Earn Marriott Bonvoy Elite Nights with Credit Cards
One of the benefits of resort credit cards is that they can help you achieve elite status. Some resort credit cards offer outright elite status, while others offer a number of elite nights toward a status level.
In this article, I wanted to share a guide to earning elite nights in the Marriott Bonvoy program using Marriott co-branded credit cards. Hope this helps, as it’s a new year as people start to think about their elite status strategy for 2022.
Win 30 Elite Marriott Bonvoy nights with credit cards
Let’s talk about everything you need to know to earn Marriott Bonvoy Elite Nights using Marriott credit cards. Long story short, if you have the right credit cards, you could be 60% of the way to Platinum status each year without spending a dime on cards.
What are Marriott Elite Nights?
For those who haven’t historically sought hotel status, it might be worth clarifying what I’m talking about when I say ‘elite night’. An Elite night does not entitle you to a free night in a hotel, nor to a free night in a hotel with Elite benefits.
Rather, hotel loyalty programs have certain minimum requirements to achieve status with them (this can be 50, 75, or 100 nights per year, depending on the benefits). Status entitles you to perks such as room upgrades, late check-out, free breakfast, and more.
When I use the term “elite party” I mean you get credit that allows you to gain membership in the program. If a credit card gets you 15 Elite nights, that doesn’t entitle you to free nights at hotels, but rather brings you closer to program status, as that’s the equivalent of having spent 15 nights in a hotel when it comes to progression to elite status.
Which Marriott credit cards offer 15 Elite nights?
Marriott has credit cards issued by both American Express and Chase, and several of them offer 15 Elite nights toward status per year just to get the card. The following Marriott credit cards each earn 15 Elite nights per year (four are open to new applicants, while four are older cards that are no longer open to new applicants):
Earn up to 30 elite Bonvoy nights per year with credit cards
As you can see, there are potentially up to eight Marriott Bonvoy credit cards each offering 15 Elite nights. Does that mean you can get three Marriott credit cards and earn 45 Elite nights per year? No, unfortunately no.
You can earn a maximum of 30 Elite Bonvoy nights per year with co-branded credit cards:
When are Marriott Credit Card Elite Nights released?
The ability to earn Marriott Bonvoy Elite nights with credit cards is a permanent benefit:
- In other words, you don’t just get 15 Elite Nights your first year, but you get them in subsequent years as well.
- You also get those Elite Nights even if you open your credit card in the middle of the year, so the account doesn’t need to be opened at the start of the year.
When should you expect the Marriott Bonvoy Elite Nights to be released?
- If your Marriott Bonvoy credit card is open at the start of the year, your 15 Elite Night Credits will be displayed by March 1; However, in practice they usually post much faster, often in the first week of January (it looks like some elite nights have already been posted for 2022, but not all)
- If you open your Marriott Bonvoy credit card during the year, your 15 Elite Night Credits will be counted within 60 days of opening the account; if you open the card towards the end of the year, don’t worry, the nights will be backdated, even if they are posted the following year
Do Elite Nights earned with Marriott credit cards count towards lifetime status?
Marriott Bonvoy offers the following three levels for lifetime status:
- Lifetime Silver status requires 250 Elite nights plus five years of status
- Lifetime Gold status requires 400 Elite nights plus seven years of Gold status or more
- Lifetime Platinum status requires 600 Elite nights plus 10 years of Platinum status or more
Do Elite Nights earned through Marriott credit cards count toward the Lifetime Status Night Requirement? The answer is yes, they absolutely do.
What about Marriott credit cards that offer spending status?
A few Marriott credit cards offer elite spending status. For example, the Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant ™ American Express® The card offers Platinum status when you spend $ 75,000 on the card in a calendar year.
For some people, it might be worth it, although there is an important distinction to understand. When you earn status by spending, you don’t actually get the corresponding Elite nights.
To explain this as an example:
- Suppose you spend $ 75,000 on the Bonvoy Brilliant card and then achieve Platinum status
- You will have Platinum status, but will not get the corresponding 50 Elite nights
- If you then want to go for Bonvoy Titanium status (which requires 75 Elite nights), you are no closer to getting it, as you are not getting the 50 Elite nights usually associated with Platinum status.
- You would also not be eligible for Bonvoy Choice benefits, as these are based on the Elite nights you earn, rather than your status.
Marriott credit cards provide access to Platinum status
Marriott Bonvoy has five elite levels (Silver, Gold, Platinum, Titanium, and Ambassador), and I would say the status is starting to get valuable around the Platinum level. Bonvoy Platinum members enjoy benefits such as the following:
- Unlimited suite upgrades, subject to availability
- Guaranteed departure at 4:00 p.m., except in the resorts, where it is subject to availability
- Free access to lounge and / or breakfast at most Marriott brands
- 50% bonus Bonvoy points on stays
- Bonvoy Choice perks, where you can select perks such as night-en-suite rewards
Now in all fairness there are a lot of Platinum members out there and I find Marriott to be pretty inconsistent so temper your expectations for unlimited suite upgrades. ??
Bonvoy Platinum status typically requires 50 Elite nights per year, so if you can earn 30 Elite nights per year, that gets you 60% of the way. Then you will only have to earn 20 additional Elite nights to achieve the status.
Keep in mind that even award stays and free night certificate redemptions count toward status with Marriott, so you don’t even have to stay 20 nights on paid rates. It is potentially not that difficult, even for someone who is usually a pleasure traveler.
How do other resort credit card status opportunities compare?
In case you’re curious about how Marriott’s policy of getting status with credit cards compares to the policies of competitors, I thought I would speak briefly about what other hotel groups are offering.
The best opportunity to gain status with a resort credit card is available with Hilton. The American Express Hilton Honors Aspire Card (Evaluation) offers Hilton Honors Premier Diamond status for as long as you own the card, with no spending obligation. This is an incredible perk, although it is true that Hilton does not promise a suite upgrade, late checkout, etc.
IHG Rewards Club also has a decent opportunity, as the IHG® The Rewards Club Premier credit card (exam) offers IHG Rewards Club Platinum status for as long as you own the card. This is a rather low elite level, however, as IHG makes no promises regarding upgrades, free breakfast, or late check-out.
When it comes to Hyatt, World of Hyatt Globalist status is my preferred top hotel status, and naturally, it’s not that easy to earn either. However, the World of Hyatt Credit Card (Rating) and World of Hyatt Business Credit Card (Rating) can help you achieve Elite status:
- On the personal version of the card, you receive five Elite nights per year just for getting the card, and two additional Elite nights for every $ 5,000 spent
- On the business version of the card, you receive five Elite nights for every $ 10,000 spent in a calendar year
At the end of the line
Marriott Bonvoy members can earn up to 30 Elite nights per year using co-branded credit cards. This is potentially a great opportunity, as it grants you 60% Bonvoy Platinum status. If you have the right Marriott credit cards and only stay 20 nights per year with Marriott, that’s enough to maintain Platinum status.
Personally, I have both the Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant ™ American Express® American Express Card and Marriott Bonvoy Business ™® Card, and it turns out to be a big help in maintaining status with the program.
Do you use Marriott credit cards to achieve elite Bonvoy status?