Guide: Earn Marriott Bonvoy Elite Nights With Credit Cards

Guide: Earn Marriott Bonvoy Elite Nights With Credit Cards

12
In the interest of full disclosure, OMAAT earns a referral bonus for anyone that’s approved through some of the below links. The information and associated card details on this page for the Hilton Honors American Express Aspire Card has been collected independently by OMAAT and has not been reviewed or provided by the card issuer. These are the best publicly available offers (terms apply) that we have found for each product or service. Opinions expressed here are the author's alone, not those of the bank, credit card issuer, airline, hotel chain, or product manufacturer/service provider, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities. Please check out our advertiser policy for further details about our partners, and thanks for your support!

One of the benefits of hotel credit cards is that they can help you earn elite status. Some hotel credit cards outright offer elite status, while others offer a certain number of elite nights towards a status tier.

In this post I wanted to share a guide to earning elite nights in the Marriott Bonvoy program using co-branded Marriott credit cards. Hopefully this is useful with it being a new year, as people start to consider their elite status strategy for 2022.

Earn 30 Marriott Bonvoy elite nights with credit cards

Let’s talk about everything you need to know to earn Marriott Bonvoy elite nights using Marriott’s credit cards. Long story short, if you have the right credit cards you could be 60% of the way to Platinum status each year without spending a dime on the cards.

What are Marriott elite nights?

For those who haven’t historically pursued hotel status, it’s perhaps worth clarifying what I’m talking about when I say “elite night.” An elite night doesn’t get you a free night in a hotel, or get you a free night in a hotel with elite benefits.

Rather hotel loyalty programs have certain minimum requirements to earn status with them (this could be 50, 75, or 100 nights per year, depending on the benefits). Status gets you benefits like room upgrades, late check-out, free breakfast, etc.

When I use the term “elite night,” I mean you’re getting credit that qualifies towards earning status in the program. If a credit card gets you 15 elite nights, that doesn’t get you any free nights in hotels, but rather it gets you closer to earning status with a program, since it’s the equivalent of having spent 15 nights in a hotel when it comes to the progress towards elite status.

Some hotel credit cards can get you closer to elite status

Which Marriott credit cards offer 15 elite nights?

Marriott has credit cards issued by both American Express and Chase, and several of them offer 15 elite nights towards status annually just for having the card. The following Marriott credit cards each earn 15 elite nights per year (four are open to new applicants, while four are older cards that are no longer open to new applicants):

Several Marriott credit cards can help you earn elite status

Earn up to 30 Bonvoy elite nights per year with credit cards

As you can see, there are potentially up to eight Marriott Bonvoy credit cards each offering 15 elite nights. Does that mean you can get three Marriott credit cards and earn 45 elite nights per year that way? No, unfortunately not.

You can earn a maximum of 30 Bonvoy elite nights per year through co-branded credit cards:

You can earn up to 30 elite nights per year with Marriott credit cards

When do Marriott credit card elite nights post?

The ability to earn Marriott Bonvoy elite nights with credit cards is an ongoing perk:

  • In other words, you don’t just get 15 elite nights your first year, but you also get them in subsequent years
  • You also get these elite nights even if you open your credit card in the middle of the year, so there’s no requirement that the account has to be open at the beginning of the year

When should you expect Marriott Bonvoy elite nights to post?

  • If your Marriott Bonvoy credit card is open at the beginning of the year, your 15 elite night credits will post by March 1; however, in practice, they typically post much faster, often within the first week of January (it looks like some elite nights have already posted for 2022, but not all)
  • If you open your Marriott Bonvoy credit card during the year, your 15 elite night credits will post within 60 days of account opening; if you open the card towards the end of the year, don’t worry, the nights will be backdated, even if they post in the subsequent year
You could start each year with 30 Bonvoy elite nights

Do elite nights earned through Marriott credit cards count towards lifetime status?

Marriott Bonvoy offers the following three tiers for lifetime status:

  • Lifetime Silver status requires 250 elite nights plus five years of status
  • Lifetime Gold status requires 400 elite nights plus seven years of Gold status or higher
  • Lifetime Platinum status requires 600 elite nights plus 10 years of Platinum status or higher

Do elite nights earned through Marriott credit cards count towards the lifetime status night requirement? The answer is yes, they absolutely do.

