Guide To Marriott Bonvoy Platinum Elite Status

Guide To Marriott Bonvoy Platinum Elite Status

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Marriott is the largest hotel group in the world in terms of number of rooms, so there’s value in having status in the Marriott Bonvoy loyalty program. Marriott Bonvoy has five elite tiers — Silver, Gold, Platinum, Titanium, and Ambassador — and I’d argue that Platinum status is where the benefits really start to be worthwhile.

In this post, I wanted to share an in-depth guide to Marriott Bonvoy Platinum status, including the best ways to earn it, and the most valuable perks that it offers. Is Bonvoy Platinum status worth it?

How to earn Marriott Bonvoy Platinum status

There are several ways to earn Marriott Bonvoy Platinum status, as you can do so purely through hotel stays, or you can use Marriott’s co-branded credit cards. At the moment there’s a particularly good opportunity to earn Platinum status with credit cards, which will no doubt interest many.

Earning Marriott Platinum with hotel stays

To qualify for Marriott Platinum status through hotel stays you need to earn 50 elite nights in a calendar year. Qualifying elite nights include any paid stays or award stays booked directly with Marriott.

There’s no way to qualify for Platinum status based on stays or based on spending at Marriott hotels — it’s all about earning 50 elite nights. Fortunately, there are some good shortcuts, which I’ll discuss below.

Marriott Bonvoy does occasionally offer status challenges, which can be a way for elite members with other programs to earn Platinum status at an accelerated rate. However, at the moment there’s no such offer available.

Earning Marriott Platinum with credit card spending

There’s one credit card that lets you earn Marriott Platinum status through spending. If you spend $75,000 in a calendar year on the Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant™ American Express® Card then you receive Platinum status.

While this is a great credit card for other reasons, that’s a lot of spending, so personally I’d take a different approach, as I’ll cover below.

Earning Marriott Platinum with credit card elite nights

Beyond either of the above ways to earn status through credit cards, there’s one more option. You can earn up to 30 Marriott Bonvoy elite nights per year with Marriott’s co-branded credit cards. Each of the following cards offers 15 elite nights per year as an ongoing perk:

Note that you can earn at most 15 elite nights per year from personal cards, and at most 15 elite nights per year from business cards, no matter how many cards you have. In other words, the best strategy is to have the Marriott Bonvoy Business™ American Express® Card in addition to one of the personal cards (and you’ll also want to understand Marriott credit card eligibility).

Then you’d earn 30 elite nights per year, and would only need to earn 20 more elite nights per year to achieve Platinum status.

Marriott Bonvoy Platinum status benefits

So, what are the actual perks of Marriott Platinum status? Full disclosure upfront:

  • They can be kind of hard to understand, since Marriott has so many brands, and has inconsistent policies
  • Don’t expect elite recognition to be as consistently good as with World of Hyatt Globalist status, for example
  • Since the start of the pandemic, many hotels have been offering more limited service than before, and that has largely had negative implications for elite members

With that out of the way, below are the benefits of Marriott Platinum status, roughly in the order that I value them.

Room upgrades, up to standard suites

Marriott Platinum members receive complimentary room upgrades subject to availability at check-in, up to a standard suite:

  • This is subject to the enhanced room being available for the entire length of your stay at the time of check-in
  • You are entitled to the best available room (up to a standard suite), which is different than the Hilton Honors Diamond upgrade policy, where it’s up to the hotel to decide how far they want to upgrade you; that being said, some hotels still play games
  • This benefit applies to all brands except Marriott Vacation Club, Marriott Grand Residence Club, Aloft, Element, and Vistana; at Ritz-Carlton properties, suite upgrades are only available for Titanium and Ambassador members

There are lots of Platinum members, and while the pandemic has caused a reduction in business travel, we’ve also seen a lot of status extensions. So expect to have lots of competition for upgrades, especially in markets that are popular with elite members.

