Marriott Lets You Use Points to Retain Elite Status

Marriott is the only program that lets you buy back your elite status if you didn’t re-qualify at the same level as the year before (or re-qualify at all).

They’ve been making this offer for years, every year and at the same pricing.

  • Platinum: 40,000 points
  • Gold: 25,000 points
  • Silver: 7,500 points

The offer is available until April 1 so you don’t have to decide right away.

You cannot buy ‘up’ to a higher level than you’ve qualified for in the past. If you were a Gold you cannot spend points to buy back to Platinum.

This offer is valid through April 1, 2016 and allows only one level of buyback, which must match the Elite level you enjoyed in 2015. All Marriott Rewards program terms and conditions apply. Once your status has been reinstated for 2016, you can see your updated mobile Elite membership card in the Marriott app. If you don’t have enough points in your account, you can always buy up to 50,000 points every year.

I believe Gold, for lounge access, is the sweet spot in the program. United Golds and above get Marriott Gold for free. There’s not much incremental (published) benefit to Platinum over Gold. Platinum doesn’t even get guaranteed late checkout, breakfast at resorts or Courtyard properties, or promises of a suite upgrade when available. Platinum does receive United Silver status and more bonus points for Marriott stays though. Silver is not worth much.


Marriott SkyCity Hong Kong Airport

Whether spending points to retain your status is worthwhile to you likely depends on how much you plan to use that status in the coming year. Think about the number of nights you’ll do with Marriott, the incremental benefits of the status, and allocate the cost across those nights to see whether it’s subjectively worthwhile to you.

Roughly speaking I view buying back Marriott Gold status as costing $200 worth of points. If you’re going to do 25 Marriott nights even in the coming year (Gold is 50 nights to qualify) that’s prepaying $8 a night for incremental bonus points and lounge access/breakfast.

About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community InsideFlyer.com, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

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  1. I’d say running the math also includes needing to factor in platinum arrival gift. If you’re stays are in full service properties that’s 500 points per visit ($4.00 at $.08 value) and more flexible unpublished cancellation policies. Even day of cancellations are the norm when calling the Platinum line without issue.

  2. Be aware that doing do causes your lifetime balance of points to go down by the number of points used to purchase. My lifetime balabce went down by 40k points when I retained platinum last year.

  3. What day the current status expires?
    I have a stay 1/29 to 2/1 as platinum but will not requalify. Will I get platinum benefits and bonus points for this stay?

  4. Did you mean Marriott or UA when you said “silver is not worth much”?

    Because UA Silver gets you free E+ at check-in, premier access for security, cheaper or waived fees, more award space, plus the occasional CPU. It is the single best entry level airline status.

  5. Marriott also surprised me this year by offering a soft landing – I had Platinum status in 2014 with 100+ nights, but was down to ~60 this year – yet I received a mailing saying they would keep me at Platinum complimentary (without any points copay)

  6. Warning- points used to buy back status as well as points transfered to another member (a person not an airline) are deducted from your LIFETIME totals as well as the points total.

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