Marriott Finally Gets Around To Downgrading Status

Filed Under: Marriott

Marriott Bonvoy has finally downgraded members who didn’t requalify for elite status last year.

Marriott Bonvoy status is supposed to expire in February

Ordinarily, Marriott Bonvoy status is supposed to expire at the end of February. In other words, if you were a Platinum member last year (earned based on qualifying for status the year prior), then your elite status was supposed to be valid until February 29, 2020.

However, this year March 1 came, and no one’s status was downgraded. I’m not sure if this was an IT glitch, or if this was intentional on the part of Marriott, since presumably they have a shortage of people staying at their hotels at this point. 😉

Marriott Bonvoy finally downgrades status

If you check your Marriott Bonvoy accounts now, you should notice that your status has likely been “corrected” yesterday. For example, in my case I’ve gone from an Ambassador Elite member to a Titanium Elite member.

Marriott had already sent out status downgrade emails last November to some members, so obviously I knew my status would be downgraded, and this doesn’t come as a surprise.

Marriott doesn’t seem to be offering soft landings

While Marriott had emailed some members to let them know they’d receive a soft landing, it doesn’t appear that they’re offering soft landings across the board this year.

Up until last year, soft landings were a standard part of the program. In other words, they’d drop you at most one elite category if you didn’t requalify — elite levels include Silver, Gold, Platinum, Titanium, and Ambassador. That’s not the case across the board this year, and many people are finding that they’ve dropped at least two elite categories.

Ultimately this is a courtesy Marriott extended in the past and it wasn’t in the terms & conditions. We shouldn’t have necessarily expected that to be available again this year, but it would have been a nice gesture, especially in light of the current situation, where you’d expect them to get more generous, rather than less generous.

Bottom line

Marriott has now downgraded elite status for members, just a few weeks later than usual. They’re of course fully entitled to do that, and have done nothing wrong.

At the same time, given the current situation, I was starting to wonder whether the lack of downgrades was intentional, and the company was actually planning on extending status for a year, since they can surely use the guests.

While I loved my Marriott Ambassador, in a way being a Titanium is a relief — I’ll maintain Titanium this year, and then coast off my lifetime Platinum status starting next year. That makes my life — and overall hotel strategy — much easier.

Has your Marriott Bonvoy status been adjusted as expected?

  1. Is it a contest to show that Marriott management cannot display any foresight, business acumen, or do they just like shooting themselves in the foot?

    Given the current world situation and the uncertainty about how and when travel will resume, Marriott could’ve just left things in place which probably would have encouraged some bookings.

    Bonvoy seems to be an attitude and attempt to destroy the companies operating under that umbrella.

  2. My ambassador was absolutely useless. She would gripe to me about having hundreds of guests to take care of and would tell me that she’d do as little as possible for them. Which, I can say was true in my case. The few times I had a special occasion while traveling, she never did the nice things like wine/champagne etc. Had a Christmas “thank you” gift delivered to the wrong address and never was it corrected. One time, I traveled to the same hotel as many colleagues, some who did not have an ambassador. We all got chocolates, which was nice. Turns out, that was the hotel that did it, not the ambassador. I had thanked her as I didn’t know it was the hotel at the time and she never said it wasn’t her. Found out later that it was the hotel manager that did it by himself as a token of appreciation for the status levels.

  3. I had planned on making bookings based on keeping Platinum, as Gold is worthless I’ll just book Hyatt or IHG, seems incredibly tone deaf to be downgrading people when you’ve just fired 67% of your Corp staff and need desperately for people to book in the future. Whatever, 30 lost nights for them

  4. I don’t see Marriott as having done anything wrong
    What I find troubling is the over priced redemption rooms cash vs points
    For that reason I don’t stay with them in good times and especially now

  5. If there’s any T&L company that you can expect to do the wrong thing strategically in these times, it’s definitely Marriott.

