What is Marriott Bonvoy elite status worth in 2021?

Mar 2, 2021

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.

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 versus a non-elite member, from upgrades to bonus points to free breakfast. But, how can you actually quantify the value that this status brings?

Today we’re going to try to do just that with one of the world’s largest and most popular hotel loyalty programs out there: Marriott Bonvoy. It’s been almost three years since the Marriott Rewards, Starwood Preferred Guest and Ritz-Carlton Rewards programs were formally integrated into Marriott Bonvoy. The pandemic has also impacted the way most of us travel. A lot has changed, so today’s 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 2021?

In This Post

How I developed these valuations

Before going any further, let me start with the usual disclaimer: The calculations that follow 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.

Ritz-Carlton South Beach Pool Area
Ritz Carlton South Beach (Photo by Nick Ellis/The Points Guy)

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, so I’ve included a spreadsheet toward the end of the analysis to help identify the incremental value you’ll get as you progress up the elite status ladder.

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 or Springhill).

As always, be sure to adjust these numbers based on your individual travel patterns.

Related: Enjoy automatic status and bonus points with these Marriott credit cards

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 0.8 cents apiece. I’m also rounding all valuations up to the nearest $5 to make the numbers a bit simpler.

Things to consider before chasing Marriott elite status

Keep these things in mind before you chase elite status with Marriott or another hotel group. (Photo by JHVEPhoto/Getty Images)

There are a few key considerations to keep in mind as you determine whether or not to chase elite status with any hotel loyalty program. Here are a few that should be at the top of your list as you determine whether or not to chase Marriott elite status.

Does Marriott have properties where you travel the most?

When deciding on a hotel loyalty program, make sure it has properties where you travel the most.

Thankfully, Marriott has a ton of properties both here in the U.S. and abroad. You’ll find these properties everywhere, from large cities to alongside expressways, so in most cases, there’s a Marriott wherever you are in the world.

Regardless, it’s in your best interest to double-check the properties you travel to most and where you’d like to travel post-pandemic.

Verify that there are both Marriott properties in or around your destinations that match your type of travel. For example, if you travel to Charlotte, NC frequently and stay in luxury hotels, make sure one of Marriott’s luxury brands has a presence there.

If you find Marriott doesn’t have your desired type of hotel near the places you travel most, consider pursuing elite status with a program that does.

The ease of earning Marriott status with credit cards

Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant card
You can earn Marriott Gold Elite status just by having the right credit card. (Photo by The Points Guy)

It’s easy to earn mid-tier Marriott elite status with a credit card.

On the cobranded card side, you can earn Gold Elite status with the Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant™ American Express® Card. This card has a $450 annual fee (see rates & fees) but includes a slew of benefits like Gold status, 15 elite night credits, an annual free night certificate (worth up to 50,000 points) and an annual up to $300 Marriott statement credit that are valid at hotels participating in the Marriott Bonvoy program (certain hotels have resort fees).

This card also offers a welcome offer of 75,000 bonus points after you spend $3,000 in purchases within the first three months of card membership. Plus, earn up to $200 in statement credits for eligible purchases made on your new card at U.S. restaurants within the first six months of card membership.

On the other hand, the Marriott Bonvoy Boundless Credit Card has a lower $95 annual fee. This includes a free night certificate (worth up to 35,000 points) every year and the same 15 elite night credit as the Bonvoy Brilliant, which is enough elite nights to give you low-tier Silver Elite status.

Currently, the Marriott Bonvoy Boundless card bonus is three free nights (each night valued up to 50,000 points) after spending $3,000 on purchases in your first three months from account opening.

On the transferable points card side, The Platinum Card® from American Express includes Hilton Gold and Marriott Gold status for as long as you hold the credit card. Having access to mid-tier status at two of the world’s largest hotel chains is a huge benefit that gives you a ton of flexibility when on the road.

This means a couple of things for travelers. One is that you may not find it worthwhile to chase elite status organically with Marriott.

So many cards offering Marriott elite status also means there are a lot of elite members out there. This can make upgrades more competitive and other benefits harder to achieve. That said, unlike with Hilton Honors, none of these cards offer top-tier elite status, so these tiers aren’t affected by this elite status saturation.

It’s also worth noting that you can earn up to 30 elite nights if you hold a Marriott personal credit card and the Marriott Bonvoy Business™ American Express® Card. Each card offers 15 elite nights and can be combined since one is a personal card and the other is a business card. This can fast-track you toward Platinum Elite or Titanium Elite status. The card has a $125 annual fee (see rates & fees).