Platinum members receive upgrades, up to a standard suite

Hotel executive lounge access

Marriott Bonvoy Platinum members and one guest staying in the same room receive guaranteed lounge access at the following Marriott brands:

  • Autograph Collection
  • Delta
  • JW Marriott
  • Le Meridien
  • Marriott
  • Renaissance
  • Sheraton
  • Westin

In club lounges, you can expect to receive complimentary continental breakfast, evening snacks and drinks, and access to soft drinks and coffee throughout the day.

The quality of club lounges varies significantly around the globe, and in general, you’ll find that lounges in Asia are the best, while those in the USA are often the worst.

On top of that, many hotels closed their club lounges during the pandemic, and haven’t yet reopened them. Some hotels have created alternative options for their guests (like free drinks and snacks in the hotel bar), while other hotels haven’t. Always check with the hotel you’re considering staying at to get a sense of what to expect.

Bonvoy Platinum members receive lounge access

Welcome gift choice (with breakfast as an option)

Marriott Platinum members receive a welcome gift when they arrive at a hotel, and this is also where the program gets ridiculously complicated, as there are well over 50 different policies depending on the brand, region, etc.

Generally speaking, Platinum members have a choice as to which gift they’d like to receive at check-in, and at many brands, one of those choices is complimentary breakfast (that’s not the case at all brands, though, like Ritz-Carlton — in those cases you’re best off booking through the Marriott STARS program).

To simplify this a bit, at the following brands Marriott Bonvoy Platinum members can choose to receive complimentary breakfast as their welcome amenity (you’ll notice the distinction between “hotels” and “resorts” for some of these brands):

  • Aloft
  • Autograph Collection Resorts
  • Delta Resorts
  • Four Points by Sheraton
  • JW Marriott Resorts
  • Le Meridien
  • Marriott Resorts
  • Protea
  • Renaissance Resorts
  • Sheraton
  • St. Regis
  • The Luxury Collection
  • Westin
  • W

This is understandably still quite confusing, so let me clarify that a bit further:

  • Many of the above brands aren’t on the list because the hotels consistently have club lounges, so that’s where Platinum members can have breakfast
  • Some brands have club lounges but still give members the option of selecting breakfast as their amenity (for example, Sheraton properties); the distinction is that at these hotels you could automatically have breakfast in the lounge, and if you select breakfast as your amenity, then you can have breakfast in the restaurant
At many brands you can select restaurant breakfast as your welcome amenity

Guaranteed 4PM late check-out

Marriott Bonvoy Platinum members receive guaranteed 4PM late check-out. The one exception is at resorts, where late check-out is subject to availability (resorts include all properties listed here).

Guaranteed late check-out is such a valuable perk, especially for a one-night stay, where it allows you stay in your room for 24+ hours.

Platinum members receive guaranteed 4PM check-out at non-resorts

50% Bonvoy bonus points

Marriott Platinum members receive 50% bonus points on eligible spending at Marriott properties. Ordinarily, Marriott Bonvoy members receive 10 points per dollar at most brands, meaning that Platinum members receive an additional five points per dollar spent.

Note that the 50% bonus applies to your base points earned, so you wouldn’t receive a 50% bonus on any points earned through a global promotion, for example.

Enhanced in-room internet access

As a Marriott Platinum member, you receive enhanced in-room internet access. This means you should expect Wi-Fi with the highest speeds by logging in with your credentials during your stay.

Ultimate Reservation Guarantee

Marriott has what’s known as the Ultimate Reservation Guarantee, whereby Platinum members receive compensation if the following benefits aren’t honored:

  • If your reservation isn’t honored
  • If you don’t receive your welcome gift
  • If you don’t receive your preferred bed type
  • If you don’t receive lounge access

In those situations, you’ll typically receive cash compensation (though actually requesting this can be awkward).

Platinum members are guaranteed their preferred room type

Marriott Platinum Choice Benefits

Marriott has what’s known as Choice Benefits, which are exclusively available to those who earn 50 elite nights in a year. These don’t automatically come with Platinum status, but rather are tied to having 50 elite nights in your account in a calendar year. In other words:

  • If you earn Platinum status by spending $75,000 on a credit card, you wouldn’t get the corresponding elite nights, and therefore couldn’t choose Choice Benefits
  • If you earn up to 30 elite nights per year through Marriott co-branded credit cards, then those would count towards the 50 elite nights

What are the Choice Benefits you can choose from when you earn 50 elite nights?

