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.

Earning Marriott Platinum with credit card welcome bonus

There are two Marriott credit cards offering incredible limited-time welcome bonuses through January 13, 2021, and part of those bonuses are Platinum status.

Specifically, if you sign up for either of these two cards, you’ll receive Platinum status with Marriott Bonvoy for the 2021 program year, which runs from February 1, 2021, through January 31, 2022:

That’s an incredible opportunity that we’ve never before seen from Marriott Bonvoy.

There’s an amazing chance to earn Bonvoy Platinum status right now

Earning Marriott Platinum with credit card spending

Beyond the above limited time credit card offer, 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.

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.

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
  • This year we’ve seen Marriott technically suspend brand standards and elite guarantees due to the pandemic; while most hotels are hopefully still doing the right thing, some perks aren’t as “guaranteed” as in the past, as hotels have an easy out

Here 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 how far they want to upgrade you; that being said, some hotels still play games
  • This benefit applies at 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 quite a few Platinum members, so in the pre-coronavirus era, Platinum members often wouldn’t get suite upgrades. However, with business travel having been reduced so much, I imagine upgrade odds are better than in the past.

Platinum members receive upgrades, up to a standard suite

Hotel 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 US are often the worst.

In light of the coronavirus pandemic, many hotels have temporarily closed their lounges. 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, and at many brands one of those choices is complimentary breakfast.

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 4 PM late check-out

Marriott Bonvoy Platinum members receive guaranteed 4 PM 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 subject 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 on 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.

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 as part of a credit card sign-up bonus, you wouldn’t get the corresponding elite nights, and therefore couldn’t choose Choice Benefits
  • 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?

  • 5 Suite Night Awards
  • 5 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) 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-Carltons.

Titanium members can receive suite upgrades at Ritz-Carltons

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:

  • I’m currently a Bonvoy Titanium member
  • I was a Bonvoy Ambassador member until last year
  • 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 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 exceptional deal
  • 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. But the reality is that Platinum status is more attainable than ever before:

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. Since the status is so easy to earn right now, I do absolutely think it’s worth it if you take the right approach.

View from Santa Marina Mykonos

Bottom line

It has never been easier to earn Marriott Bonvoy Platinum status than it is right now, thanks to the excellent offers on both the Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant™ American Express® Card and Marriott Bonvoy Business™ American Express® Card.

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 some truly great hotels, and Platinum status offers worthwhile perks that will make a difference with your stay.

I think getting a card that offers Platinum status right now is a no-brainer, assuming you’re eligible. But even 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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Comments
  1. Marriott Platinum meet the new “Marriott Gold” benefits delivered. If everyone is platinum, no one is platinum. The only real “guarantee” is some sort of breakfast, maybe.

    Marriott promises everything to everyone, but delivers poorly. Is it really is a platinum devaluation?

  2. Keep in mind that Bonvoy’s T&C verbiage actually lets individual hotel to designate certain type of room as upgrade inventory. This provision lets certain properties to designate non-suite rooms (corner rooms, room with panoramic view,etc) as upgrade inventory thereby denying elites a suite upgrade at check-in while still staying within the rules.

  3. There is another route to Platinum status, not tied to credit cards or hotel stays: timeshare purchase, direct through Marriott vacation club. Platinum status came with our purchase. As for our experience with Platinum perks, I have not been wowed, and certainly never received a truly noticeable upgrade in room type. The Club lounge access has been most valuable perk…we saved a couple hundred dollars during a stay in London via open bar, hefty eats at dinner hour and breakfasts. Free breakfasts elsewhere nice perk and we received free parking privileges in Spokane once.

  4. I’d add to the Platinum vs Titanium partnership that Titanium members also get United Silver status through the Marriott/United partnership.

    Great work Lucky!

  5. Marriott platinum status is basically useless because each individual property is free to offer or not offer each and every benefit. And now most properties simply don’t care And don’t do anything for you.

  6. Platinum status is mostly useless with Marriott. Most good hotels provide $10 F&B credit, which will not even cover the full cost of one omelette.