Consider how much you value Marriott Bonvoy points

You’re going to walk away with a solid stash of Marriott Bonvoy points whether you’re earning status organically or through a credit card. So, you should make sure you value Marriott points before chasing Marriott elite status — otherwise, you could be left with a stash of points you can’t use.

Marriott is one of the few hotel groups to keep a standard award chart for redemptions. It did roll out peak and off-peak pricing, but you’ll still pay a predictable price for your stay. The only exception is PointsSavers awards which dynamically price hotels, but only under the standard award price.

Again, we value Marriott points at 0.8 cents per point, but you may value them differently depending on where you stay. I recommend that you create your own valuation by averaging together the redemption value of redemptions you’re likely to make with your Marriott points. This is especially important during the coronavirus pandemic as hotel stays are cheaper than normal times.

You can do this by finding the cent per point value of these redemptions and then averaging them out. To do this, first find the points and cash cost of a hotel stay. For example, this one-night stay at the JW Marriott Hong Kong costs 50,000 points.

The same night costs $361.19 after currency conversion, taxes and fees. Simply divide the cash price by the number of points required and multiply that number by 100 to get the cent per point value. In this case, you’d get 0.6 cents per point in value from your redemption.

The math looks like this: 361.19/60,000 x 100 = 0.6.

Doing this for multiple stays will give you a better look at how much Marriott Bonvoy points are worth, based on your travel habits. If this number is lower than TPG’s valuation, you may want to choose another program.

COVID-19’s effect on these valuations

It’s hard to discuss travel in 2021 without mentioning the coronavirus pandemic.

The coronavirus pandemic has affected how most of us travel. Travel demand is slowly recovering, but many of us are still spending fewer nights in hotels than in 2019.

If you’re traveling less — and using your elite status benefits less — you’re likely getting smaller value from your hotel elite status.

That said, it’s impossible to know how much you’re traveling during the pandemic. Likewise, the coronavirus vaccine is starting to roll out worldwide, which will hopefully help us get back on the road before the end of the year.

These reasons are why I haven’t cut the value of elite status tiers in response to the pandemic. I’m also not taking modified qualification requirements into account throughout this article since we’ll eventually be subject to the standard qualification requirements. For reference, Marriott gifted bonus elite nights to all 2020 elites to help maintain or upgrade status in 2021.

That said, you should take your coronavirus travel habits and optimism for the immediate future of travel into account when deciding whether or not to earn Marriott elite status this year.

Related: Traveling fully vaccinated? Seychelles will waive your quarantine requirement

All that being said, where do the levels of the Marriott Bonvoy program fall on the value spectrum? Let’s take a look.

Marriott Bonvoy Silver Elite ($45)

Marriott Hotel in Minsk
Marriott Silver Eliter benefits are limited but can help you earn bonus points and qualify for late checkout. (Photo by Sergei Prokhorov/Shutterstock)

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 two different cobranded credit cards that are currently available: the Marriott Bonvoy Boundless Credit Card and the Marriott Bonvoy Business™ American Express® Card.

For this analysis, I’ll assume that you complete six stays covering 12 nights, split evenly between full-service and limited-service Marriott properties.

10% point bonus ($15)

Silver members in the Marriott Bonvoy program will 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, worth $14.40.

Late checkout ($20)

As a Silver member, you’re also able to request a late checkout by calling the front desk on the day of departure and letting the agent know your planned departure time. Unfortunately, it’s subject to availability and doesn’t have a published time, so I’ll peg this at a conservative $20.

Elite reservation line ($10)

You also have access to an elite member reservation line as a Silver member. However, I’ve rarely needed to call any hotel elite member lines in my years of travel, so I’ll peg this at just $10.

Related: The best ways to earn points with the Marriott Bonvoy program

Marriott Bonvoy Gold Elite ($840)

Marriott Marquis in Downtown Chicago
Marriott Gold Elite includes more useful benefits, like room upgrades. (Photo by Felix Mizioznikov/Shutterstock)

Gold Elite status is the second tier in the Marriott Bonvoy program, typically earned after 25 nights. Note that this level is most comparable to the old Starwood Preferred Guest Gold status. As discussed earlier, there are several credit cards that either include this status or allow you to earn it:

  1. The Platinum Card® from American Express provides automatic Gold Elite status.
  2. The Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant™ American Express® Card provides automatic Gold Elite status.
  3. The Ritz-Carlton Rewards Credit Card (no longer open to new applicants) provides automatic Gold Elite status.
  4. The Marriott Bonvoy Boundless Credit Card allows you to earn Gold Elite status when you spend $35,000 on purchases each account year.
  5. The Marriott Bonvoy Business™ American Express® Card allows you to earn Gold Elite status when you spend $35,000 on purchases each account year.

