Select Your 2020 Marriott Choice Benefits (Last Chance)

Filed Under: Marriott

One of the positive aspects of the Starwood Preferred Guest program that Marriott Bonvoy adopted is Choice Benefits. I wanted to recap how this benefit works, and remind Bonvoy members that tomorrow (Friday, January 8, 2021), is the last day to make your 2020 Choice Benefits selection.

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.

Elite members — in this case Platinum, Titanium, and Ambassador members — can select Choice Benefits when they pass 50 and 75 elite qualifying nights in a calendar year.

Even the up to 30 elite nights earned through select co-branded Marriott credit cards, as well as the 50% bonus elite nights offered to members in 2020, count towards this total. For example, as a Titanium member I finished 2020 with 91 elite nights, despite having only stayed at Marriott properties for 23 actual nights.

Marriott’s 50 night Platinum Choice Benefits

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 WE donation

Marriott’s 75 night Titanium Choice Benefits

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 WE donation

How to select your Marriott Choice Benefits

Marriott Bonvoy typically emails members to prompt them to select Choice Benefits, though if you don’t want to wait for that email, you can follow this link. Once you’re logged in you’ll be shown your options.

Note that:

  • Once you select your rewards you can’t change them
  • You need to make your selection by January 8, 2021
  • It can sometimes make sense to wait to make your selection if you don’t have an immediate use for it, since you might change your mind on what makes more sense in several months; however, we are now approaching the deadline for selecting 2020 Choice Benefits

Selecting my Marriott Choice Benefits

For a bit of background on my situation:

  • I had Marriott Bonvoy Ambassador status in 2019
  • I was downgraded to Marriott Bonvoy Titanium in 2020 (Marriott was doing “soft landings,” as I would have otherwise just fallen down to my lifetime Platinum status)
  • I finished the year with 91 elite nights because I received 30 through Marriott’s co-branded credit cards, and 38 from the 50% bonus elite nights that were credited in 2020; I had already passed 75 elite nights by July 2020

How did I approach my selection of Choice Benefits? Well, first of all, I intentionally waited to select them, to see how my travel plans would evolve. There’s no reason to lock yourself into one option until you have to (and that deadline is approaching).

Here’s how I generally approach Marriott Choice Benefits at 50 nights:

  • There’s no value in adding five elite nights to my total for 2020, since I already requalified for Titanium status
  • I don’t need 40% off a hotel bed, but if I did, that could be potentially valuable
  • Gifting Silver Elite isn’t worth much, as the status doesn’t offer many benefits
  • While a 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, since I do tend to get value out of them

For the additional options at 75 nights:

  • Being able to gift Gold Elite still isn’t a great option, since the perks of the status aren’t that great, and there are other ways to earn it
  • Selecting a free night worth up to 40,000 points could be a solid option, especially if you don’t otherwise get value out of the suite night awards

I just made my selection at both levels last week, and I chose the suite night awards for each. So I now have 10 new suite night awards for 2021, in addition to the two that I earned last year, but which were extended.

Bottom line

Choice Benefits is one of the nice perks offered to Marriott Bonvoy Platinum and Titanium members. Marriott Bonvoy made it easy for people to earn elite nights in 2020 thanks to credit cards and the 50% bonus elite nights, so many members may have the choice of these benefits even without a lot of stays.

Personally I selected the suite night awards at both levels, since I do tend to get the most value out of them. If you haven’t yet selected your 2020 Marriott Choice Benefits, this is your last chance to do so.

What Marriott Choice Benefits are you selecting (or did you select) for 2020, assuming you’re eligible?

Comments
  1. Good summary and may make sense to wait. But SNAs really are the clear choice at 50 nights (unless you really want a bed), and the free night v. SNAs is the decision point at 75.

  2. Lucky, how short were you of LTT? Can’t remember if you ever said…thought you would have been there w/years of SPG loyalty.

  3. 5 Elite Nights could be useful to get you to 75 level and select Free night. Hypothetically, if someone ends with only 70 qualifying nights at the end of the year, then you can “trade” one of your 50-night benefits for 75 night benefit. I am LTT with 65 nights so far (just 1 CC). I think I will wait and see. It all depends on promos and amount of business travel. Without any promos from Bonvoy, staying with Hyatt this summer is much more attractive.

