Which Marriott Annual Choice Benefit Should You Choose?

Marriott members can choose among options like suite award nights, elite night credits or gifting status.

JT GenterSeptember 10, 2020
On a similar note...
On a similar note...
Which Marriott Annual Choice Benefit Should You Choose

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One of the most valuable perks of reaching Marriott Bonvoy Platinum Elite or Titanium Elite status is an Annual Choice Benefit — or, as it’s sometimes called, an “Annual Gift Choice.”

Marriott Bonvoy members who reach these status levels get to choose one of five or six perks, like Elite Night Credits for yourself or a gift of Gold Elite Status for someone else. If you don’t choose by the Jan. 8 deadline, your choice will be made for you (in the form of Suite Night Awards). Once you make your selection, you aren’t able to change your mind, so it’s important to get both the timing and your choice right.

Here’s a look at the gift options available and some tips on how to choose.

Marriott Annual Choice Benefit options for Platinum Elites

Platinum Elite members (50 Elite Night Credits) can choose to either:

  • Add five Elite Night Credits.

  • Save 40% on a bed.

  • Gift Marriott Bonvoy Silver Elite status.

  • Donate $100 to the global charity WE.

  • Get five Suite Night Awards.

The five Suite Night Awards are going to be the most logical choice for most Platinum Elite members. Suite Night Awards allow you to confirm an upgrade to a suite in advance of checking in. You’ll need to use one Suite Night Award per night that you want to upgrade your stay.

If you’re feeling generous, you can choose to have Marriott donate $100 to the ME to WE charity, which supports education, fresh water and other needs for the Kabolwo region of Kenya. Or, if you really love a mattress from a particular Marriott hotel brand, you can choose to save 40% off of the purchase of a mattress and box spring used in one of 13 brands, including the famous Westin Heavenly® Bed.

Gifting Silver Elite status

It’s almost never going to make sense to choose to gift Silver Elite status. Silver Elite status is earned after just 10 Elite Night Credits, and the benefits (or lack thereof) reflect this. Silver Elite status grants 10% bonus points on paid stays and late checkout based on availability.

Silver Elite status is easily attained by holding a Marriott co-branded credit card — even the $0 annual-fee Marriott Bonvoy Bold™ Credit Card. So encourage your friend or family member to get one of these credit cards instead of using your valuable Annual Choice Benefit.

Elite Night Credits

While five Elite Night Credits may seem tempting, it’s important to read the fine print. These Elite Night Credits will not help you requalify for elite status in the following year. Instead, these Elite Night Credits are added only to your current year total.

That means there’s a very narrow time that it makes sense to choose this option. If you’re otherwise on track to end up with 70 to 74 Elite Night Credits in a year, you’ll want to choose this benefit to push your total to 75, qualifying you for Titanium Elite status.

One of the perks of Titanium Elite status is another Annual Choice Benefit. So, you would effectively use your 50-night (Platinum) Annual Choice Benefit to upgrade your elite status for the next year and get another more-valuable Annual Choice Benefit.

Marriott Annual Choice Benefit options for Titanium Elites

Upon earning Titanium Elite status (75 Elite Night Credits), Marriott Bonvoy members can choose an another Annual Choice Benefit in addition to getting to select from the above options for passing the 50-night threshold. The options for Titanium Elites are:

  • Add five Elite Night Credits.

  • Save 40% on a bed.

  • Gift Marriott Bonvoy Gold Elite status.

  • Donate $100 to WE.

  • Get five Suite Night Awards.

  • Receive one Free Night Award.

These are similar to the choices for Platinum Elites, with a couple of key differences. As a Titanium Elite you can choose to gift Gold Elite status instead of Silver Elite status. Or you can choose a free night award for a hotel night costing up to 40,000 Bonvoy points.

Gifting Gold Elite status

Though it doesn’t make much sense to gift Silver Elite status for your 50-night Annual Choice Benefit, Gold Elite status is more valuable. Gold Elite status typically requires 25 Elite Night Credits and grants members 25% bonus on stays, an elite welcome gift of points, 2 p.m. late checkout, room upgrades and enhanced internet access.

