How to Acquire Marriott Platinum Status for £300-350

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Holding top tier elite status with one or more hotel chains is one of the best ways to travel for less. Breakfast is usually included, as is lounge access. A 4 p.m. late check-out comes in really handy for those weekend getaways or ahead of an overnight flight back home. And the bonus points you will receive can help pay for your next trip…

But reaching the heights of elite status can be quite difficult. Some credit cards offer a shortcut, but require an annual fee or significant spend. Sometimes a status match or challenge becomes available. (but you need to have status in the first place)  But otherwise you need a large number of nights. If you re-read this post from April, you’ll see that the new Marriott loyalty programme will require 50 nights for Platinum status. (the minimum needed for lounge access, etc.)

Marriott Rewards offers a different option. I would have written about it earlier, but I always prefer to try out travel hacks for myself before suggesting them to readers. If you book a meeting room, not matter how small or inexpensive, Marriott Rewards will credit you with 10 elite nights for status purposes.

But I don’t need a meeting room, you might be wondering… Which is why you might want to book the cheapest meeting room you can find, and then not show up…  😉

Here’s how it is done…  Visit the US version of the Marriott website and click on “Meetings and Events”.

Search for random cities that you think might be cheap. Perhaps near airports or those American states you’ve never thought of visiting. Perhaps in nearby countries whose dollar is worth less than the American version. 😉

You will receive a list of hotels offering meeting space. Ignore those who ask you to “request a quote” and focus on those that quote a price directly…

Five meetings at 150 USD apiece isn’t £300… But you don’t need a meeting room for the entire day, just an hour on Sunday morning… 😉  The price will automatically update…

Completing the online booking price is simple and straightforward. You will then receive an email confirmation. A day or two after booking, you should hear from the hotel confirming your booking, and asking whether you need anything else for your meeting. You occasionally will be asked to electronically sign a contract. (a good thing since one of the clauses confirms your 10 elite nights)

A few days after you “overslept” and missed your Sunday morning meeting, you will be billed as a no-show, but you also should receive an email from Marriott Rewards…

InsideFlyer has been having a few off-site meetings this month 😉

CAVEATS AND ADVICE

  1. Please please please don’t all rush off to book meetings at that Courtyard in Rossford, Ohio. There are many other hotels available, so let’s not overwhelm the one I chose for this example.
  2. Marriott Rewards has not confirmed that Rewarding Events will continue in the new loyalty programme. To be sure, you need to book your meetings for July and perhaps early August. Elite nights received during July will count for the new programme starting in August.
  3. Do not book consecutive meetings at the same hotel. The events manager might combine them all into one reference number, meaning that you will only be entitled to one set of 10 elite nights.
  4. If you are uncomfortable with the “no-show” element, I believe that the Marriott hotels near Heathrow and Manchester airports offer £65 per hour meeting rooms, but they cannot be booked online.
  5. If your 10 elite nights don’t post within a few days, you might need to chase your hotel contact to see whether they used the “Group Posting Tool”.
  6. Hopefully it is obvious, but don’t mention over email that you aren’t actually planning to show up! Many meeting managers know the game – and you are giving them free money for an empty meeting room – but there’s no need to be so blatant. That said, some ambitious travel hackers have spent time searching for those elusive managers willing to reduce their prices even further for “no show” meetings that cost the hotel almost nothing.

Have you ever booked a meeting room with Marriott Rewards in order to receive 10 elite nights? How did it work out for you?

Comments

  1. Russell Wilson says

    Nice but I think you’d have to add any FX fees to that. Still cheaper though so nice hack thanks.

  2. Max D says

    Very nice but how long would the platinum status last? …I’m new. Love the blog, reading it every morning

  3. Gordon Simpson says

    i think they may have cottoned on to this.. EVERY Marriot in London has “request a quote” button, not direct pricing

    • Craig Sowerby says

      If you go via the UK version of the Marriott website, a few hotels will pop up with direct quotes, but they tend to be more expensive. I think it’s just a question of whether the hotel wants to automate their meeting room inventory.

      The last time I was at Heathrow, the Marriott had a very prominent sign saying meeting rooms cost as little as £65.

      • Luke says

        I assume you’ll only get upgraded to Platinum status sometime in August when the new program starts? Because the existing program is actually 75 nights for Platinum Elite… Am I understanding that correctly?

