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Hotel elite status can deliver all kinds of rewards — from bonus points to late checkout. Even better, room upgrades, free breakfast, lounge access and other welcome amenities are all on offer when you have a higher elite status. But what is someone to do if they have an upcoming Marriott stay, but they’re typically loyal to another brand like World of Hyatt or Hilton Honors instead? The answer: complete a status match challenge.
Normally, hotel elite programs require staying a certain number of nights or meeting a spending threshold before receiving elite status. But if you are looking for a Marriott status match, there are some important things to know to maximize the experience.
1. How status matching typically works
Loyalty programs may allow members to status match their elite tier from one program to a corresponding tier in its own program in an effort to stimulate more business. If you already have elite status in one program (and can prove it), the second program may grant you status too — typically for a limited time period.
This is a great move if you have an important stay coming up like a honeymoon or anniversary. Programs usually don't allow members to status match more than once, so be sure to use this opportunity wisely.
Marriott status matching, as you’ll come to see, is a bit different. Instead of offering a direct status match, it offers a challenge that requires staying a certain number of nights to qualify. If you complete the requirements for the challenge offer, Marriott may then status match you to a corresponding tier in the Marriott Bonvoy program.
» Learn more: The beginner’s guide to hotel elite status
2. Status matching with Marriott requires a challenge — it’s not automatic
Marriott doesn't offer a direct status match, instead requires members to complete a challenge to achieve elite status.
The brand offers two status challenges:
Gold elite: Members are required to stay eight qualifying paid nights in 90 days.
Platinum elite: Members are required to stay 16 qualifying paid nights in 90 days.
These matches aren't automatic, and you will have to contact Marriott to see if you are eligible. Keep this in mind if you are hoping to achieve elite status to enjoy during a particular stay as you will have some hotel stays to complete before you earn your desired status.
This also means that during the challenge, you won't enjoy the benefits of the new status until you complete it.
» Learn more: The best ways to rack up Marriott Bonvoy points
3. You may not be eligible
There isn't a dedicated website where you can easily complete the status challenge. Instead, you’ll have to call Marriott to see if you’re targeted for a status challenge. You can also email Marriott or reach out on social media.
Another important thing to note is that to be considered eligible for the challenge, you’ll need to have had a paid, eligible stay with Marriott in the past 24 months.
4. You may already have Marriott elite status
Some travel cards come with automatic Marriott elite status. Marriott co-branded cards are an easy way to lock in immediate status without the need for a challenge. If you’re in a hurry, this could be the best option.
The Marriott Bonvoy Boundless® Credit Card comes with Marriott Silver elite status while the Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant® American Express® Card offers Platinum elite status. The former card also offers 15 elite qualifying nights to cardholders each year, while the latter offers 25. Both boosts can expedite your journey to an even higher status level.
The Platinum Card® from American Express includes Gold elite status with Marriott as one of its perks, too. To join, you’ll need to request enrollment through the AmEx Experiences app.
If you are a United MileagePlus elite status member with Premier Gold or higher, United and Marriott have a partnership that awards reciprocal status in either program. United Premier Gold members and higher automatically receive Marriott Gold elite status once they link their accounts.
» Learn more: Guide to United Airlines premier elite status
5. It helps to know which status level fits your goals
What is it you hope to achieve with your new status? If you are looking for bonus points, all Marriott elite status tiers earn some percentage of bonus points (the higher your tier, the more bonus points you’ll earn).
If you are after a room upgrade, though, you’ll want to make sure the tier you are aiming for offers this as a benefit. Silver elite status, the lowest tier, doesn't offer this perk while Gold elite and higher does. If you complete the challenge to Platinum elite or higher, select suites are also included as an upgrade option.
If you value club lounge access, especially at a hotel with a nice lounge, only Platinum elite status and higher provides this benefit. Be sure to review the benefits of each elite status tier and understand what you are after before completing the Marriott status challenge.
Marriott status challenges recapped
Whether you already have Marriott elite status (and don’t realize it) or are looking to do a Marriott status match, there are many important things to consider. Because a status challenge can take time, money and effort to achieve, you’ll want to make sure the benefits you are looking for are part of the Marriott status tier you’re receiving.
Not everyone is eligible, but if you are, it could make a world of difference on your next Marriott stay.
How to maximize your rewards
You want a travel credit card that prioritizes what’s important to you. Here are our picks for the best travel credit cards of 2023, including those best for:
Flexibility, point transfers and a large bonus: Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card
No annual fee: Bank of America® Travel Rewards credit card
Flat-rate travel rewards: Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card
Bonus travel rewards and high-end perks: Chase Sapphire Reserve®
Luxury perks: The Platinum Card® from American Express
Business travelers: Ink Business Preferred® Credit Card