  7. For me, the biggest platinum benefit is the lounge access; since most of my travel is for work and we do per diem for meals, the lounge really pays off.

    And for earning those elite nights; I never took Marriott up on the offers to “upgrade” my old Marriott Rewards Visa, so I’m still getting one elite night per $3000 in spend. Even with only using the card for hotels, my travel schedule brings in at least 5 extra nights per year just from that. Guessing it’ll only last until the card expires and I’m forced to upgrade though.

  8. Marriott Platinum and Titanium are utterly worthless. Period. Probably biggest mistake for Starwood to merge with Marriott. Never received an upgrade. Never received free breakfasts, and that’s with Titanium at the time. Detached with the Bonvoy program now. The only good thing about their points is for airline transfers. Going with Hyatt and Hilton, now both top tier with both program. Enjoying both programs now.

  9. @Ben:

    It would be awesome if you could caption each of the pics with the hotel and it’s location. Some of these are places I know because I’ve been there or you’ve blogged about them, but several of them are places that look great and I would love to check out the place but don’t know where it’s at.

  10. And I’ll jump on the Platinum-is-worthless bandwagon. I was Titanium Elite immediately following the merger and held it for two years, always juuuuuuust shy of making Ambassador status by spend requirement. I can count on NO hands the number of times I was preemptively upgraded, and on just one hand the number of times it was provided once I asked or even acknowledged for my status. The Marriott party line is “I’m sorry, no rooms are available.” we we all know to be BS. Sadly, I’m generally not aggressive enough to whip out my phone and show them how I can still purchase an upgraded room, but probably should start doing so.

    At this point, I think most of us agree that the merger with Starwood just turned most anything great about the two brands into a shitty or slightly-less-shitty Marriott version, whether it be rooms, branding, perks, or the loyalty program in general. I’m still tied to them because I transfer MR points to airlines and they have great locations and passable “luxury” hotels (cue eye roll) where I travel often for work or pleasure. If Hyatt would step up their location game, I’d switch in a heartbeat.

  11. I’m always surprised how many Marriott elites have stories of never getting upgraded. I don’t doubt it at all, as I’ve had plenty of stays with no or little acknowledgement of my status (titanium until this year, lifetime platinum now) but I’ve also had some incredible upgrades including into the presidential suite twice. And even at the lower tier properties I frequently get upgraded to a hospitality suite or junior suite without asking. I think it really depends on the property and how much the management is on board with Marriott.

  12. I agree that breakfast benefits are absolutely subpar, as compared to Hilton. I’m a Titanium and not even for Titanium breakfast benefits are granted (I still struggle to see difference between Plat ant Titanium).

  13. I’m a Lifetime Titanium and I have had good results with upgrades and benefits. We had over the top superb personalized treatment in Vietnam in late Dec 2019 and early Jan 2020, although Asia tends to do well at hospitality/customer service in general. Nonetheless, we were very pleased. That was a ling vacation with family where those things matter, and I’m extra thankful for it at those times. If I stay at some random Coutyard Marriott on a US business trip by myself, I just want a safe clean comfortable room where everything works and I don’t need any perks. If I want breakfast in that case, I can pay for it and its part of my expense report. Although, lounges are nice to get free coffee, water bottles, etc. even during a biz trip.

    I have done pretty well with early check-in, which has helped when arriving early morning after traveling all night. Sometimes thats more useful for me than late checkout.

  14. @ AR – I would be careful about that Hyatt wish. I had the same wish in the mid 2010s and then they started building Hyatt Places and Houses like they were going out of style. I wished they would expand more premium properties and they went SLH, which have less consistent elite benefits.

    There seems to be an inverse relationship of quality and quantity in this industry. I like Hyatt the way they are.

  15. I was for a number of years a Platinum with SPG. I was very happy with the upgrades, amenities (Breakfast) and late checkouts I often received. After the merger, I reached Ambassador status, so I cannot tell if the continued availability of perks was due to the quality of the Bonvoy Platinum status or to the Ambassador Status.

