Marriott Bonvoy clarifies how status will be earned in 2021, and launches two new promotions

Marriott Bonvoy is playing the safe cards when it comes to status and loyalty compared with the rest of the hospitality majors. They waited for everyone to play their card, including Hyatt, Hilton and Accor amongst the others. Travel isn’t out of the woods yet, and vaccination efforts are just starting up worldwide. I’d say it is safe to assume that travel will take up to the end of the year to recover, if not early to mid-2022. So, the importance of holding on to your tribe of most loyal members is not lost on Marriott.

Marriott Hotel Downtown, Abu Dhabi

Earlier on, Marriott had granted a full-year extension to everyone who had earned their status in 2019 (for 2020), making their status valid through February 2022 instead of February 2021. Marriott has just announced their plans for the Marriott Bonvoy members, once we are already in 2021. Here is a rundown.

Marriott Bonvoy to credit Free Elite Nights for 2020 elites

Marriott is borrowing one of its last year’s modus operandi with elite members again. If you had elite status in Marriott Bonvoy programme in 2020, Marriott Bonvoy would grant you 50% of those elite nights, up to a maximum of 50 nights in 2021 in your account, gratis from Marriott. For the various status members, these are the number of elite nights they will get credited in their account in February 2021.

  • Ambassador Elite in 2020: 50 Elite nights credit
  • Titanium Elite in 2020: 38 Elite nights credit
  • Platinum Elite in 2020: 25 Elite nights credit
  • Gold Elite in 2020: 13 Elite nights credit
  • Silver Elite in 2020: 5 Elite nights credit
  • Members: Not Applicable.

For instance, in 2020, I received 38 elite nights credit on the back of my Titanium Elite status earned in 2019. In 2021, I expect to receive another 38 Elite Night Credit on the back of my Marriott Bonvoy Titanium in 2020. If you upped your status beyond the extended status, of course, expect more nights. All the bonus elite nights will count towards lifetime status and earn a Choice Benefit once you cross 50 and 75 elite nights respectively.

Marriott Bonvoy to reduce spending requirements for Ambassador 2021

Marriott Bonvoy’s top tier status is Ambassador Elite, which requires not just 100 elite nights per annum, but also USD 20,000 (roughly INR 15 Lakhs) spend requirement through the year. In 2020, they did reduce the number of nights required, but not the revenue requirements. For 2021, they have instituted a 30% reduction in the spending requirement, which means those aspiring to earn Ambassador in 2021 for 2022, can earn status with USD 14,000 qualifying spend and 100 elite nights.

Marriott Bonvoy to award Double Points and Double Elite Qualifying Nights for 2.5 months

Marriott Bonvoy has also announced that between February 16 and April 27, 2021, Marriott will award double points and double elite nights, however, only on stays of two nights or more. Only stays where at least one night is paid, will qualify.

Marriott Bonvoy award discount through September 2021

Marriott Bonvoy has announced that they will reduce the number of points required for redemptions made at the off-peak level of the programme, made by February 21, 21 for stays that will be made till September 30, 2021. A Discount of 10% will be applied to the off-peak redemptions.

What’s missing?

Marriott focuses only on their existing elites by using this loop of crediting elite nights, and not giving an opportunity to newer members to aspire to reach Marriott’s top echelons without going through the full cycle. I can understand that Marriott does not want to be seen as rewarding those who have not been along on the journey for long. Still, this approach fails in competition with the other chains offering far more lucrative paths to become top-tier elites with the whole year at the member’s disposal to earn status at half eligibility.

Bottomline

Marriott Bonvoy is making it easy for existing elites to secure status for one more year by granting them elite nights for free in 2021 as per the description above. They will also offer double elite nights for those who stay at least two nights at a property for a few months. Award nights are being discounted as well.

What do you think of Marriott Bonvoy’s 2021 response to the global pandemic and the effect it has on their business?


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