Today was a good day! I suppose it’s difficult to have a bad day when you have a room at the Sheraton Waikiki and get to enjoy views like the one below, but it started off on a great note when I logged into my Marriott Rewards account.
I had been waiting for my 15 elite nights from the Marriott Rewards credit card to post. These nights count toward lifetime status, and today they hit. Boom.
In order to qualify for Marriott Lifetime Platinum status, you have to have stayed a total of 750 nights and earned at least 2,000,000 points. I have been over the points threshold for a few years, but today I finally crossed over with nights. I mostly switched to Starwood / Hyatt a couple years ago, but my first job out of college nearly ten years ago required at least four nights a week at the Springhill Suites in Andover, MA. A year and a half of that helped make an early dent. I have also had the Marriot Rewards Signature VISA card, which gives 15 elite nights per year. I’ve had that card for close to ten years as well. Oddly enough, those 15 nights per year count toward lifetime status. Another interesting perk of that card is that for every $3,000 you spend on it, you get an extra elite night of credit. While these days I prefer to put the bulk of my credit card spend on transferable points programs, there were many years where this card was my primary card.
Thus, now I get to enjoy top tier status at Marriott for the rest of my life. This will pair nicely with Million Miler United Premier Gold for life, something that I got a couple years back.
Marriott Rewards is often shunned by the Miles & Points community, and there’s some good reason for it. Their redemption rates aren’t that lucrative. They don’t have an official upgrade program for suites. They don’t give their top elites free breakfast at resorts. On top of all that, it takes the most nights per year to qualify for their top tier status, Platinum: 75 nights. Top tier status at Hyatt or Starwood will only run you 50 nights, and those programs generally treat their elites better with more valuable points and better perks. That being said, there are Marriotts EVERYWHERE. Furthermore, they’re acquiring Starwood (I’m currently lifetime Gold with SPG). Unless something odd happens, I’m assuming that my lifetime Marriott Platinum will turn into lifetime SPG Platinum, whatever that ends up meaning when they merge the two programs.
Despite the criticism of Marriott as a program, I’m generally a fan of their hotels, and as a business traveler, I typically prefer Marriotts over Sheratons or Hyatts. A standard full service Marriott is typically a relatively boring property, but their lounge network is extensive. I wouldn’t go so far as to say I prefer to STAY at Marriotts, though, as I like the rewards programs of Hyatt / Starwood better.
In any case, I think this is a great benefit that will likely improve once the SPG merger is complete. It’s nice to know that I never need to qualify for status again, and as long as I stick to United and Marriott, I’ll never have to pay for a checked bag again, I’ll always get Economy Plus, I’ll have international airport lounge access, I’ll get hotel room upgrades & welcome gifts, and I’ll get lounge access at hotels. I think that’s a pretty nice setup for my future. Thanks, United and Marriott!