Marriott elite status becomes unbelievably easy to earn in 2021

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What an era for acquiring elite status. Between 2020 and 2021, hotel chains have been practically giving it away — which can be either good or bad, depending on your situation.

See, top-notch hotel status like Hyatt Globalist and Marriott Platinum are highly coveted ranks among miles and points enthusiasts (and anyone else who knows what’s good for them). You get things like free breakfast, complimentary suite upgrades, tons of bonus points, and much more. You generally need to stay 50-60 nights to achieve these statuses.

But with the insane hotel promotions right now, most of us can earn that status by staying just a few nights in 2021. Here’s what you can do to earn Marriott elite status this year — and how you can use Marriott credit cards to achieve status you never even considered possible.

The St. Regis Bora Bora is on sale right now — as little as 50,400 points per night! This resort regularly charges $1,000+ per night. (Photo courtesy of Marriott)

Marriott 2021 elite status requirements

The reason I say these promotions may not be all good is because it unlocks the opportunity for everyone and their Bichon Frise to achieve Marriott elite status. More people with status potentially means that the great benefits included with status will be stretched thinner. For example, the frequency in which you’re upgraded to a suite may sharply decrease, as there will be more elite members vying for upgrades at check-in.

However, the pandemic has taken a serious toll on travel, so you may face no competition when you arrive at the hotel. This could change as the vaccine becomes more widely distributed.

50% bonus elite night credits

In 2021, Marriott is depositing 50% (or a bit more) of the nights required to earn the elite status you had in 2020. For example, if you earn Platinum status last year by achieving 50 nights, Marriott will jumpstart your 2021 elite status journey by giving you 25 elite night credits.

Here’s a chart of what you’ll get, as well as the number of nights it will take to re-earn your status.

Marriott statusMarriott Silver statusMarriott Gold StatusMarriott Platinum statusMarriott Titanium StatusMarriott Ambassador status
Requirement10 nights25 nights50 nights75 nights100 nights + $14,000 in Marriott spend
What you’ll get for having status last year5 nights13 nights25 nights38 nights50 nights
Nights needed to re-qualify for status5 nights12 nights25 nights37 nights50 nights
Nights needed to re-qualify for status with 1 Marriott card00102335
Nights needed to re-qualify for status with 2 Marriott cards (1 personal + 1 business)000720

These nights are expected to post to accounts sometime in Feb. 2021.

As you can see, this is a huge help to Marriott members who aren’t traveling anywhere near their pre-coronavirus frequency. This chart also takes into account the number of nights you’ll need if you are a Marriott credit card holder. Here’s why:

  • If you have a personal Marriott card like the Marriott Bonvoy Boundless Credit Card, you’ll automatically receive 15 elite night credits each calendar year
  • If you have the Marriott Bonvoy Business® American Express® Card, you’ll receive another 15 elite night credits each calendar year

In other words, if you have both of these cards, you can reduce your elite status requirement by 30 nights! I have both of these cards, and I earned Marriott Titanium last year. That means I’ll receive 30 elite night credits from my two credit cards, and 38 nights from Marriott. I haven’t stayed a single night at Marriott, and I’ve already got 68 elite nights!!

Double elite night credits promotion

Marriott has revealed that they will soon run a promotion allowing you to earn two elite night credits for every night you stay with Marriott. Your stay must fall between Feb. 16 and April 27, 2021, and must be at least two nights long.

Combining these two promotions means any tier of elite status is within reach. Even mattress run if you think it’s worthwhile! For example:

  • If you qualified for Platinum status last year, Marriott will deposit 25 elite night credits into your account in February
  • Re-qualifying for Platinum status will take 25 more nights
  • Assess how many nights you think you’ll spend with Marriott in 2021. For this example, let’s say 10 nights
  • Book a quick 8-night mattress run at a cheap Marriott hotel between Feb. 16 and April 27. You’ll earn 16 elite night credits
  • Enjoy Platinum status for another year!

The promotion is valid for both paid and award nights — however, you’ll have to pay for at least one night during your stay. Marriott allows you to customize how you want to pay for a multi-night stay, so just be sure to pay for a night. If you can find a nearby Marriott Category 1 hotel, you could achieve Platinum status for as little as 5,000 points per night off-peak — or less.

Marriott lowering off-peak award nights by 10%

On top of all this, Marriott has announced that they will reduce the prices of off-peak award nights by 10% for stays occurring through Sept. 30, 2021. However, you must book your stay by Feb. 21, 2021. Here’s a chart showing what you’ll pay for each category — remember, Marriott will give you the 5th award night free when booking five award nights or more:

Hotel categoryCurrent off-peak priceNormal off-peak priceAverage price when booking 5 nights at reduced rates
Category 14,500 points5,000 points3,600 points
Category 29,000 points10,000 points7,200 points
Category 313,500 point15,000 points10,800 points
Category 418,000 points20,000 points14,400 points
Category 527,000 points30,000 points21,600 points
Category 636,000 points40,000 points28,800 points
Category 745,000 points50,000 points36,000 points
Category 863,000 points70,000 points50,400 points

Amazing hotels like the St. Regis Deer Valley are charging just 252,000 points for a five-night stay during ski season. That is absolute madness, considering a paid stay costs $5,000! That’s like getting a value of 2 cents per point — more than double our estimation for the average value of Marriott points. Read our article on the best ways to use Marriott points for more on how to maximize this promotion.

Bottom line

Marriott is being really, really generous with their elite status requirements in 2021. If you play your cards right, you could find yourself with Marriott Titanium status with very little effort. Read our Marriott Bonvoy elite status review to help you decide if it’s worth pursuing.

Let me know how you decide to tackle Marriott elite status this year! And subscribe to our newsletter for more tips and tricks to sipping champagne for Pabst Blue prices — metaphorically,

Joseph Hostetler is a full-time writer for Million Mile Secrets, covering miles and points tips and tricks, as well as helpful travel-related news and deals. He has also authored and edited for The Points Guy.

Editorial Note: We're the Million Mile Secrets team. And we're proud of our content, opinions and analysis, and of our reader's comments. These haven’t been reviewed, approved or endorsed by any of the airlines, hotels, or credit card issuers which we often write about. And that’s just how we like it! :)

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