available as a SNA room.

            Without SNA, I had an amazing vice presidential suite at Marriott Warsaw for 6 weeks and also a big suite at Renaissance Warsaw airport. In Macau, i have had the presidential suite a few times with its own cinema.

          • krys_k says:

            I find the SNAs unreliable and some guarantees as to implementation would help. Eg I was denied an upgrade via SNA but email to hotel got me an upgrade (AC Krakow). I’ve also had upgrades that are such in name only (JW Marriott Singapore). Or even upgrades which may or may not have been an upgrade (all suite St Regis Singapore). Been titanium for a few years now and I find the best guarantee to an upgrade is to be bold upfront and email hotel and ask for upgrade based on status. It’s worked 90% of the time. No need for SNAs.

  • George K says:

    Would anyone know how status qualifying years are measured in this instance? I mean if you make Platinum, say in April, which would mean that you’d have status for this year, the next, and the first month of the one after, does that count as having status during two years in terms of the lifetime counter?

    • Rob says:

      Rest of current year PLUS all of following year PLUS the two month stub period. If you qualified today you’d have Plat to Feb 2025 for eg.

      It only counts as one year for the purpose of lifetime status though.

  • Kevin says:

    If i opt for 5 nights elite stay after achieving platinum status now, would the 5 nights elite stay count towards to 75 nights titanium target or just appeared for 2024 target?

    I got SNA denied few times previously and wasted thus it has becoming a zero benefit in my experience. Thus might be better to opt for 5 elite nights stay if it can be counted towards titanium status.

    • Rob says:

      Yes, the 5 nights count towards Titanium at 75 nights, so you’d only need to do 20 more this year and not 25.

  • Kevin says:

    Rob, thanks for the confirmation

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