Note that all 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. Note that you’re limited to a total of 15 credits per Marriott Bonvoy account. Remember, you can only stack these nights if you have a personal and a business card.

For this analysis, I’ll assume you complete 15 stays covering 30 nights, split evenly between full-service and limited-service Marriott properties.

25% point bonus ($90)

As a Gold Elite member in the new program, you’ll earn 25% more points than a regular member, which works out to 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 $90.

Priority late checkout ($50)

Gold members also enjoy a priority late checkout of up to 2 p.m., though it is subject to availability. Since there’s a stated time (in contrast to the aforementioned Silver perk), I’ll bump the value up slightly.

Elite phone line ($25)

Same benefit, more frequent utilization

Complimentary enhanced internet ($30)

Even though all members enjoy free internet when booking through a Marriott channel, Gold members can take advantage of faster speeds with complimentary enhanced internet access. I typically find that hotel Wi-Fi is decently fast, though if you like to stream videos or play video games, the faster speed can make a difference.

I’ll use the same value for this perk from previous posts: $1 per night.

Upgrades to enhanced rooms ($600)

Gold members are also 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 it explicitly excludes suites (per the terms & conditions).

Since this perk is similar to what Hilton Gold members receive, I’ll use the same valuation of $20 per night — though it’s worth pointing out that this applies at almost all brands under the Marriott umbrella (except for Marriott Vacation Club, Marriott Grand Residence Club, Aloft, Element and Vistana properties).

Welcome gift ($45)

If you’re a Gold Elite member, you’ll 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 ~$3.38) for each of your 15 stays.

Enrollment required for select benefits.

Related: The award traveler’s guide to Marriott Bonvoy

Marriott Bonvoy Platinum Elite ($2,655)

Platinum Elites get upgrades, lounge access and more excellent perks. (Photo by Summer Hull/The Points Guy)

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 and Ritz-Carlton Rewards programs.

Like Gold Elite, you also have a few ways to earn this status through credit cards:

For this analysis, I’ll assume that you complete 30 stays covering 60 nights, split evenly between full-service and limited-service Marriott properties.

50% point bonus ($360)

As a Platinum Elite member, you’ll earn 50% more points on your paid stays than a regular member would at most brands. This results in 5 additional points per dollar spent. Since I’m assuming 60 nights with an average rate of $150 per night, you’ll take home an extra 45,000 points, worth $360.

Priority late checkout ($125)

Platinum members have a significantly more generous late checkout policy than lower-tier elites, as it’s guaranteed for 4 p.m. with just a few exceptions: It’s subject to availability at resort & 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. Nevertheless, it’s a nice perk to have where it’s guaranteed, so I’ll bump it up in value accordingly.

Elite phone line ($50)

Same benefit, more frequent utilization

Complimentary enhanced internet ($60)

Same benefit, more frequent utilization

Upgrades to enhanced rooms, including suites ($1,200)

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. The big difference between Marriott and Hilton’s policies is that Marriott’s terms & conditions use the verbiage “best available room subject to availability for the entire length of stay at the time of check-in” as opposed to the “may include” language that Hilton uses. As a result, I’ll bump the valuation slightly, value this at $35/night for full-service stays and use a much lower $5/night for limited-service properties.

Welcome gift ($360)

Things get a bit tricky with how the combined 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 for still others (see next bullet). For a full breakdown of these perks, check out this handy guide to Platinum breakfast, 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.

Lounge access ($150)

A handful of brands in the Marriott Bonvoy program include lounges. As a Platinum Elite member, 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. See this chart (warning: PDF link) for full details. In all cases, lounge access is in addition to the welcome gift noted above at applicable hotels. At the time of writing, these brands make up roughly 25% of the combined program’s portfolio, so I’ll assume a value of $10 per night for 15 of the 60 nights.

Guaranteed room type ($100)

Another nice perk of Platinum status is a room type guarantee, part of the broader Elite Benefits Guarantee that the Marriott Bonvoy program offers. If you book a room and the hotel can’t honor your bed type request, you’re entitled to compensation of $25 – $100 (depending on the brand of property). Ideally, your request would always be honored, but it’s nice to have the insurance policy for when it isn’t.

Annual choice benefit ($250)

Finally, when you qualify for Marriott Platinum Elite status, you’re eligible for an annual Choice Benefit selection. You can choose from five elite night credits, five Suite Night Awards (SNAs), a gift of Silver elite status to a friend or family member, a $100 gift to UNICEF or 40% off the price of a Marriott-branded bed. I’d recommend the SNAs, 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 $50 apiece.

