Marriott Bonvoy status match is your Gold, Platinum fast-track

Your next business trip or holiday could be all it takes to boost your way to Gold or even Platinum status at over 6,500 hotels.

By Chris Chamberlin, August 28 2020
Marriott Bonvoy status match is your Gold, Platinum fast-track

Marriott Bonvoy's Gold Elite and Platinum Elite status challenge puts you on the fast track to some great perks such as free room upgrades, higher-speed Internet and access to each hotel's club or executive lounge.

While some people can't travel right now, if you do have elite status with another hotel chain, and upcoming stays planned at hotels like Marriott, The Ritz-Carlton, St. Regis and Westin, these can unlock Bonvoy Gold Elite or Platinum Elite status at an accelerated rate.

The same is true of stays at Marriott Bonvoy's other properties too, including the likes of W Hotels, Sheraton and Le Meridien – you just need to register for Marriott's latest 'status challenge' before you stay.

You could unlock Gold Elite status until February 2022 after just five nights, while Platinum Elite could be yours after 15 nights.

Considering that mere Silver status normally requires 10 nights to earn (yet provides very few real benefits), you can appreciate how this fast track puts you on the winning track.

Here’s what you need to know to take your Marriott Bonvoy status to the next level, covering you at over 6,500 hotels and resorts worldwide.

The 2020 Marriott Bonvoy status challenge

Marriott's latest status challenge provides an opportunity for those holding Gold- or Platinum-tiered status in a rival hotel loyalty program to stay with Marriott and earn a comparable tier in the Bonvoy scheme at a much faster rate than usual.

Better yet, simply registering for the challenge is enough to unlock 90 days of Marriott Bonvoy Gold or Platinum status, so it'll be ready for your first Marriott stay.

Marriott Platinum members get complimentary access to the Concierge Lounge, or a Club Lounge, at participating hotels.
Marriott Platinum members get complimentary access to the Concierge Lounge, or a Club Lounge, at participating hotels.

After completing either five or 15 paid nights with 90 days of that initial boost, your elevated status will then be locked in until February 2022.

However, you'll need to nominate yourself for either the Gold Elite challenge or the Platinum Elite challenge – not both – and the challenge you can nominate for depends upon your existing hotel status, detailed later in this article.

For example, if you're assigned the Gold Elite challenge and stay for 15 nights, you'll remain at Gold, even though you would have otherwise met the requirements of the Platinum challenge.

Similarly, if you stay only five nights under the Platinum challenge – that's the number of nights needed to earn Gold status via the separate Gold challenge – you'd have no elite status at all after 90 days, because the Platinum status offers Platinum or nothing.

(At five nights, you wouldn't even earn Marriott Bonvoy Silver Elite status, which requires 10 nights via the normal path.)

This table highlights which Marriott Bonvoy status challenge you could be eligible for, based on your existing status with a rival hotel chain:

Program vs matched tier Marriott Bonvoy Gold Elite Marriott Bonvoy Platinum Elite
Accor Live Limitless (ALL) Gold Platinum, Diamond
Hilton Honors N/A [Apply for Platinum] Gold, Diamond
IHG Rewards Club N/A [Apply for Platinum] Platinum, Spire
World of Hyatt Explorist Globalist

Timing your Marriott Bonvoy status challenge

Whether you're aiming for Gold or Platinum, you'll have 90 days in which to accrue the number of nights your challenge requires.

That count begins as soon as your status challenge application has been approved, typically within 10 business days of your application being filed.

While you might consider waiting to register until your travel plans kick back up again, Marriott could equally withdraw this offer at any time – so you'll have to decide whether the gamble of waiting is worth it.

If you already have upcoming stays with Marriott group hotels, consider lodging your status match application up to three weeks prior to the first stay.

This will give time not only for Marriott to process your application – which, as above, takes up to 10 business days (two working weeks) – but also to boost your status to either Gold or Platinum for the first 90 days, which takes an additional 24-48 hours.

