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Earning elite status from a hotel chain can be quite difficult… but the benefits are often worthwhile. Breakfast is usually included, as is lounge access. A 4 p.m. late check-out is hugely valuable for those weekend getaways or ahead of an overnight flight back home. You should receive a decent room upgrade, and the bonus points you will receive can help pay for your next trip…
With Marriott, you will need at least 50 nights per calendar year in order to reach the Platinum status that unlocks all of those benefits I mention above (click here for a fuller description of Marriott Platinum benefits).
One of InsideFlyer UK’s most popular posts of 2018 showed how you could quickly accumulate elite night credits with Marriott, simply by booking meeting rooms. You can re-read that post by clicking here. Unfortunately that loophole was partially closed when Marriott Rewards transitioned into “Marriott Bonvoy”.
However, Marriott Bonvoy still allows members to earn 10 elite nights per year…
How Can I Book a Cheap Meeting?
Unless you are actually in the business of booking meeting space, you probably want the cheapest meeting room you can find. Here’s an easy option…
Go to the Marriott website and click on Meetings & Events…
Search for meeting space near London’s Heathrow airport, specifically the Marriott hotel.
You will need to fill in the RFP form, keeping the following in mind:
- You do NOT need to book a room at the hotel
- You can request a small meeting room for two people for a private meeting
- You only need to book for one hour
A Marriott agent should email you – potentially with a ridiculously high quote – but with a few e-mail exchanges you can make clear that you only need a small meeting room for one hour. My excuse was that I was meeting a colleague – let’s imagine it was Joe – for a conference call before a flight… and we needed a quiet space for it. You will also be asked whether you require any additional catering or IT equipment, etc. – which of course you don’t…
Eventually we got to a price of £65 for a one-hour meeting. This is the standard price for a one-hour meeting… not the result of any particularly special negotiating skills.
Once the price was agreed, I had to sign a contract and make a bank transfer of £65 to the hotel’s bank account. When agreeing and signing the contract, you will want to ensure that your Marriott Bonvoy details are included in the contract – there is a space for this.
Do I Actually Have to Show Up?
I did actually show up, to see how the system works. But it quickly became obvious that this would not have been required. In my contract, I was assigned the “Touchdown 1” meeting room. When entering the Marriott lobby, it was quite easy to locate the “Touchdown lobby” just past the check-in counter for the hotel. There was nobody monitoring the use of these unlocked meeting rooms and coffee machine, etc. Somewhat confused, I went to the front desk to enquire whether I needed to “check-in”. I was told… “no, if you’ve booked the meeting room you can just go in and use it.” I stayed around for part of my booked hour, and nobody checked to see whether I was fine. So long story short… if I hadn’t showed up nobody would have been any wiser…
What About Those Precious Elite Nights (and a Handful of Points)?
A few days after my “meeting”, I received an email from the hotel, detailing the points I earned and the night credit I received.
Although you can no longer buy your way to Platinum or Titanium status, a very cheap ten elite nights is an extremely helpful boost along the way to 50 or 75 nights. Although booking the Marriott Heathrow was more labour-intensive than my prior efforts in North America, many readers will be more comfortable booking a hotel closer to home.
Have you booked a Marriott meeting since the transition to Bonvoy? Have you found a cheaper option that you are willing to share? Let us know in the comments section.