How to avoid my big Marriott Choice Benefit mistake

Dec 30, 2019

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I may be a points and miles “pro” — in that I live and breathe TPG content for a living — but I do make my own travel mistakes from time to time, perhaps more often than I’d like to admit.

My latest slip-up came just this week, as I was rushing through some end-of-year tasks. I had earned 70 night credits with Marriott this year, including 55 hotel nights plus 15 elite night credits, courtesy of my Marriott Bonvoy Boundless Credit Card. As a result, I was eligible to select one of the following Choice Benefits:

  • Five Suite Night Awards
  • Gift of Silver Elite status for a friend/family member
  • 40% off your favorite mattress
  • Five elite night credits
  • A $100 charity donation

Almost instinctively, I decided to select five Suite Night Awards, since I had good luck making the most of them in 2019, managing to use eight of the 10 I earned upon reaching Titanium status based on my 2018 stays.

 

And then I immediately realized that I was just five nights shy of qualifying for Titanium, which would have earned me another Choice Benefit — I clearly should have picked five elite night credits, instead, giving me another chance to snag five Suite Night Awards or potentially picking a free night certificate instead.

Unfortunately, any Choice Benefit selections are final — the five Suite Night Awards appeared in my account almost right away, and I was stuck.

This mistake really could have cost me — Titanium status is considerably more valuable than Platinum, including suite upgrades at Ritz-Carlton hotels, 48-hour guaranteed availability, and, while I don’t need it as a Premier 1K, United Silver status. Note that the five nights also would’ve counted toward Marriott lifetime elite status, and while that Choice Benefit represents less than 1% of the 600 nights needed for Lifetime Platinum status, every little bit can help.

Fortunately, I managed to walk away unscathed — I’m grandfathered into Titanium status for life, so I have Marriott’s 75-night status, regardless. Without that lifetime perk, though, I really would have been kicking myself for that oversight, so it seemed as good a time as any to remind you to make your choice wisely — and don’t overlook an opportunity to stack your perks, as I could have very easily done in this case.

Featured image of Marriott Mena House, Cairo by Zach Honig/The Points Guy.

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