Marriott Choice Benefit 2019: Which Is Best?

Filed Under: Marriott

One of the positive aspects of the Starwood Preferred Guest program that Marriott adopted with their new Bonvoy program is Choice Benefits.

What Are Marriott Choice Benefits?

In addition to the standard published program benefits that apply with every stay, elite members are able to select additional perks for passing certain milestones.

Marriott Bonvoy Platinum members can select a Choice Benefit when they pass 50 elite qualifying nights for the year, and Marriott Bonvoy Titanium members can select a Choice Benefit when they pass 75 elite qualifying nights for the year.

Marriott’s 50 Night Platinum Choice Benefit

With Marriott Choice Benefits, those who pass 50 elite qualifying nights in a year can choose from the following rewards:

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

Marriott’s 75 Night Titanium Choice Benefit

Then those who pass 75 elite qualifying nights in a year can choose from the following rewards:

  • 5 Suite Night Awards
  • 5 Elite Night Credits
  • A free night award (valid at a hotel costing up to 40,000 points)
  • The ability to gift Gold Elite status
  • 40% off a hotel bed
  • A $100 UNICEF donation

Selecting My Marriott Choice Benefit (Or Not)

While I’m currently Ambassador with Marriott, I “only” just passed 50 elite nights for the year with Marriott. I’m actually still trying to decide what my strategy is with Marriott this year:

  • It seems almost impossible that I’ll requalify for Ambassador
  • Titanium Elite requires 75 elite nights, so it’s attainable, but is it really worth it?
  • I am already lifetime Platinum so I didn’t even really need to requalify for Platinum if that was my goal all along

Anyway, for having passed 50 elite nights I received an email asking me to select a Choice Benefit.

If you’re eligible to select a Choice Benefit but haven’t done so yet, you can follow this link to do so. Once you’re logged in you’ll be shown your options (in my case there are five of them at the 50 night level).

My initial take on the five options is:

  • Adding five elite nights to my total for this year could be useful in earning Titanium status, I guess
  • I don’t need 40% off a hotel bed
  • Gifting Silver Elite status isn’t worth much, as the status doesn’t offer many benefits
  • While the UNICEF donation is a nice thing to do, realistically I value some of the other options at more than $100, so that wouldn’t be a good way to maximize value
  • Historically I’ve selected the five suite night awards as my benefit

Basically the option comes down to selecting the five suite night awards or the five elite nights towards status this year. My inclination is to go for the suite night awards, though I also haven’t used a single suite night award all year. Either they didn’t clear, or I booked too last minute, or it was somewhere where I knew there was no shot of an upgrade anyway.

Bottom Line

I can now select a 2019 Choice Benefit, though I’m actually going to hold off for now. Why? Because I have until February to select my Choice Benefit, and if I don’t select one, then five suite night awards will automatically be deposited in my account.

I have 15 suite night awards now, so I’d get no immediate use out of those.

Instead I’ll hold off on making a selection. If at the end of the year the five elite nights would come in handy, I’ll select that. Otherwise I’ll select the suite night awards.

What Marriott Choice Benefit are you selecting for 2019, assuming you’re eligible?

Comments
  1. As a titanium who will barely squeak out platinum this year, I’d say a status match is the best benefit.

  2. I tend to go with Suite Night Awards. I travel for work and easily reach titanium, so the extra nights aren’t beneficial. I’ve also had very good success using my Suite Night Awards, including an upgrade from a base king to a grand suite with a plunge pool at Solaz Los Cabos for 5 nights.

  3. I think if you fail to requalify Ambassador this year, you will simply be downgraded to Titanium, regardless of how many nights you have this year… Correct me if I’m wrong

  4. Lucky: as you nicely put in your summary these “Choice Benefits” are mainly useless except, perhaps, the free night after 75 nights.
    What is completely stupid in the new Bonvoy is that 100 nights would give you nothing unless you put $20K in spending. I am at 98 nights this year but not even close to $20K in spending.

  5. @Alex_77W, for me it’s the opposite I hit the 20 k mark long before 100 nights. Overall, I think it’s a good way to reduce the number of ambassador members. For the record, I mainly large cities and stay at nice, business oriented hotels but not luxurious.

  6. @Ben How come you did not achieve life time titanium? I thought you were close to getting it? I didn’t see a follow up
    Post.

  7. Hi Lucky, if I select my 5 elite nights credit on 1/5/2020, does it count 5 elite nights toward my 2020 credit nights and 2020 for lifetimes credit nights? Thank you.

  8. @Penny

    You get the elite credits for the year you earn it, hence it will be counted as 2019 credit in your case.

    @Lucky
    I do have a question about the suite night awards you had not used at all.
    Was it because you are holding off for better properties, or just wanted the free upgrades for Ambassador (which by the way is it better suites than certs or not), or your requests never cleared?

  9. I chose the 5 suite upgrades but I know they’ll never clear. Marriott is terrible at recognizing their Titanium elites with anything useful. Oh how I miss Starwood.

  10. I’m getting close to Titanium but have not selected the Platinum benefit yet. Is it ok to wait or do I need to make a selection on Platinum before I qualify for Titanium? With the state of Marriott IT everything out of the base line seems risk.

