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How to avoid my big Marriott Choice Benefit mistake

Dec. 30, 2019
3 min read
How to avoid my big Marriott Choice Benefit mistake
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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.

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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.

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.