Just keep in mind that your friends and family members can get Gold Elite status with The Platinum Card® from American Express or a Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant™ American Express® Card. So make sure that they aren’t already eligible for this elite status before you use your 75-night Annual Choice Benefit this way. Terms apply.

Free night award

The unique option for a 75-night Annual Choice Benefit is a free night award good for a stay in a standard room costing up to 40,000 Marriott points. That translates to a free night at any Category 1 through 5 property or a Category 6 property during an off-peak night.

If you can maximize this free night award, it can be the most valuable use of your gift award. For example, you can book a stay at the JW Marriott in Orlando, Grande Lakes on off-peak dates for just 40,000 points. This stay will otherwise cost around $300.

Elite night credits

There’s only a narrow window when choosing Elite Night Credits makes sense for Titanium Elites. Consider this option only if you have already met the $20,000 spending requirement for Ambassador Elite status.

If you’ve hit that spending threshold and you’re finishing the year with between 95 and 99 elite night credits, you may want to use your less-valuable 50-night Annual Choice Benefit to claim the five Elite Night Credits you need to push you over the top for Ambassador Elite status. Then, you can use your more-valuable 75-night Annual Choice Benefit for another option.

Ambassador Elite status gets you a personal Marriott “ambassador” plus a benefit known as Your24, which lets you choose the 24 hours of your stay. For example, with Your24 you can choose to check in at 11 p.m. and then get an 11 p.m. checkout time the next day.

If you’re finishing the year with between 90 and 94 nights, it could make sense to utilize both of your Annual Choice Benefits on Elite Night Credits (for a total of 10 extra) to qualify you for Ambassador Elite status. Just make sure Your24 and a personal ambassador are worth it to you.

How to select your Marriott Annual Choice Benefit

To pick your Marriott Annual Choice Benefit, start here. After logging in to your account, scroll down to see your Annual Choice Benefit options. Click “Learn More” next to the benefit that you want to choose. Check the box agreeing to the terms and conditions and the box stating you understand your selection is final. Then click continue, then confirm. You’ll get an email confirming your choice for the year.

Choosing Annual Choice Benefits as a Titanium Elite

If you have reached Titanium Elite status and haven’t yet chosen your Platinum Elite benefit, Marriott will inform you of this when you log in to select your benefits.

Be careful which choice you make first. The first benefit that you choose will be your 50-night Annual Choice Benefit. Then you’ll have the opportunity to select another benefit as your 75-night Annual Choice Benefit.

Claim complimentary United Silver elite status

Marriott Titanium Elite status also gets you complimentary United MileagePlus Premier Silver elite status, but you have to actively claim this benefit. So while you’re maximizing your benefits, claim this one too.

To get started, browse to this Marriott/United partnership page and click “Join RewardsPlus.” You’ll need to log in to your Marriott account, complete a two-factor authentication and then enter your United MileagePlus account number to link your accounts.

Deadline for making a Marriott Annual Choice Benefit

Marriott Platinum Elite and Titanium Elite members must choose their Annual Choice Benefits by Jan. 8 of the year after earning status. That means you’ll need to make your choice by Jan. 8, 2021, if you qualify for Marriott elite status during the 2020 calendar year.

If you don’t make a choice by this deadline, Marriott will automatically award 5 Suite Night Awards for both the 50-night Annual Choice Benefit and the 75-night Annual Choice Benefit.

In the case of Platinum Elite members, that’s not necessarily a bad thing. For most members, the most valuable 50-night Annual Choice Benefit is Suite Night Awards. However, Titanium Elite members have other more-valuable choices for the 75-night Annual Choice Benefits.

The bottom line

One of the valuable benefits of Marriott Platinum Elite and Titanium Elite status is an Annual Choice Benefit. This benefit lets you upgrade your elite status for the following year, score a Free Night Award or earn suite upgrades. But choose carefully. You can’t change your mind afterward.

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