  • Five Suite Night Awards
  • Five Elite Night Credits
  • The ability to gift Silver Elite status
  • 40% off a hotel bed
  • A $100 WE donation

Personally, I think the Suite Night Awards (SNAs) are most valuable, since each lets you confirm a suite upgrade for up to a single night up to five days before arrival. This is a way to essentially be prioritized for upgrades on the stays that matter most to you.

Select SNAs as your Choice Benefits to secure suite upgrades

How do you earn lifetime Marriott Platinum status?

Marriott gives members the opportunity to earn lifetime status in the Bonvoy program:

  • Earn lifetime Silver status when you earn 250 lifetime nights plus have five years of elite status
  • Earn lifetime Gold status when you earn 400 lifetime nights plus have seven years of Gold elite status or higher
  • Earn lifetime Platinum status when you earn 600 elite nights plus have 10 years of Platinum status or higher

Note that:

  • Elite status earned through credit cards does count towards the number of years of status
  • Elite nights earned through credit cards also count towards the night requirement
There are ways to earn lifetime status with Marriott

What are the differences between Marriott Platinum & Titanium?

While Bonvoy Platinum is Marriott’s 50-night tier, Bonvoy Titanium is Marriott’s 75-night tier. What are the differences between the two levels?

  • Titanium members get suite upgrades (subject to availability) when staying at Ritz-Carltons, while Platinum members don’t
  • Titanium members receive a 75% points bonus, rather than a 50% points bonus
  • Titanium members who earn 75 elite nights in a year can choose a second set of Choice Benefits
  • Titanium members receive complimentary United MileagePlus Premier Silver status, while Platinum members don’t

You might find that some hotels will upgrade Titanium members before Platinum members, but on paper, both levels offer the same type of upgrades aside from at Ritz-Carlton properties.

Titanium members can receive suite upgrades at Ritz-Carlton

Is Marriott Platinum status worth it?

Let me share my brutally honest take on whether I think Marriott Platinum status is worth it. For context on my hotel status strategy:

  • I’m currently a Bonvoy Titanium member
  • I was a Bonvoy Ambassador member until 2019
  • I’m also a lifetime Bonvoy Platinum member

Personally, I have a strong preference for World of Hyatt over Marriott Bonvoy, as far as hotel loyalty programs go. That being said, there are still lots of situations where staying at a Marriott is the best option for me:

  • Marriott has some truly phenomenal resorts that I want to stay at, ranging from the Bodrum EDITION, to the St. Regis Maldives, to Mystique Santorini, to Blue Palace Elounda, to Cala di Volpe, to Al Maha Dubai, just to name a few
  • As someone who loves the Mediterranean, Marriott has an incredible footprint there, and redeeming points in high season is an incredible deal… well, except at the Aegon Mykonos
  • Even beyond Marriott’s exceptional properties, there are lots of situations where staying at a Marriott is the best option, ranging from airport hotels, to hotels near national parks, to city hotels
I loved my stay at Mystique Santorini

In light of that, you’re always better off having status than not when staying at a hotel, whether you care about late check-out, complimentary breakfast, lounge access, room upgrades, or bonus points.

Would I go out of my way to stay 50 nights per year with Marriott? No, probably not. In the long run, having the Marriott Bonvoy Business™ American Express® Card along with one other Marriott card will get you 30 elite nights per year, meaning you only have to earn 20 more elite nights to qualify for Platinum status. That’s rather attainable for many, and that’s the approach I take.

While Marriott Platinum isn’t my favorite hotel status, ultimately I find it to be extremely worthwhile thanks to the perks it gets me at Marriott properties.

View from Santa Marina Mykonos

Bottom line

Marriott Bonvoy isn’t my favorite hotel loyalty program, and for that matter, I think Marriott sometimes isn’t great with managing expectations. But that doesn’t change the fact that Marriott has a massive global footprint, and also has some truly great hotels. For situations where you do stay at Marriotts, Platinum status makes a difference, from room upgrades, to breakfast, to late check-out, to bonus points.

