Some links to products and travel providers on this website will earn Traveling For Miles a commission that helps contribute to the running of the site. Traveling For Miles has partnered with CardRatings for our coverage of credit card products. Traveling For Miles and CardRatings may receive a commission from card issuers. Opinions, reviews, analyses & recommendations are the author’s alone and have not been reviewed, endorsed, or approved by any of these entities. For more details please see the disclosures found at the bottom of every page.
Marriott has brought back its elite status challenges for a limited period of time (although we haven’t been told when that limited period of time will end). Travelers with elite status in a number of other major hotel loyalty programs can now earn Marriott elite status at a greatly accelerated rate by booking and consuming a pre-set number of nights at Marriott properties within a 90 day period.
What Is A Status Match?
A status match is a tool that loyalty programs use to encourage elite members of other loyalty programs to switch over to them.
Loyalty programs give their elite members benefits (e.g. upgrades, complimentary breakfast, bonus points, etc…) when they book travel with them, and travelers who value these benefits are often less likely to book travel away from a given program if they’re not likely to get similar benefits elsewhere. That’s where status matches come in.
Loyalty programs like Marriott Bonvoy offer travelers immediate but temporary elite status (a status match) to get them to move their business over to them (the traveler will enjoy immediate elite status benefits as they try the program out), and if the traveler goes on to complete a pre-set “challenge” in a pre-set period of time, they get to keep the status they have been given. If they exceed the basic requirements of the challenge, they may even earn an improved level of elite status.
Marriott’s Status Match Requirements
- Open to Marriott Bonvoy members with Member, Silver or Gold status levels (Bonvoy is free to join)
- To be eligible for a Gold Elite challenge (at best) a Bonvoy member will need to hold one of the following statuses in another loyalty program:
- Accor Live Limitless – Gold Elite status
- World of Hyatt – Explorist member
- To be eligible for a Platinum or Gold Elite challenge a Bonvoy member will need to hold one of the following statuses in another loyalty program:
- Accor Live Limitless – Platinum or Diamond Elite staus
- Hilton Honors – Gold or Diamond Elite status
- IHG Rewards – Platinum or Spire Elite status
- World of Hyatt – Globalist member
- All status challenge applicants must be able to show that they have credited at least one stay to their current program in the past 12 months.
Key Things To Know
- Sign up for a Marriott Bonvoy status challenge here
- Applicants for a challenge should allow up to 10 business days for registration approval. If approved, a Bonvoy member will be upgraded to the appropriate elite status within 48 hours.
- The 90 day challenge period starts from the moment that a challenger’s status is upgraded.
- Nights consumed prior to registration approval are not eligible.
- Award nights will not count towards the challenge targets.
- Only one room per stay will count towards a challenge target
- Bookings must be made directly through a Marriott booking channel. Third-party bookings will not count towards challenge targets.
Marriott Elite Status Challenges
Gold Elite Challenge
Marriott Bonvoy members participating in the Gold Elite Challenge will receive Gold Elite status for 90 days upon successful registration and will have 90 days to book and consume five eligible paid nights to retain Gold Elite status until February 2022. Marriott Bonvoy members who do not book and consume five eligible paid nights within 90 days of successful registration will revert to the membership level they held prior to this promotion.
Platinum Elite Challenge
Marriott Bonvoy members participating in the Platinum Elite Challenge will receive Platinum Elite status for 90 days upon successful registration and will have 90 days to book and consume fifteen eligible paid nights to retain Platinum Elite status until February 2022. Marriott Bonvoy members who do not book and consume fifteen eligible paid nights within 90 days of successful registration will revert to the membership level they held prior to this promotion, or to the membership level that corresponds to their total qualifying nights, whichever is higher.
Before I go any further, it would be remiss of me not to point out that it will soon be possible to earn top-tier Hilton Diamond status just by staying 9 nights at Hilton properties through the end of the year. If you’re just looking to earn good hotel elite status and are not particularly invested in that status being with Marriott, the Hilton option may make more economical sense.
With credit cards like the Hilton Honors Surpass credit card and the IHG Rewards Club Premier Card offering elite status in the programs to which they’re affiliated, there should be a significant number of people who are eligible for a Marriott status challenge. More importantly, a lot of people should be eligible for the better of the two options – the Platinum Elite challenge.
You can use these links to see the benefits that come with Marriott Bonvoy Gold Elite status and Marriott Bonvoy Platinum Elite status and anyone reading these lists of benefits will probably quickly come to the conclusion that Gold Elite status isn’t really worth very much. And they’d be right. Unless you’re already planning to spend 5 nights at Marriott properties and are ineligible for the Platinum Challenge, I’m struggling to see why anyone would go out of their way to earn Marriott Gold Elite status.
Note: If you have access to US credit cards you can get Gold status for the cost of 2 credit cards (currently $220) and you keep that status for as long as you hold the cards.
Platinum Elite status is considerably better than Gold as it gives the holder lounge access (be aware that a large number of Marriott hotel lounges are still closed), a 4 p.m. late checkout, complimentary breakfast (although you’ll need a high-level degree and a lot of patience to work out when and where you’re entitled to this benefit), room upgrades and 50% bonus points on all stays. A “buyer beware” note should probably be attached to the room upgrade benefit because, at a lot of properties, Platinum upgrades are often just a single level upgrade to a higher floor or a better view (at least that’s the case in the United States. In the Asia/Pacific region things can be better) so they’re not really worth getting too excited about.
All in all my advice would be this: Don’t bother with the Gold challenge unless you’re already planning to stay 5 or more nights with Marriott in the coming months. Only consider the Platinum challenge if you really think that you’ll be able to make the most of this status in 2021 and if it’s not going to cost too much to stay the 15 nights that the challenge requires.
Personally speaking, I hold top-tier Marriott Titanium status and I have no idea why someone would choose to spend 15 nights at Marriott properties just to earn Bonvoy Platinum status when they can earn top-tier Hilton Diamond status for the cost of just 9 nights…but each to their own 🙂
Marriott is once again offering challenges to elite members of other loyalty programs with Bonvoy Gold and Platinum statuses on offer. Be aware that these challenges will only be available for a limited time (presumably, until Marriott fulfills a predetermined quota of registrations) so if you’re interested in participating I’d register (here) sooner rather than later.