Marriott Bonvoy replaced three loyalty programmes – Marriott Rewards, The Ritz-Carlton Rewards and Starwood Preferred Guest (SPG) – when it launched in February last year.
Comprised of a portfolio of 30 hotel brands and home rental offering Homes & Villas by Marriott International, Marriott Bonvoy members can earn and redeem points for stays and accelerate the points they earn with co-branded credit cards from Chase and American Express, according to Marriott.
The launch wasn’t without teething problems. In April last year, the Los Angeles Times ran an article about the constantly travelling head of a San Diego investment fund whose disgruntlement with Bonvoy led him to help set up a website where others can air their grievances about the new merged programme. Readers of that website can even buy T-shirts reading ‘You got Bonvoyed’.
However, Marriott is working on ironing out the issues in its programme and Bonvoy is here to stay, so it’s worth thinking about what level of Elite status you want to aim for within the programme, if you’re a frequent guest of the many properties covered by the programme.
Marriott Bonvoy has five tiers of ‘Elite’ membership. These are:
- Silver Elite
- Gold Elite
- Platinum Elite
- Titanium Elite
- Ambassador Elite
For this article, we’ll take a look at the perks of Titanium Elite membership. Although this is not the highest status achievable – Ambassador Elite is the highest – we believe it’s a more manageable goal for the average reader of Business Traveller Asia-Pacific to achieve. The main perks of Ambassador Elite status are access to your own Ambassador who can look after your needs, though as one travel blogger noted the quality of Ambassadors can be variable.
To get Titanium Elite, you need to stay between 75-99 nights per year, so nearly a quarter of every night you sleep in a given year would have to be in a Marriott Bonvoy property. To qualify for Ambassador Elite, you need 100 nights or more, as well as US$20,000 minimum “annual qualifying spend” per year.
What does Titanium Elite get you?
Marriott bills Titanium Elite status as “Status That Leaves All Others Behind” – except, presumably, Ambassador Elite status – and offers those holding it a wide range of perks.
- More points – earn 75% more points than Members on every eligible hotel purchase, including on room rate and other incidentals that can be charged to your room, such as dining and spa
- Room upgrades* – Marriott says it will “do our best” to upgrade your room upon check-in, subject to availability
- Welcome gifts – you can choose from more points, breakfast offering or “amenity”, depending on which property they are staying at
- Additional annual choice benefit for those members with 75 eligible nights – you can choose between five “Suite Night Awards”, a “Free Night Award”, gift Gold Elite status, 40% off your favourite mattress, five “Elite Night Credits” or a US$100 charity donation
- 48-hour guarantee – Marriott says it will always have a room available to you — guaranteed — when you book by 3 p.m., 48 hours before arrival
- Lounge access – At hotel brands that have lounges, you’ll have full access and complimentary breakfast
- Free “Enhanced” in-room internet access* – Marriott says you can enjoy its “fastest internet connection absolutely free”
- Bonus United Airlines status – Titanium Elite members are eligible to register and enjoy complimentary United MileagePlus Premier Silver Status
- Ultimate reservation guarantee* – Marriott says that if it can’t honour your reservation for any reason, it guarantees it will pay for you to stay nearby and compensate you for the inconvenience
- Dedicated Elite Reservation Line* – Marriott says you’ll get fast, personal service 24/7 for all your hotel booking needs
- Exclusive member rates* – when booking direct on Marriott’s website or apps
- Mobile or keyless check in* – you can use Marriott’s apps as your room card
- No blackout dates* – Use your points to redeem for “Free Night Awards” at any of Marriott’s 7,000+ hotels and resorts worldwide with no blackout dates
- Book and pay for your room by combining cash and points* — Marriott says you can stay for as little as US$55 and 3,500 points
- Instant redemption* – during your stay at any of Marriott’s participating hotels, you can instantly redeem points for cocktails, meals, spa experiences and more — anything you can charge to your hotel room.
- Pointsavers* – save points on redemptions
It’s worth noting that some of these benefits are also available at lower tier statuses. They’re marked with asterisks above.
Thus the key benefits of Platinum Elite are 75% more points earning (this compares to only 25% with Gold Elite, which is one level down from Platinum); non-points welcome gifts (Gold Elite only allows you to receive points as welcome gifts); lounge access; and bonus United Airlines Silver Status.
Business travellers tend to place high value on lounge access, as it gives you a comfortable place besides your room to work, and a place where you can also enjoy benefits such as a cocktail hour and a more exclusive breakfast experience. The United Airlines Silver Status is also not to be sniffed at, though there’s a chance roadwarriers will already have that status or higher anyway.
For a good overview of the benefits of each tier status, Marriott has provided the following table highlighting some of the key benefits:
Earned after 10 nights per year
Earned after 25 nights per year
Earned after 50 nights per year
Earned after 75 nights per year
Earned after 100 nights + $20,000 spend per year
|Member Rates||Lowest available rate guaranteed for booking direct||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Mobile Check-in||Check in advance via the Marriott Bonvoy app||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Free Wi-Fi||Available if members book direct||Yes||Yes||Enhanced||Enhanced||Enhanced|
|Room Upgrades||All brands except Marriott Vacation Club, Aloft, Element||
|Late Check-Out||All brands except Marriott Vacation Club||Priority when available||2pm when available||Up to 4pm when available||Up to 4pm when available||Up to 4pm when available|
|Lounge Access||Participating brands include JW Marriott, Marriott Hotels, Delta Hotels, Autograph Collection Hotels, Renaissance Hotels, Courtyard (outside of US), Le Meridien, Westin, Sheraton||Yes
|48 hr. Guarantee||Guaranteed room availability for reservations books 48 hours prior to arrival||
|Elite Welcome Gift||This includes points or free breakfast or a F&B credit||Yes||Yes|
Marriott Bonvoy Moments
As well as redeeming points for stays, Titanium Elite members – as well as members with other Elite statuses – can redeem points on Marriott Bonvoy Moments, Marriott’s “experiential platform” where members can bid their points for “exclusive money can’t buy experiences”. These benefits have been available since March 25.
“With the unveiling of Marriott Bonvoy earlier this year, we are committed to elevating the member experience and giving our members more ways to redeem their points for the experiences they are most passionate about,” said Peggy Fang Roe, chief sales and marketing officer, Asia Pacific at Marriott International back in March 2019.
“The thrilling Marriott Bonvoy Moments are designed to provide members more access to local experiences, the ability to share rewards with their friends and families and to fuel their interests and passion points.”
Experiences currently available on Marriott’s website include seeing the New York Knicks basketball team, seeing American stand-up comic Jo Koy at the Marriott Bonvoy Luxury Suite at the Coca-Cola Arena in Dubai, and experiencing an “Exclusive Whiskey Weekend” in Edinburgh.