Many loyalty programs have invitation-only elite tiers, like American Concierge Key, United Global Services, and Hyatt Courtesy Card.
At least on the airline front, those are typically pretty widely known. What many people don’t realize is that Marriott also has an invitation only elite tier. It’s just in the process of being formally rolled out throughout the Marriott system, so let’s look at what we know about it.
Marriott Bonvoy’s five published elite tiers
Marriott’s Bonvoy program is the world’s largest hotel loyalty program, and they have five official elite tiers:
- Silver Elite status, which requires 10 elite nights per year
- Gold Elite status, which requires 25 elite nights per year
- Platinum Elite status, which requires 50 elite nights per year
- Titanium Elite status, which requires 75 elite nights per year
- Ambassador Elite status, which requires 100 elite nights and $20,000 of qualifying spending per year
I’m treated well as an Ambassador Elite member
Who gets Marriott Cobalt status?
Marriott Cobalt Elite status is available exclusively through Marriott’s CEO. Marriott employees can allegedly nominate members, though they have to be approved by the CEO.
I imagine nominations will be very exclusive, so this isn’t just a function of being friends with someone at a front desk, or even frequenting one hotel. Similarly, this won’t even be given to hotel owners.
The Cobalt Elite program existed as part of the Ritz-Carlton Rewards program back in the day, and was also very exclusive. It’s only in the past few days that Marriott hotels have been formally briefed about Cobalt Elite status, as Marriott has tried to come up with some benefits under the new program.
What benefits do Marriott Cobalt members receive?
Given how exclusive Cobalt Elite status is, the benefits are kind of not that amazing, actually. Cobalt Elite members receive Ambassador Elite status, but on top of that get benefits that vary by brand:
At select and extended stay brands, Cobalt members receive:
- Upgrades to the best available rooms, including suites
- Personalized note from the general manager
- Being met by the general manager
Cobalt Elite members get suite upgrades at limited service properties
At premium brands, Cobalt members receive:
- Personalized amenity
At luxury brands, Cobalt members receive:
- Distinctive experience on-property for member and a guest
The “distinctive experience” being offered at luxury properties varies by brand, and includes:
- At Ritz-Carltons, complimentary club lounge access and greeting by management there, as well as personal invitation from general manager to “scenography defining moment of the day”
- At JW Marriott, personal invitation to meet with general manager at a food & beverage outlet
- At EDITION, VIP table assignment in restaurant or bar
- At St. Regis, personal invitation to a ritual moment
Ritz-Carlton lounge access is a Cobalt Elite benefit
It’s interesting that Marriott is now fully rolling out their new Cobalt Elite status as part of the Marriott Bonvoy program. Given how exclusive this status allegedly is, I’m kind of surprised there aren’t more benefits.
For example, at Marriott’s top brands (where you’d assume most of these premium guests are staying), you basically get Ambassador Elite status, plus an experience, and that’s it. Ritz-Carlton lounge access is nice (as it’s not offered as part of status otherwise), but other than that, I can’t say the benefits are that exciting.
Now, I would say that there’s probably better “soft” treatment all around. For example, I imagine Cobalt Elite members will be looked after more carefully, employees will be briefed on them, etc.
So, does anyone have Cobalt Elite status, or know someone who does?
(Tip of the hat to Richard Kerr)