Related: How to redeem points with the Marriott Bonvoy program

Marriott Bonvoy Titanium Elite ($4,840)

Ritz-Carlton Room Interior
Marriott Bonvoy Titanium elite status opens up space-available suite upgrades at Ritz-Carlton properties. (Photo by Jane Frye/The Points Guy)

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). For this analysis, I’ll assume that you complete 90 nights, split evenly between full-service and limited-service Marriott properties.

75% point bonus ($810)

Titanium members earn a 75% bonus on paid stays compared to a regular member with no status, which works out to 7.5 extra points per dollar spent at the majority of hotels in the combined 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 $810.

Priority late checkout ($175)

Same benefit, more frequent utilization

Elite phone line ($50)

Same benefit, though I can’t see Titanium members getting any more value out of it than regular Platinums.

Complimentary enhanced internet ($90)

Same benefit, more frequent utilization

Upgrades ($2,075)

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. As a result, 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.

Welcome gift ($540)

Same benefit, more frequent utilization.

Lounge access ($225)

Same benefit, more frequent utilization

Guaranteed room type ($150)

Same benefit, more frequent utilization

Annual choice benefits ($500)

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 one change and one addition: You can gift Gold elite status to a friend/family member instead of Silver. You also have the added option of 1 free night award (valid at properties costing up to 40,000 points). Even though the free night is intriguing, I personally think the additional Suite Night Awards is the way to go, and I’ll stick with my valuation of $50 per night.

48-hour guaranteed availability ($25)

Another way that Titanium membership differs from the regular Platinum level is the guaranteed availability policy, allowing you to book a room at just about any property with 48 hours of notice. However, these last-minute rooms are often quite pricey, and the program allows exceptions for “limited dates or special events.” It also has the same exclusions for late checkout (resorts, Vacation Club, Residence Club, Design Hotels and Vistana properties), so you probably won’t feel the need to use this regularly, if at all. I’ve pegged it at $25.

United Premier Silver status ($200)

The RewardsPlus partnership lives on with the Marriott Bonvoy program, so as a Titanium traveler, you’ll be able to link your Marriott account with your United MileagePlus account and enjoy automatic United Premier Silver status. We value this level at $930, though the true benefit depends on how frequently you actually travel on United. I’ll assume some conservative use and assign a value of $200.

Related: Why I’m earning more Marriott Bonvoy points during the pandemic

Marriott Bonvoy Ambassador Elite ($6,450)

Room at a Marriott resort on the beach
Ambassador Elite isn’t as powerful as it once was, but it’s still the best Marriott status tier out there. (Photo by Nicky Kelvin/The Points Guy)

The top tier in the Marriott program is Bonvoy Ambassador Elite. To qualify for this tier, you must reach 100 elite-qualifying nights and $20,000 in qualifying spending (reduced to $14,000 in 2021). 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 $20k mark, I’ll bump your nightly rate up to $175.

75% point bonus ($1,260)

The same benefit, but with 120 nights and an average rate of $175 per night, you’ll earn an additional 157,500 points, worth $1,260.

Priority late checkout ($225)

Same benefit, more frequent utilization.

Elite phone line ($50)

Same benefit, same utilization.

Complimentary enhanced internet ($120)

Same benefit, more frequent utilization

Upgrades ($2,600)

Same benefit, more frequent utilization.

Welcome gift ($720)

Same benefit, more frequent utilization

Lounge access ($300)

Same benefit, more frequent utilization

Guaranteed room type ($200)

Same benefit, more frequent utilization

Annual choice benefits ($500)

You won’t get any additional choice benefits for surpassing 100 nights, so I’ll keep this at the same valuation.

48-hour guaranteed availability ($25)

The same benefit, though I don’t see it being used more frequently at this level.

United Premier Silver status ($250)

Same benefit, more frequent utilization.

Ambassador service ($200)

In the past, Marriott gave all Ambassadors Elites a dedicated Ambassador that could handle reservations and other requests. Unfortunately, this came to an end when Marriott laid off its Ambassadors in response to the coronavirus pandemic. Ambassador service still exists, but it’s now handled by a team and no longer as personalized. I’ll peg this at a $100 valuation — down from $200 in past years — due to this devaluation and limited use.

Your24 ($100)

The second (and final) unique benefit for Ambassador Elites is the Your24 benefit, which allows you to choose your check-in and check-out time. That being said, the flexibility it provides is subject to availability, and many reports indicate that it’s hit-or-miss, so I’ll peg it at just $100.

