Should You Pursue Marriott Elite Status in 2022?

Marriott's award chart will be going by the wayside this year, but Bonvoy elite status remains worth the effort.
Apr 5, 2022

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Marriott Bonvoy has breadth in its brands. With 30 hotel brands in its portfolio, including Homes & Villas by Marriott International (a home-sharing platform), you can earn and redeem points at properties that fit nearly every style, budget, travel purpose and interest.

Hotel elite status can pay dividends when you earn it with the program that best fits your travel needs. But, should you pursue elite status with the Marriott Bonvoy loyalty program in 2022? Sure. It comes with perks like late checkout, bonus Marriott points on eligible stays and maybe even free breakfast if you play your cards right.

But Marriott Bonvoy is making major changes this year that could sideline your redemption plans. While the program retains strong value, don’t get caught off guard with these mega changes.

Here’s what you should consider when deciding whether to pursue Marriott elite status in 2022.

Extensions on elite status, points expiration and free nights

Recently, Marriott announced that it would be extending existing elite status through February 2023, regardless of when that status was first earned.

Marriott has also paused points expiration through Dec. 31, 2022 (previously only through March 31, 2022), and extended the validity of free night and suite night awards through June 30, 2022.

How Marriott ranks

Overall

NerdWallet ranks Marriott No. 7 among hotel loyalty programs in 2022 — notably lower than its No. 4 ranking in 2021. This is a big fall from grace for the program, which didn't particularly shine in any category compared to its competitors.

According to our most recent valuations, when using points for free hotel nights, travelers should target 0.7 cent in value for each Marriott Bonvoy point. That means that when you divide the cash price by the number of points required for any given award booking, a figure above 0.7 cent is a great deal, a figure equal to 0.7 cent is a good value and a figure below 0.7 cent is a bad deal.

This is a higher point value than you'll get with similar loyalty programs from brands like Hilton (0.5 cent) and Radisson (0.6 cent), but a lower point value than you’ll find with World of Hyatt (1.9 cents).

Still, there is a lot to like about Marriott Bonvoy, notably its massive scale and geographic size. As travel inches back to normal, elite status members will find some benefits returning, which keeps Marriott Bonvoy high on the consideration list for many travelers.

» Learn more: Marriott versus Hyatt

Elite status program value

When we took a narrower look at the value of hotel elite status programs in 2022, Marriott fared much better, coming in No. 3 out of seven programs analyzed.

For this analysis, we focused on the hotel elite statuses that give travelers tangible value, such as free food, and ignored softer benefits, like late checkout. The Bonvoy status program offers tangible benefits across all of its elite levels.

Here's the value you can expect to earn from each Bonvoy status tier based on the cost it takes to reach that tier.

Silver

Gold

Platinum

Titanium

Ambassador

$10.

$126.

$3,314.

$5,233.

$7,167.

Marriott Bonvoy status levels

Elite status in the Marriott Bonvoy loyalty program can get you perks like free breakfast and room upgrades.

Marriott Bonvoy has five elite status tiers: Silver, Gold, Platinum, Titanium and Ambassador.

Here’s a summary of the nights and spending requirements for each elite status tier in 2022.

Elite status level

Elite night credits required to earn

Silver Elite

10 elite qualifying nights.

Gold Elite

25 elite qualifying nights.

Platinum Elite

50 elite qualifying nights.

Titanium Elite

75 elite qualifying nights.

Ambassador Elite

100 elite qualifying nights (plus $20,000 in spend).

Top perks of the Marriott Bonvoy loyalty program

Enormous global footprint

Marriott is one of the largest hotel chains in the world, with 30 brands and more than 7,000 properties in 131 countries and territories.

Transferable points

With flexible credit card points through programs like Chase Ultimate Rewards® and American Express Membership Rewards, you can turn other points currencies into Marriott points. This can help you meet the points requirements of just about any high-value Bonvoy redemption you have in mind.

Ample opportunity to stretch your points

Marriott Bonvoy runs promotions throughout the year to help members earn points or elite nights more quickly. One of its best ongoing deals, however, is its Stay 5, Pay for 4 offer.

