Once you decide on a particular hotel for a trip, you still need to determine how to best book your stay. Perhaps you compare room rates booked through a couple of different sites. You might even use our award calculator to evaluate whether using points would provide solid value.
However, one aspect you may forget to consider is the value provided by your hotel elite status when you book directly. In this guide, we’ll consider the value Marriott Bonvoy elite status provides when you book a qualifying stay at a Marriott hotel or resort.
What value does Marriott status provide?
Marriott elite status provides benefits in two primary areas: earnings and on-site perks. Estimating how much value you’ll get from your perks is difficult since the value will differ for each Marriott Bonvoy member and stay. However, you can consider the elite status perks you plan to use during a particular stay and estimate the value those perks will likely provide when deciding how to book.
If you spend an average of $150 per night on eligible purchases ($195 per night for Ambassador Elite members), we estimate Marriott Bonvoy elite status is worth about the following:
- Silver Elite: $3 per night
- Gold Elite: $27 per night
- Platinum Elite: $42 per night
- Titanium Elite: $52 per night
- Ambassador Elite: $54 per night
You may initially scoff at these valuations, but let’s consider the valuation of Platinum Elite status at about $42 per night. As a Marriott Bonvoy Platinum Elite member, you’ll enjoy a 50% points bonus on stays, guaranteed 4 p.m. late checkout (subject to availability at resort and convention hotels), lounge access, space-available upgrades, breakfast for two at most brands and more.
Although the Marriott elite breakfast benefit can be confusing, breakfast for two will provide at least $42 in value per night at some hotels. I’ve also gotten excellent value from upgrades and lounge access at many Marriott hotels and resorts, especially when traveling outside the U.S. I also love knowing I’ll get guaranteed 4 p.m. late checkout at most properties as this can be valuable before a late-night flight. But there are certainly some stays where Platinum Elite members are unlikely to get $42 of value from their status per night.
A decent chunk of the value we attribute to each status tier per night is based on the bonus points you’ll earn. Marriott members earn at varying rates based on brand for qualifying stays, and Marriott elite members get a 10% to 75% points bonus. Here’s a look at the earning rates for Marriott stays based on the brand and your elite status.
|Marriott Executive Apartments||Homes & Villas by Marriott, Residence Inn, TownePlace Suites, Element, Protea Hotels and City Express||Other Marriott properties|
|Member||2.5 points per dollar||5 points per dollar||10 points per dollar|
|Silver Elite||2.75 points per dollar||5.5 points per dollar||11 points per dollar|
|Gold Elite||3.125 points per dollar||6.25 points per dollar||12.5 points per dollar|
|Platinum Elite||3.75 points per dollar||7.5 points per dollar||15 points per dollar|
|Titanium Elite and Ambassador Elite||4.375 points per dollar||8.75 points per dollar||17.5 points per dollar|
If you frequently redeem Marriott points for stays instead of booking paid rates, you may find our estimated values for each status tier are too high. Head over to our Marriott elite status guide and remove or adjust the bonus points in our calculation if you usually redeem points for your stays or spend significantly more or less per night. If you remove bonus points from the calculation entirely, our value of Platinum Elite status drops to $35 per night, and our value of Titanium Elite status drops to $43 per night.
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Value of points earned
It’s worth considering how much the Marriott points you’ll earn are worth if you book a qualifying rate directly. Different Marriott brands earn at different rates, as we discussed above.
For simplicity, let’s assume you’re staying at one of the many Marriott properties where members without elite status earn 10 points per dollar, Silver Elite members earn 11 points per dollar, Gold Elite members earn 12.5 points per dollar, Platinum Elite members earn 15 points per dollar and Titanium Elite members and higher earn 17.5 points per dollar.
Based on TPG’s valuations, points are worth about 0.84 cents each. This means that on $100 in purchases for a stay, Marriott members would earn as follows:
- Member without elite status: 1,000 points worth $8
- Silver Elite member: 1,100 points worth $9
- Gold Elite member: 1,250 points worth $11
- Platinum Elite member: 1,500 points worth $13
- Titanium Elite or Ambassador Elite member: 1,750 points worth $15
So, consider the value of the points you’ll earn when deciding how to book your stay, even if you don’t care about elite status perks or earning toward status.
Which stays qualify?
You must book and stay on a qualifying rate to get elite benefits and earnings on your Marriott stays. If your stay is directly billed to a company that has arranged payment, you may get benefits and earnings if the stay isn’t associated with a convention or group meeting.
You can earn points for up to three guest rooms with the same check-in and checkout date if you stay in one of the rooms and pay a qualifying rate or redeem points for all the rooms. However, you can only get earnings and benefits for stays at one participating property per night.
The Marriott Bonvoy terms and conditions define a qualifying rate as:
The rate a Member pays for a Stay in a guest room at a Participating Property which qualifies to earn Points or Miles. Qualifying Rates include most business and leisure rates, such as rates found on Marriott.com without an application of a discount code, Standard and Premium Retail rates, Advanced Purchase rates, Corporate negotiated rates, and national/regional/local Government rates. Unless otherwise specifically stated, Members will receive their membership tier benefits during stays on Qualifying Rates.
However, the terms and conditions define a non-qualifying rate as “a rate a Member pays for a Stay in a guest room at a Participating Property which does not qualify to earn Points or Miles, as well as membership tier benefits.” The Marriott Bonvoy terms and conditions define non-qualifying rates as bookings that are:
- Made through a tour operator, online travel channel or other third-party channel (Expedia, Hotwire, Priceline, Orbitz, Booking.com and Travelocity are explicitly noted as non-qualifying)
- Part of an event, meeting, conference or organized tour where you don’t directly pay the hotel or resort for your room
- Tour operator, wholesaler or crew room rate or package (organized tours and package bookings are explicitly noted as non-qualifying)
- When the room was complimentary or booked using a voucher or third-party award
How to earn Marriott elite status
All Marriott members are at least members. But if you want to earn Marriott elite status, here are the requirements you must meet each calendar year:
- Silver Elite status: 10 nights
- Gold Elite status: 25 nights
- Platinum Elite status: 50 nights
- Titanium Elite status: 75 nights
- Ambassador Elite status: 100 nights and $23,000 in qualifying spending
Each calendar year you meet the above requirements, you’ll earn Marriott elite status for the rest of the calendar year in which you’ve earned it, the entire next year and two months into the following year.
However, there are also other ways to obtain Marriott elite status. For example, you can earn Marriott elite status as a benefit of the following travel rewards cards (enrollment may be required):
The cobranded Marriott Bonvoy cards listed above also offer elite night credits that can help you earn higher tiers of Marriott elite status. You can also earn one elite night credit for each $5,000 in purchases with your Marriott Bonvoy Boundless Credit Card.
I have the Marriott Bonvoy Boundless Credit Card and the Marriott Bonvoy Business American Express Card, so I get 30 elite night credits from my cards each year. This means I only need to stay with Marriott hotels for 20 nights each calendar year to earn Platinum Elite status or 45 nights each calendar year to earn Titanium Elite status.
If you have Marriott Bonvoy elite status or are striving to earn Marriott elite status, you’ll likely want to book qualifying rates for most of your Marriott stays. Between the elite earnings and on-site benefits, you’ll usually find it beneficial to book directly.
Even if you don’t stay frequently with Marriott, it could still make sense to open a hotel credit card. Many hotel credit cards offer complimentary elite status, an annual free night award and other perks that can pay for themselves after just a few stays each year.