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Ok, it seems like the right time for a good old-fashioned InsideFlyer ‘Mega Deal Stack’. The main aim of today’s deal stack is to demonstrate how to earn Marriott Platinum status for as little as £513, by combining a variety of different deals and promotions.
A substantial side benefit is that you can also enjoy a holiday of up to 25 days too, for the same amount. That effectively makes the holiday free, if you are really placing the value on earning Marriott Platinum…
Not every technique will necessarily be applicable to your own personal situation, but I hope that you at least get something out of it. The real point is to help you start thinking more broadly about how to generate value by stacking different deals together.
How to earn Marriott Platinum status for £513
First things first, to earn Marriott Bonvoy Platinum status you usually need to stay 50 nights with Marriott in a calendar year.
Double Elite Night Credits promo cuts that down to 25 nights
Marriott’s annual ‘Week Of Wonders’ promotions tend to be pretty tame. One genuine highlight this time though is the chance to earn double points and double elite night credits for stays of 5+ nights booked through ‘Homes & Villas by Marriott’
Homes & Villas is basically Marriott’s attempt to get a slice of the Airbnb style holiday rental action. It isn’t anything particularly special (most of the properties I’ve seen are available through other agencies), but it can give you a substantial and affordable leg-up when it comes to elite status – especially when there is a double elite nights promotion on.
The double elite night credit is the most important element of this deal stack, so it makes sense to read the terms carefully:
- *A “stay” is defined as five (5) or more consecutive nights spent at the same property.
- Registration is not required for this promotion.
- Stays must be booked between October 6, 2022 (12:01 AM EDT) – October 15, 2022 (11:59 PM EDT) through the Homes & Villas by Marriott International website
- Stays must be completed during the promotion earning period, beginning October 6, 2022, up to and including nights stayed on or before April 30, 2023.
- Members will earn one bonus Elite Night Credit per eligible paid night during the stay. Bonus Elite Night Credits will be awarded to the Member’s account within three (3) to six (6) weeks (21 – 42 days) business days after checkout.
- Bonus Elite Night Credits will count only toward the status year in which the Elite Night Credits are posted.
In particular, watch out for bottom two bullet points there, as you do not want to end up with your bonus elite nights potentially being credited in a different status year to your standard elite night credits! To avoid any potential risk, I would suggest ensuring that your check out date(s) is either 42+ days before the end of the year, or in 2023 (but obviously before the promo ends on 30th April).
I should also point out that as long as each trip is at least 5 nights, you could break up the 25 night requirement into a few different holidays. Likewise, you could potentially book the full 25 nights but only actually stay for a week or something, if you can’t take that sort of time off work.
How to search for the cheapest properties quickly
If your main aim is to earn Marriott Platinum status as efficiently as possible, you need to be able to filter the thousands of rental options as quickly as possible.
I think the best way to do this is to search by country, with no specific stay dates entered. This will usually throw up too many options though, and the “Price Low to High” filter doesn’t seem to work properly when there’s more than a page full of results. The trick is to click on the “Price” label and manually reduce the max price to something like ~£50 per night:
With a more limited number of results, the low to high sorting filter will now work absolutely fine:
Where in the world is cheapest?
I haven’t looked everywhere, but the best I’ve been able to find was Turkey:
The headline prices are sometimes a little misleading as they might only apply to very specific dates, or there might be an additional cleaning surcharge, etc. That said, I was consistently able to find decent looking properties in multiple countries for ~£30 per night, so let’s use that as our base line. Spain, Portugal, and Poland are all good bets for finding good value properties.
£30 multiplied by the 25 nights we need to get Marriott Platinum status (during the Double Elite Nights promotion) is £750. That’s a potentially great deal – particularly as you will presumably make use of the property for at least some of the time to have a bit of a holiday. But – we can do better…
Stack multiple deals to generate the best value possible
One deal is good, stacking multiple deals is better:
Earn Double Marriott Bonvoy Points
As well as earning double Elite Night Credits, you will also earn double Marriott Bonvoy Points. The standard earning rate for booking with Marriott Homes & Villas is 5 points per $1 USD, so with double points you will earn 10 points per dollar. I value Marriott Points at roughly 0.7p each, so you are looking at an effective rebate of about 7% in points.
7% of £750 is roughly £50, so that brings the ‘effective’ cost down to ~£700.
Don’t forget cashback!
TopCashback UK is currently offering 5% back on Marriott Homes and Villas bookings:
It is free (and easy) to join TopCashback, so if you aren’t already a member you can sign up here.
That 5% is derived from the full booking price (possibly minus VAT), so is a rebate of about £37.
Knock that off the £700, and we are down to something like £663.
Get another £150 back with American Express
American Express has targeted some cardholders with a £150 rebate when spending £500+ with Homes & Villas by Marriott.
I’ve got the offer on my (free in first year) personal Amex Gold, but it might be available on other cards too.
Take £150 off £663, and our ‘real cost’ is down to ~£513! Not bad for Marriott Platinum status and a 25 night holiday.
2022 or 2023?
Around this time of year, people often think about squeezing in enough elite qualifying nights to earn/renew status.
But if you are contemplating a “zero to hero” status rush, you might want to book your villa for January – April 2023. When those 25 nights – doubled to 50 – hit your Marriott account, your account will be upgraded to Platinum for the rest of 2023. Because you would have already reached 50 nights in 2023, you would remain Platinum for ALL of 2024 as well.
The example outlined above is deliberately ‘extreme’, but the techniques are all sound. It’s more likely that you might already have some nights with Marriott notched up this year and booking even just a week somewhere (during the double elite nights promo) might be enough to get you Platinum status.
Similarly, I’ve focused on the cheapest possible options here, but there are some surprising bargains that are only marginally more expensive. For example, I managed to book a week at a 3 bedroom villa in Portugal (with private pool and tennis court) for £415 – and that’s without taking cashback and points earned into account.
If you are looking to earn Marriott Platinum status, or just fancy earning double points on your next holiday, remember that you need to book by 15th October 2022 (11:59 PM EDT) and your stay must be completed by 30th April 2023.
Please share any bargains you find in the comments section below! 🙂