When members redeem points for five consecutive nights, they’ll get the lowest point-value night for free. This can represent substantial points savings and make redemptions cheaper on longer stays.

Nerdy tip: The Stay 5, Pay for 4 offers even work on stays of 10 nights or 15 nights (any increment of five). For every five nights, you’ll receive the lowest point-value night for free.

Status match with United

Marriott Bonvoy and United MileagePlus have a reciprocal status agreement through a program called RewardsPlus. If you have status in United, Marriott will also award you elite status, or vice versa. This is a great perk for United frequent fliers since they can take advantage of automatic status benefits by linking their accounts. Marriott elite status members can also potentially benefit from automatic United status.

United MileagePlus members receive:

  • Complimentary Gold Elite status with Marriott Bonvoy for MileagePlus Premier Gold members and above. Registration required.

  • Silver members and above can convert MileagePlus award miles into Marriott Bonvoy points at a 1:1 ratio.

  • Get a 10% bonus of MileagePlus miles when converting Marriott Bonvoy points into MileagePlus miles, plus a bonus of 5,000 miles for every 60,000 Marriott Bonvoy points converted.

Marriott Bonvoy members receive:

  • Complimentary Premier Silver status with United MileagePlus. (Open to Marriott Titanium elite members and above). Registration required.

  • 10% MileagePlus miles bonus when converting Marriott Bonvoy points into MileagePlus miles, plus a bonus of 5,000 miles for every 60,000 loyalty program points converted.

Earning Marriott elite status with a credit card

Several Marriott co-branded cards and premium cards provide complimentary Marriott elite status. Terms apply.

Here’s a breakdown of the status that comes with each card:

SILVER STATUS

GOLD STATUS

Terms apply.

Additionally, it’s possible for cardholders to achieve a higher tier of elite status upon meeting a spending requirement with their card. For example, with the Marriott Bonvoy Boundless® Credit Card, they'll earn Gold Elite status when they spend $35,000 on purchases each account year.

That’s a hefty spending requirement, so it’s worth thinking about whether you’ll make the most of the elite status benefits before directing all of your spending to the card.

Are Marriott Bonvoy elite status perks worth it?

The higher your elite status tier, the more benefits you earn with Marriott Bonvoy. Still, the value of elite status is different for every traveler. For example, the free breakfast you get with Platinum elite status and higher can be significantly more valuable for a family than for a solo traveler. Even if you travel alone, the free breakfast benefit is worth more if you stay at full-service hotels than if you stay at hotels that already offer free breakfast.

Similarly, the Gold status benefit of 2 p.m. late checkout, or 4 p.m. checkout for Platinum and higher status, is valuable if you tend to stay longer before checking out.

The pandemic has meant that certain elite status benefits have been scaled back or eliminated, but other benefits are slowly returning as many hotels see higher occupancy. This means that more club lounges might be opening, and food and beverage options might be more plentiful. You can check what each hotel currently offers on the Marriott website.

Room upgrades can be subject to availability and occupancy, and Marriott Bonvoy only upgrades guests to select suite categories. To avoid disappointment, ask the specific hotel about your options before booking.

The biggest change for Marriott Bonvoy in 2022 is the elimination of award charts as of April. Redemption nights are now valued using dynamic pricing, which means that the number of points you need to book a room will be based on time of year and occupancy. Some redemptions will cost more than they did in years past, while others may cost less.

The bottom line

It’s worth it to pursue elite status with Marriott Bonvoy in 2022 by booking hotel stays that help you meet the requirements for each tier. For example, you have to stay 50 qualifying nights to earn Marriott Bonvoy Platinum elite status.

Signing up for a hotel credit card could make it easier to unlock elite status if you're starting from scratch. If you travel a lot, it always makes sense to be loyal to one hotel brand so that you achieve the highest elite status possible.

Even though Marriott Bonvoy is eliminating award charts, there is no competing with its sheer size and variety. Having elite status can make your hotel stays that much more enjoyable.


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 2022, including those best for:

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