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 marriottrewards@marriott.com 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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