Marriott Meetings Cuts Easy Elite Nights Trick

Filed Under: Marriott

Obviously a lot of Marriott hotels have huge conference facilities, so Marriott makes it pretty easy to book events of all sizes. This can range from renting out an entire hotel, to just renting a small conference room at a hotel for a morning.

Marriott Meetings 10 Elite Night Trick

Not surprisingly, Marriott lets you earn points and elite nights for hosting meetings (since this can be big business for them), but it’s not at the usual rates. Through the Marriott Bonvoy Events program you can currently earn:

  • 10 elite nights for your first meeting every calendar year
  • One elite night for every 20 eligible room nights you book, up to to 20 elite nights per event (which would equate to 400 rooms)
  • Two points per dollar spent on qualifying event charges, up to 60,000 points per event (plus elite bonuses)

So the first part of that has presented a pretty incredible opportunity to earn elite nights. Hosting a single meeting every year would earn 10 elite nights, and in many cases those meetings could be cheap. For example, I looked up Tempe (I’m thinking of launching a new airline based there), and online you can book a meeting for just $200.

However, I’ve heard of people booking meetings for significantly less than that, in many cases under $130. That’s a heck of a deal when you consider what you’re paying per elite night.

Personally I’ve never booked one of these meetings because I’ve never had a need (I always qualified for the status I needed), though it is always something I thought of in the back of my mind.

Marriott Cutting 10 Elite Nights For Meetings

I guess this shouldn’t come as much of a surprise, but LoyaltyLobby reports that beginning January 1, 2020, Marriott will no longer offer 10 elite nights for the first event held each calendar year.

Members will continue to earn one elite night for every 20 room nights booked, up to 20 elite nights per contract. Obviously that isn’t nearly as lucrative.

Bottom Line

You still have until the end of 2019 to plan a meeting at a Marriott property to earn 10 elite nights, which might be the most efficient “mattress run” you’ll find. Starting in 2020, unfortunately, this trick will be dead, and it will only make sense to book a meeting with Marriott if you… actually plan to have a meeting. *Gasp*

It was nice while it lasted, though I figured sooner or later it was going to disappear.

Are you sad to see the Marriott Bonvoy meetings opportunity disappear?

Comments
  1. Already hit elite for 2019 but was definitely planning on using this trick to qualify again in 2020. Haven’t ever actually used this, but does anyone know if it’s possible to book a “meeting” today in 2019 for a meeting that will be held in 2020? As long as the meeting is booked before Jan 1, even if the meeting is held after that date would one still get the elite nights?

    Thanks!

  2. How stupid of Marriott to take a decade to rid of this. Why should someone get Titanium status for having 10 $80 meetings. How do hotels deliver on benefits when they are so easy to attain?

  3. Michele : not a chance. What makes you think that ? When you book a hotel do you get credit based on the day you book it or does the credit post after your stay ?

  4. I’m an event planner. I gave Marriott $150,000 a year in business for five years until when Ritz-Carlton Rewards, Marriott Rewards and SPG merged in August 2018. When they merged the 10 nights PER event went away.

    The replacement, which was 10 nights for your first meeting or event of the year and additional nights based on a formula, was a HUGE devaluation because many meetings and events don’t have a room component to them.

    If I rent out a ballroom for $30,000 I won’t get any elite qualifying nights. Moreover, the $30,000 in spending does NOT count toward the ambassador status threshold of $20,000.

    There is no incentive to hold meetings and events at Marriott properties.

    Since August 2018, I can count on ONE HAND the number of events I’ve done at a Marriott property. Total spend has been maybe $70,000.

  5. Bummer! I regularly plan meetings for my company, and these 10 elite nights were a definite perk (2x points per dollar spent is not so lucrative). Mostly annoyed that, as they’ve been doing a lot recently, they did this with almost no notice — as I already have multiple meetings booked next year and was counting on those elite nights.

    That said, yeah, this was obviously abused to death, so it’s not a surprise they eliminated it.

  6. Good. This was an annoying loophole for those of us that earn elite nights by actually booking and staying at Marriott properties.

