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How does a Marriott Bonvoy status help us save a lot of money?

To the point

A high Marriott Bonvoy status is the key to saving a lot of money! Also find out how to negotiate your upgrades with this status!

Foreword

I have been an Elite member of the Marriott Hotel Program for almost 10 years now.

At first, I was a Gold member (25 nights a year) thanks to the the Platinum Card® from American Express, which offers this status automatically, then I became a Platinum member (50 nights a year) by playing the “meeting room” trick, which is now a thing of the past.

I have now been a Titanium member (75 nights a year) since last year, as a result of focusing my stays in Marriott Bonvoy hotels.

Prior to 2019, each meeting room rental gave us 10 elite nights of accommodation that counted towards status. It only took a few rentals to easily obtain Platinum/Titanium status.

In 2019, Marriott Bonvoy only allowed 1 rental per year to earn 10 nights. Since the beginning of 2020, renting a meeting room no longer counts towards status.

It will be difficult to reach the supreme status of Ambassador (which requires 100 nights per year and US$ 20,000 spent in the group’s hotels during the year)! Only business travelers can really aim for this status.

Anyway, I’m quite satisfied today with this Titanium status, and I’ll tell you why it helped us save us a lot of money during our 5 months trip around the world with our family.

Those who follow our stories on Instagram know what I’m going to talk about!

The advantages of a status

Free breakfasts

When you reach Platinum status, you get free breakfasts – it’s certainly the best advantage,especially when traveling with your family!

It’s quite simple, every day, I estimate that I save between CA$20 and CA$40 per person in food. For a family of 4, this can represent more than CA$ 150 per day of travel!

On past trips, in certain establishments – such as The St. Regis Bahia Beach Resort hotel in Puerto Rico, it even amounted to more than CA$50 per person.

That’s because in most of the establishments we stay at, breakfast is not just pancakes or cereals.

These are often real buffets that can allow us to “hold on” until the end of the day! Thus, in addition to breakfast, we often save on a restaurant meal at lunchtime .

ac hotel by marriott cape town waterfront – 98
AC Hotel By Marriott Cape Town Waterfront - Petit-déjeuner

Access to the hotel lounges

Some hotels offer lounges. These lounges are often the places where you will have breakfast (if the hotel doesn’t have a restaurant) and it’s also where you will find drinks and small snacks throughout the day, but also buffets in the evening!

Jw Marriott Cancun Resort Spa 21
JW Marriott Cancun Resort & Spa

You can also save money on some meals!

Travelling as a family, we are rarely outside the hotel after 7PM, so it’s a good idea for us to go through the lounge before going back to the room.

jwmarriott hanoi lounge 02
JW Marriott Hotel Hanoi - Executive lounge

We can make our supper and get some drinks:

  • milk for children
  • red wine for the parents!
Sheraton Tribeca New York Hotel 35
Sheraton Tribeca New York Hotel - salon

Annual benefits

Having Platinum or Titanium status means accessing a range of annual benefits.

When you reach Platinum status, Marriott Bonvoy offers you:

  • Five free upgrades to a suite (Suite Night Awards™)
  • Silver Elite status gift
  • 40% off your favorite mattress
  • five Elite Night Credits
  • a $100 charity donation
st regis abu dhabi 11
The St. Regis Abu Dhabi - Catégorie 5 de Marriott Bonvoy

Usually, the obvious choice is Five free upgrades to a suite. This way, you are guaranteed – subject to availability – an upgrade to a suite for 5 nights in the year. However, you’ll see that there are limits… and that it’s entirely possible to get more upgrades during the year!

Ac Hotel By Marriott Cape Town Waterfront 01
Ac Hotel By Marriott Cape Town Waterfront 01

If you have earned Marriott Bonvoy’s Titanium Elite status (75 elite nights), Marriott Bonvoy asks you to choose additional benefits:

  • Five free upgrades to a suite (Suite Night Awards™)
  • A free night
  • Gold Elite status gift
  • 40% off your favorite mattress
  • five Elite Night Credits
  • a $100 charity donation
jwmarriott essexhouse29
JW Marriott Essex House - Vue sur Central Park depuis notre suite

In 2019, I had chosen the upgrades (to guarantee 10 upgraded nights in the year).

But, in December, I still had 8 upgrades available, which I managed to use during our stay in Cape Town.

Quite simply because during my numerous stays, I almost always got an upgrade by asking in the chat feature of the Marriott Bonvoy app!

African Pride Arabella Hotel Spa Autograph Collection Featured
African Pride Arabella Hotel Spa -Autograph Collection - View from the suite

That’s why in 2020, I chose the free night which, in my eyes, is much more valuable!

High-speed Wi-Fi

Having a status also means benefiting from free internet in all hotels. This is usually something that is accessible to most members of the Marriott Bonvoy program.

