3 reasons I continue to chase Marriott Platinum status year after year

Apr 20, 2022

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I’ll be the first to admit it: I care about having hotel and airline elite status.

It’s not because I like flashing some status card a la Ryan Bingham in “Up in the Air” but because it saves us real money in the long run, while also making travel just a little more fun.

A relatively attainable hotel elite status level I’ve personally earned and used for many years is Marriott Platinum status.

It’s one of the more popular hotel elite status levels out there and hits the right notes of being both realistically attainable and rewarding.

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It takes 50 nights spent with Marriott per year (or $75,000 charged annually to the Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant™ American Express® Card) to unlock this status. That likely sounds out-of-league for most leisure travelers at first glance. But don’t let that scare you off just yet. Marriott Platinum status is actually closer within reach than you might think.

With the right combination of credit cards in your wallet, you can earn Marriott Platinum status with just 20 eligible nights spent with Marriott each year. To make it even easier, award stays count towards those 20 needed nights. Those other 30 nights needed can come to you by virtue of just having both a personal and small business Marriott card in your wallet.

Regardless of how you rack up the nights, here are three of my favorite elements of Marriott Platinum status.

(Photo by Ethan Steinberg/The Points Guy.)


Related: Guide to the Marriott Bonvoy program

In This Post

Pay for a standard room, upgrade to a suite

When you have Platinum elite status with Marriott, you get the option of selecting five Suite Night Awards to use each year as one of your annual Choice Benefits.

You can apply these upgrades to an eligible reservation to try and snag a suite while just paying points or cash for a standard room. It’s not guaranteed to secure a suite and your success rate will vary based on when and where you travel. However, my luck has been above average with these awards.

For example, just before the pandemic, we locked in a suite over the winter holiday break at the ski-out Westin Snowmass near Aspen using Marriott points plus Suite Night Awards.

Suite Night Award success at the Westin Snowmass (Photo by Summer Hull/The Points Guy)

The size of the private patio gives you an idea of how large the suite was. With cash it would have been several thousand dollars per night and firmly out of reach.

Related: These are our favorite points-friendly ski hotels

(Photo by Summer Hull/The Points Guy)

In addition to securing that prime-time slopeside suite with a view in Colorado, in the last couple of years, my Suite Night Awards have cleared us into a true suite in J.W. Marriott Bonnet Creek near Disney World:

(Photo by Summer Hull/The Points Guy)

An upgrade also cleared at the new Swan Reserve hotel that’s walking distance to Epcot and Disney’s Hollywood Studios:

(Photo by Summer Hull/The Points Guy)

Out in California, our Marriott Suite Night Awards scored us a full one-bedroom suite at the new Westin Anaheim:

(Photo by Summer Hull/The Points Guy)

Free full breakfast — sometimes via room service

It’s not just about the room. I also care about free hotel breakfast, especially when traveling with the whole family.

Marriott’s stated Platinum breakfast benefit isn’t the most robust breakfast benefit out there (World of Hyatt Globalist gets that nod), but Marriott’s breakfast option can be pretty clutch in several situations as long as you aren’t at a non-eligible brand such as a Ritz-Carlton.

At the Westin Mammoth in 2020, it fed all four of us the buffet breakfast so we could eat fast and then get on the mountain. We owed nothing but the tip each day we indulged in a hearty and delicious pre-ski breakfast.

(Photo by Summer Hull/The Points Guy)

Marriott Platinum status has also unlocked otherwise pricey and indulgent room service breakfast on occasion, such as the one shown here at the St. Regis New York that allows you to order in and still use the perk.

Marriott Platinum breakfast at the St. Regis New York (Summer Hull / The Points Guy)

From grab-and-go to fancy room service, free breakfast ranks high on my list of elite status perks no matter what type of plate or wrapper it’s served on.

Platinum breakfast-to-go at the Westin Woodlands. (Photo by Summer Hull/The Points Guy)

Lounge access

Admittedly, hotel lounges have been slow to return to their pre-pandemic glory, but they are still out there, and having Marriott Platinum status can often get you in.

While enjoying a weekend trip to Disneyland, we could access the lounge at the Westin Anaheim to pick up breakfast goodies and grab a few bottles of water for the day in the park.

In 2019, we made excellent use of the club lounges in Hawaiian hotels across multiple islands, such as the club lounge on Waikiki at the Westin Moana Surfrider.

Not every lounge was five-star, but when you’re in a high-cost location such as Hawaii, getting a beverage or snack from the lounge without paying can be a welcome treat.

Bottom line

Over the years, my Marriott Platinum elite status has saved us thousands of dollars on food, drinks, upgrades and more. It’s also unlocked the doors to suites we otherwise wouldn’t have enjoyed, and saved us time by having those included treats available guilt-free at our fingertips.

It does other things too, like ensure we earn extra points on stays, but my favorite three perks that keep me chasing Marriott status year after year are unquestionably the suite upgrades, free breakfast and lounge access.

Featured image by Nick Ellis of the St. Regis Punta Mita.

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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.

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