  6. Alternatively, you could view the lack of soft landings this year as a smart way of Marriott trying to trim the status ranks a little bit so that they can more easily offer fairly wide status extensions into 2021 to current elites given that elite numbers will drop off a cliff in 2021 otherwise.

  7. Seriously, I gave up on having status with any hotel chain. I have millions of points with many of them and will use as appropriate but as business travel goes I will just book whatever is more convenient for me. I rarely eat breakfast at hotels and if I do I can get reimbursed. Room upgrade has been a joke so not worth it. However, once this crisis is over these hotels will come back begging for customers so it will be our time to take control and you can expect that the chains that treated customers better will have an edge. Watch out Marriott!!!!

  8. Yup. Downgraded from Titanium to Platinum. I just emailed them a scorching note: they want tens of billions in taxpayer bailout But they can’t find it in their soulless corporate heart to do something nice for at least top status members? Ah! The humanity!

  9. Is it actually a downgrade if Marriott didn’t honor your earned status in the first place? No upgrades, suite night awards that never clear, etc?

  10. I actually made Ambassador this year (I’m lifetime Titanium), and the service from my personal ambassador service person has been ABYSMAL. Does anyone know an effective email address to complain about this? I mean, it’s kind of moot at the present moment but I would still like to follow up and I haven’t found a good place.

  11. BONVOYage Platinum Elite

    Hello Hilton Diamond, thanks to my new Hilton Honors Amex Aspire.

    The game is afoot!

  12. My Platinum Elite status was never worth much of anything. Poor customer service, upgrades were a joke, and the “benefits” weren’t worth much of anything. This was a poor move on their part and will likely damage their brand even more. Considering the poor handling of the SPG/Marriot merger and watering down of the SPG brand I think its time for me to look at other hotel brands.

  13. I see a few people complaining about the ambassador perks….I feel the same way. I had ambassador for 2 years straight and honestly they never did anything for me. Additionally a lot of the hotels didn’t even recognize my status (I understand this is an individual property shortcoming), I would even have to ask about my free perk. Im titanium this year, and lifetime platinum, looking at the perks in titanium, I doubt I will even feel the difference. Funny I would always get a survey about hotel stays but never about my ambassador benefits.

  14. Downgraded from Titanium Elite to Gold. (Lifetime Gold and 200+ nights away from Lifetime Platinum). Can anyone comment, does Hilton have a “challenge” available similar to the Platinum challenge that Marriott used to allow? Once my corporate travel starts again (may be at least two months), I would like to investigate whether or not Hilton HHonors program has a “challenge” program in place similar to what Marriott used to allow and if so, I will be looking to book at Hilton properties for the remainder of the year.

  15. I went from titanium to gold which is unusual..I’m so done with Marriott…I will continue my IHG Spire, Hyatt Explorist, Wyndham Diamond, Hilton Gold, and etc..Never chasing hotel status again..

  16. Yep Marriott not only messed me over this yr. but now for several yrs. and especially since recent merger. And even when call corporate don’t get any help, it’s pitiful.

  17. I went from Titanium Elite to Platinum Elite. But it really doesn’t matter because even as a Titanium member, I didn’t get any of the Suite Night Rewards I requested last year and my upgrades were minimal to none. I am done with Marriott after seeing the huge hike in points for free nights that they’ve rolled out over the past year. We used to be loyal Marriott guests, but no more. They bought out Starwood, figured they have a monopoly on big chain hotels in the world and decided to give Reward Members very little in return.

  18. Status is based on 2019 activity (pre Coronavirus). There are way too many top level elites in Marriott making Lounges crowded and upgrades limited. Reducing numbers of top elites is not a bad thing.

  19. Was downgraded from Platinum Elite to Gold Elite today. Not sad at all. Became a Globalist this year and my last few bonvoy experiences have been absolute garbage.

    After getting upgraded to the Astor Suite at St Regis NYC, I had 2 other stays, both of which were bad. I stayed at Sheraton Waikiki last week and had to switch rooms 3 times and I’m still being refused a refund from Pantheon Autograph Rome.