However, we are talking about the High-speed internet. It’s much more convenient for bloggers like us who need to upload and send lots of photos, or do Facebook Live!

For example at the Courtyard Siem Reap, when I did my Facebook Live, I had a better internet connection than in Montreal (400 Mbps both ways!).

The traditional internet was good too (100 Mbps), but this gives you an idea of the difference!

Domes of Elounda Autograph Collection 100
Domes of Elounda - Autograph Collection - Chambre

Partnership with United

As a Titanium member, you can apply for United’s MileagePlus Silver membership. It’s not extraordinary, but still good to get it, since it gives you:

  • Free access to Economy Plus cabin check-in for you and one travelling companion (when available)
  • Free Premier Upgrade on the day of departure (when available)
  • Free checked baggage (up to 32 kg)
  • Access to the Premier Access service (when available)
  • 7 miles for every dollar spent on United flights.

To do this, go to this page and click on “Join RewardsPlus”.

After registering with your Marriott Bonvoy account and your United MileagePlus account, you will be able to link your two accounts.

This will then tell you it can take 7 to 10 days to be enabled. In reality, in less than 48 hours, you will get your status!

Accelerated earning of points

By being a Titanium member, I earn 75% more points.

This means that every US dollar spent in a Marriott Bonvoy hotel earns me 17.5 points! When added to the 5 points offered by the Marriott Bonvoy™ American Express® Card, this means 22.5 Marriott Bonvoy points per dollar spent.

Knowing that I value the Marriott Bonvoy point at $0.009, this represents a return of nearly 15% on my Marriott Bonvoy expenses!

Here is an example with a paid stay at the Toronto Marriott City Centre Hotel.

It cost $233.86 CA$ (taxes included). I paid with my Marriott Bonvoy™ Business American Express® Card, which allowed me to earn 5 points per dollar, or 1,169 points.

And, as for being a Titanium member with Marriott Bonvoy, I got:

  • 10 points per US dollar (excl. tax) as any other member, i.e. 1,505 points
  • 75% more points because I’m a Titanium member, i.e. 1,129 points.

So a total of 2,634 points on the Marriott Bonvoy side.

When added to the 1,169 points earned on my Marriott Bonvoy™ Business American Express® Card, this represents 3,803 Marriott Bonvoy points whose value I estimate at $34.23, a return of nearly 15% 🙂

And remember: charge each of your expenses at Marriott Bonvoy Hotels to your room bill in order to benefit from the points offered by your status!

Recognition in hotels

Welcome Gifts

Systematically, we find a welcome gift in our room. Whether it’s chocolates, fruit, or a real meal basket with wine!

Those things are always appreciated!

Discount on hotel expenses in Asia/Pacific

By being a Titanium member, I benefit from 20% discount on all expenses in restaurants and bars in hotels in Asia/Pacific, which is interesting for example when the kids snack by the pool!

The intangible

And then, there’s all the intangibles. These services are provided by concierges who have recognized your status and who will do everything to please or surprise you.

These small attentions for the children of Elite members (ice cream offered every day or teddy bears on arrival) or a small poster to welcome you!

Upgrades on request

Being a Platinum or Titanium member gives you some leverage when you try to negociate with a hotel. Negotiate? Let me explain.

The art of negotiation

Before the arrival of the Marriott Bonvoy mobile application, you had to find the hotel’s email address, usually through hotel webpage:

https://www.marriott.com/hotels/hotelFactSheet.mi?marshaCode=XXXXX

Each establishment is listed by Marriott under a 5-letter “Marsha” code that you can find in the URL of your browser after “Travel”:

In the example of the Uluwatu Renaissance, this means:

https://www.marriott.com/hotels/hotelFactSheet.mi?marshaCode=dpsuw

And here is the description sheet, with an email address to contact the establishment:

But for a frequent traveller, the arrival of Marriott Bonvoy’s mobile application is a little gem. It’s really well-thought, in that it puts you directly in touch with the hotel through a chat feature.

48 hours before your arrival, you can start chatting with the hotel.

Chatting is much faster, and it’s easy to quickly figure out if the other person is ready to get into the game.

Here’s how I’m doing it and in 2019, I got a 90% success rate (and for now, my success rate is at 100% in 2020)!

Before negotiation

Negotiation

After negotiation

And other examples of before and after:

Before negotiation

After negotiation

Before negotiation

After negotiation

Or these two examples in 2 luxury hotels in Kuala Lumpur:

Before negotiation

After negotiation

Check hotel availability

48 hours before your arrival, check the rooms available in the hotel. You can find out the different types of rooms offered in each hotel, and compare them to what is offered at the time of booking.

Check each hotel’s page (see above for the Marsha code) to find out exactly how many suites there are in the hotel.

