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This Marriott loyalist already has 357 elite night credits — here’s how she (probably) did it

Sept. 22, 2022
7 min read
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We’re just over 260 days into 2022, and a member of the Marriott Bonvoy Insiders Facebook group has already accrued 357 elite night credits.

Impossible? Far from it. Improbable for most of us? Definitely.

Marriott offers loads of easy ways to pick up bonus elite night credits each year. With a shrewd Marriott credit card strategy paired with some aggressive use of Marriott promotions, even an infrequent traveler could be sitting on 60-plus elite night credits this year.

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Admittedly, having 357 elite night credits is bonkers — and would require borderline living in hotels along with the above tricks. However, such a staggering number is a good reminder that there are some cost-effective ways to level up your Marriott elite status before the end of the year.

Automatic elite night credits from credit cards

All Marriott credit cards — including the no-annual-fee Marriott Bonvoy Bold® Credit Card — grant you 15 automatic elite night credits each calendar year.

Even better, the Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant™ American Express® Card now includes 25 elite nights every year and automatic Platinum Elite status. That’s an enormous help when trying to reach top-tier elite status quickly, and you'll get benefits right out of the gate.

One caveat: The elite night credits you earn from Marriott personal cards don’t stack. So if you’ve got two personal cards that include 15 nights, you’ll still only receive 15 elite night credits (instead of 30).

However, you can stack the credits you earn from a personal card with the 15 credits you’ll earn from the Marriott Bonvoy Business® American Express® Card. Pair this card with the Bonvoy Brilliant, and you'll have a whopping 40 elite nights in your account without stepping foot in a Marriott property.

Related: What is Marriott elite status worth in 2022?

Credit card spending

Turn your everyday spending into elite night credits. SRDJANNS74/GETTY IMAGES

If you’re a big spender, you could hypothetically spend your way to prestigious elite status without ever stepping foot in a hotel.

The Marriott Bonvoy Boundless® Credit Card from Chase has a special superpower that no other Marriott credit card has: For every $5,000 you spend, you’ll earn 1 elite night credit.

Here’s what that means for you: If the Marriott Bonvoy Boundless is your only Marriott card, you could earn:

  • Platinum status after spending $175,000 in a calendar year.
  • Titanium status after spending $300,000 in a calendar year.

If you have the Marriott Bonvoy Boundless and the Marriott Bonvoy Business cards (30 automatic elite nights per year), you could earn:

  • Platinum status after spending $100,000 in a calendar year.
  • Titanium status after spending $225,000 in a calendar year.

This is not the path of least resistance for most of us — but even two or three extra elite night credits might be all the difference between making and missing status. Many cardholders could potentially benefit from funneling expenses through the card.

Related: Marriott Bonvoy Boundless review

Book award stays

You'll earn Marriott elite nights when you book award stays. ANDREW KUNESH/THE POINTS GUY

When you book an award stay with Marriott points, you’ll earn elite night credits. If you’re close to elite status but you need just a few extra nights, it could be worth:

  • Using your points to book a fun award stay that you wouldn’t otherwise have booked (the ideal option).
  • Using your points to book a super-cheap award stay near your house for a staycation (the less-than-ideal option).

That second point might sound crazy. Who would sacrifice perfectly good points for a boring low-rent hotel that you don’t necessarily want to stay at? If it’ll elevate your status from Gold to Platinum, it’s almost certainly worthwhile. After all, you can book a night at many hotels, like the Fairfield Inn & Suites Abilene, for as little as 6,000 points per night.

Another note: Marriott offers the fifth night free when you book at least five consecutive award nights. Even if your travel plans include an award stay of four nights, you may as well take the fifth free night and effectively gift yourself a free elite night credit.

Related: What are mattress runs, and how do they work?

Double elite night promotions

For a couple of years now, Marriott has published a promotion allowing you to earn double elite night credits.

The previous promotion ended May 4, so we’re not expecting to see another one until 2023. Still, you can prepare your upcoming travels to take advantage when this promo likely pops up again.