        • Craig Sowerby says

          You are correct. However the current Marriott Gold is also pretty good. (breakfast, etc.) I’m assuming that with 5 suitably spaced out meetings, and the time it takes to post to your account, we’ll be in August anyhow…

    • Craig Sowerby says

      You can certainty try the Far East. But they might not understand the Rewarding Events systems. Your best bet is “middle-of-nowhere” USA or to negotiate a deal with some hotel in the UK like Simon seems to have done.

  4. Simon says

    Just did this. It works. All 8 x bookings in London. Total cost: £320 for 8 x rooms. Did have to fight Martiott CS tooth and nail to get Elite nights to credit. Tooth and nail being: 13 emails / 2 calls / several tweets / and an email to hotel GM. Marriott customer services are DREADFUL, unlike SPG’s.

    Question: do Platinum Premier Elites in the new programme get TWO lots of annual choice benefits, ie 10 x Suite Upgrade Vouchers?

    • Craig Sowerby says

      Good job on the meetings. Just to make clear to others that these are “meeting rooms”, not 8 x rooms…

      In the new Marriott, you should get 5 SNAs at 50 nights, and the choice of another 5 SNAs or a free night (Category tbd) at 75 nights.

      • Simon says

        Thanks, Craig.

        So, if I earned 80 x elite nights in the last few days to earn the current Marriott Platinum tier — nothing has posted to my account yet beyond being told that I am now Marriott Platinum and that I have achieved 80 elite nights to get there (from my 8 x meeting room bookings) — THEN, when the new Marriott program comes into effect on Aug 1 and I map across to “Marriott Platinum Premier Elite”, will I already have satisfied the criteria to be awarded these 2 x 5 SNAs? I’m just not au fait with how I actually get my hands on these SNAs, and when?

        Any help much appreciated!

        • Craig Sowerby says

          Unfortunately I think we’ve almost made it to August without Marriott knowing themselves how it will all work out. I assume that qualifying members will eventually receive emails asking them to choose amongst their 50 and 75 night gift benefits.

          That said, there is a tiny risk that those who reach the hurdles BEFORE August are going to be left without anything! I find it hard to believe, but people have reported on Flyertalk that both SPG and Marriott are non-committal about whether passing 75 nights before August is a bad idea.

          I, on the other hand, am planning to bank a free night from SPG for 50 nights, and then see if I can get both the 50 and 75 night benefit from Marriott. Unlikely but who knows…

          • Simon says

            That sounds like a plan, Craig! As my SPG has turned Platinum in the last 24 hours, if I also wanted to bank a free SPG night, do I just contact their CS to get this in your experience? (Last question, I promise!) 🙂

    • ICC says

      Would you mind sharing which hotels are offering these rates? So far all the London based ones have only been offering rates upwards of £100, even for a 2h meeting!

      • Craig Sowerby says

        If you send a “Request for Quote” to the Marriott Heathrow – ask for one hour to have a quiet space to make some calls – you should get a quote for £65.

  5. Luke says

    Is this worth it if you already have SPG/Marriott Gold? I’m going on honeymoon in a few months and will be travelling around for several weeks, so I’m wondering whether locking in these benefits now will pay dividends then…

    • Craig Sowerby says

      Do you have Marriott Gold via SPG Gold? Credit card? If so, your benefits will be devalued substantially in the new programme.

      Whether it’s worth it? You’ve reminded me to write a post on the benefits of Marriott Rewards. You need a Masters level degree to figure out what benefits you get at Marriott hotels depending on brand. (breakfast, lounge, is it a resort? etc.)

      At SPG hotels it’s pretty straightforward and Platinum is well worth it! I am currently writing this from yet another suite at a Sheraton…

  6. Lorcan says

    For the new programme I saw reference to 10 elite nights for your first booking – so this may not last. I may decide not to go through with the quote I’ve requested for an airport hotel I’m planning on staying at in November. But if my local Marriott quotes me a sensible price for an hour and I can show up (Friday evening etc.) I’ll probably push it through

    • Craig Sowerby says

      Yes. I’ve seen that too… But the current T&Cs also essentially have the same language about “first meeting” (when you can do more than one for sure) so it’s a bit confusing.

      But unquestionably this travel hack could disappear in a few weeks.

      • Lorcan says

        Reassuring. Well let’s see what my C$100 gets me – hoping it’s not the same place you went with!

        • Craig Sowerby says

          Could be… Renata sounds nice over email 😉 But at least you can be confident that the elite nights will credit fairly quickly if you did end up in the same hotel as me.

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