Long term it shouldn’t be too hard to maintain Platinum status when you earn 30 elite nights with two credit cards per year, meaning you only need to earn 20 more elite nights. If you qualify that way, you even get your pick of Choice Benefits, which will add even more value.

If you’re a Marriott Platinum member, what has your experience been like?

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  1. Ric Guest

    So I have 20 years as Platinum (formerly with SPG) then two years as Ambassador. Then have been Ambassador every year since the SPG-Rewards merger. Attained the grandfathered Titanium Lifetime status a couple years ago. Probably won't make ambassador status after Jan 2023.
    In the US - usually stay at Sheraton's Westin's, Four Points and more recently Marriott hotels.
    Europe - I stay at Westins and Sheratons and some Marriotts.
    In the...

    So I have 20 years as Platinum (formerly with SPG) then two years as Ambassador. Then have been Ambassador every year since the SPG-Rewards merger. Attained the grandfathered Titanium Lifetime status a couple years ago. Probably won't make ambassador status after Jan 2023.
    In the US - usually stay at Sheraton's Westin's, Four Points and more recently Marriott hotels.
    Europe - I stay at Westins and Sheratons and some Marriotts.
    In the USA prior to covid - it was hit or miss or I had to ask for upgrades - rarely at a Marriott hotel.
    In Europe upgrades always at Westins and Sheratons and sometimes at Marriotts.

    So I'm curious for feedback - Lifetime titanium - is it treated same as Ambassador these days?

  2. alcw Guest

    I'm titanium elite, but mostly from the "good ole SPG" days. I was traveling a lot for work and found that at my hotels it didn't make a darn difference because so was every other traveling consultant. My ambassador was nearly useless so stopped even bothering. Now during Covid era, have only traveled a bit and not found any issues on those few trips taken...generically I have found that I get more Titanium Elite bang...

    I'm titanium elite, but mostly from the "good ole SPG" days. I was traveling a lot for work and found that at my hotels it didn't make a darn difference because so was every other traveling consultant. My ambassador was nearly useless so stopped even bothering. Now during Covid era, have only traveled a bit and not found any issues on those few trips taken...generically I have found that I get more Titanium Elite bang from non USA properties, especially in Europe. With lounges closed and limited breakfast options (in Seattle we were handed a box with a bland bagel and an apple/banana and a juice box through a plastic screen) ...Often found mixed success in getting suite updates when requested...I got one at Courtyard or other lower tier brand; it had a couch and oversized table crowding a desk and king size bed in tiny room...Almost no floor space and was hard to get to the bed.

    my thoughts are that it's not worth pursuing but if you get it, then it's an okay perk

    1. Eskimo Guest

      LOL your CY stay reminded me about one of my stays, can't remember exactly where might not even been a CY.

      I was upgraded to a suite. And behold, it's a same sized standard room but they managed to pack in a table and sofa. Lucky they have extra rooms available to downgrade me.

  3. Expat Guest

    Titanium here. I think it vastly depends on your travel patterns. I bank most of my nights at cheap Fairfield Inns and Springhill Suites while on business in the US, therefore never expect much more than a clean room and convenient location. Combined with some of Bonvoy's promotions, I earn a ton of points with my road warrior-style work travel: cheap rates, one-night stays, bonuses based on number of stays. I can easily get 30+...

    Titanium here. I think it vastly depends on your travel patterns. I bank most of my nights at cheap Fairfield Inns and Springhill Suites while on business in the US, therefore never expect much more than a clean room and convenient location. Combined with some of Bonvoy's promotions, I earn a ton of points with my road warrior-style work travel: cheap rates, one-night stays, bonuses based on number of stays. I can easily get 30+ points/dollar most of the time. Hyatt (even with Globalist) doesn't get close unless it runs a rare double your (base) points style promotion, and with top-tier Marriott redemptions only 2.4x points as Hyatt's top-tier, it is so much easier to get great value with Marriott.