    Happy to take my biz to Hilton and Hyatt. The timing of this is also pretty stupid. Keeping our levels might encourage me to give them SOME business. Now? Nah.

  20. @Scott. Sounds like your grapes cuz you didnt stay enough nights. IHG Platinum is better than Marriott Gold? Hmmm.

  21. No “official” downgrade for me, as I made Titanium, which is a downgrade itself as I never get upgrades anymore, except for at (ex-SPG) hotels that I had stayed with many times before.

    BUT, did they cancel/delete other perks? In my activity feed, there are FNAs cancelled and also my 75n award. Can’t really decipher what that means.

  22. Got my downgrade today, so off to Hyatt I go.

    Too many straws these last 2 years, and this camel’s back broke.

  23. Marriott fails Optics 101 again – if they had a functioning IT, it would have been done 3/1 (as every other program does) and everyone would have moved on.

    Now, they do it in the middle of cratering consumer demand (and not even offering soft landings), and they look like idiots.

  24. Amusing how so many “expect” to retain a status they didn’t earn. Soft landings are not in the T&C’s and even if they were, Marriott ultimately can change them at anytime, with or without notice. Much like they did with the Old travel packages. If you were resting on your laurels, who is to blame? I was Titanium in 2018, requalified in 2019 with 103 self-funded and award nights so I was downgraded from Titanium to Titanium. Or, should I say, thankfully, without the spend, I wasn’t downgraded from Titanium to Ambassador? My experience as a Titanium have been amazing. Should a status extension be ultimately granted, it would be on your 2020 status which you earned in 2019 long before the current global health concerns. For those fleeing to Hilton & Hyatt please don’t come back. The “there, I told them” attitude gets old especially when you trickle back for another round. I earned my status, so I don’t have any sympathy for those that didn’t, yet expect to be rewarded for it.

    How about we just upgrade all Titaniums to Ambassador Elites who had the spend but not the nights or that had the nights but not the spend in 2019? Wouldn’t you agree that would be fair if they are just handing out 2018 earned status extensions through 2020 anyway? For those that requalified in 2019 or moved to a higher Elite level for 2020, shouldn’t they be extended through 2021? I guess the answer to that will depend on if it works for “me.”

  25. Let this old man tell you a story……I traveled internationally for many years and stayed in the higher end Marriott Hotels worldwide at least a 100 to 150 nights per year for over twelve years. I enjoyed one of their highest status levels over those years. When I retired 10 years ago, I had close to 1.6 Million points and one of those soft landings – Gold Elite. To tell the truth, Gold status wasn’t bad – Biggest benefit for me was Club Access and I was happy. Took a little break from travel for the first year after retirement before planning some extended world travel and found my Gold expired and I was downgraded (???!!!) Called them up and said this is pretty bad treatment of a long loyal customer, and they extended the Gold for just an additional year. Shortly after this second Gold year expired, I was treated to a “Lifetime Gold” membership as a result of having a United Lifetime Gold Membership, having flown with United well over 1.5 Million flight miles. Some partnership thing between United and Marriott got me lifetime gold – not my Marriott loyalty. Seems United knows how to reward loyalty. So, I’m going along using my points as well as paying for several Marriott stays over the next few years and enjoying the Club access. Then comes the BonVoy Program – Bon Voyage to Gold Club access privileges!! WTF?!! What part of lifetime loyalty reward does that come from? I understand Marriott let the Club privileges get out of control at some locations, and their solution was to begin to pare down privileges at certain levels at all Club locations – But – why not pare down priviledges for those that still had the ability to actively increase their status? I did my part over the years! So all of you, that like the author, feel that you are safe with your upcoming lifetime status at levels higher than Gold – Think – Titanium may just become the new Gold in the future. I am very disappointed in how Marriott, otherwise a great company and service provider, has treated their loyal customers. It is almost as if their loyalty program is run by an independant profit center. No reason as of now to believe that they won’t continue the same type behavior in the future.