  7. This was another thing the bloggers killed. I never used it, or ever had any plans to use it but bloggers make things easier for companies to find out about and realize they are losing money on it.

    Sometimes I think the smart companies are using the blogs as a way to stick it to the poorer run companies like AA. For example I’ve flown Delta a few times over the last 18 months after not flying them for ~20 years since AA and Southwest had the only non-stops. Constantly get pre departure drinks. Very nice and polite, cleaner aircraft, often can watch live sports, and even got a holiday thank you card from the crew on my last flight.

    I mostly stick with Hilton where I can get status easy and a bunch of points.

  8. @Ryan – I think what Michael was talking about was booking the meeting now for a 2020 event, but wanting the credit to happen towards his 2020 total. Yes, he can do that

  9. Good. I think loyalty programs should reward actual travelers paying for themselves out of pocket, rather than event planners, ticket resellers, business people who got their airfare covered by companies.

  10. If I thought that eliminating loopholes and reducing the ranks of top tier elites would equate to Marriott delivering more of the promised benefits to the remaining real elites, I would be in favor of such moves and might actually still try to achieve status. Unfortunately, I don’t believe they will.

  11. @ Mary — Only if it required opening new Marriott Bonvoy accounts, if it required using a targeted offer intended for someone else, if you found a way to earn this bonus 10 times per year rather than once, etc.

  12. I paid $50 at my local Fairfield Inn the last few years for my meetings. Will be bummed if this is in fact dead as it only took me 25 nights to qualify for Platinum, which was super nice.

  13. A few years back, 10N for a meeting is not given once a year, but as many times as they’re by Marriott.
    So praise exploit stopper Ben after Marriott and AMEX ambassador TPG!
    You people.

  14. What’s stupid is that they cut this “loophole” in a way that also punishes people like me who legitimately host about 200 room-nights worth of meeting bookings at Marriott properties.

    This is probably the nail in the coffin of me continuing to maintain Marriott status.

  15. Also, I already have a meeting booked at W New Orleans for the 3rd week of January, and I was expecting this benefit when I made that booking. Anyone know if they’ll honor this for already existing bookings?

  16. I think once a year was okay though :/ I was actually organizing events genuinely at a meeting room, and now I’m not motivated 🙁

  17. Lucky, if possible, could you ask Marriott to honor meeting/event bookings that were already made for 2020 prior to this announcement?
    Marriott has the full rights to change their program rules, but it is unfair to apply the new rules for old reservations when old reservations were made with the promise of the current benefits.

  18. You know losing this isn’t a big deal. This perk was dead since it was reduced to 10 nights per year. It used to be 10 per event for so long and no one really noticed it or even care.
    It was the greedy bloggers (not @Lucky in this case) who wanted to get lifetime platinum before SPG merger last year who exploited this and effectively killed this.

  19. This comments section is such a cesspool of rather convenient sliding scale ethics (“everyone worse than me at playing the points game is a scammer, everyone better is an idiot”), blame everyone (other members, bloggers, companies etc except oneself).

    No you are not a “real customer” just because you stay in rooms (largely paid by employers/clients) over someone who books meetings, eats in restaurants etc.

    You are not even necessarily more profitable than a credit card status holder.

    Hotels are NOT in the heads-in-beds business, they are in the business of making money and hotel chains are in the business of making money for hotel owners (you aren’t their customer).
    People who bring in events worth 10s of 1000s of USD and credit card holders who never stay enough to qualify the hard way are often far more profitable than 50 nighters. Your 10 nights are not nearly as profitable (or even in the ballpark) as the rooms+banqueting+F&B from a single large event (wedding with rooms, conference etc) so why shouldn’t the meeting planner be rewarded a small portion of what room guests get awarded (they earn points at LOWER rates and their nights earning was capped at 10!).

    The worth of a customer is defined easily by how much revenue they bring to the chain, not by channel, and certain types of revenue are more profitable for hotels and chains (rooms being amongst the least profitable).