Credit cards can get you closer to Marriott lifetime elite status

What about Marriott credit cards offering status for spending?

A couple of Marriott credit cards offer elite status for spending. For example, the Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant™ American Express® Card offers Platinum status when you spend $75,000 on the card in a calendar year.

For some people that might be worth it, though there is one important distinction to understand. When you earn status through spending, you’re not actually getting the corresponding elite nights.

To explain this in the form of an example:

  • Say you spend $75,000 on the Bonvoy Brilliant Card and then earn Platinum status
  • You’ll have Platinum status, but won’t get the corresponding 50 elite nights
  • If you want to then go for Bonvoy Titanium status (which requires 75 elite nights), you’re not any closer to earning it, since you’re not getting the 50 elite nights usually associated with Platinum status
  • You also wouldn’t qualify for Bonvoy Choice Benefits, since those are based on the elite nights you earn, rather than your status
Some Marriott credit cards outright offer Platinum status with spending

Marriott credit cards make Platinum status attainable

Marriott Bonvoy has five elite tiers (Silver, Gold, Platinum, Titanium, and Ambassador), and I’d say status starts becoming valuable around the Platinum tier. Bonvoy Platinum members receive perks like the following:

  • Unlimited suite upgrades, subject to availability
  • Guaranteed 4PM check-out, except at resorts, where it’s subject to availability
  • Complimentary lounge access and/or breakfast at most Marriott brands
  • 50% bonus Bonvoy points on stays
  • Bonvoy Choice Benefits, where you can select perks like Suite Night Awards

Now, in fairness, there are a lot of Platinum members and I do find Marriott to be quite inconsistent, so temper your expectations when it comes to the unlimited suite upgrades. 😉

Bonvoy Platinum status ordinarily requires 50 elite nights per year, so if you can earn 30 elite nights per year, that gets you 60% of the way there. Then you’d only have to earn an additional 20 elite nights to achieve status.

Keep in mind that even award stays and redemptions of free night certificates count towards status with Marriott, so you don’t even have to stay 20 nights on paid rates. That’s potentially not that hard even for someone who is ordinarily a leisure traveler.

It’s much easier to earn Platinum status with the right Marriott credit card

How do other hotel credit card elite status opportunities compare?

In case you’re curious about how Marriott’s policy of earning status with credit cards compares to the policies of competitors, I figured I’d talk briefly about what other hotel groups offer.

The best opportunity to earn status with a hotel credit card is available with Hilton. The Hilton Honors Aspire Card from American Express (review) offers Hilton Honors’ top-tier Diamond status for as long as you have the card, with no spending requirement. That’s an incredible perk, though admittedly Hilton doesn’t promise suite upgrades, late check-out, etc.

IHG Rewards Club also has a decent opportunity, as the IHG® Rewards Club Premier Credit Card (review) offers IHG Rewards Club Platinum status for as long as you have the card. This is a rather weak elite tier, though, as IHG makes no promises regarding upgrades, free breakfast, or late check-out.

When it comes to Hyatt, World of Hyatt Globalist status is my favorite top-tier hotel status, and understandably it’s also not that easy to earn. However, the World of Hyatt Credit Card (review) and the World of Hyatt Business Credit Card (review) can help you earn elite status:

  • On the personal version of the card you receive five elite nights annually just for having the card, and two more elite nights for every $5,000 spent
  • On the business version of the card you receive five elite nights for every $10,000 spent in a calendar year
I love the status opportunities with the Hilton Aspire Card

Bottom line

Marriott Bonvoy members can earn up to 30 elite nights per year using co-branded credit cards. This is potentially a great opportunity, as it gets you 60% of the way towards Bonvoy Platinum status. If you have the right Marriott credit cards and stay just 20 nights per year with Marriott, that’s enough to maintain Platinum status.

Personally I have both the Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant™ American Express® Card and Marriott Bonvoy Business™ American Express® Card, and that proves to be a huge help with maintaining status with the program.