  4. How did Bonvoy suddenly leads the pack in giving out to customers? from past few yrs of lying patterns you have to think some is up their sleeves. i think they are trying to flood the spaces with tons of Plat & Titan. Fiven the travel scene, this is not going to be the same amount of crowds/costs as years before. Then they can finally bring down/water down Plat benefits that was largely from SPG days, and go back to 75 nights required for any real benefits like the old Marriott, recall LTT is not achievable? The force majeure is the perfect opportunity they have been waiting for.

  5. If one was downgraded from Ambassador to Titanium can you select a benefit from both the 50nt and 75nt categories?

  6. Thanks for writing about this topic Ben. It appears I have 68 EQNs despite having zero stays this year. I still have my 10 Suite Night Awards from last year (extended expiration until 12/31/21). I only have one trip with a hotel stay planned and that is in December. I’ll wait until January to make my final decision, although SNAs are my normal selection.

  7. If you are selecting the Titanium free night certificate, wait until after January 1 to make your selection. That will extend the cert expiration date by one year, to the end of 2022.

  8. My 50 nights for being Ambassador just pushed me over 75 now. Since I’m in the market for a new bed in the next few months, I’ll be doing the 40% off and getting a bed with my 50 night choice, and then doing the free night for my 75 nights. Last year I had 3 SNAs go unused, but I would have chosen that for my 50 night benefit if I wasn’t looking to get a new mattress.

  9. What are the Marriott brands bed rankings? @Lucky would be a fun list to rank the bed types across loyalty programs

  10. The problem with the SNA’s is that Marriott controls the inventory tightly and not the property. I have had times where Marriott refused to release the inventory with plenty of space available. The hotel, where I am known from past stays did the upgrade upon arrival and apologized that they could not intervene sooner. Final result: I got the suite and kept the SWA’s, two of which expired unused. Shout out to the Wentworth in NH!

  11. I MIGHT choose the free night when I cross to Titanium.
    Right now I am NOT have any luck with my Suite Night awards -_-.

  12. I’m at 71 nights. If I pick the 5 elite nights will I then get to pick from the Titanium awards too? If so, is there any downside to doing this? I’d get 5 lifetime nights and still get the award I would get at 50 or get to pick the free night.

  13. @Dan, yes you can (and almost certainly should) do this. No real downside, other than missing out on a different 50 night selection, but again that’s basically irrelevant given you’ll receive the 75 night option you otherwise wouldn’t receive. Enjoy titanium!

  14. If you select the SNAs right now, will they expire earlier than if you were to wait until the deadline to select them?

  15. – I made the same choice as Lucky: 5 suite awards + 1 free night. Lifetime Titanium, 77 nights this year with the help of 38 nights from being Titanium last year + 15 nights from CC.

  16. Thanks Ben. I just hit Titanium and have to choose both by 50 and 75 night awards.

    I plan to select 40K free night cert but personally, I’ve never had any luck with SNA’s. I find that I have better luck reaching out to the hotel ahead of time and making the ask that way and 9/10 times, I’m given a complimentary upgrade. That said, I don’t really need five elite nights since I’ve already hit Titanium again but it would get me slightly closer to Lifetime Gold.

    What would you all do?

  17. Does anyone know how long the 40% off bed certificate is good for? Do I have to order it right away? I’m rebuilding my house and don’t need the bed until October, but it would be a hoot to get one. Thanks.

  18. Here is my experience:

    -If 40,000 mile award is claimed in 2020, it will be good through the end of 2021.
    -If claimed in early 2021, hopefully it will be good through the end of 2022.

  19. A note on the bed (as someone who did quite a bit of research on this):

    Marriott often offers (around US holidays, so about 8-10x/year) discounts on their beds (and other assorted products). It normally comes out around 35% off and the elite discount is NOT combinable with the sale price, so you end up saving maybe $100 off the sale pricing compared to the elite discount. Even though I’m not the biggest user of SNAs, I’ll take the 5 SNAs over the ~$100 saving I can get on the bed using the discount versus the sale.

  20. Thanks for the reminder Ben. I had 70 nights this year (well that’s what Marriott says, I was not anywhere near that but after CC and COVID bonuses…). With my 50 night selection, I added +5 elite nights, and that put me at 75 nights where I took the free cert. I thought about using the suite nights like you, but I still have leftovers from the previous year.

  21. Help! I stayed my “75th” 2020 night – booked directly with Marriott – in early December and the stay has not posted to my Bonvoy account, yet. After waiting 10 days I contacted Marriott multiple times to resolve this missing stay. With the January 8, 2021 deadline approaching to select my SNA what else can I do?

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