The beginning of the calendar year can be tough for those of us who hold elite status with airline and hotel loyalty programs, because in many cases our elite “counters” reset to zero.
The good news is that there are credit cards that offer some number of elite nights as a benefit, and the Marriott Bonvoy ones have just posted way earlier than expected.
What is the Marriott 15 elite night benefit?
One of the great benefits of several co-branded Marriott cards is that they offer 15 elite nights towards status annually just for having the card. The catch is that you can only earn this benefit once per year, so if you have two co-branded credit cards you’re still capped at earning 15 elite nights, and wouldn’t earn 30 elite nights (update: it appears this policy has now changed).
This makes Platinum status quite attainable, as it puts you just 35 nights from Platinum (which requires 50 elite nights per year). That’s some pretty easy status to earn given how big Marriott’s footprint is.
That being said, while Marriott promises lots of benefits (like unlimited suite upgrades), they definitely have a hard time managing expectations, given the number of elite members they have.
What are elite nights?
Perhaps it makes sense to step back for a moment and clarify what an “elite” night is, since I received this question yesterday in relation to another hotel loyalty program.
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. Wouldn’t it be nice if a single credit card gave you 15 of those per year?
Rather hotel loyalty programs have certain minimum requirements to earn status with them (this could be 50, 60, 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. So getting 15 elite nights 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 status.
Which Marriott credit cards offer 15 elite nights?
The following American Express and Chase cards offer the 15 elite night benefit (this isn’t stackable, so each Marriott Bonvoy member can earn at most 15 elite nights with this benefit, regardless of how many cards they have):
- Marriott Bonvoy Boundless Card from Chase (review)
- Marriott Bonvoy Business™ American Express® Card (review)
- Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant™ American Express® Card (review)
- Marriott Bonvoy American Express Card (no longer open to new applicants)
- Marriott Bonvoy Business Credit Card (no longer open to new applicants)
- Marriott Rewards Premier Card (no longer open to new applicants)
- The Ritz-Carlton Credit Card (no longer open to new applicants)
Marriott’s 15 elite nights have posted!
It’s worth noting that Marriott has posted the 15 elite nights much earlier than usual this year. If you have an eligible credit card, you should already see the 15 elite nights in your Marriott Bonvoy account.
It’s always nice to see that boost so early in the year.
If you have an eligible card but they haven’t yet posted I would just be patient, because they posted them way earlier than usual this year, and they could still be coming for some.
When were the 15 Marriott elite nights supposed to post?
The terms state that the 15 elite nights are supposed to post by March 1, 2020, so that means that technically they had a couple of months to deposit these into Marriott Bonvoy accounts.
There are a couple of other things to note regarding this, according to the terms:
- You get your 15 elite nights for 2020 by March 1, 2020, as long as your account was open as of December 31, 2019
- If you open the card during the year, then you still get the 15 elite night benefit for that year, and they will be credited to your account within 60 days of account opening
It’s nice to see Marriott post these elite nights way earlier than expected this year. As a point of comparison, in 2019 they posted them in late February, just before the terms suggested they would. So it’s nice to see them so early this year.