Do you leverage Marriott credit cards to earn Bonvoy elite status?

Conversations (12)
The comments on this page have not been provided, reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any advertiser, and it is not an advertiser's responsibility to ensure posts and/or questions are answered.
Type your response here.

If you'd like to participate in the discussion, please adhere to our commenting guidelines. Anyone can comment, and your email address will not be published. Register to save your unique username and earn special OMAAT reputation perks!

  1. BenjaminGuttery New Member

    Yup, my 15 from Chase Boundless posted earlier this year, 01/01/2022!

    But Ben, have you heard about the new issues with Elite Nights earned from Chase Promo (fall 2021 spend $3k get an Elite Night) disappearing in the last few days of 2021? It happened to me personally. Loyalty Lobby wrote about it and I called Marriott yesterday and they know, it's affecting everyone differently. I lost 3 nights, 81 down to 78.

  2. DCS Diamond

    ....though admittedly Hilton doesn’t promise suite upgrades...

    @Lucky - I think that it is time to start "refreshing" your recycled posts to ensure that they contain current information rather than bogus claims that have circulated for years without being challenged. You know as well as anyone that no program out there "promises suite upgrades". Then why do you keep repeating the canard? Here's how Marriott summarizes the room upgrade benefit for its top elites:

    We’ll...

    ....though admittedly Hilton doesn’t promise suite upgrades...

    @Lucky - I think that it is time to start "refreshing" your recycled posts to ensure that they contain current information rather than bogus claims that have circulated for years without being challenged. You know as well as anyone that no program out there "promises suite upgrades". Then why do you keep repeating the canard? Here's how Marriott summarizes the room upgrade benefit for its top elites:

    We’ll do our best to upgrade your room (including Select Suites), based on availability at check-in. Upgrades are subject to availability [as] identified by each hotel and limited to your personal guest room. See terms and conditions for details.

    Does not sound to me like much of a "promise." I can post the terms of the same benefits for WoH Globalists (I actually did not too long ago) and you will see that there are no "promises" there either. On the other hand, I am sure that much would have been made of the following clarifying statement provided to VFTW by Hilton regarding their new global automated upgrades if it had been related to, say, WoH elites:

    Hilton Honors elite members are eligible to receive a complimentary upgrade based on a mix of criteria, including their membership status, room inventory at the hotel and length of stay, to name a few. These factors help us award upgrades to make elite members’ stays more meaningful. Gold, Diamond and Lifetime Diamond members are eligible to receive a guaranteed room upgrade 72 hours prior to their arrival based on hotel availability, and member status/tier is the first criteria considered [rather than awards costing 100K+ having priority as initially rumored].

    Not only is that one of the most explicit statement about upgrades I have seen come out of any program, it is the first I have seen use the bolded "g" word.

    Like I said, it is time to start "refreshing" recycled posts because some of the contained information may be outdated, debunked or no longer be relevant.

    1. Eskimo Guest

      I'm not judging anything here but this might be useful for some readers.
      Source: Program T&C

      Bonvoy
      "Platinum Elite Members and above receive a complimentary upgrade to the best available room, subject to availability on the day of arrival, for the entire length of stay. Complimentary upgrade includes suites"

      WoH
      "Globalists will receive the best room available at the time of check-in at Hyatt hotels and resorts, including Standard Suites"

      HH
      ...

      I'm not judging anything here but this might be useful for some readers.
      Source: Program T&C

      Bonvoy
      "Platinum Elite Members and above receive a complimentary upgrade to the best available room, subject to availability on the day of arrival, for the entire length of stay. Complimentary upgrade includes suites"

      WoH
      "Globalists will receive the best room available at the time of check-in at Hyatt hotels and resorts, including Standard Suites"

      HH
      "Diamond Hilton Honors Members may receive upgrades to preferred rooms, based on availability at the time of arrival. Upgrades for Diamond Hilton Honors Members may include upgrades up to “junior”, “standard” or “one-bedroom” suites."

      I do want to remind other readers to read English carefully.
      There is a difference between "best available" and "available".
      And "eligible to receive a guaranteed" means it isn't guaranteed.
      I can buy a lottery that could be eligible to receive a guaranteed lifetime winning.