    Marriott would offer 10 nights PER event before the merger. You could easily book a small meeting room in a suburban select service hotel for 30-50 USD. 8 of these would make you Platinum for the year….except you could keep piling them on and they would count as rollover nights and the surplus nights would count towards lifetime total TWICE! (in year earned and the subsequent year as well). This loophole existed FOREVER pre-merger until they took a closer look at the loopholes during merger. Bloggers discussed it to death and FlyerTalk had a multi-100 page on it for nearly a decade and Marriott did nothing, convenient to blame everyone else, why let get facts get in the way of blaming bloggers.

    Its hilarious that people think this was in any way exploitative or scummy. These people played “by the rules” and by the rules *as intended* by Marriott. They did not stretch or contravene the rules or their spirit. It was simply a reflection of the value of meetings to Marriott (who have always had a better internal strategy to capture this segment of the market and have been better organised internally than their competitors from top to bottom for decades).

    – Someone who has never booked a meeting and never had card based status (because really, that’s only a thing for North American and UK based guests, most countries don’t have such cards at all)

  20. Interesting, why not ask them yourself? @Tom

    Also No @Michael you will not have the credit toward your 2020 status because BENEFIT is not in the contract and Marriott can change it anytime without legal obligation.

  21. @Kevin B, I had to email [email protected] and [email protected] in 2018 but they eventually agreed to honor it and give me 10 nights PER contract for all events contracted before August 2018. I think they will do the same if you have signed contracts now as it is probably illegal and certainly wrong for them to gut a benefit guaranteed by the contract after the contract was signed. That is if you were smart enough to put the Rewarding Events benefits in the contract.

  22. There is ZERO question that some people were abusing this. Look at Flyer Talk and some of the blogs. This is why we can’t have nice things. But with that said, there is plenty of avenues for them to have a meetings and events component to Bonvoy that rewards legitimate meetings and events. The problem is they don’t care because the merger of Marriott and Starwood has given Marriott MONOPOLY status in the markets that most clients want to have meetings and events. It also sucks because Marriott seldom gives meeting and event planners a commissionable rate anymore and when they do they require you to be a IATA member. But IATA is for travel agents, not meeting and event planners. So, unless you partner with a travel agent you can’t get a commission whatsoever from Marriott unless a sales manager pays you cash under the table.

  23. I did a “meeting” last week at a local Courtyard for $100 and received my 10 elite nights and have reached Titanium.

    It is kind of frustrating that people including @Lucky that refer to these as tricks or loopholes. They are options presented to customers and we booked them on their website

    The hotel received $100 for a small conference room that was going to stay empty anyway, I booked it the night before and there was not a soul around

    I received 10 elite nights , just as the contract stated I would

    If you want to say 10 elite nights for $100 is a great value, I agree and unhappy I am not going to get that rate in 2020 or beyond, but it was not a trick or scam or loophole

  24. @Lucky,
    Back in February, I booked a meeting for next year. Do you think I’ll still be eligible for the 10 nights or can they change the terms afterwards? I already put down a nonrefundable deposit.

  25. @Franz Christian

    You know what seems abusive to me? The fact that you apparently were booking clients $30,000 ballrooms at a Marriott for the sole reason of earning 10 elite nights for yourself, considering you’ve stopped these bookings since you stopped getting this relatively insignificant kickback.

    I know that’s fundamentally why these loyalty programs exist, but it’s rare to see it admitted so baldly.

  26. What does marriott gain by doing this? How many people were earning the next level of elite status this way by booking meetings when they wouldn’t have otherwise and actually getting the future value out of it? And finally, does the savings for the bonvoy program (if any!) even come close to making up for the people who will move to hilton and hyatt because their program is being devalued every few months? This is 100% insane. That said, bonvoy has the most impressive network of hotels in the world, so they must think they’re invincible. I’m annoyed.

  27. @BrewerSEA: Actually, it is part of my contract and compensation. My contract states that as event planner I get all points and a commission, if eligible, at participating programs. I just happened to have clients that were Marriott loyalists. They were the ones who got me into the points-thing. I would negotiate a contract with Marriott that allowed the client to earn additional points and full elite status benefits separate from the master account if they paid for their room individually. 100% kosher and legit. Since August 2018, my clients don’t like Marriott anymore and Marriott no longer gives me incentives. I just did a $75,000 wedding last week. The best the Ritz-Carlton would offer was double points. 5-star Conrad hotel gave me triple Hilton points, presidential suite upgrade for wedding couple, and junior suites for parents of the bride on top of standard incentives.