  26. 177 nights but on 19k spent. Downgraded as I didn’t hit the 20k. I still have to travel, will be spending 15 nights a month through the corona scare, but now I feel I can break out the Marriott fold. Good times

  27. Soft landings were generally done through an unwritten 3 year night qualification. However, this year I finally got my Lifetime Platinum. I thought I still needed one more year so it was a happy surprise!

  28. Got downgraded to Gold from Titanium. I have been above platinum for 7 years.

    More than one Marriott reps told me last year that I was gonna be platinum in 2020 due to their soft landings policy. And so I ended up not chasing after a few more nights required for Platinum.
    After seeing the downgrade and how the hotel group can screw loyal customers, esp at this timing really…I shook my head then cancelled existing reservations of 15 nights with them.

    Good bye Marriott for forever.

  29. Dropped from titanium to gold. Thank you, Marriott. Didn’t have enough stays for Platinum. No credit card tricks in Europe. Stayed mainly at higher end hotels (luxury collection, Ritz Carlton and so on). With all that’s going on right now, you would think hotel groups would be thinking of their elite members, but hey not even a soft landing!

    I predict that after thinks have cleared up (hopefully SOON!), most of us will shift their stays away from Marriott….
    Stay SAFE you all!!!

  30. yep I was downgraded from Platinum to Silver Elite. Poo on them for many reasons.
    They need to get rid of petty resort fees at the no so resort hotels. They need to be kinder as we are still customers through all of their sloppy merger mess and terrible downgraded search engine after merger.

  31. studpidest move ever,
    1 – no one in the world is travelling, and most probably most members wont travel for at least a quarter of the year
    2- the whole economy is collapsing, we most probably will be in recession ; meaning most people will make more cost-oriented choice when it comes to travel, if at all they travel as before

    —> how to loose millions of loyal members in the worst possible time in a travel loyalty business.

    RIP SPG,

  32. @James
    I agree with you on the below 100%:

    “For those fleeing to Hilton & Hyatt please don’t come back. The “there, I told them” attitude gets old especially when you trickle back for another round. I earned my status, so I don’t have any sympathy for those that didn’t, yet expect to be rewarded for it”

    The ridiculous number of self called “loyal”, complaining about a downgrade for the stays of LAST YEAR (meaning 2019 if yet not clear) it’s a shame and it shows the lack of knowledge they have of their own benefits and entitlements. You people really expect to maintain an Elite Status for free (because you did not make your nights on 2019 to keep it) during a whole extra year ( 2020)? How does that even make sense? How about thinking your downgrade by the closing of last year when you KNEW you will not make it.

    And I am even more eager to know how many of these “Elites” writing here really Self paid for their stays and not with corporate founded credit card. If there’s is a thing I have never agreed with is those Company paid stays.

    Anyways, I am happy with the updates I renewed Titanium Elite (97 nights on 2019), my unused SNA’s were extended up until 2021 same as points as an acknowledgement that I might not travel that much the rest of THIS year (due to COVID19 as explained on the internet).
    And about my Elite Status I will see what they come up with on 2021 in case I couldn’t earn enough nights again. Only then I will judge their reaction directly related to COVID19 and my status grid. Regardless, I am also PLATINUM Lifetime so even if I don’t stay enough nights I will receive the Platinum treatment anywhere and not less than that.

    In the meantime, I will certainly enjoy my WELL DESERVED AND EARNED benefits once the pandemic is over. Needless is to say, stays that I will pay from my own pocket not my company’s.

    About the upgrades, after years of “REAL” traveling I have learned that is naive to expect or even fight the reception for it in high demanded locations and holidays. Like Thanksgiving, I usually stay the week after and I fully enjoy my perks, since hotels are not fully booked anymore. Best thing is me and my family can see the different rooms available on my phone to compare which are we given, most of times we’re not upgraded 1 (as the T&C’s say) but 2 room classifications.