    2. DCS Diamond

      The HH mobile phone app has tabs that spell out elite members' benefits on per property basis. For instance, my next booked stay is for next May at DoubeTree by Hilton Hotel London ExCel, and here is verbatim what the upgrade tab states:

      Diamond Hilton Honors guests will receive upgrades to preferred rooms, based on availability for the entire stay at the time of check-in.

      Then it spells out what may constitute an upgrade, including...

      The HH mobile phone app has tabs that spell out elite members' benefits on per property basis. For instance, my next booked stay is for next May at DoubeTree by Hilton Hotel London ExCel, and here is verbatim what the upgrade tab states:

      Diamond Hilton Honors guests will receive upgrades to preferred rooms, based on availability for the entire stay at the time of check-in.

      Then it spells out what may constitute an upgrade, including up to “junior”, “standard” or “one-bedroom” suites", based on availability.

      Both lexically and syntactically, there is no material difference between those T&C on upgrades among programs, their parsing by self-anointed "travel gurus" to claim them advantageous for their preferred programs, as usual, notwithstanding. All upgrades to "preferred", "best available", "available" rooms, including suites or so-called "confirmed" ones, are contingent on availability at booking or at check-in as determined by each property. Period. Full stop.

      Suites are MY "preferred" type of room upgrade, it does not mean that is what I am going to get. Therefore, one must be careful not to read too much into what is promised, which is quite simple: top elites will get upgraded to better rooms including suites, if they are available. There is no need to parse the T&C. We know how things work in practice and I will put my suite upgrade record against that of elites of any program with so called 'promised' or 'confirmed' suite upgrades.

      We are not yet sure how Hilton's new global automated upgrades will work, but even those will remain contingent upon the same criteria, which among which is availability. However, I am suspecting that LF HH Diamonds will fare much better than the rest on the prioritization of the automated upgrades, which may explain why HH may be "fast-tracking" some current regular Diamonds to LF Diamond status with the incredible offer to count every single bonus point earned on the program's co-branded AMEX cards as base points. We'll know soon enough. Until then, I stand by my initial comment.

    3. Eskimo Guest

      Lexically, there is a difference between "best available" and "available".

    4. DCS Diamond

      If we were speaking of something that is 'absolute', sure, but not about something that is contingent on several factors that a full lexical analysis would take into account. There are so many caveats that the difference bestowed by the extra word "best" - itself subjective and at the whim of each property - is immaterial...

      G'day.

    5. Eskimo Guest

      Syntactically, there is a difference between "Unlimited suite upgrades, subject to availability" and "Unlimited suite upgrades".

      Read what the post says again, both lexically and syntactically.

    6. DCS Diamond

      Syntactically, there is a difference between "Unlimited suite upgrades, subject to availability" and "Unlimited suite upgrades".

      So, what is your point exactly, when even you must know that there are no "unlimited suite upgrades" that are not "subject to availability" - a phrase which is always implicit in relation to any type of suite upgrade even when not explicitly stated? "Unlimited, subject to availability" are what Hilton's suite upgrades have been since they were...

      Syntactically, there is a difference between "Unlimited suite upgrades, subject to availability" and "Unlimited suite upgrades".

      So, what is your point exactly, when even you must know that there are no "unlimited suite upgrades" that are not "subject to availability" - a phrase which is always implicit in relation to any type of suite upgrade even when not explicitly stated? "Unlimited, subject to availability" are what Hilton's suite upgrades have been since they were introduced in 2012.

      Look, you can parse programmatic T&Cs on upgrades any way you wish to come up with an interpretation that is favorable to your view. It's what self-anointed "travel gurus" do all the time. That won't change a thing because we do know what happens in practice and in the real world. No program can possibly promise and consistently deliver or "guarantee" suite upgrades, when, without exception, they all depend on availability and are at the sole discretion of each property. Look up the word 'contingency'. Anything that's subject to a contingency, like availability, cannot be oxymoronically "guaranteed." If any suite upgrades were guaranteed, there would not the plethora of reports of Globalists being unable to use their so-called 'confirmed' suite upgrades (which is why calling them 'confirmed' is a joke) or top BonVoy elites their suite night awards.

