My Experience Getting a Status Match/Challenge with Marriott

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Due to a combination of some work travel to small Texas towns and travel to a conference that is held at a Marriott, I have multiple Marriott brand hotel stays coming up in the next several months.  This is a bit frustrating for me since I would love to focus on Hyatt and Starwood, but since Marriott actually has a pretty generous Mega Bonus promo going on where you stay twice and then get one free night at a Category 1-4 hotel, it wasn’t a total loss.  However, I have gotten spoiled used to having at least some level of hotel status at Hyatt and Starwood, so it was a bit frustrating having to go back to having no status with Marriott.

However, I remember reading that Marriott actually has a pretty generous status match/challenge, so I emailed to see if I could qualify for such a challenge.  I did let them know that I had Hyatt Diamond status, and that I had several Marriott stays coming up.  They responded the next day with the following message (bolding is mine):

On behalf of Marriott Rewards Guest Services, please allow me to extend an offer to you to conditionally upgrade your status to the Platinum Elite level. This new status would be valid through May 31, 2012; however, an updated membership card would not be processed until the following terms have been met.

In order to maintain this status, you must stay 18 paid nights beginning with the date the upgrade is processed, through May 31, 2012. This is a one-time offer, and would be effective within 24 to 48 hours of your acceptance of this upgrade offer.

Once you have stayed 18 paid nights, the Platinum Elite status will be extended until February 2013. To retain this status for all of 2013, you would need to stay the qualifying number of nights during 2012. The Silver Elite level requires 10 personal paid nights, the Gold Elite level requires 50 personal paid nights, and the Platinum Elite level requires 75 personal paid nights.

Should you be unable to stay the 18 paid nights during this trial period, your account would be returned to your original status, and you would need to stay the normal night requirements to regain this Platinum Elite level.

Since I wasn’t overly familiar with Marriott’s top-tier elite status, I went to their website and saw that Platinum Status would get me the following helpful benefits:

  • Free internet
  • Room upgrade, if available
  • Lounge access/breakfast
  • 50% points bonus
  • Platinum arrival gift

Of course, I love 50% additional points with each stay, but both free breakfast and internet result in real money saved, so I was very happy about those two perks.  Since none of my currently planned Marriott stays are with my family, the possible room upgrades weren’t that important, but I certainly would never turn down a “better” room.  I quickly responded via email that I accepted the terms of the challenge, and was then told my account would be updated with my temporary Platinum status within 24 – 48 hours.  That was perfect, because I had my first Marriott stay four days after accepting the challenge.  However, when I went to check-in for my stay last night, I quickly learned that my upgraded status had not yet processed, so no special treatment and perks occurred for me on that stay.  At current count, it will be at least full six days after accepting the challenge that my status will be upgraded (assuming it happens tomorrow), so plan ahead if you want to try and get this challenge and have a Marriott stay within the following week.

Aside from the delay in getting the updated status reflected on my account, I also found it interesting that while I told them I had Hyatt Diamond status, I was not actually asked for any documentation to support that claim.  So, I’m not sure if elite status with another hotel chain is required for this challenge or not.

I’m looking forward to giving Marriott Platinum status a try – wish I could have used it yesterday, but I have another Marriott stay later this week, so hopefully the issue will be resolved by then.  Since the hotel is such an important part of many family vacations, look for some more posts about hotel elite status issues in the next week or two.

Do you have elite status with Marriott?  What do you think?  Have you done a status challenge with them?

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  1. I am a platinum with Marriott. I really like Marriotts and the rewards program. I have the MR Visa which gives you a Cat 1-4 cert every year and 15 nights. So you are guaranteed Silver every year for just having the card. I have Stayed at a Marriott in China and the room upgrades and service was awesome. I was so spoiled as I don’t get as good of service at Marriotts in the US.

  2. Thanks for sharing about your experience with Marriott Status. I was recently reading this thread on flyertalk — calld the Marriott “Taste of Platinum” — from what I read, Marriott doesn’t do a status match — just a challenge to try to reach status. It is nice they give you the status during the challenge and I am looking forward to taking advantage of it soon.

  3. This is a great outline of the challenge! My question is : if you book stays before you start the challenge do you have to rebook them, or should your platinum status automagically show up for them?

  4. They give challenges to anyone, no need to match. I called and had it added to my account and it was done within hours. I suggest you call as it’s probably gotten lost in the shuffle if it’s been six days.

  5. I am Marriott and SPG plat. The things I like about Marriott are
    1. the travel package- costs quite a few points, but you get approx 120000 airline miles and 7 nights at the marriott. The cost varies depending on what hotel category you choose
    2. Marriott certificates. for 135000 points, I get $1000 worth of certificates. They expire in one year, but these have been very useful in paying for many of my marriott stays.
    3. US coverage- Marriott is everywhere
    4. You can use points at the Ritz- though its expensive- but a nice aspirational hotel.

    I have had much better upgrades at some of the hotels in the Starwood chain, but Marriott is definitely my second chain for the above reasons.

