Booking direct: How much value does Marriott status provide?

Mar 26, 2021

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Even once you decide on a particular hotel for a trip, you still need to determine how to best book your stay. Perhaps you compare room rates booked through a couple of different sites. You might even use TPG’s valuations to evaluate whether using points would provide solid value. But you may be forgetting to consider the value provided by your elite status when you book directly with the hotel brand.

Over the next four weeks, I’ll explain the benefits and earnings that you can obtain from different status levels at popular brands when you book direct. First up, let’s look at Marriott.

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In This Post

Marriott status levels

Required nights per year Earning rate on stays based on status Standout benefits that start at this status level
Member None 2.5x at Marriott Executive Apartments and ExecuStay (2% return based on TPG’s valuations)

5x at Element, Residence Inn and TownePlace Suites (4% return)

10x at all other Marriott properties (8% return)

Complimentary in-room Internet access
Silver Elite 10 2.75x at Marriott Executive Apartments and ExecuStay (2.2%)

5.5x at Element, Residence Inn and TownePlace Suites (4.4% return)

11x at all other Marriott properties (8.8% return)

Priority late checkout
Gold Elite 25 3.125x at Marriott Executive Apartments and ExecuStay (2.5%)

6.25x at Element, Residence Inn and TownePlace Suites (5% return)

12.5x at all other Marriott properties (10% return)

Enhanced room upgrade

2 p.m. late checkout

Welcome gift of points

Complimentary enhanced in-room Internet access

Platinum Elite 50 3.75x at Marriott Executive Apartments and ExecuStay (3%)

7.5x at Element, Residence Inn and TownePlace Suites (6% return)

15x at all other Marriott properties (12% return)

Enhanced room upgrade including select suites

Annual choice benefit

4 p.m. guaranteed late checkout

Lounge access

Welcome gift choice (breakfast is an option at many brands)

Titanium Elite 75 4.375x at Marriott Executive Apartments and ExecuStay (3.5%)

8.75x at Element, Residence Inn and TownePlace Suites (7% return)

17.5x at all other Marriott properties (14% return)

Additional annual choice benefit

United MileagePlus Premier Silver Status

Ambassador Elite 100 + $20,000 qualifying spend 4.375x at Marriott Executive Apartments and ExecuStay (3.5%)

8.75x at Element, Residence Inn and TownePlace Suites (7% return)

17.5x at all other Marriott properties (14% return)

Ambassador service

Your24

Related reading: What is Marriott Bonvoy elite status worth?

How to get Marriott status

You can earn Marriott status organically by staying the required number of nights for each level. If you need a little help reaching that desired status level, all Marriott Bonvoy-branded cards award you 15 elite night credits every year per account. This means that you’ll get at least Silver Elite status with any Bonvoy-branded card, and you’ll have to stay 15 fewer nights than usual for every status level.

Gold Elite status normally requires 25 nights, but there are several credit cards that either include this status or allow you to earn it:

Platinum Elite status normally requires 50 nights, but there are a few ways to earn this status through credit cards:

Related reading: Which Marriott Bonvoy credit card is right for you?

What value does Marriott status provide?

Marriott usually doesn’t provide elite benefits or earnings on bookings that aren’t made through Marriott. This means that if you book through an online travel agent, credit card portal or even American Express’ Fine Hotels and Resorts program, you usually won’t get elite benefits or earnings based on your elite status tier. So, especially if you have a high-tier of elite status with Marriott, it may be worth booking directly with Marriott to ensure access to your elite benefits and earnings.

Marriott elite status provides benefits in two primary areas: earnings and on-site perks. It’s difficult to estimate how much value you’ll get from on-site perks. TPG Senior Editor Nick Ewen estimated the following values based on earning status organically while spending an average of $150 per night on eligible charges ($175 per night for Ambassador Elite):

  • Silver Elite: $4 per night
  • Gold Elite: $33 per night
  • Platinum Elite: $53 per night
  • Titanium Elite: $65 per night
  • Ambassador Elite: $54 per night

You may initially scoff at these valuations. But, let’s consider the valuation of Platinum elite status at about $44 per night. You may agree with the valuation once you factor in the guaranteed 4 p.m. late checkout, potential space-available upgrades, breakfast benefit for two at most brands and more.

My recommendation is to check out Nick’s guide on what Marriott Bonvoy elite status is worth to see his methodology. Then, decide whether you agree with his assumptions and use his methodology to calculate your own value per night based on your level of elite status. Once you have calculated your value, you can better decide whether to book direct for a particular stay.

It’s important to understand that the value of booking direct is even more than Nick’s valuations show. That’s because his valuations only consider the point bonus provided on top of what is provided for base-level members on direct bookings.

So, let’s consider the points each level of elite status would earn when booking directly with Marriott at a full-service brand, along with the value of these points based on TPG’s valuation of Marriott points at 0.8 cents each.

Status level Points earning rate (return based on TPG’S VALUATIONS) Points on $100 of qualifying charges Points on $150 of qualifying charges Points on $200 of qualifying charges Points on $500 of qualifying charges Points on $1,000 of qualifying charges
Member (0-9 nights) 10x (8%) 1,000 ($8) 1,500 ($12) 2,000 ($16) 5,000 ($40) 10,000 ($80)
Silver Elite (10-24 nights) 11x (8.8%) 1,100 ($9) 1,650 ($13) 2,200 ($18) 5,500 ($44) 11,000 ($88)
Gold Elite (25-49 nights) 12.5x (10%) 1,250 ($10) 1,875 ($15) 2,500 ($20) 6,250 ($50) 12,500 ($100)
Platinum Elite (50-74 nights) 15x (12%) 1,500 ($12) 2,250 ($18) 3,000 ($24) 7,500 ($60) 15,000 ($120)
Titanium Elite (75+ nights) or Ambassador Elite (100+ nights and $20,000 qualifying spend) 17.5x (14%) 1,750 ($14) 2,625 ($21) 3,500 ($28) 8,750 ($70) 17,500 ($140)

Ignoring the value of other benefits, such as upgrades, breakfast, late check-out and more, the above table shows the tangible value of the points you’ll receive for a range of qualifying charges when booking directly at each elite level. This allows you to estimate — based on your qualifying charges and elite level — how much value you’d be giving up in points alone (based on TPG’s valuation of Marriott points) when booking through a non-qualifying method.

You may receive more points on select stays due to a welcome gift of points, but I ignored this in my calculations because the amount varies by brand and is often only provided to customers with elevated status levels.

Related reading: Amex vs. Citi vs. Chase: Which booking portal is best for hotels?

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Featured image of the W Osaka Room courtesy of Marriott

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