    As I read most of you here I imagine how disappointed and let down I would have been if those “elites” dropping down to Gold (meaning you did not even stayed half of MY nights) would’ve renew the Titanium title, because THAT is the actual UNFAIR thing to do.

    So please if you leave, do not come back Elites like me a so many others with my similar profile will eternally thank YOU.

  33. @ Mary A:

    Technically, those SNAs probably wont’ be used in 2021 either. And it won’t have anything to do with Covid 19. Mine from 2017 and 2018 never got used, because few worthwhile hotels honor them 5 days before check-in. Ohwell.

    Meanwhile, my Hyatt suite upgrades (I earned 6 in 2019, good for 7 nights each – how does that compare with your SNAs again?) will be used as soon as this health crisis is over. I cash-pay out of my own pocket for all travel; hardly anything of mine is company-sponsored. So I tend to care a lot more about the value-per-dollar.

    That’s why I won’t be back. Even with promos or free status – every dollar I spend needs to be on a loyalty program so that I can earn lifetime status with a program that cares about its members.

  34. I was Elite for years and now downgraded to Gold (I was short 2 nights to qualify). I will say I have NEVER received a suite upgrade as an elite member anyways and only access to the concierge floor as an ‘upgrade’ – no actual room upgrade in the last 100+ night bookings. We have seen our perks dwindle since the Bonvoy change and frankly prefer the Hilton rewards, locations, and offerings lately. It’s unfortunate.

  35. Down from titanium to platinum. with the cancelled stays this year..will most certainly be a gold next year. sucks. you think Marriott would gives us some incentives

  36. This is how you handle the current situation and how you treat your customers. From Hilton today:

    “We consider it our privilege to have you as a Hilton Honors member and we want to show our appreciation by extending your benefits:
    2019 Status Extension. All members whose 2019 status was scheduled to be downgraded on March 31, 2020—whether it’s Diamond, Gold or Silver—will automatically receive an extension through March 31, 2021.
    2020 Status Extension. We are extending your 2020 member status through March 31, 2022. This means you will continue to enjoy all the Diamond, Gold or Silver benefits you have access to today for the next 24 months.
    Points Extension. We will pause the expiration of all Points scheduled to expire between now and December 31, 2020.
    Weekend Night Rewards Earned on Eligible Hilton Credit Cards. We have extended the expiration date of all unexpired Weekend Night Rewards as of March 11, 2020, and all new ones issued until August 30, 2020, through the end of next summer (August 31, 2021).”

  37. @Jake Valentine

    Brilliant Marketing on Hilton’s part. Wouldn’t their liability on your status extension be somewhat mitigated by the fact that many, perhaps even you, can’t use the benefits right now? If the current crisis extends into the fall and you can’t requalify before year end 2020 you will be downgraded in early 2021 anyway. It is just delaying the inevitable. What will the new normal be? Will there be less business travel and less hotel stays on OPM when companies realize that they can conduct at least some of their business via online resources? Will leisure travelers decline because they have been furloughed and may never return to their work, lost their jobs because their companies who support other businesses & industries no longer require their good & services, and so on, and so on… How will 15%, 20+% unemployment look on status extensions? If you think this will be behind us soon and we will all be earning and spending like it was last fall, I think you are sadly mistaken. But hey, enjoy your extended benefits if and when you can use them. In the interim, while that warm and fuzzy feeling wears off, wash your hands and be socially responsible, status should be the least of your worries.


  38. I saw my new status (Titanium instead of Ambassador) the same day I got an e-mail from Hilton saying that they were extending 2019 status for 2 years.

  39. I was downgraded from Titanium to Platinum so I shouldn’t gripe too much but I feel it was poorly done. Especially since they increased the number of points for redemption across the board. I have over $1.4M points and when I called customer care last evening it was like that’s the way things go. No apology or empathy at all. Maybe time to pull out the Hilton Honors account again.

