What is Marriott Bonvoy elite status worth in 2023?
Editor’s note: This is a recurring post, regularly updated with new information.
Earning hotel elite status is one of the best ways to make your travel experience more rewarding and enjoyable. There can be a massive difference between staying as an elite and non-elite member, from upgrades and bonus points to free breakfast. But how can you quantify the value that this status brings?
In this guide, we will try to do just that with one of the world’s largest and most popular hotel loyalty programs: Marriott Bonvoy.
As the merger of the three predecessor programs (Marriott Rewards, Starwood Preferred Guest and Ritz-Carlton Rewards) into Marriott Bonvoy fades into the background, we continue to see changes to the program. Fully dynamic award pricing has been one of the chief causes of concern.
A lot has changed, so this analysis will dive deep into the combined program and attempt to answer a simple question: Is it worth pursuing (or keeping) Marriott Bonvoy elite status in 2023?
Before going any further, let me start with the usual disclaimer: The following calculations represent just one way to estimate the value of elite status in the Marriott Bonvoy program.
You may not be a big breakfast eater and thus don’t care about that benefit. Or, you could travel for work and not value getting an upgrade to a larger room at check-in. Feel free to adjust the numbers based on your own personal travel patterns and how much value you’d enjoy from each applicable benefit.
In addition, these numbers are all based on the value of benefits you’d get after achieving the given status and continuing to qualify each year thereafter. If you’re starting from scratch, you won’t enjoy the benefits from day one. I’ve included some analysis for those in this position toward the end of the post.
Finally, it’s important to highlight the key assumptions we’re making to arrive at final values for each level of Marriott Bonvoy elite status:
- You complete 20% more nights than the minimum required for the given level.
- You spend an average of $150 per night on eligible charges.
- Your average stay is two nights.
I’ll also use the following Marriott-specific assumption:
- Your stays are split evenly between full-service properties (like Westin and Renaissance) and limited-service properties (like Fairfield Inn or SpringHill Suites).
As always, be sure to adjust these numbers based on your individual travel patterns.
Two final reminders: For the sake of this analysis, I’m basing the value of any bonus points you earn on TPG’s most recent valuations, which peg Marriott points at 0.84 cents apiece. I’m also rounding all valuations to the nearest $5 to simplify the numbers.
Marriott Bonvoy elite status tiers
Marriott has five published elite status tiers — here’s an overview:
|Silver Elite||Gold Elite||Platinum Elite||Titanium Elite||Ambassador Elite|
|Qualifications||10 nights per year.||25 nights per year.||50 nights per year.||75 nights per year.||100 nights per year plus $23,000 in qualifying spending.|
|Elite points bonus||10%.||25%.||50%.||75%.||75%.|
|Late checkout (as available at some locations)||Priority, not guaranteed.||2 p.m.||4 p.m.||4 p.m.||4 p.m.|
|Room upgrade (as available at check-in)||✓||Including select suites.||Including select suites.||Including select suites.|
|Dedicated elite support||✓||✓||Ambassador Service.|
|Welcome gift||Points.||Points, breakfast or amenity.||Points, breakfast or amenity.||Points, breakfast or amenity.|
|Annual Choice Benefit||✓||✓|
|United RewardsPlus benefits||United Premier Silver elite status.||United Premier Silver elite|
Marriott Bonvoy Silver Elite ($35)
The lowest tier in the Marriott Bonvoy program is Silver Elite status, typically earned after 10 nights. It’s also included as an automatic benefit thanks to the 15 elite night credits you’d earn per year on some of the cobranded credit cards currently available: the Marriott Bonvoy Boundless Credit Card and the Marriott Bonvoy Bold Credit Card from Chase.
I’ll assume that you complete six stays covering 12 nights, split evenly between full-service and limited-service Marriott properties for this analysis.
|Bonus points||Earn 10% more points than regular members. This is an extra 1 point per dollar spent at most properties (though only 0.5 extra points at Element, Residence Inn and TownePlace Suites locations). With 12 nights and an average rate of $150 per night, this works out to an additional 1,800 points.||$15.|
|Late checkout||Members can request a late checkout by calling the front desk on the day of departure and letting the agent know their planned departure time.
This benefit is subject to availability and doesn’t have a published time.
Marriott Bonvoy Gold Elite ($805)
Gold Elite status is the second tier in the Marriott Bonvoy program, typically earned after 25 nights. There are several credit cards that either include this status or allow you to earn it:
- The Platinum Card® from American Express provides automatic Gold Elite status.
