Update: Elite night credits equal to 50% of status from 2020 should have posted to most Bonvoy accounts at this point. Check your accounts to see if they’ve posted — if they haven’t, they should post soon. While this should make many people eligible for Choice Benefits (in terms of the number of elite nights required), Marriott hasn’t yet launched the Choice Benefits program for 2021.
Marriott Bonvoy has just announced a series of positive changes, including details on how status will be easier to earn in 2021, the details of the next global promotion, and much more (this is in addition to elite guarantees being restored). In no particular order, here’s what we can expect from Marriott Bonvoy in the near future:
Marriott depositing 50% elite night credits for 2021
All Marriott Bonvoy members with status will have elite nights deposited into their account equal to 50% of their 2020 elite tier. Marriott extended status from 2019 to 2020, so this would be based on that extended status, unless you qualified for a higher tier.
In other words, you can expect the following number of elite nights to be deposited into your account based on your 2020 status:
- Silver members will get five additional elite nights
- Gold members will get 13 additional elite nights
- Platinum members will get 25 additional elite nights
- Titanium members will get 38 additional elite nights
- Ambassador members will get 50 additional elite nights
As a Titanium member who has both the Marriott Bonvoy Business™ American Express® Card (review) and Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant™ American Express® Card (review), I’ll be starting 2021 off with 68 elite nights, without even having made a stay. That already earns me my first set of 2021 Choice Benefits.
Bonvoy elite members automatically receive 50% elite nights for 2021
Marriott Ambassador spending threshold being reduced
Historically Marriott Ambassador status requires 100 elite nights plus $20,000 in qualifying spending in a calendar year. For 2021, that spending requirement is being reduced by 30%, to $14,000.
It makes perfect sense that this would be lowered, and I’m surprised something similar wasn’t done for 2020. At the same time, the lowering of the spending requirement isn’t proportional to the lowering of how much easier it will be to earn elite nights.
The spending requirement for Ambassador status is being reduced
Next Bonvoy promo: double points & double elite nights
The details have been revealed of Marriott Bonvoy’s next global promotion:
- It will be valid for stays between February 16 and April 27, 2021; registration will open in early February
- Members will be able to earn double Bonvoy points plus double elite nights for stays of two nights or more, starting with the first stay
- Only paid stays will qualify towards this, and not award stays
This is one of the best Bonvoy promotions we’ve seen in quite a while, so it’s great to finally see the program introduce another promotion. With the exception of select limited service properties, Bonvoy members earn 10x points per dollar spent, meaning this promotion will also offer 10x bonus points per dollar spent, plus the bonus elite nights.
Bonvoy members will be able to earn double points
Bonvoy Off-peak redemption rates being lowered
Marriott Bonvoy will be reducing off-peak redemption rates globally by 10%:
- This applies for reservations made between January 11 and February 21, 2021
- This applies for stays through September 30, 2021
As a reminder, here’s the Marriott Bonvoy award chart, before the 10% discount:
Only off-peak redemption rates will be lowered, and not standard or peak redemptions.
Off-peak Bonvoy awards will be cheaper in 2021
My take on these Marriott Bonvoy changes
While Marriott waited a surprising amount of time to announce 2021 elite requirements, I think it was worth the wait. These are some fantastic initiatives, which should make it quite easy to earn status in 2021. Not only that, but the first major Bonvoy promotion of 2021 will be pretty generous as well.
As a Bonvoy Titanium member with two co-branded credit cards I’ll already be at 68 elite nights for 2021, meaning I’ll only need seven more elite nights to requalify for Titanium status. During the upcoming promotion, that translates to a four night stay.
In theory Ambassador status is also more within reach than ever before, but the $14,000 spending requirement is still on the high side, given how few stays would actually be required to get to 100 elite nights. Too bad the upcoming promotion doesn’t offer double spending credit towards Ambassador.
Bonvoy status should be quite easy to earn in 2021
We now know how Marriott Bonvoy will make it easier to earn status in 2021. The program will give members elite nights equal to 50% of their 2020 status, and will also offer double elite nights in an upcoming promotion.
On top of that, the upcoming Bonvoy promotion will offer double points on stays of two nights or more, which is the most generous Marriott promotion we’ve seen in a long time.
What do you make of these developments from Marriott Bonvoy?