Final day to select your Marriott annual Choice Benefit for 2022
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Marriott Bonvoy elite status offers some impressive benefits. The perks get particularly compelling once you accrue 50 elite nights in a calendar year to reach Marriott Bonvoy Platinum Elite status. One of those perks is the ability to choose an annual Choice Benefit. If you reach 75 elite nights in a calendar year, you’ll be able to select a second annual Choice Benefit.
The options for 50-night and 75-night annual Choice Benefits are slightly different, but in either case, the deadline for selecting any of these annual Choice Benefits is tonight. If you earned Platinum status (or higher) in 2021 and don’t choose by Friday, Jan. 7 at 11:59 p.m. Eastern Time, Marriott will select for you.
But which Choice Benefit should you choose? Let’s take a look at each option and which one may offer the best value.
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Overview of Marriott Bonvoy annual choice benefits
As noted above, you must select your annual Choice Benefit(s) by Jan. 7 of the year after you reached the elite night threshold(s). For example, if you earn 50 elite nights in 2021, you have until Jan. 7, 2022, to select your annual Choice Benefit. If you don’t choose a benefit by the deadline, you’ll receive Suite Night Awards by default.
To select your annual Choice Benefit(s), visit this page on Marriott’s website. You’ll need to sign in to your Marriott Bonvoy account before you can choose your benefit. However, note that you can’t change your selection once you make it. Likewise, you can’t change the choice if you miss the deadline.
How to accrue Marriott Bonvoy elite nights
Earning 50 or 75 elite nights in a calendar year may sound daunting. However, Marriott provides multiple avenues to reach these thresholds outside of completing actual nights in participating Marriott properties. For starters, award nights count as elite nights. You can also earn up to 30 elite night credits by holding select Marriott Bonvoy credit cards. Specifically, you can earn 15 elite night credits each year by having a personal Marriott card and another 15 elite night credits by holding a Marriott business card.
So, suppose you have a personal Marriott card like the Marriott Bonvoy Boundless Credit Card and a business Marriott card like the Marriott Bonvoy Business™ American Express® Card. In that case, you’ll get 30 elite night credits each year through these cards alone. Then, you’d only need to spend 20 nights with Marriott Bonvoy in a calendar year to earn Platinum Elite status — which then unlocks an annual Choice Benefit selection. Likewise, you’d only need to spend 45 nights with Marriott in a calendar year to earn Titanium Elite status and a second annual Choice Benefit.
The coronavirus pandemic provided another shortcut to Bonvoy elite status. In both 2020 and 2021, Marriott deposited 50% of the elite night credits needed to earn the status held in the previous year into members’ accounts. So, even if you didn’t stay with Marriott Bonvoy frequently in 2021, you may still have earned enough elite nights to qualify for Choice Benefits.
For example, I accrued 50 elite nights and earned Platinum Elite status after staying with Marriott for just seven nights in 2020. And I snagged Titanium Elite status in 2021 after spending just 20 nights with Marriott in 2021. Meanwhile, TPG senior editor Nick Ewen requalified for Platinum status with just 10 actual nights spent at Marriott properties in 2021.
Platinum Elite (50 nights)
As noted above, you’ll unlock your first annual Choice Benefit when you qualify for Platinum Elite status. Your options for the 50-night annual Choice Benefit are:
- Five elite night credits
- Five Suite Night Awards
- 40% off a mattress
- $100 charity donation
- Gift of Marriott Bonvoy Silver Elite status for a family member, friend or colleague
Most of these benefits are pretty tough to value. So, let’s take a closer look at each option. I’ll start with the options that are unlikely to make sense for most elites.
Gift Marriott Silver Elite status
Giving status to someone else might initially sound like a good option. But, Marriott Bonvoy Silver Elite status isn’t worth much. In fact, TPG Senior Editor Nick Ewen only values Silver Elite status at $45 and it’s worth $0 if the person you gift it to doesn’t end up using it. After all, the primary perks of Silver Elite status are a 10% points bonus on paid stays and priority late checkout.
So, if you know someone who wants elite status with Marriott Bonvoy, you may instead want to encourage them to apply for a card. This is because cardholders of the following cards get automatic Marriott Bonvoy elite status:
- Marriott Bonvoy Business™ American Express® Card ($125 annual fee, see rates and fees): Silver Elite status
- Marriott Bonvoy Boundless Credit Card ($95 annual fee): Silver Elite status
- Marriott Bonvoy Bold Credit Card (no annual fee): Silver Elite status
- The Platinum Card® from American Express ($695 annual fee, see rates and fees): Gold Elite status, including for Platinum Card authorized users. Enrollment required.
- The Business Platinum Card® from American Express ($595 annual fee; $695 if the application is received on or after 1/13/2022), see rates and fees): Gold Elite status
- Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant™ American Express® Card ($450 annual fee, see rates and fees): Gold Elite status
Plus, as noted above, it’s now possible to earn up to 30 elite night credits through Marriott Bonvoy cards each year. So, earning Platinum Elite status or higher may be well within reach even for infrequent travelers.
$100 charity donation
You can select a $100 charity donation to a choice of three charities as your annual Choice Benefit:
- World Wildlife Fund
- Arne M. Sorenson Hospitality Fund
The $100 charity donation is a nice touch and could be the right decision if you can’t use any other annual Choice Benefit options. However, I’d prefer to earn points and miles on a charitable donation to a charity of my choice and maintain my ability to select one of the other benefits.
40% off a mattress
If you love the bed at a particular Marriott brand, you can buy a new one for your home. And, if you’re going to buy a Marriott mattress for your house, you should select the annual Choice Benefit that provides 40% off a Marriott brand mattress. Although this annual Choice Benefit can be a great value, relatively few people are in the market for a specific hotel bed. As such, this option doesn’t apply to many travelers.