      You are arguing about something that we already know much about through our own experiences !!! All suite upgrades a crap-shoot, which, I should add, I have been particularly good at divining...

      G'day.

    7. Eskimo Guest

      My point is simple.
      OMAAT contents are still accurate. @Lucky does use "subject to availability" he even jokes about it.

      It's actually you who brought up the guarantee thing.
      I also want to comment that contingent makes it conditional, doesn't make it an oxymoron.

    8. DCS Diamond

      I'm not judging anything here but this might be useful for some readers.

      ...
      OMAAT contents are accurate [???!!!]
      ...
      - Eskimo

      For one who entered the fight claiming not to have a bone in it, you sure are now neck-deep in it.
      Regardless, all you've managed to accomplish is to confuse yourself so thoroughly with digressive and mindless parsing of 'lexical' or 'syntactic' that what I'd initially objected to,...

      I'm not judging anything here but this might be useful for some readers.

      ...
      OMAAT contents are accurate [???!!!]
      ...
      - Eskimo

      For one who entered the fight claiming not to have a bone in it, you sure are now neck-deep in it.
      Regardless, all you've managed to accomplish is to confuse yourself so thoroughly with digressive and mindless parsing of 'lexical' or 'syntactic' that what I'd initially objected to, and still stand by, became peripheral to whatever you had come in precisely to judge and pontificate about:

      ....though admittedly Hilton doesn’t promise suite upgrades...

      I have exhausted ways to state that that claim - hatched by self-anointed "travel gurus" and then propagated through ad nauseam repetition in the travel blogosphere echo chamber - is absolutely bogus in practice and in the real world because no program can possibly make such a promise with respect to a benefit that has contingencies, a term I urged you to look up, and deliver.

      I am done here because it is clearly a waste of time, just like trying to convince the entire blogosphere that 1.5cents/Hyatt point are worth exactly the same as 0.5cent/Hilton point.

      G'day.

  3. ktc Guest

    i see 30 nights posted already .

  4. Eskimo Guest

    And just a warning to our friends north of the border.
    Only US personal + business cards will get you 30 nights.

    Having cards from 2 countries will not get you more than 15 nights either.
    Can't really get Platinum just by holding Bonvoy cards from around the world.

Featured Comments Most helpful comments ( as chosen by the OMAAT community ).

The comments on this page have not been provided, reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any advertiser, and it is not an advertiser's responsibility to ensure posts and/or questions are answered.

Eskimo Guest

My point is simple. OMAAT contents are still accurate. @Lucky does use "subject to availability" he even jokes about it. It's actually you who brought up the guarantee thing. I also want to comment that contingent makes it conditional, doesn't make it an oxymoron.

1
Eskimo Guest

Lexically, there is a difference between "best available" and "available".

1
DCS Diamond

<blockquote>I'm not judging anything here but this might be useful for some readers. ... OMAAT contents are accurate [???!!!] ... - Eskimo </blockquote> For one who entered the fight claiming not to have a bone in it, you sure are now neck-deep in it. Regardless, all you've managed to accomplish is to confuse yourself so thoroughly with digressive and mindless parsing of 'lexical' or 'syntactic' that what I'd initially objected to, and <b>still stand by</b>, became peripheral to whatever you had come in precisely to judge and pontificate about: <blockquote> ....though admittedly Hilton doesn’t promise suite upgrades...</blockquote> I have exhausted ways to state that that claim - hatched by self-anointed "travel gurus" and then propagated through <i>ad nauseam</i> repetition in the travel blogosphere echo chamber - is absolutely bogus in practice and in the real world because <i>no program can possibly make such a promise with respect to a benefit that has <b>contingencies</b></i>, a term I urged you to look up, <i>and deliver</i>. I am done here because it is clearly a waste of time, just like trying to convince the entire blogosphere that 1.5cents/Hyatt point are worth exactly the same as 0.5cent/Hilton point. G'day.

0
Meet Ben Schlappig, OMAAT Founder
4,523,713 Miles Traveled

25,807,500 Words Written

28,675 Posts Published

Keep Exploring OMAAT