Marriott’s Annual Choice Benefit – Which Should You Choose?

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Now that we have entered November, Marriott Bonvoy members with elite status ought to start thinking about their choice of Annual Choice Benefits. Unless you make a choice, you will automatically be assigned Suite Night Awards on 7 January, 2022.

There are two milestones that trigger a benefit – 50 nights and 75 nights. For the avoidance of doubt, this includes any COVID-related complimentary elite nights, as well as the 15 nights earned by being a co-branded credit card holder.

But sometimes it can be difficult to decide, so here are your options.

50-Night Choice Benefit

Shortly after reaching your 50th elite night, you should receive an email from Marriott that directs you to this webpage.

Your options are the following:

Gift Marriott Bonvoy Silver Elite status to anybody

Please DON’T (Silver is worthless).

Save 40% on a bed from your favourite hotel brand

This is a niche option (that probably isn’t even available in the UK / Europe). But if you are in the market for a new bed/mattress and you are particularly fond of the beds found at a specific chain, then a 40% discount can offer great value.

Donate $100 to one of three charity options

If you are the charitable type and don’t care for the other choices, this can be a feel-good choice.

Five Elite Night credits for 2021

Here is where many people become confused. These elite night credits are ONLY good for:

  • Helping you on your way to Titanium (75 nights) or Ambassador (100 nights + $14k) in 2021
  • Adding 5 nights to your lifetime total

You CANNOT wait until early 2022 and jump-start your renewal.

Five Suite Night Awards

Suite Night Awards are explained on this Marriott webpage.

Because you cannot confirm the suite upgrade in advance – it only processes 5 days before hotel arrival – these SNAs are useless for “must have a suite” stays. Many Marriott members also find themselves unable to use their full allotment of SNAs. Either the hotel doesn’t have suites in the first place, or the upgrade doesn’t clear.

Nonetheless, Suite Night Awards are the default option for Marriott Bonvoy, as they should be for most Platinum members. After all, you MIGHT get some value out of them in 2022…

75-Night Choice Benefit

When you reach 75 nights, you can choose from any of the above options, along with the following:

Gift Marriott Bonvoy Gold Elite status to anybody

As with Silver status, Gold status is effectively worthless.

And you are NOT providing any kind of head start to the newly/minted Gold member – they would still need to complete all 50 nights in 2021 (or 2022) to be upgraded to Platinum status.

One Free Night Award worth up to 40,000 points

This is likely to be the best option to choose at 75 nights. 40,000 points can be worth roughly £200+ when comparing to the price of buying 40k points during promotions. Choose your hotel wisely and you could be saving even more when compared to the cash rate.

A very useful trick is to wait until January 2nd or 3rd (2022)  before making your 75-night choice. Many online data points suggest that you receive the rest of the current year plus all of the next – i.e. an expiry date of 31 December, 2023.

Bottom line

Unless you have some really valid reasons to choose something else, the recommended choices are:

  • 50 night Choice Benefit –> 5 Suite Night Awards
  • 75 night Choice Benefit –> Free Night Award

Just don’t forget to login to your Marriott account between January 1st and 7th to make that 75-night choice…

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