- The Ritz-Carlton Rewards Credit Card (no longer open to new applicants) provides automatic Gold Elite status.
- The Marriott Bonvoy Boundless Credit Card allows you to earn Gold Elite status when you spend $35,000 on purchases each account year.
- The Marriott Bonvoy Bevy™ American Express® Card provides automatic Gold Elite status.
- The Marriott Bonvoy Business® American Express® Card allows you to earn Gold Elite status when you spend $35,000 on purchases each account year.
The information for the Ritz-Carlton Rewards Credit Card has been collected independently by The Points Guy. The card details on this page have not been reviewed or provided by the card issuer.
Most Bonvoy-branded cards also award you 15 elite night credits every year, allowing cardholders to earn Gold status with just 10 additional elite qualifying nights. You’re limited to 15 credits per Marriott Bonvoy account from personal cards. You can only stack business card and personal card free elite night credits, which lifts your maximum to 40 elite night credits per year. Also, note that the Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant® American Express® Card includes 25 elite nights annually.
I’ll assume you complete 15 stays covering 30 nights, split evenly between full-service and limited-service Marriott properties.
|Bonus points||Earn 25% more points than a regular member, which equals 2.5 additional points per dollar spent at most hotels. Since I’m assuming 30 nights with an average rate of $150 per night, that works out to an additional 11,250 points, worth $95.||$95.|
|Priority late checkout||Gold members enjoy a priority late checkout of up to 2 p.m., subject to availability.||$50.|
|Enhanced internet||Gold members can take advantage of faster speeds with complimentary enhanced internet access.||$15.|
|Room upgrades||Gold members are eligible for space-available upgrades to enhanced rooms at check-in. This may include rooms on higher floors, rooms with special amenities or rooms on the executive floor, but not suites.
I’ll use the same valuation of $20 per night used in other hotel elite status guides.
It’s worth pointing out that this applies to almost all Marriott brands, except Marriott Vacation Club, Marriott Grand Residence Club, Aloft, Element and Vistana.
|Welcome gift||Receive a welcome gift of extra Marriott points at check-in — either 250 points for limited-service properties or 500 points for full-service locations.
Given the assumed split above, you’d earn an average of 375 points (worth about $3) for each of your 15 stays.
Marriott Bonvoy Platinum Elite ($2,495)
The third tier in the Marriott Bonvoy program is Platinum Elite, which normally requires 50 nights. This is comparable to Gold status from the legacy Marriott Rewards and Ritz-Carlton Rewards programs.
Like Gold Elite, you also have a few ways to earn this status through credit cards:
- The Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant® American Express® Card provides automatic Platinum Elite status.
- By spending $75,000 in a card membership year on the now-discontinued Ritz-Carlton Rewards Card.
I’ll assume that you complete 30 stays covering 60 nights, split evenly between full-service and limited-service Marriott properties for this analysis.
|Bonus points||Platinum Elite members earn 50% more points on paid stays than regular members.
This results in 5 additional points per dollar spent. Since we’re assuming 60 nights with an average rate of $150 per night, you’ll take home an extra 45,000 points, worth $380.
|Priority late checkout||Platinum members are guaranteed 4 p.m. late checkout with just a few exceptions. It’s subject to availability at resort and convention hotels and Design hotels, and it’s not available at all when staying at Marriott Vacation Club, Marriott Grand Residence Club and participating Vistana properties.||$125.|
|Dedicated phone support||Platinum Elite members get access to a dedicated elite phone line which can be helpful when you need help with a reservation.||$20.|
|Enhanced internet||Same benefit, more frequent utilization.||$60.|
|Upgrades to enhanced rooms, including suites||Platinum Elite members enjoy space-available upgrades to enhanced rooms when checking in, including suites (though not at Ritz-Carlton properties).
However, it does exclude Marriott Vacation Club, Marriott Grand Residence Club, participating Vistana properties, Aloft hotels and Element hotels.
We’ll bump the valuation slightly and value this at $35 a night for full-service stays and use a much lower $5 a night for limited-service properties.
|Lounge access||You’re guaranteed club lounge access at the following properties: JW Marriott, Marriott, Delta Hotels (not resorts), Autograph Collection, Renaissance, Sheraton, Le Meridien and Westin.
For the legacy Marriott brands, if the lounge is closed or the property doesn’t have a lounge, you’re entitled to either breakfast in the hotel’s restaurant or 750 points.
