Here’s an interesting Flyertalk thread on Marriott’s meeting planner incentive program.
Marriott, like Starwood (which offers its Platinum status after $100k in meeting spend in a calendar year), offers the ability to earn status credits to incentivize meeting spend.
The poster in this thread on Flyertalk reports that the Marriott elite status benefit is 10 night credits for each meeting, and reports on receiving the credits for any meeting, even just a conference room, where no sleeping nights are consumed.
If you could secure just a conference room at a low-end Marriott family porperty for $100 for a couple of hours, the thread speculates that you could earn Platinum status from scratch for $800. Or that this allows for ‘mattress runs’ at just $10 per night (10 night credits for $100).
Another member, mooper suggests:
The thread title should be “Platinum Status for $300/year”. If you apply for the Chase Marriott Visa Sig Prem card in January, you’ll get 15 nights. Then, get six $100 meetings, earn 10 EQNs a pop, and you’ll have 75 nights and therefore Platinum status. Do this right in the beginning of the year and your status will last for about two years. Net cost: $300/year for Platinum.
Now, it’s not 100% clear from the terms and conditions of the program whether any meeting — just a conference room and without room nights or food and beverage spend — is supposed to earn these night credits, though a few posters report that they appear to earn the credits. So no guarantee it’ll work at the cheapest price point, or that if it does it will continue to do so. But it’s an interesting take on reaching Marriott’s top tier.
Now, not something I’m pursuing in any case. For an elite level that’s the toughest to achieve on nights (75!) than any major chai, it isn’t especially rewarding. While some Marriott Rewards members report excellent treatment, the program itself specifically excludes upgrades to suites as a benefit. In contrast, suites are gimmes at most Intercontinental properties for Royal Ambassador members, Hyatt Diamond members get to confirm a suite at booking four times annually, and Starwood Platinums receive upgrades based on availability at check-in to standard suites. And to me that’s the biggest, bestest benefit of a hotel loyalty program.