Related: Promotions that will make your next hotel stay more rewarding

What if I’m starting from scratch?

(Photo by Nick Ellis/The Points Guy)

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, many of you may be starting from scratch without any status at all 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: $45 / 12 nights = $3.75 per night
  • Marriott Bonvoy Gold: $840 / 30 nights = $28 per night
  • Marriott Bonvoy Platinum: $2,655 / 60 nights = $44.25 per night
  • Marriott Bonvoy Titanium: $4,840 / 90 nights = $53.78 per night
  • Marriott Bonvoy Ambassador: $6,450 / 120 nights = $53.75 per night

I then created an Excel spreadsheet that uses these numbers to calculate how much value you’d get from the different levels of new Marriott status given a certain number of nights. All you need to do is change the number in cell A2 to represent the number of nights you expect to stay across all 32 combined brands in 2021, and the spreadsheet will update accordingly.

For example, you’ll see that I have pre-loaded 60 nights. If you’re starting from scratch, you’d get no benefits for the first 10 nights, then enjoy Silver benefits for the next 15 nights (at a rate of $3.75 per night), then enjoy Gold benefits for the next 25 nights (at a rate of $28 per night), and finally enjoy Platinum benefits for the final 10 nights (at a rate of $44.25 per night). This means that if you’re starting from scratch and estimate that you’ll spend 60 nights in Marriott hotels in 2021, you’d be able to get $1,198.75 worth of perks from the program.

Again, feel free to update each tier’s numbers (loaded into the “Base Data” tab of the spreadsheet) based on your own personal valuation.

Related: Should you buy hotel or airline elite status?

Is it worth it?

A view of a Marriott Hotel in Hangzhou in east China's Zhejiang province Thursday Jan. 11, 2018. (Photo by Feature China / Barcroft Images / Barcroft Media via Getty Images)
Only you can decide if pursuing elite status is worth it. (Photo by Feature China/Barcroft Images/Barcroft Media/Getty Images.)

Given these values, is it worth pursuing elite status (or the next tier of elite status) with the new 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 over-arching 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. If you push hard to earn Platinum, for example, 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 be sure to 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. Be sure to consider the new Marriott’s various hotels in and around your common destinations.
  • How sensitive are you to price and convenience? There are many tradeoffs 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 new 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 also not easy to answer, as many different factors come into play with each of them. Nevertheless, it’s a worthwhile exercise to evaluate your own situation as you determine whether or not new Marriott elite status is for you!

Related: Maximizing redemptions with the Marriott Bonvoy program

Bottom line

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 that this post has given you a framework to help decide if it’s worth devoting yourself to the 32 brands under the Marriott umbrella in 2021 and beyond.

For rates and fees of the Amex Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant card, click here.
For rates and fees of the Amex Marriott Bonvoy Business card, click here.


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. Keep in mind you may see some reader comments referring to outdated information below.


Related video:

Featured photo of the JW Marriott Maldives by Nicky Kelvin / The Points Guy.

Additional reporting by Andrew Kunesh

Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant™ American Express® Card

Aside from the welcome offer you'll earn up to $300 in statement credits each year at hotels participating in the Marriott Bonvoy program and 1 free night (worth up to 50k points) every year after your cardmember anniversary. Terms apply.

Apply Now
More Things to Know
  • Earn 75,000 Marriott Bonvoy bonus points after you use your new Card to make $3,000 in purchases within the first 3 months. Plus, earn up to $200 in Statement Credits for eligible purchases at U.S. Restaurants within the first 6 months of Card Membership.
  • Enjoy up to $300 in statement credits each year of Card Membership for eligible purchases at hotels participating in the Marriott Bonvoy™ program.
  • Earn 6 Marriott Bonvoy points for each dollar of eligible purchases at hotels participating in the Marriott Bonvoy™ program. 3 points at U.S. restaurants and on flights booked directly with airlines. 2 points on all other eligible purchases.
  • Receive 1 free Night Award every year after your Card account anniversary. Award can be used for one night (redemption level at or under 50,000 Marriott Bonvoy Points) at a participating hotel. Certain hotels have resort fees.
  • Enjoy unlimited airport lounge visits when you enroll in Priority Pass™ Select membership.
  • No Foreign Transaction Fees.
  • $450 Annual Fee.
  • Terms Apply.
  • See Rates & Fees
Regular APR
15.74%-24.74% Variable
Annual Fee
$450
Balance Transfer Fee
N/A
Recommended Credit
Excellent/Good
Terms and restrictions apply. See rates & fees.

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

Disclaimer: The responses below are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser’s responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.