Establish the relationship

Start the communication with the hotel by saying that you are looking forward to discovering this new hotel. Say for example that you usually go down to the JW Marriott in the city, but this time you decided to try the Renaissance.

Play innocent by asking for the services offered for a Platinum or Titanium member (breakfast, lounges…?).

When to start negotiating?

24 hours before arrival, come back. I generally advise you to do this in the evening (hotel time): in the morning, the employees are particularly busy with check-ins and check-outs.

While in the evenings they have more free time (and you are less likely to run into a reluctant manager vs. a young employee trying to please an Elite member 😉 ).

Negotiate and don't give up.

Be direct:

I have just seen that you have several suites available for booking: would it be possible for a Platinum/Titanium member to be upgrade in one of them. I’m really looking forward to having the best possible experience in this new hotel.

Wait a little.

You can usually get 3 answers:

  • positive: you are upgraded with a nice message from the hotel (rare)
  • negative : we will see if it’s possible at the time of check-in, subject to availability (frequent)
  • neutral: I will see what I can do for you. And then, you discover in the app that your booking has been upgraded (occasional).

Usually, in this second round of bargaining, it works. The hotel has closed the room allocation and will prefer to get your “classic” room back, which is easier to book at the last minute than a higher priced suite.

If it didn’t happen during this round, don’t hesitate to try again 12 hours later: you will have to deal with another employee.

For example, you could say:

I wanted to know the status of my request for an upgrade to a suite. I have to work and having space is essential for my concentration and so as not to disturb my spouse when she sleeps.

If it didn’t pass in the third round, don’t be discouraged: try again when you check in at the hotel.

9 times out of 10 it worked in 2019 for me! And 100% of the time in 2020 during our 5 month trip around the world, which also saved us money (we always book the cheapest room, and regularly get a superior room and almost always a suite)!

And no, it’s not because it’s “milesopedia” 😉.

Get a status with Marriott Bonvoy

In short, you will have understood that being an Elite member of a loyalty program like Marriott Bonvoy is something we try to get every year. We saw it in the group at the end of last year: many members were looking for ways to achieve or renew Platinum status.

Unfortunately, in 2020, this has become complicated. TheMarriott Bonvoy™ American Express® Card represents a good “boost” with its 15 elite nights. But there are still 35 nights left to earn in the year, which is practically impossible for the “average traveller”, and because you don’t travel ONLY in Marriott hotels!

However, there are several methods of obtaining status with Marriott Bonvoy.

Get Silver status with a card

Silver status can be obtained very easily by simply having the Marriott Bonvoy™ American Express® Card or theMarriott Bonvoy™ Business American Express® Card.

These are cards that I keep in my wallet, year after year, because they also offer a free one-night stay certificate worth 35,000 points when I renew my membership.

Get Gold status with a card

The simplest way to obtain Gold status for Marriott Bonvoy: by applying for the Platinum Card® from American Express. Once you get the card, you can simply ask American Express to change your status to Gold at Marriott Bonvoy.

It is indeed one of the many benefits offered to American Express Platinum cardmembers.

The other method is to apply for the Marriott Bonvoy™ American Express® Card or the Marriott Bonvoy™ Business American Express® Card, which offer 15 elite nights per year and then stay 10 nights in Marriott Bonvoy hotels throughout the year.

Get Platinum status through stays

As a rule, a Marriott Bonvoy member already has the Marriott Bonvoy™ American Express® Cardor the Marriott Bonvoy™ Business American Express® Card, which ensures that they start the year with 15 elite nights and Silver status.

Thus, there are still 35 nights to go before reaching Platinum status. If you are travelling, this is an opportunity to choose to stay in Marriott hotels rather than other hotels.

And to particularly target category 1 to 3 hotelsfor your stays in order to renew the status at a lower price. Some even go so far as to plan holidays in Egypt, South Africa or in different regions of Asia to combine pleasure… and renewal of status!

To help you with this, consult our map listing Marriott Bonvoy hotels by category.

Otherwise, take part in the Challenge proposed by Marriott Bonvoy!

Achieve Platinum status with a challenge

You can ask Marriott Bonvoy to register for a qualification challenge for Platinum status. You will need to call Marriott Bonvoy customer service at 1-801-468-4000.

Once registered, you will need to stay 16 nights within 90 days. Attention: only paid nights count (not those obtained with points).

Tip: ask for your registration for the challenge at the beginning of the month! The 90-day countdown usually starts at the beginning of the month following your application. This gives you precious extra days or even weeks to get your status!

Conclusion

Getting a Marriott Bonvoy status is a definite advantage when you plan to travel to Marriott Bonvoy hotels during the validity period of your status.

For us, as part of our 5-month trip around the world with our family, having the Titanium status was certainly our most precious asset to save money and travel in greater comfort!

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