Marriott Maintaining Gold Status for Members Short of Required Nights?

Brian S. sent me the following email this morning:

Hi Adam, I wanted to let you know that when I logged into my Marriott Rewards account this morning I saw the following message up top  – “Congratulations, you have received Gold Elite status for 2013“. However, I only had 23 nights in 2012 with no rollover nights and I do not have a Marriott Rewards Chase card. This is actually the 3rd year in a row that I’ve been short nights but somehow maintained my gold status, I have not qualified since 2010. 

Brian was nice enough to provide me with his account statement and I verified that he truly has only 23 qualifying nights in 2012, 0 rollover nights from 2011, and no associated Marriott Rewards Chase card. I then talked to Brian to see if he worked for a large corporation that perhaps had a special deal for their employees with Marriott. Nope, he started his own business several years ago and he does not have lifetime status. Hmm, this got me curious so I checked with some of my colleagues to see if anyone else had been comp’d gold status. Of 27 Marriott Rewards members who had at least Gold status in 2012 but did not hit the collective requirement for 2013, three received the message that they too achieved Gold Elite status for 2013. I checked their balances, all three have Marriott Rewards Premier Chase cards, but their stays + rollover nights + 15 night Chase credits still don’t bring them close to the 50 night requirement. I’m trying to figure out what they all have in common besides working for the same company and will report back if I find anything. Any ideas??

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  1. I see 377 nights. Is Brian Lifetime Silver? Were the others? Does that change the yearly requirement for Gold in anyway (or just something they uniquely share in common in the test group)?

    • @Carl P – Brian is lifetime silver (250 nights / or a point requirement of 1,200,000) as are two of the otherl. Officially, lifetime silver doesn’t alter the yearly requirement for Gold…

  2. I travel more on the low end, budget accommodations side of hospitality, but I just had the same experience with Best Western Rewards.

    We accumulated all of our nights for Platinum(15)in December 2012 on a trip to Las Vegas. However, two nights were not posted to my account until 01.03.13, so I had credit for 13 nights in 2012, and two nights posted for 2013 (though they were room nights used in December).

    Called customer service to ask why I was Gold and not Platinum. Customer service rep upgraded me to Platinum and I still have the credit for two nights in 2013 because he says he can’t retroactively credit them to 2012. So I get the Platinum status that I wanted and only need 13 additional room nights in 2013 to keep Platinum status for 2014.

    Best Western is also very aggressive with their “Status Match” ad campaign and is trying to convert as many of the Choice, Wyndham, Marriott and Hilton rewards customers as they can.

    Some may say that Best Western is too down market to compete with Marriott and Hilton, but the roll out of Best Western Premier has been surprisingly good.

    • @Michael N – Thanks for the info and congrats on your Plat status and the 2 nights already credited for 2013! I’ll have to give Best Western a try, I haven’t stayed at one in the last decade. I know many who stay at Best Westerns in Europe, they have amazing reviews on TripAdvisor, especially the ones in Italy which are actually marketed as higher end properties.

  3. I had about the same nights, 28 or so between 15 from chase card, and a few stays but kept gold. I do work for a large consulting company that may have something in their contract but comPletely unexpected.

  4. We’ve maintained Marriott Rewards Silver for over 2 years now, without qualifying in any single year. They’ve figured out it makes so much more sense to just let us keep our card, with no tangible benefits, and try to make us feel attached to the brand, than just performing a downgradein a straightforward manner.

  5. Just checked my account and, after a year with few Marriott nights, am being offered a chance to buy back gold status for 25,000 points.

    • @PSL – yes, they’ve actually had a standard buyback offer the last few years. 40,000 for Platinum, 25,000 for Gold, and 7,500 for Silver. If you have some upcoming stays at Marriott, I would recommend asking for a Platinum status challenge instead. I received one back in Dec that offered instant status (note you’ll have to complete 9 stays in about 90 days to maintain the status).

  6. marriott sent lots of invitation to new members for gold or platinum challenges. 4 stays gets gold status. i think marriott treats their long term customers pretty nice to upgrade them, as if they satisfy the gold status challenges, but i have no idea.

    i received a message from marriott asking me to take part in their survey, specifically designed to me, because i stayed 120 nights in 2011 but only about 80 nights in 2012. they asked me why? i told them, i made little benefits after staying over 60 nights (I have a chase marriott premier visa card), unless they enhanced benefits for platinum members staying over 60 nights. they answered me saying they forwarded my opinions to appropriat department and they valued me opinions. so, i hope marriott will announce some programs (similiatr to spg to earn 4 points for 75+ nights) to give more rewards for over 60 or 75 nights. let us wait and see.

  7. Another data point…

    For 2012, Marriott comped me Gold when I had a total of @40 total nights (including the 15 credit card nights)

    In each of the prior 2 years, I had pretty much the same stay pattern yet was always bumped down to Silver.

    Following each of those years I did the Gold buyback as back then,imo, the bennies were worth it, especially the EEO BOGOs & free wifi. Plus the buyback was cheaper than mattress runs.

  8. I suspect that most of the elite status levels in loyalty programs may have target numbers. If they are getting too few elite qualifiers, they may make a few exceptions to rules for long term customers & corporate customers, do some status matches, or have some EQM promotions. It would only make sense in terms of managing the overall marketing program. However, I don’t have any inside knowledge, so this is just my speculation.

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