Five elite night credits
One option that can make sense for some travelers is five elite night credits. In particular, the elite night credits can come in handy if you find yourself just a few nights short of leveling up to Titanium Elite status.
However, there’s a major caveat here. Selecting this as your Choice Benefit will add five nights to your total in the year you qualified. As a result, picking five elite night credits for your annual Choice Benefit — even if you select it in early Jan. 2022 — won’t help you qualify for elite status this coming year. Instead, it’ll add five nights to your 2021 total.
Five Suite Night Awards
Each Suite Night Award is valid for a one-night, confirmable upgrade to select suites and premium rooms designated by each property. So, you’d need six Suite Night Award certificates to request an upgrade for a six-night reservation.
Many members save these upgrades for stays at luxury Marriott Bonvoy properties. But, it also may be worth trying to identify properties that make higher-category suites available for upgrade. However, not all Marriott hotels offer Suite Night Award upgrades and some may restrict availability. So, if you have a particular property in mind when selecting this annual Choice Benefit, check whether the property participates before making your selection.
Bear in mind too that these awards expire on Dec. 31 in the year following the one in which you earned them. So, if you reached 50 nights in 2021 and chose five Suite Night Awards as your Choice Benefit, they’ll expire on Dec. 31, 2022.
Titanium Elite (75 nights)
After you reach 75 elite nights, you’ll earn Marriott Titanium Elite status and get a second annual Choice Benefit. The choices for the 75-night annual Choice Benefit are as follows:
- Five elite night credits
- Five Suite Night Awards
- Free night award worth up to 40,000 points
- 40% off a mattress
- $100 charity donation
- Gift of Marriott Bonvoy Gold Elite status for a family member, friend or colleague
As you can see, the choices here are relatively similar to the choices available after hitting the 50-night threshold. I’ll skip over the charitable donation, Suite Night Awards and 40% mattress discount since I’ve already discussed these options in the previous section. Likewise, I won’t further discuss gifting elite status, since it’s relatively easy to obtain Gold Elite status via credit cards as previously discussed.
However, let’s take a closer look at the other two options.
Five elite night credits
Earlier in this article, I considered how some travelers might select the five elite night credits as the 50-night annual Choice Benefit to reach Titanium elite status. However, it could also make sense for Titanium Elite members to choose it in order to earn Ambassador Elite status. After all, Ambassador Elite status typically requires 100 elite nights and $20,000 in annual Marriott spending to qualify.
If you’re looking to select an annual Choice Benefit by Jan. 7, 2022, this option will only make sense if you ended 2021 with 95-99 elite nights and at least $14,000 in annual qualifying spend with Marriott (note that this spend threshold was reduced from $20,000 in 2021 only — and will return to normal in 2022).
Free night award worth up to 40,000 points
The final option, unique to the 75-night annual choice benefit, is one free-night award worth up to 40,000 points. This free night award is slightly more valuable than the 35,000-point free night award certificates associated with many of the Marriott Bonvoy cards. You can use a 40,000-point certificate for peak nights at Category 5 hotels as well as for off-peak nights at Category 6 hotels.
Based on TPG’s valuations, 40,000 Marriott Bonvoy points are worth $320. So, this is undoubtedly a valuable option. However, if you already have lots of Marriott Bonvoy points and outstanding free-night awards to cover your travels, you may want to choose another benefit.
In addition, it’s worth noting that, as of March 2022, Marriott will be removing its award charts as it transitions to more dynamic pricing. While it does expect the vast majority of properties to keep peak and off-peak rates the same until the end of the year, if you select this free-night award as your Titanium Choice Benefit, you should strongly consider booking a reservation with it by the end of February.
Finally, this award will expire on Dec. 31, 2022.
Which annual Choice Benefit should you choose?
While the selections haven’t changed, you might want to make a different choice than usual if you’re still not planning to travel as much this coming year. If you do expect to travel in 2022, it will likely make sense to choose the free night award or Suite Night Awards. Both options can provide significant value. But, if you’re able to use the Suite Night Awards before they expire and can get considerable value from these upgrades, this is likely the more valuable option.
However, if you are only five or fewer elite nights shy of qualifying for Ambassador Elite or Titanium Elite status, choosing the five elite night credits may be a great choice. Likewise, if you plan to buy a Marriott brand mattress, the 40% off discount is likely your best bet.
You may be wondering what my husband and I selected for our annual Choice Benefits. After all, in 2021 we both earned Titanium Elite status. We both picked five Suite Night Awards for our 50-night threshold benefits and each selected free night awards for our 75-night threshold benefits.
We haven’t mastered how to maximize Suite Night Awards yet — and there’s a lot of variability across Marriott’s properties — so we decided the free night certificates would provide more value.
Marriott’s annual Choice Benefits are a great way to reward elite members. There are ample options to choose from at both the 50-night and 75-night thresholds. But, the options aren’t created equally. So, it’s worth considering which benefit will be most valuable for you.
Finally, be sure to make your selections by Friday, Jan. 7, 2022, at 11:59 p.m. Eastern Time. If you miss this deadline, the program will automatically select Suite Night Awards for you.
Additional reporting by Ethan Steinberg and Nick Ewen.
For the rates and fees of the Marriott Bonvoy Business Amex, please click here.
For the rates and fees of the Amex Platinum, please click here.
For the rates and fees of the Amex Business Platinum, please click here.
For the rates and fees of the Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant Amex, please click here.
Featured photo of the JW Marriott Maldives by Nicky Kelvin/The Points Guy.
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