  6. It would be Awesome to double dip by getting the challange and then apply for the VISA that gives you a credit of 15 nights and then you just need 3 more.
    I know it is wishful thinking since it specifically states 18 PAID nights, but maybe it can slip thorugh the system 🙂

  7. I second the suggestion of calling to see what has happened to your challenge. Marriott is usually quite speedy.
    Hubby has spent years staying in small towns where Hyatt and Starwood have no presence. Generally, HIexpress or Best Western are the upscale choices. However, we are often at a Fairfield or Residence Inn for our daughters High School activities. Last year Marriott offered him a Gold challenge. His first gold stay, during a convention in San Antonio, sold him.
    The Marriott Visa will probably allow him to make platinum.
    As Mom, I know that the free night certificates were usable during special event rates. Free versus $189 a night (the special rate- rack was $249)at the RI for our daughters athletic competition. Or my best use yet, Parents weekend for her freshman year of college will be 30,000pts instead of $259+tax per night at the Fairfield. Depending on bookings, Marriott will let me switch the points reservation to a free night certificate.

  8. Hi, I’m planning on traveling to Aruba and was thinking of staying at the Marriott. Not my first choice but if they offer me the platinum status, that would be great.

    Would you be able to let me know what you wrote to them originally in your email regarding the status match challenge?

    Thanks for your assistance in advance.

  9. As previously pointed out, what Marriott does is more about a “challenge” than any real status match.

    I just called in to the Silver line, and asked about doing a challenge to Gold. They said no problem and didn’t ask me any real information questions, just asked my approval to start it tomorrow and noted to me it would end in 90 days and I could only do this once per year.

    I wish I had known this last year when I went on a long cross-country tour, staying enough to earn Silver, and I could have gained 25% bonus on the points from the very first stay. Oh well….

  10. Here are a few answers (sorry I can’t answer each one individually, day job has been insane this week!)

    -That is great that this is a challenge and not a match. That means it should be open to everyone.

    -Stays do not have to be rebooked to count toward the challenge.

    -I do need to call Marriott as email seems to have not worked today, but I just haven’t had time yet.

    -Sounds like there are some great perks and benefits to the Marriott chain.

    -In my original email I told them I had Hyatt Diamond status, had several Marriott stays coming up, and that I was interested in a status match or challenge.

    Hope that helps and thanks for all the great comments. 😉

  11. Hi, just to confirm what was said upthread, the best results seem to be from phoning customer service. I called in this afternoon about the challenge to the Silver line, at around 3PM. Around 7PM it was still Silver. Checking on my account just now (9:45PM) the level has changed up from silver to gold. I work in IT and I suspect what they have is a batch job that processes changes once or twice a day, but they say “24 hours” to allow for oopsies. I actually requested Gold because I’m about to do a couple of trips and there’s a possibility I could end up doing 12 nights in 90 days. Saw no need to shoot for a Platinum I cannot possibly maintain since I’m not a biz traveller. YMMV. Worst case I drop back to Silver oh well.

  12. I’m lifetime Platinum on Marriott (earned Plat 10 yrs).

    On of my favorite perks is guaranteed room res 48 hours out with just a few rare exceptions (like a major sporting event in town just then).

    I get a lot of last minute assignments and that guarantee has really helped a few times.

    Also, some hotels want more points for better rooms (Marriott Hong Kong was a recent example for me). I reserve the basic room, but then get the Plat upgrade even on award rooms.

    Unlike some other chains, Marriott treats its Plat and Gold customers well even when on reward stays.

  13. @ORD-TGU You won’t be able to count the Visa bonus nights towards the challenge, but they will count for 15 of the nights to maintain the status. and you get another night for every 3K you put on the card. I recommend only putting marriott charges on the card.

    I’ve been plat for the past 14 years (started consulting march 14th and hit plat sometime in june and never looked back) and thanks to rollover nights (and 250 butt in seat nights last year) started the year renewed for plat next year.

    the 48 hour guarantee is great and it’s 48 hours, not 2 days; and you can “abuse” it like you can with the new SPG 24-hour ‘in the room’ benefit.

  14. I am looking for some mariott advice. I got the Visa card and 70k and silver. Now looking a a 4 day stay coming up in NYC at carlton or mariott brooklyn bridge. 160k and 140k points respectively. I was thinking of emailing them to request the platinum challenge for an upgrade on the stay. What i can not figure out is a) mariott brooklyn bridge doesnt have any rooms to upgrade too!? (but a sweet pool). b) does the upgrade apply to award stay rooms too?
    c) is there any way that status can help or with a 50$ valet parking per day?

  15. shut down on platinum but got gold challenge, this was their reponse:

    Elite levels in the Marriott Rewards program are earned by Marriott Rewards members who have already proven their loyalty by staying the required amount of nights at participating Marriott Rewards properties per calendar year. The demand for Platinum Elite level benefits is very high.

    We respectfully reserve our Platinum Elite benefits for Marriott Rewards members who have already proven their loyalty to Marriott. We greatly value our Elite members, and would not want to undermine their commitment to Marriott by upgrading members who have not stayed the requisite number of nights.

    On behalf of Marriott Rewards Guest Services, I am willing to extend an offer to you to conditionally upgrade your status to the Gold Elite level. This new status would be valid through May 31, 2012; however, an updated membership card would not be processed until the following terms have been met.

  16. Thanks for the great post. I am definitely going to give this a shot. Im a starwood platinum member and want to enjoy similar benefits with Marriott.

  17. Thanks MP! I got a status match/challenge to Platinum with my Hilton Gold status because you shared this. Good thing too, I’ll be staying at the Marriott for 100 nights or more this summer for business 🙂

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