Here’s how quickly you can earn elite status with this deal:

  • Gold status: 13 nights.
  • Platinum status: 25 nights.
  • Titanium status: 38 nights.
  • Ambassador status: 50 nights (but the $20,000 in qualifying spending is still required).

Of course, the requirements drop significantly if you also hold Marriott Bonvoy credit cards.

Related: These promotions will make your next hotel stay more rewarding

Book meetings and events

This is a long shot for most of us. However, if you’re an event planner, you can make out like a bandit.

Marriott allows you to earn elite night credits for booking events at a Marriott hotel.

You’ll earn 1 elite night credit for every 20 room nights you book. Your earnings will be capped at 20 elite nights per booking — meaning you’ll have to book at least 400 rooms to max out your earning potential.

Related: 17 ways to earn lots of Marriott Bonvoy points

Bottom line

If you’re not in the points and miles hobby, you might assume the only way to earn elite status is by paying thousands and thousands of dollars for hotel stays each year.

The truth is, you have to spend hardly anything. Between award nights, automatic elite nights from Marriott credit cards, elite night credits earned from credit card spending, etc., you can economically upgrade your Marriott status level before the end of the year.

Featured image by MARRIOTT INTERNATIONAL
Editorial disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airline or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

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  • $95 annual fee
  • Lacks travel protections that other travel rewards cards come with
  • For a limited time, earn 80,000 bonus ThankYou® Points after you spend $4,000 in purchases within the first 3 months of account opening
  • Earn 3 Points per $1 spent at Restaurants and Supermarkets
  • Earn 3 Points per $1 spent at Gas Stations, Air Travel and Hotels
  • Earn 1 Point per $1 spent on all other purchases
  • Annual Hotel Savings Benefit
  • 80,000 Points are redeemable for $800 in gift cards when redeemed at thankyou.com
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TPG Editor‘s Rating
Card Rating is based on the opinion of TPG‘s editors and is not influenced by the card issuer.
4 / 5
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3XEarn 3 Points per $1 spent at Restaurants and Supermarkets
3XEarn 3 Points per $1 spent at Gas Stations, Air Travel and Hotels
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  • Intro Offer
    For a limited time, earn 80,000 bonus ThankYou® Points after you spend $4,000 in purchases within the first 3 months of account opening

    Earn 80,000 ThankYou® points
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  • Annual Fee

    $95
  • Recommended Credit
    Credit ranges are a variation of FICO© Score 8, one of many types of credit scores lenders may use when considering your credit card application.

    670-850
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Why We Chose It

The Citi Premier’s 3 points per dollar spent across a wide range of popular categories is one of the more lucrative offerings in the world of points and miles. The Citi Premier comes with a $95 annual fee and is currently offering a solid sign up bonus of 80,000 points after you spend $4,000 on purchases within the first three months. It also has some valuable transfer partners to make the most of your rewards. Add in access to Citi Entertainment plus a $100 hotel credit for any single-stay hotel booking that exceeds $500 or more, excluding taxes and fees, booked through the Citi travel website, there are few reasons why the Citi Premier should not be in every traveler’s wallet.

Pros

  • Earns 3x points on restaurants, supermarkets, gas stations, air travel and hotels.
  • $100 annual hotel savings benefit (on single hotel stay bookings of $500 or more, excluding taxes and fees, booked through thankyou.com)
  • Points transfer to 16 airline programs, from JetBlue to Virgin Atlantic.
  • World Elite Mastercard benefits, extended warranty, damage and theft protection.

Cons

  • $95 annual fee
  • Lacks travel protections that other travel rewards cards come with
  • For a limited time, earn 80,000 bonus ThankYou® Points after you spend $4,000 in purchases within the first 3 months of account opening
  • Earn 3 Points per $1 spent at Restaurants and Supermarkets
  • Earn 3 Points per $1 spent at Gas Stations, Air Travel and Hotels
  • Earn 1 Point per $1 spent on all other purchases
  • Annual Hotel Savings Benefit
  • 80,000 Points are redeemable for $800 in gift cards when redeemed at thankyou.com
  • No expiration and no limit to the amount of points you can earn with this card
  • No Foreign Transaction Fees on purchases