    Thus, being based in Asia, and with most of my redemption travel in Asia, I find Marriott to be quite exceptional value as far as choice, quality of hotels, service, and elite recognition: breakfast, lounge, suite upgrades, 4pm late check-out, welcome gifts—I almost always get the full set of benefits. As far as coverage and redemption value from the big three chains, Marriott wins out in China, Thailand, India, Maldives, Vietnam, Indonesia, Taiwan, Malaysia, Hong Kong, etc., though I do prefer Hyatt's options for travel to Japan's major areas.

    Seems like most people complaining about Marriott are traveling mostly within NA/Europe. If that was my case, I'd probably agree with them. Hyatt, on the other hand, having yet to devalue its currency to the point of no return like Hilton and Marriott, has its moments with Chase/Amex transfers. But as it stands, the value proposition for travel and redemption across Asia is pretty hard to beat. Of course, this may all change quickly depending on how miserable Bonvoy's devaluation is come March. If it's really bad, Hyatt wins out until it too devalues its program.

    1. Reno Joe Guest

      Expat, fair enough. For the years that I was Ambassador, it meant very little. Most properties absolutely resisted granting benefits. To be fair, some did. But, as a whole, no. And, after one really bad experience, I chose a different route. My wife and I are fortunate enough to spend significant time in three cities. We became "regulars" at a hotel in each city. After building a history with each hotel and getting to know...

      Expat, fair enough. For the years that I was Ambassador, it meant very little. Most properties absolutely resisted granting benefits. To be fair, some did. But, as a whole, no. And, after one really bad experience, I chose a different route. My wife and I are fortunate enough to spend significant time in three cities. We became "regulars" at a hotel in each city. After building a history with each hotel and getting to know each team by name, I negotiated deals directly with the sales manager at each hotel. Both the hard dollar benefits and the soft perk benefits far exceed what any hotel loyalty program can offer. The service level is incredible. Unique circumstances certainly.

  4. Jill Guest

    Currently titanium elite
    Approaching lifetime Platnium but I have treated fantastically been trying to stay at all 30 brands

    At one property I was upgraded because I was a lifetime Silver. It was great feeling appreciated!

    Another property they upgraded me and gave me a late check out than 2 pm and past my normal 4 pm because they noticed I achieved lifetime Gold with Marriott!

    I can’t wait to experience...

    Currently titanium elite
    Approaching lifetime Platnium but I have treated fantastically been trying to stay at all 30 brands

    At one property I was upgraded because I was a lifetime Silver. It was great feeling appreciated!

    Another property they upgraded me and gave me a late check out than 2 pm and past my normal 4 pm because they noticed I achieved lifetime Gold with Marriott!

    I can’t wait to experience Lifetime Platnium!
    Hopefully one of these years they will have Lifetime Titanium Elite!

    Unfortunately I won’t spend $20k usd per year for Ambassador

  5. Greg Guest

    I used to get great value from Platinum status with lounge access. To me that was a very valuable perk. For the most part that is now gone. About half the time I get a noticeably better room but that might not be reason enough to even go for the 20 additional nights.

    I see hotel elite status as meh, similar to airline elite status. If I can get the status without spending more it...

    I used to get great value from Platinum status with lounge access. To me that was a very valuable perk. For the most part that is now gone. About half the time I get a noticeably better room but that might not be reason enough to even go for the 20 additional nights.

    I see hotel elite status as meh, similar to airline elite status. If I can get the status without spending more it can provide some good value but for the most part I am finding it less and less worth going out of my way for.

    1. Joes Guest

      @Greg
      What are you talking about
      Marriott Platnium is very generous status especially for a mid tier

    2. Eskimo Guest

      @Joes

      If you were Platinum or higher pre Covid, you would understand.
      What @Greg means is lounges are still closed. Breakfast is nowhere near what it was pre pandemic. Upgrades are still meh, before or after Covid.

      Covid made it very easy to have Platinum, it diluted the pool so much. Even reaching Titanium doesn't make much difference.
      People who had 15+15 credit card nights last year, got 13 from Bonvoy. Add that...

