When Do Purchased Points Count Toward Lifetime Status?
This post contains references to products from one or more of our advertisers. We may receive compensation when you click on links to those products. Terms apply to the offers listed on this page. For an explanation of our Advertising Policy, visit this page.
“Reader Questions” are answered three days a week — Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays — by TPG Senior Writer Julian Mark Kheel.
We here at The Points Guy definitely prefer earning points for free over paying for them, but sometimes there’s a good reason to buy points. TPG reader Thomas wonders if this might be one of those good reasons…
If I purchase miles from Marriott, do they count toward lifetime status?TPG Reader Thomas
I’m going to be completely honest, Thomas — when I first read your question, my immediate reaction was “nope, they don’t.” That’s because, at least when it comes to airlines and many hotel chains, purchased points and miles aren’t usually considered qualifying points from a lifetime or elite status perspective.
But when I started to research the answer to confirm my original suspicions, I was surprised to find out that even though it’s not noted in the program’s terms and conditions, multiple reports indicate that Marriott does in fact count purchased points — along with any and all points that reach your account in any manner — toward lifetime elite status.
Now, there are two important qualifiers to keep in mind on this. First, you can only buy up to 50,000 Marriott Rewards points per calendar year. Since lifetime status at the lowest level Marriott Silver requires 1.2 million points plus 250 nights at Marriott hotels, you’re not going to be able to come anywhere close to simply buying lifetime elite status via purchased points.
The other quirk of the Marriott program — again, one that isn’t specified in the terms and conditions but which has been widely reported — is that any points you might transfer to someone else as well as points used to buy back your elite status in a given year are deducted from your lifetime total. Award night redemptions don’t have the same effect so you don’t have to worry about that, but if you’re thinking about buying back status, you might want to consider the effect on your lifetime points.
Other hotel programs such as Starwood base lifetime status not on points but on nights and/or years of elite status, so this interesting Marriott quirk doesn’t apply. And if you’re wondering, both Hilton and Hyatt use “Base Points” when awarding lifetime status based on points, which Hilton defines as “every US dollar spent on your room rate and other eligible room charges” and Hyatt specifies as either dollars “spent by the Member on an Eligible Rate” or “payment of Eligible Incidental Charges and Eligible Non-Stay Charges.” Everything else is “Bonus Points” and doesn’t count at either chain.
Yep, sometimes in answering a question from a reader, I learn something myself. Thanks for teaching me a new trick, Thomas, and if you’re a TPG reader who’d like us to answer a question of your own — or teach me something new! — tweet us at @thepointsguy, message us on Facebook or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Featured image of the Marriott Burbank Convention Center courtesy of Marriott.
Welcome to The Points Guy!
Earn 50,000 bonus miles and 5,000 Medallion® Qualification Miles (MQMs) after you spend $2,000 in purchases on your new card in your first three months of card membership. Plus, earn up to $100 back in statement credits for eligible purchases at U.S. restaurants with your card within the first 3 months of membership.
With Status Boost™, earn 10,000 Medallion Qualification Miles (MQMs) after you spend $25,000 in purchases on your Card in a calendar year, up to two times per year getting you closer to Medallion Status. Earn 3X Miles on Delta purchases and purchases made directly with hotels, 2X Miles at restaurants and at U.S. supermarkets and earn 1X Mile on all other eligible purchases. Terms Apply.
- Earn 50,000 bonus miles and 5,000 Medallion® Qualification Miles (MQMs) after you spend $2,000 in purchases on your new Card in your first 3 months.
- Plus, earn up to $100 back in statement credits for eligible purchases at US restaurants with your card within the first 3 months of membership.
- Accelerate your path to Medallion Status, with Status Boost®. Plus, in 2021 you can earn even more bonus Medallion® Qualification Miles (MQMs) to help you reach Medallion Status.
- Earn 3X Miles on Delta purchases and purchases made directly with hotels.
- Earn 2X Miles at restaurants worldwide, including takeout and delivery and at U.S. supermarkets.
- Earn 1X Miles on all other eligible purchases.
- Receive a Domestic Main Cabin round-trip companion certificate each year upon renewal of your Card. *Payment of the government imposed taxes and fees of no more than $75 for roundtrip domestic flights (for itineraries with up to four flight segments) is required. Baggage charges and other restrictions apply. See terms and conditions for details.
- Enjoy your first checked bag free on Delta flights.
- Fee Credit for Global Entry or TSA Pre✓®.
- Enjoy an exclusive rate of $39 per person per visit to enter the Delta Sky Club® for you and up to two guests when traveling on a Delta flight.
- No Foreign Transaction Fees.
- $250 Annual Fee.
- Terms Apply.
- See Rates & Fees