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One of my favourite travel hacks is offered by Marriott. Whenever you organise a meeting – no matter how small or inexpensive – you can earn 10 elite nights towards the 50+ required for Platinum status or better. You used to be able to achieve Platinum status with 5 such meetings, but then in 2019 the rules were changed to allow for a maximum of 10 elite nights per year.
According to this Reddit thread – which may or may not be the source for a couple of subsequent blog posts I’ve stumbled across – meeting organisers will no longer be able to earn 10 elite night credits. This change will take effect on 1 January, 2020.
Beginning January 1, 2020: Members will no longer earn ten (10) Elite Night Credits for the first event of the calendar year with Marriott Bonvoy Events. This change does not affect the current points/miles earn structure Members who hold qualifying events at participating properties will continue to earn one (1) Elite Night Credit for every twenty (20) room nights actualized up to a maximum of twenty (20) Elite Night Credits per contract.
Can I Do Anything About This?
Elite status qualification works on a calendar year basis, so there’s simply no way to “organise” a meeting for late December and have those nights count for 2020.
I suppose that the truly adventurous could organise a meeting today for 2 January, 2020. Since no formal announcement has been made about this change, you might be able to argue in January that Marriott Bonvoy ought to respect the rules in place when you signed the contract for your meeting. Given how Marriott customer service has historically been useless with meeting credits – the hotel must use the Group Posting Tool or nothing will post correctly, even with intervention from Marriott Bonvoy – I suspect that this will not work. But it might be worth a try…
The Bottom Line
This is an unfortunate change. Understandable. because it had been substantially travel hacked… but still unfortunate. Mentally I had been planning on the bare minimum of 40 nights in 2020 to keep my Platinum status – now I’ll need to find another 10 nights to hit 50.