  40. I called Marriott Loyalty Care at the beginning of December to discuss this with them. I did have 41 nights when I called and I asked if there was any extension to obtaining the remaining 9 nights. I was told that there was no extensions, so I told the person from Marriott Loyalty that I would have to do my 9 remaining nights by the end of the year. I was them told, that if I did not, I would only be downgraded to Platinum. I asked them if they were sure, they put me on hold to double check and came back on the phone and said it was Marriott’s Policy to only downgrade one level.
    I was then told not to knock myself out or go crazy trying to do the extra 9 nights before the end of the year, because I would still maintain Platinum Status.
    This is not confusion on my part, I was specifically told by someone in Loyalty Care at Marriott what would happen and I followed what they said. If they were misinformed, I should not be penalized. I could have and would have completed my additional 9 nights by taking my wife away, but we decided not to because of what I was told by the Marriott representative

  41. Emailed them regarding my downgrade from Platinum to Gold, even now during the crisis
    in which we can’t travel.
    Received a rude / snarky response. Good bye, cancelling my ritz card as well.

    You all at Marriott are a bunch of idiots..

  42. What sucks with this is my husband travels semi regularly for business. His company has
    contract w/ Marriott. So we don’t have a choice.

    But yeah for delta for extending travel, b/c that is also who he flies for work

  43. I’m really disappointed in Marriott no letter no warning just dropped from Titanium Elite to Gold. The adosity of them, especially after our information was breached. I’m a Disability Veteran and most of my stay are for medical appointments. After having my Kate Spade bag stolen at a Renaissance and my debt card misused at a Marriott hotel in Birmingham I am done. I will take my business elsewhere. I hope the lose everything as a result of COVID-19 they deserve to lose. My tax paying dollars shouldn’t have to bail you out.

  44. Marriott first finalizes people’s 2020 status earned in 2019, and then extends the right status to 2022, makes perfect sense.

  45. In my case, I was downgraded to Titanium from Ambassador in March ’20 (rightly so). I now get, like all of us, a push-mail from CEO that says ’19 status will be restored till Feb ’22. My Bonvoy account now says that the Elite status is valid till Feb ’22. This I believe is partially done, because, my tier is still shown Titanium, but should have been Ambassador (2019 status). Maybe the tier restoration to 2019’s status will follow shortly (unless I read the comms wrong!).

  46. Someone told me it is what you earned in 2019, not what the status was. If that is the case, you will stay Titanium because that is what you earned in 2019. I saw the email from Marriott and it is ambiguous. I was downgraded from Titanium to Gold, even though Marriott told me I would only be downgraded to Platinum. When I complained, they just said that is their new policy.

  47. I was dropped in status as well from Titanium Elite to GOLD after nearly 500 nights stayed in 3 years. Really disappointing and the fact I get snarky emails back with references to there T&C’s makes the situation worse. I anticipate a significant ramp up in travel in 3Q and 4Q and Hilton is already ready to offer a challenge.

  48. I agree, especially when I was told by a Marriott Loyalty department representative that I would only be downgraded to Platinum and “not to knock yourself out by trying to get those few additional nights for Platinum”, when I called at the beginning of December. Now Marriott won’t even acknowledge that their employees gave out wrong information. I also found out that, unlike many companies these days, Marriott doesn’t record or memorialize conversations with loyalty members; which would have shown that they gave me the wrong information. Shame on me for trusting them and not getting the name of the person I spoke with.
    Very disappointing.

  49. I just got a email that they were extending my former status out till Feb 2022. Looks like Someone from Marriott is reading this board.

  50. @Dino I don’t think it’s at all ambiguous. It said “status earned in 2019”. That means they are extending your 2020 status, not your 2019 status. If anyone has been treated differently, please let us know. I know that on my home page my Titanium (because I am lifetime Titanium) has been generously extended to 2022 even though I would have it anyway. I was Ambassador last year so if they were extending 2019 status I would have been put back up to Ambassador.

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