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Marriott Bonvoy Strategy in HKSAR
First off I’d like to say how much I appreciate your guides and posts. I’ve relatively new to the points and miles game and they have helped me immensely.
I have a bit of an odd one for you, or for any other members if they can find the time.
[B]Goal: [/B]Set in place an achievable strategy to qualify for Platinum Elite Lifetime
[B]Challenges: [/B]Hong Kong has no Marriott Bonvoy co-branded credit cards, AMEX or otherwise (unable to take advantage of the 30 promo miles). I could get the Platinum card from AMEX, but that carries a 1002USD annual fee and only awards up to Gold Elite status (not worth the ROI so I cancelled after 1 year).
[B]Context: [/B]I’m presently a Marriott Ambassador Elite through work travel and have held the status since:
2019: Ambassador Elite
2020: Ambassador Elite (gifted 1 year extension)
2021: Ambassador Elite (presently have 51 Elite nights banked)
[B]Total:[/B] 227 lifetime elite nights
It is unlikely I will be able to maintain 50 nights of travel a year in the foreseeable future given the upcoming birth a child and reduced work travel pattern.
Doing the math, I’d need to qualify for Platinum Elite for 6 more years to achieve lifetime status.
If you were me, how would you plan (or would you at all) on maximising your hotel points for the future and hopefully work towards lifetime? My parents Hold lifetime Titanium Elite so I do see the value in planning ahead!
FYI, no Hong Kong has no additional hotel credit cards to the best of my knowledge (or I’d consider the Hilton Aspire to hold Diamond). I don’t qualify for the AMEX Centurion card which is available here =(
I definitely see the allure of Lifetime status, especially since you are not eligible for some of the credit cards that essentially give you the same perks for just the cost of the annual fee.
I think lifetime status is still 10 years and 600 nights, right? Without a credit card shortcut, I don’t see any way to get lifetime status without doing the hard way – physically staying hotels. If you aren’t traveling as frequently due to less work travel and a child (congrats!), then I’m not sure it’s worth the time, effort and money to specifically chase the status.
I’d make sure that when you do travel for work – stay at a Marriott (or at minimum, any hotel that earns points). When you travel outside of work, I’d really evaluate each stay and what it costs in cash vs redeeming points. That way, you maximize the points you do earn as best as possible, since you won’t be earning them as fast anymore.
With infrequent travel, the extra benefits of having Platinum/Titanium status would be pretty minimal. Take room upgrades for example, I’d guess that you’d come out ahead by just paying the premium to upgrade to a better room on the stays that actually matter, rather than hoping to get a complimentary upgrade from your status. Take late checkout… it’s probably a better deal to just pay for an extra night on those times that you actually need the room til 4pm.
Maybe not the answer you were looking for, but I hope that helps! I am a current Titanium Elite, and also Lifetime Platinum… and even with the bonus 15 nights from credit card each year, I have no idea how I’d maintain status (or have gotten it in the first place) without 40-50 nights each year on the company.
Thanks for the detailed reply. Really appreciate it.
The suggestion totally makes sense from an ROI perspective.
I could just pay for an extra night or an executive lounge floor instead of grinding out the nights – probably much cheaper than 30 mattress run nights a year, especially with no cat 1 hotels in HKSAR.
I think my wife and I do no more than 20 personal nights a year, making the 50 nights quite challenging! Perhaps Gold Elite is more realistic to go for as a consolidation.
Ah well – cheers again =)