As we’re inching closer toward the middle of 2022 I thought it might be worthwhile to work on my hotel loyalty strategy for the next 18 months especially when it comes to Marriott Bonvoy.
Marriott Bonvoy previously introduced their Choice Benefits for members that reach 50 / 75 nights per calendar year and who then have to choose an option before the Suite Night Awards will be deposited by default after January 15th each following year.
This year Marriott seems to have improved on notifying members via email about their choice options following the 50th night posted to the account but in case this email didn’t reach the member, you can do it using the link below.
I got my email last week and it took roughly 5 days after my 50th night was posted until I was able to make my choice.
If a member doesn’t make a choice, Marriott will choose the Suite Night Awards as a default option each January which isn’t necessarily the best option.
You can access Marriott’s page for choosing Choice-benefit here.
You must make the 2021 Annual Elite Benefits Choice by 11:59PM ET on January 15, 2022 for both 50 and 75-night levels.
Here are this year’s Choice Benefit options offered to members:
On the face of it, the Five Elite Night Credits option is only useful if it helps you to reach 75 (or 100) nights, otherwise, it won’t help you any further in hard benefits.
There is however a small bonus with these five nights:
The Terms & Conditions of the Bonvoy program now state that these nights will count towards the lifetime status:
E. Five Elite Night Credits
(1) Upon an eligible Platinum Elite Member selecting the Five Elite Night Credits as his/her Annual Choice Benefit, the Platinum Member will have his/her Member Account credited with five (5) bonus Elite Nights which count toward earning Elite status and Lifetime Elite status. Elite Nights and Elite membership status are subject to the Program Rules in section 4.2.b.
(2) The five (5) Elite Night Credits will be reflected in the Member Account within forty-eight (48) hours of the receipt of the confirmation of the Annual Choice Benefit selection.
(3) Elite Nights that are awarded to an eligible Platinum Elite Member as the Platinum Elite Member’s Annual Choice Benefit will be awarded in the Eligible Status Year for which the Elite Nights were earned, regardless of when the Platinum Elite Member selects the Five Elite Night Credits as his/her Annual Choice Benefit. For the avoidance of doubt, the Eligible Calendar Year in which the Annual Choice Benefit is earned is the Eligible Calendar Year for which the Elite Nights will be credited toward earning Elite membership status.
That moves the value of the five bonus nights into a different dimension, especially if you’re relatively close to Lifetime Status and can’t really use any of the other options.
I’m not a fan of any of these options and the 5 Suite Night Awards never cleared for me (I still have 5 sitting in my account that were never confirmed when I requested one).
I decided to pick the five elite nights not just because of lifetime which is irrelevant to me at this point since I’m already LT Platinum and LT Titanium is no longer available but because I’m after regular Titanium qualification this year.
The five elite nights were credited instantly. I’m now at 56 nights for 2022 and 691 lifetime nights.
It wasn’t my original plan to go for Titanium this year but with the Double Elite Night promotion that is ending in a couple of days on May 4th and the many nights I did in Seoul, South Korea last month it’s definitely possible to go for Titanium again with minimal effort.
Marriott’s decision to add additional elite nights to members’ accounts that also count towards lifetime status came later and is (in my opinion) a really smart move to provide an actual incentive for members to actually go back and stay at hotels in order to top off their nights towards the next elite level.
Last week John also wrote a detailed article about the Marriott Elite Choice:
Due to the still very high number of elites after the extensions (especially Platinum) that happened in 2020, 2021, and 2022, I believe that it will make a vast difference to be Titanium through at least the next year and a half.
The official hard benefits are rather identical but of course, there is a pecking order when it comes to assigning the upgrades for the day. Each hotel only has only a limited number of suites.
My suite upgrade success as Titanium was still rather good but Platinum members are almost out of luck these days, especially in markets such as Thailand where every shepherd and his dog is Bonvoy Platinum now.
I made my first Marriott Elite Choice for 2022 and selected the 5 Elite Nights to step closer towards Titanium requalification.
At this point, I believe it makes sense to think about what one wants to do next year as a traveler with holding fingers crossed that international travel will be fully restored. It’s already largely the case and only a few destinations remain off-limits. Not being able to travel to places like Japan and Taiwan two years down the line is sad and regrettable but I have moved on and I believe so have many other people.
I usually like to hold elite status with multiple chains but especially Marriott and Hyatt. Hilton and IHG are easy to keep status with by the credit card products available in both the U.S. and Germany, respectively the Ambassador membership. Being able to utilize my most valued memberships will be key again at the hotels I usually like to visit but with previously limited travel, I have let certain memberships such as IHG Ambassador lapse for the time being.