At the time of writing, these brands make up roughly 25% of the program’s portfolio, so I’ll assume a value of $10 per night for 15 of the 60 nights.
|Welcome gift||Things get a bit tricky with how the program handles welcome gifts for Platinum Elite travelers. It sounds simple enough on the surface (“Points, breakfast offering or amenity”) but quickly gets complicated when you look across the 32 brands.
Breakfast is included for everyone at certain brands, provided as a welcome gift for Platinum members at others and available through the lounge as a separate Platinum perk at still others.
For a full breakdown of these perks, check out this handy guide to Marriott breakfast benefits, and note that some amenities are up to the individual brands. However, I’ll peg this gift at $10 per night at full-service locations and, since brands like Fairfield and SpringHill Suites offer 500 points per stay, $4 per stay at limited-service properties.
|Annual Choice Benefit||Platinum Elite members are eligible for an Annual Choice Benefit upon qualification. Choices include:
We recommend the Suite Night Awards, as you’ll be able to confirm a base-level suite up to five days before check-in — though it’s up to each property and isn’t guaranteed. I’ll peg these at $40 apiece.
Marriott Bonvoy Titanium Elite ($4,685)
The next tier in the Marriott Rewards program is Titanium Elite status. This level is typically earned after 75 nights (and is thus comparable to old Marriott Platinum). I’ll assume that you complete 90 nights, split evenly between full-service and limited-service Marriott properties for this analysis.
|Bonus points||Titanium members earn a 75% bonus on paid stays, which equals 7.5 extra points per dollar spent at most hotels in Marriott’s portfolio.
Given my assumption of 90 nights with an average rate of $150 per night, that’ll give you an additional 101,250 points, worth $850.
|Priority late checkout||Same benefit, more frequent utilization.||$175.|
|Dedicated phone support||Same benefit, more frequent utilization.||$30.|
|Enhanced internet||Same benefit, more frequent utilization.||$90.|
|Upgrades to enhanced rooms, including suites||The room upgrade benefit for Titanium members is almost identical to that offered to regular Platinum members, except that suites are included at Ritz-Carlton properties.
I’ll follow the same valuations ($35 per night at full-service properties and $5 per night at limited-service hotels) with an extra $200 for the additional possibility of suites at Ritz-Carlton hotels.
|Lounge access||Same benefit, more frequent utilization.||$225.|
|Welcome gift||Same benefit, more frequent utilization.||$540.|
|Annual Choice Benefit||When you reach 50 elite qualifying nights in the Marriott Bonvoy program, you can select one of the above Choice Benefits, but reaching 75 elite qualifying nights opens up another Choice Benefit.
You can have the same choices as previously noted, with two exceptions. You can gift Gold Elite status to a friend/family member instead of Silver. You also have the added option of one free night award (valid at properties costing up to 40,000 points).
We’ll stick with our valuation of $50 per night, for a $500 valuation when considering the Annual Choice Benefit earned at 50 nights.
|United Premier Silver elite status||United and Marriott teamed up to form the RewardsPlus partnership that gives Titanium Elite members automatic United Premier Silver status.
We value this level at $495, though the true benefit depends on how frequently you travel on United. We assume conservative use and assign a value of $200.
Marriott Bonvoy Ambassador Elite ($6,445)
The top tier in the Marriott program is Bonvoy Ambassador Elite. You must reach 100 elite qualifying nights and $23,000 in qualifying spending to qualify for this tier. For this analysis, I’ll assume that you complete 120 nights, again split evenly between full-service and limited-service properties, but to reach the $23,000 mark, I’ll bump your nightly rate up to $195.
|Bonus points||The same benefit, but with 120 nights and an average rate of $195 per night, you’ll earn an additional 175,500 points, worth roughly $1,475.||$1,475.|
|Priority late checkout||Same benefit, more frequent utilization.||$225.|
|Dedicated phone support||Same benefit, more frequent utilization.||$40.|
|Enhanced internet||Same benefit, more frequent utilization.||$120.|
|Upgrades to enhanced rooms, including suites||Same benefit, more frequent utilization.||$2,600.|
|Lounge access||Same benefit, more frequent utilization.||$300.|
|Welcome gift||Same benefit, more frequent utilization.||$720.|
|Annual Choice Benefit||You won’t get any additional Choice Benefits for surpassing 100 nights, so we’ll keep this at the same valuation.||$500.|
|United Premier Silver elite status||Same benefit, more frequent utilization.||$265.|
|Ambassador service||In the past, Marriott gave all Ambassador Elite members a dedicated Ambassador that could handle reservations and other requests.