  28. @Vin
    @P

    Here is the thing. It was out there forever right up until the merger where your lifetime gets devalued. Before that most people didn’t know, many who did didn’t really abuse it. For Marriott it was probably little enough that it’s not worth fixing it.
    Once the merger came, everyone was frantically trying to get lifetime on the old system.
    This is where bloggers come into play. I’m not saying they didn’t cover it long time ago, yes they did but only a handful. It was really the spike right before Bonvoy that was the tipping point. It became too much for Marriott they killed it. Same rationale of airline lounges putting more restrictions to reduce guests. (How many got lounge through CC pitched by blogs right?)
    Sadly to say, but bloggers will always be the first to blame (and correctly so) because guess what, from all my past deals, loophole, mistakes it all disappeared once it hit the major blogs. (hotels, airlines read them too)
    I still know few tricks which is still alive for many years now. I know it will be dead once it hits the blogs.

    What they didn’t tell you is hotels have to pay for elite nights from Marriott, some places used to give you small discount or freebies for not taking the nights. Bet you never know that.

    @BrewerSEA
    I’m surprised you don’t know how incentives work. And in this case, it is not insignificant kickback. It all adds up. This is no different than people earning airline status through work travel. If you make one trip per year it doesn’t matter, if you make a hundred now it is significant. When all else equal, you pick the one who appreciates your loyalty. When loyalty becomes only revenue, you go to the best deal.

  29. Message for Lucky –

    The “ASK LUCKY” feature is not working to register a new member.

    I tried many times to register but never got a confirmation e-mail.

    This is what shows when I try to access the new account:

    Your account is currently awaiting confirmation. Confirmation was sent to [email protected]
    Resend Confirmation Email
    ______________________________________

    No matter how many times I enter the information, I never receive an email confirmation.

    I blacked out my real email for this message –

    Can you get anyone to fix the issue? Thanks

  30. @Franz Christian
    That’s fair and there is nothing wrong when it’s above board. While I understand it’s easy to put a value on points, it’s difficult for me to imagine them being significant enough to help me choose a wedding venue. On the other hand, if your wedding venue booking used to generate enough Marriott points for a great hotel and airline miles package that can fund the honeymoon, that makes more sense. Pretty astute of you to guarantee it in your contracts.

    @Eskimo
    I understand that’s the purpose of loyalty programs and they do work! And it sounds like F.C. wasn’t simply choosing Marriott for his own benefit. But if points earning isn’t part of the decision making process for the client, it’s unethical to just book your client at the place that gives you the best kickback. It may be common practice but it’s still unethical. Booking your own (reimbursable) travel is a little more of a grey area, because airline and hotel loyalty is a norm in corporate travel and businesses are aware and put travel policies in place to account for this if they care. This is different from the naive, one-time wedding guest

  31. I for one (being selfish) am glad, this will help at least to reduce the pool of Elite members and hopefully improve things across the board.
    I have used this “trick” before to maintain status, but that was 5-6 years ago and only once.

    Cheers!

  32. tbh, they could’ve fixed the loophole without outright killing the perk. They could’ve split the number of elite nights you earn for a meeting based on what brand you hold an event at. Like for example

    – 2-3 elite nights for extended stay & limited service properties
    – 4-5 elite nights for Midscale Full Service properties
    -6-7 elite nights for Upscale Full Service properties
    -10 elite nights for luxury properties

  33. I’m just annoyed I was unaware of this earlier to earn useful lifetime status. Then again I haven’t stayed a night at a Marriott since Bonvoy so there’s that (* I’ve kept the credit card as my parents have gotten a lot of value from the 35k free night). Still have 700k+ points to burn down and I’m super annoyed at the transfer time that makes it hard to use for limited availability awards.

    Why didn’t they just make the meeting credit revenue based?

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