      @Joes

      If you were Platinum or higher pre Covid, you would understand.
      What @Greg means is lounges are still closed. Breakfast is nowhere near what it was pre pandemic. Upgrades are still meh, before or after Covid.

      Covid made it very easy to have Platinum, it diluted the pool so much. Even reaching Titanium doesn't make much difference.
      People who had 15+15 credit card nights last year, got 13 from Bonvoy. Add that to the double night promo. Those card holders need 4 nights to qualify for Platinum. FOUR NIGHTS.

      And it's these never been Platinum before members that demand and expect suites and to be treated like royalty on every stay. Think how difficult it is for properties and employees now they have to give lounge to people who stayed just four nights and deal with their ego.

    3. Reno Joe Guest

      Eskimo, you hit the nail on the head. Joes, as I said to Jill, any person who has a loving, joyful feeling about Marriott simply has not been with Marriott long enough and has not been following the blogs. Anyone who has been around long enough understands -- either you get it or you don't. I'm not trying to be harsh -- I'm try to tell you like it is and save you the frustration.

  6. Dave Guest

    Ben, any thoughts on how Marriott treats former Starwood platinum members for qualification for Marriott platinum for life?

    1. alcw Guest

      please see my previous response as a titanium elite, but I have found that marriott emails me to death with offers, reminders, etc..I have kept the Amex card because I do use it at local golf course that's got marriott affliation and earn pts/perk.

  7. Reno Joe Guest

    For this article, I will refer to my comments on your Hilton article. In short, elite benefits are elusive or denied.

    Ben, the former head of a major loyalty program noted an interesting metric. Contrary to traditional business experience, it now costs less to acquire a new customer than it is does to retain a loyalty program member. This might explain in part what's happening in the hotel loyalty programs.

    1. Jill Guest

      @RenoJoe
      What Hilton article
      There’s hundreds?

    2. Greg Guest

      I believe the article that was published just a short while before this one. https://onemileatatime.com/guides/hilton-honors-diamond-status/

    3. Reno Joe Guest

      Ben's article from 13 hours ago "Is Hilton Honors Diamond Status Worth It?" I saw your other comment. You and Joes can count yourself fortunate. Your experiences regarding benefits and upgrades are inconsistent with those of many, many members. Any person who has a loving, joyful feeling about Marriott simply has not been with Marriott long enough and has not been following the blogs. The same can be said about other hotel loyalty programs.

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Eskimo Guest

@Joes If you were Platinum or higher pre Covid, you would understand. What @Greg means is lounges are still closed. Breakfast is nowhere near what it was pre pandemic. Upgrades are still meh, before or after Covid. Covid made it very easy to have Platinum, it diluted the pool so much. Even reaching Titanium doesn't make much difference. People who had 15+15 credit card nights last year, got 13 from Bonvoy. Add that to the double night promo. Those card holders need 4 nights to qualify for Platinum. FOUR NIGHTS. And it's these never been Platinum before members that demand and expect suites and to be treated like royalty on every stay. Think how difficult it is for properties and employees now they have to give lounge to people who stayed just four nights and deal with their ego.

1
Eskimo Guest

LOL your CY stay reminded me about one of my stays, can't remember exactly where might not even been a CY. I was upgraded to a suite. And behold, it's a same sized standard room but they managed to pack in a table and sofa. Lucky they have extra rooms available to downgrade me.

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Ric Guest

So I have 20 years as Platinum (formerly with SPG) then two years as Ambassador. Then have been Ambassador every year since the SPG-Rewards merger. Attained the grandfathered Titanium Lifetime status a couple years ago. Probably won't make ambassador status after Jan 2023. In the US - usually stay at Sheraton's Westin's, Four Points and more recently Marriott hotels. Europe - I stay at Westins and Sheratons and some Marriotts. In the USA prior to covid - it was hit or miss or I had to ask for upgrades - rarely at a Marriott hotel. In Europe upgrades always at Westins and Sheratons and sometimes at Marriotts. So I'm curious for feedback - Lifetime titanium - is it treated same as Ambassador these days?

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