  11. 2020 will be my third calendar year as ambassador. I had it 4-ish months in 2018 when the programs merged and then all of this year. I don’t go out of my way to keep it because I get no recognition, not even at 5-star Marriott properties in their best brands. I’ve never once received a bottle of wine or a handwritten note from a general manager. At the most I get a few pieces of chocolate and a generic card or typewritten card that generally isn’t even personalized. Yes, I get upgrades but it would be nice to actually get some recognition. I would actively strive to keep ambassador status, if only for the upgrades, if Marriott added something of value — a real, tangible benefit above and beyond platinum or titanium.

  12. Is there any way to apply the 5 elite nights toward next year’s status? I just hit 50 and I won’t hit 75, so they won’t do any good this year but I would love to have a head start on next year.

  13. As a current Titanium, who will never bother to make Titanium again, I have found the suite night awards to be absolutely, completely useless.

    Therefore I choose the $100 donation. At least that is of value to someone. The suite night awards are of no value at all.

    Oh Marriott, how far you have fallen. If you ever want my business back, giving me bulletproof suite awards with no loopholes would be a start.

  14. @Joseph N, and others, similar experience with suite nights. 1 of 5 cleared all year. As a lifetime Platinum, being rejected by AC Hotel Tempe is cold.

  15. To David: At least you got plenty of Bonvoy points from $20K+ spending!
    Sure, in Boston, San Francisco, Hong Kong, the prices are always >$200/night even with a good corporate contract. But in China, Indonesia and some other places like Berlin you pay about $100/night. Add 15 qualifying nights from a credit card and about 20 nights of award staying, and would have to average $300/night for the rest of 65 nights to get to $20K spending requirement.

  16. Please go into detail, Ben, with issues using SNAs. I finally qualify for them this year & would like to know what to look out for. Thanks

  17. Interesting, maybe because i travel in Asia almost exclusively, I have had some good luck with my SNAs (Titanium, might reach 100 nights but wont hit the spend). The last I used I got the biggest suite at the Westin Bund Shanghai (HUGE! with a massive hallway, living room, office, and kitchen).

    Also I find I am generally well treated, thanked for loyalty etc, and generally get pretty good upgrades even when not using SNAs. This is across both legacy Marriott and Starwood brands.

    As mentioned above, I suspect this has to do with my travel being in Asia, I am sure in the US it would be quite different!

  18. @Oranjemakker
    I had similar experience too outside USA even as a lowly Platinum (compare to the rest of you here). Few places in Asia even throw me breakfast for the 2nd room. Hence I question why @Lucky has 15 unused upgrades.

    @FNT Delta Diamond
    I always wonder how these suites and status work. Do SNA get better rooms than Ambassador upgrades?
    How about Plat+SNA vs Ambassador+Comp?

    This just reminds me how much MR+SPG has devalued, similar to what is going on at UA right now. Spending 20k is a big hurdle for 100 nights.

  19. I was shocked that my 3 night SNA request at the JW Marriott in DC cleared – and a full week ahead at that. Occupancy and rates were sky high in DC that week, so I think they wanted to clear a base room to sell @ $600/night.

  20. And we had great success with the SNA’s this year – 5 nights in the Sydney Marriott at Circular Quay into a suite overlooking the Opera House, 2 at the Gritti Palace, and 3 at the Hotel Imperial Vienna. I know it is very location centric, and am interested to see what comes about in 2020 as our stays are at lower tiers.

  21. I’m Ambassador only by virtue of the ‘one-off’ deal for SPG members: those staying 100 nights or more in 2018 were given status for 2019 only. I’ve had Ambassador before, so not wildly excited about it, and in any case , though I could easily meet the nights ( now 95), I won’t make the spend.
    I selected SNAs…only because they can be useful for applying to vacation stays on points in some of the more expensive destinations, eg, London, New York.
    That said, sadly they’re a pale pink imitation of the real suite nights offered by Hyatt…in fact, risible to compare.
    Marriott is becoming more gruesome by the day…when we all expected things to get better ( after all it was hard to imagine ‘worse’). Sadly they continue to ‘cock a snoot’ at members, not even bothering with a Q3/4 promo.
    Perhaps it’s the case that they’re doing well, with high occupancy ( if so, a large proportion of those guests must be getting better deals than I am).
    2020: I doubt I’ll go above 50 or 75 nights ( simply no incentive to do so as a LTPPE given the non-existent or chicken feed benefits for exceeding those levels if short of 20K)

  22. @Gionathan, the Lifetime Titanium was a grandfathered status available mostly to legacy Marriott plat elites. Lucky earned most of his plat status thru SPG so he wouldnt qualiify.

  23. For the 50 night reward, I selected the 5 Suite Night award, and for 75 nights I selected the Free night award, which will assist me in rewarding my wife sometime next year on our next vacation.

  24. has anyone noticed the t&c when choosing the benefits?
    there is a very confusing line saying that Marriot will honor ambassador service for a member who already earned 100 nights WITHOUT spending 20k on 2019?
    has anyone got ambassador status from it?

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