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TPG reader Angela sent me a message on Facebook to ask about earning Marriott status:
“I stay with Marriott a lot for work, and I have a Marriott card that gives me Silver status. Is there another card that can get me Gold status (like the Business Platinum Amex for SPG and Hilton)?”
Hotel loyalty programs offer quite a few shortcuts to elite status, including co-branded credit cards. Fortunately for Angela, Marriott Rewards is no exception, and there are a few options for earning Gold Elite status without meeting the standard night and stay requirements.
The simplest route is to get the Ritz-Carlton Rewards Credit Card, which offers automatic Gold Elite status for the first account year. You can maintain Gold status beyond that by spending $10,000 on the card each account year thereafter. While Ritz-Carlton Rewards and Marriott Rewards are technically separate programs, they offer mutual points and elite benefits, so your status will be recognized at Marriott properties.
Another option is to double down on Marriott cards. Angela already has the Marriott Rewards Premier Credit Card, which offers cardholders 15 elite night credits each year — enough to qualify automatically for Silver Elite status. However, the Marriott Rewards Premier Business Credit Card also offers 15 elite night credits annually, and you can stack credits from the two cards to get 30 nights total. Both cards also offer one elite night credit for every $3,000 spent on purchases, so you should be able to qualify for Gold each year if you’re staying regularly for work.
Between those two options, I prefer the Ritz-Carlton card so long as you can easily meet the spending requirement to keep Gold status. The annual fee is much higher at $395 (versus $85 for the personal Marriott Premier card and $99 for the business card), but it makes up for the extra cost with other benefits. The $300 annual travel credit, Club level upgrades and more are among the reasons why I hang on to this card year after year. That said, the two Marriott cards each come with an annual free night at a Category 1-5 property, so they offer good value as well.
You may have other options that don’t involve credit cards. For starters, Marriott might allow you to challenge for Gold Elite if you have comparable status with another brand. This program isn’t formalized, so you’ll need to email Marriott and put in a request. Your chances are better if you have a lot of stay activity in your account, but you might be able to parlay status from another credit card (like The Enhanced Business Platinum Card from American Express OPEN) into a status challenge with Marriott.
Finally, the RewardsPlus crossover program between Marriott and United offers the opportunity to earn reciprocal status. MileagePlus members who have Premier Gold status or above can register to get automatic Marriott Gold Elite status, so that’s a no-brainer if you already qualify.
For more on elite status and credit cards from Marriott and Ritz-Carlton, check out these posts:
- What Is Marriott and Ritz-Carlton Elite Status Worth in 2016?
- Should I Get the Marriott or Ritz-Carlton Credit Card?
- 80,000-Point Sign-Up Bonus on the Marriott Rewards Premier Card
- Earn 80,000 Bonus Points after you spend $3,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening.
- Plus, earn 7,500 bonus points when you add the first authorized user and make a purchase in the first 3 months from account opening.
- Enjoy 1 Free Night Stay at a Category 1-5 hotel every year after your account anniversary date!
- Earn unlimited Marriott Rewards points and get Free Night Stays faster
- Earn 5 points per $1 spent at participating Marriott Rewards & SPG hotels
- 2 points per $1 spent on airline tickets purchased directly with the airlines, at car rental agencies & restaurants. Plus 1 point per $1 spent everywhere else
- The fastest way to earn Marriott Rewards Elite Status. Receive 15 Elite Credits guaranteeing Silver Elite Status or better.
- All for an $85 Annual Fee