Aug 10 2017

Why we went for Marriott Gold status

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I am nuts.

A few months ago, my husband’s Marriott account was targeted for their “Taste of Gold” challenge. If he completed 6 stays in a little more than 3 months, he’d have Marriott Gold status through early 2019. We decided to go for it.

Lately, we’ve been sticking to Marriott/Starwood hotels for our family’s vacation and my husband’s work trips. We’ve been able to rack up points through stays, my American Express SPG card (these points transfer to Marriott at 1 SPG : 3 Marriott), and if I needed to top of points for a redemption, I could transfer some of our Chase Ultimate Rewards points.

Despite all of our stays, the best we’ve been able to get up until now has been Marriott Silver status (15-49 nights in a year, though some nights can carry over to the next year. Oh, and somehow my Amex SPG card gave me Marriott Silver on my own account). Without the Marriott Visa giving us a 15-stay status boost, there just wasn’t much help in the way of leveling up faster. So I thought.

Benefits of Marriott Gold status

  • 4 p.m. check-out (we used this once already during our D.C. trip. Very convenient!)
  • 25% points bonus on top of base earnings (this is up from 20% bonus from silver)
  • Discounted rates at Courtyard and Springhill Suites on weekends
  • Room upgrade (this might not even be noticible though, maybe just a more convenient location)
  • Enhanced internet access (you can have free internet access when you book directly through their various channels, but the speed is slower. To upgrade to a faster speed, you’d have to pay extra. In D.C., that would have been $15/day. It was free for Gold members)
  • Lounge access and free breakfast at some properties
  • A few other minor perks. For more, visit the Marriott Gold page


On the surface, it didn’t seem like that great of a benefit for our purposes, but with the Marriott/Starwood merger, for now status is reciprocal. Marriott Gold = Starwood Gold. Starwood Gold comes with similar perks, including late checkout, more points earned per dollar spent, room upgrades, a welcome amenity, etc.

And, having Starwood Gold = Delta Crossover Miles, which means for every dollar spent on a Delta flight, he will earn 1 bonus Starpoint. As this is on top of the points he’d earn with Delta, and the x3 Chase Ultimate Rewards points he’d get from the airfare purchase on his Sapphire Reserve, it looks like there’s potential for accruing many more points with this setup. More points = more/better travel accommodations.

We went for it.

How we accumulated 6 stays

Somehow (and I’m pretty sure incorrectly), our Washington, D.C. points-redemption stay counted as the first stay.

With time running out on the status challenge, I made a case for why my husband should have 1-night stays during a recent business trip. He bounced back and forth between a Fairfield Inn and a Courtyard near his client’s headquarters. I’m sure it was inconvenient for him, but he was a sport about it. It had the added bonus of more points thanks to the Megabonus Marriott is running right now. (Each stay, starting with the 2nd stay during the promo period, earns an extra 2,000 points on top of base+bonus, and an additional 2,000 points for new brands starting with the 2nd brand).

As a benefit to the client, it worked out that the overall cost was reduced by his back-and-forth hopping.

Our final stay was one night in Champaign, Ill., a true “mattress run.” We had been wanting to do a day trip or overnight to Illinois this summer just for kicks, and the room rate at the Courtyard there was fairly inexpensive. This was the only stay that we paid for out of pocket (the others were points redemptions or reimbursed work travel).

What will our final value be?

I’m going to keep track of the extra points earned for having Gold status. I can’t predict the final value or perks realized yet, but hopefully it will be worthwhile. I think mainly, if we can score upgraded rooms, fast internet (mainly useful for work travel), and late check-out, that will be a nice benefit.

With uncertainty coming to what the new Marriott/SPG loyalty program in 2018-2019 and beyond, I think locking in an upgraded status now will potentially be worth it.

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Hey! I'm Kacie, wife and mother of 3. I write about my family's finance: how we save money, improve our spending, and plan for the future.

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