Unfortunately, this was suspended when Marriott laid off its Ambassadors in response to the coronavirus pandemic. They have announced that dedicated Ambassadors will return in 2023, which could increase the value of this benefit once again. For now, we’ll take a conservative approach and value this benefit at $100.
|Your24||The second (and final) unique benefit for Ambassador Elites is the Your24 benefit, which allows you to choose your check-in and checkout time.
That said, its flexibility is subject to availability, and many reports indicate that it’s hit or miss, so we’ll value it at $100.
What if I’m starting from scratch?
Of course, as I mentioned earlier, all of the numbers above represent values for those of you who have already earned these status levels. However, you may be starting from scratch without any status in the new Marriott program. If this is the case, you won’t enjoy any benefits until you have spent 10 nights and earned Silver Elite status. After that, you won’t enjoy additional benefits until you hit 25 nights to earn Gold Elite status. How can you quantify this climb up the ranks?
Just like I did for the airline elite status series, I have attempted to answer this by converting the above calculations into a value per night, as follows:
- Marriott Bonvoy Silver: $35 / 12 nights = $2.92 per night.
- Marriott Bonvoy Gold: $805 / 30 nights = $26.83 per night.
- Marriott Bonvoy Platinum: $2,495 / 60 nights = $41.58 per night.
- Marriott Bonvoy Titanium: $4,685 / 90 nights = $52.05 per night.
- Marriott Bonvoy Ambassador: $6,445 / 120 nights = $53.71 per night.
For example, say you plan to spend 60 nights at Marriott properties this year. If you’re starting from scratch, you will get no benefits for the first 10 nights, then enjoy Silver benefits for the next 15 nights (at a rate of $2.92 per night), then enjoy Gold benefits for the next 25 nights (at a rate of $26.83 per night), and finally enjoy Platinum benefits for the final 10 nights (at a rate of $41.58 per night). So, if you start from scratch and estimate that you’ll spend 60 nights in Marriott hotels in 2023, you’ll get $1,130.35 in value from the program.
Is it worth pursuing Marriott elite status?
Given these values, is it worth pursuing elite status (or the next tier of elite status) with the Marriott program?
As with any analysis we undertake here at TPG, there isn’t an easy answer to this, as it depends entirely on your individual situation. However, here are a few overarching questions that can help you arrive at a decision:
- How much will you travel in the future? When you’re pursuing elite status, it’s critical to think about how much you’ll be traveling in the future. For example, if you push hard to earn Platinum, the valuable perks outlined above only apply when you actually travel.
- What’s the incremental value of one tier over another? Many of you may wind up within striking distance of the next tier, so consider whether the benefits are worth pushing for it. There’s no sense in going out of your way for perks that don’t matter to you.
- How well does Marriott’s geographical coverage match your typical travel patterns? There’s really no point in pursuing elite status with a hotel chain if you can’t feasibly stay at one (or more) of its properties regularly. Consider Marriott’s various hotels in and around your common destinations.
- How sensitive are you to price and convenience? There are many trade-offs in this hobby, and one of the most common is deciding whether to use your preferred airline or hotel chain when it’s not the most convenient or cheapest. Would you stay at a hotel under the Marriott umbrella if there was another cheaper and/or more convenient brand where you need to be? If the answer is no, it may not be worth going out of your way to earn elite status with the Marriott program (or elite status with any hotel chain, for that matter).
- Is a credit card a better option? As mentioned above, many credit cards include elite status in the Marriott Bonvoy program. As a result, you may be better off simply opening one of those and utilizing the benefits without worrying about qualifying (or requalifying) the hard way.
These questions are not easy to answer, as many different factors come into play. Nevertheless, it’s a worthwhile exercise to evaluate your own situation as you determine whether or not Marriott elite status is for you.
Earning and then maintaining hotel elite status can be quite valuable, and with the Marriott Bonvoy program, you have a massive, worldwide chain at which to do so. While it isn’t easy to quantify the value of the benefits that these statuses offer, I hope this post has given you a framework to help decide if it’s worth devoting yourself to the 30 brands under the Marriott umbrella in 2023 and beyond.
This is The Points Guy’s permanent page about Marriott Bonvoy elite status, so you can bookmark it and check back regularly for the latest information.
Additional reporting by Nick Ewen and Ed Pizzarello.