Then, when you check-in for that first stay, your elite status will be recognised in the system, and you'll be ready to enjoy the benefits it offers.

The 2020 Marriott Bonvoy Gold Elite status challenge

Have your heart set on Gold Elite status, awarded after spending just five nights at Marriott Bonvoy-participating hotels within your 90-day challenge period?

Meet that simple requirement and you can begin to enjoy perks like "enhanced room upgrades" and late check-outs, subject to availability.

Not only is the hotel WiFi free – as you'd expect in 2020 – but as a Gold member, you also get complimentary access to the hotel's higher-speed plans, where available, as opposed to the entry-level connection aptly afforded to entry-level and Silver members.

You'll also take home 25% more Marriott Bonvoy points with every stay, versus regular members.

Complete your status challenge in 2020 and these perks will cover you until February 2022, which means during calendar year 2021, you'll need to have met the normal requirements for Gold Elite status to have that extended beyond February 2022.

Normally, Gold Elite requires a member to stay at least 25 nights a year, making the five-night requirement through the status challenge particularly generous.

The 2020 Marriott Bonvoy Platinum Elite status challenge

Gold status is nice, but Platinum status is even nicer, being your key to complimentary hotel lounge access – and at many properties, free daily breakfast – on top of the benefits afforded to Gold cardholders.

In return for completing a 15-night Platinum Elite challenge, you'll enjoy those perks above, while also earning 50% more points on every stay versus base-level members.

When it comes to room upgrades, these include selected suites if available at check-in, as opposed to the ‘enhanced’ rooms offered to Gold members, which may only provide a better view or be in a more favourable location.

With Platinum status, you could be upgraded to a suite on your next hotel stay.
With Platinum status, you could be upgraded to a suite on your next hotel stay.

As another step up from Gold, late check-out moves from a possible 2pm to a guaranteed 4pm departure at most properties.

But as a reminder: if you aim for the Platinum challenge and only stay for five nights – or anything less than 15 – you won’t get Gold as a consolation prize.

Applying for the 2020 Marriott Bonvoy status challenge

With your Marriott Bonvoy membership number handy, head to the Marriott website and complete the registration process.

You'll need to either sign-in to your existing Marriott Bonvoy membership account, or sign up if you're not already a Bonvoy member.

As well, you'll need to provide proof of your eligible Gold-grade or Platinum-tiered membership in one of the rival hotel loyalty programs listed above, as well as proof that you've spent at least one night in that chain's hotels in the last 12 months.

While it's unfortunate that it's 'Marriott Platinum or nothing' for members with Hilton Honors status, those with elite memberships across several hotel loyalty programs could savvily choose which membership they match from to unlock their desired Marriott status.

For instance, a traveller matching from Hilton Honors could only aim for Marriott Platinum, which requires 15 nights to retain.

However, if they won't stay for 15 nights in 90 days, and have Gold status with Accor, they could use that Accor status to apply for the Marriott Gold challenge, and earn Marriott Gold until February 2022 from just those five nights.

That sure beats having no Marriott status after 90 days, if failing to complete the Platinum challenge, so double-check which elite hotel membership cards remain in your travel wallet before applying.

When it does come time to stay, the five or 15 nights you complete must be paid nights, booked directly with Marriott.

Third-party bookings, such as via online travel agents, don't count – and don't normally provide Marriott points anyway.

For this promotion, stays booked using Marriott Bonvoy points in any way are also ineligible. These would normally count towards earning status the 'normal' way, but for this fast-tracked deal, you'll need to be booked onto a paid room rate.

Also read: Marriott extends status for existing members until 2022

Chris Chamberlin

Chris Chamberlin is the Associate Editor of Executive Traveller, and lives by the motto that a journey of a thousand miles begins not just with a single step, but also a strong latte, a theatre ticket, and later in the day, a good gin and tonic.


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