Marriott Bonvoy extending all members' elite status through February 2022
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The hotel industry has been hit hard by the coronavirus outbreak. With occupancy rates reaching historic lows, many road warriors aren't spending the nights they'll need to earn elite status this year. Hilton and Hyatt have both announced updates to their elite status programs as a result, and today, Marriott has joined them.
A letter has just launched from Marriott CEO Arne Sorenson, including information on elite status and some new initiatives the company is taking in light of the pandemic. Here's how Marriott Bonvoy elite status is being updated for the current year.
Marriott extending elite status expiration
Marriott Bonvoy has announced that all elite statuses earned based on 2019 activity have been extended through February 2022 — regardless of how many nights you complete in 2020. This mirrors the previously-announced moves of both Hilton and Hyatt, giving Marriott elite travelers a full additional year to enjoy benefits like complimentary breakfast and room upgrades. With the ongoing uncertainty of when (or if) travel will resume to pre-pandemic levels in 2020, this provides nice peace of mind for Marriott loyalists.
This change should already be live in members' online accounts:
We reached out to Marriott to clarify two items related to this announcement, and a spokesperson confirmed the following:
- Platinum, Titanium and Ambassador Elites will only receive additional Choice Benefit selection(s) if they reach 50 and or 75 elite-qualifying nights in 2020. The status extensions won't automatically provide these.
- The extra year will count toward Marriott lifetime elite status.
Marriott extending point expiration
Prior to today, Marriott had announced that point expiration had been paused through Aug. 31, 2020. Today, it's extending that window until February 2021. Marriott points normally expire after 24 months of inactivity, though if your points were set to expire through early 2021, you now have additional time to earn or redeem points to extend their validity.
Other Marriott updates
It's great to see Marriott addressing this large, looming question for its loyal members. The program had previously announced extensions of various perks as well as flexible change and cancellation policies, as follows:
- Free-night certificates: Any certificates from Marriott's cobranded cards — like the Marriott Bonvoy Boundless Credit Card — that were set to expire in 2020 have been extended until Jan. 31, 2021.
- Suite Night Awards: Any elite member who selected Suite Night Awards as a Choice Benefit for qualifying last year now has until Dec. 31, 2021 to use them.
- Changes/cancellations: All existing reservations for any arrival date — including those with nonrefundable rates — can be canceled or changed up to 24 hours before arrival, as long as the adjustment is made by June 30, 2020. However, if you made (or make) a new reservation between March 13 and June 30, you can also change or cancel it at least 24 hours prior to arrival. Just note that any changes could be subject to rate differences. You can view full details of this policy at this link.
Aside from the extension of Suite Night Awards, Marriott hadn't addressed elite status ... until now. It's nice to see the program add extensions for loyal members that will struggle to meet qualification requirements this year.
The coronavirus outbreak continues to evolve, as do its impacts on the travel industry. Many hotels and airlines have adjusted their elite status programs for 2020, and Marriott Bonvoy is the newest to be added to the list. If you currently hold Marriott elite status, your status is safe through February 2022, even if you fall below the standard qualification thresholds in 2020.