    This year I have stayed in Bonvoy hotels for just more than 50 nights (pre Covid and between June and August). But now travelling has again become impossible. Good that Bonvoy have decided to extend the 2020 status to 2021.

  16. Platinum status is very useful in Asia. Upgrades and breakfasts are the norm, plus discounts of f&b up to 30%.

  17. Marriott BonVoy sucks! Period.
    Marriott took away any value when the Bonvoy was created and their subpar properties are Cat5, 6, 7!

  18. I’ve had top-tier Hyatt status for more than five years, which I am deeply impressed with, and recently bought into top-tier Hilton status via the Aspire card, which thus far has failed to wow me. Despite having low expectations of Marriot’s Platinum program, I’m adding it via the AMEX card(s). Here’s the rationale: I think it makes some sense given our wacky 2020.

    Due to a combination of incentive programs, top-tier elites in Hyatt’s program may have an easy task of requalifying both as Hyatt Globalists and as Marriott Platinums all the way into 2022. Hyatt’s current promo has qualifying nights earned between now through the end of the year transferring into next year’s count. As for myself, I’m already at 72 qualifying Hyatt nights for 2020 and expect to get at least to 100 so as to earn all of the milestone rewards. If next year is a more normal travel year, I don’t think it will be difficult to earn 20 more qualifying nights to reach Marriott Platinum. The AMEX business card comes with 15 qualifying nights and the AMEX personal Bonvoy card comes with a second 15 qualifying nights: we’re left with only 20 to earn.

    As for what exactly Marriott Platinum is good for, given the strength of Hyatt’s awesome program versus all of the complaints I’m hearing about the Marriott/Starwood merger and Bonvoy, I can envision two likely uses. The first is that a 4p.m. checkout is undeniably useful for families like ours, no matter the existence or nonexistence of other perks. The second is that Marriott appears to have a strong presence in Asia and China, where we like to travel. For example, there’s this “Luxury Collection” hotel in Changsha which goes for between 15,000 and 20,000 Marriott points (non-peak/peak). Looks like a nice place, and our friend from Changsha has wanted to take us there for awhile now. The 200,000 points earned from the two AMEX credit card promo offers will go a long way there.

    Hyatt still has my loyalty and my love, but I don’t mind a fling with Marriott. My expectations are appropriately managed and I just might be pleasantly surprised by the experience given our particular use case.

  19. A lot of people have been leaving negative comments. I’ve travelled to many countries, staying at various hotels, in varying sized hotel rooms, so I guess I don’t really care about getting a room upgrade or not — if there is a mattress and my own bathroom (vs. sharing with the rest of the floor), I’m happy. I really like the access to the marriot lounge — for dinner, for last-minute snacks before bed, and for a quick breakfast before I have to start working.
    I agree that Marriott never (or rarely) comes through with their promised benefits, but honestly I don’t care because they give me what I need (dinner + breakfast)

  20. I’m lifetime titanium. Rarely have a problem getting upgraded anywhere in the world incl. US. That said, I periodically do have to whip out the phone and show that the hotel is still selling upgrade rooms to get them. The program was definitely devalued by Marriott (the breakfast or not rules are a joke), and the service deteriorated badly including Ambassadors who had a huge increase in the number of members they covered (my Ambassador shared she was constantly hearing from other people with Ambassador status who hated the new program). The merge itself was a mess – it took me a year to get points earned over the merger period correctly credited, and Marriott did very little to recognize the issues they were causing their most valuable customers. As a result, I moved over mostly to Hyatt.

  21. I’m going to pile on a say being life time platinum has not changed my travel experience in the US. Has meant more abroad. I do love the lounges and late checkouts. I had the ambassador for a few years and she was useless. Easier to handle online with today’s smart phones. I’ve just learned that there’s a time and place to raise a stink when you need that upgrade….btw, please don’t take it out on that front desk clerk…simply escalate to the manager.

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