Fast Track Your Way to Marriott Platinum Status

by | Published Sep 21, 2022 | Edited Nov 23, 2022


Hotel elite status is one of the best perks you can earn in the miles and points game. When it comes to receiving elite benefits such as complimentary suite upgrades and breakfasts, pursuing Marriott Bonvoy elite status can definitely be worth your time.

That being said, earning the most impactful status in the Marriott Bonvoy program, Platinum Elite status, requires staying 50 nights at Marriott hotels in one calendar year. That is a stretch for many of us who may only have 15 or 20 vacation days during a year and don’t do much (if any) business travel. 

That being said, there are two ways that you can fast-track your way to Platinum Elite status without staying anywhere near 50 nights. Let’s dive in and learn how you can get started on your journey to Marriott Bonvoy Platinum Elite status.

Why Should I Earn Marriott Platinum Elite Status?

As a Marriott Bonvoy Platinum Elite status member, you are entitled to a range of elite benefits that make it worth chasing this status.

The most notable elite benefit that is available to Platinum members is that you will receive complimentary breakfast at eligible properties for yourself and a guest. Access to executive and club lounges is also included if there is a lounge available at the hotel you are staying at (such as the M Club Lounges). You are also more likely to receive an “enhanced room upgrade” to a better class of room, depending on hotel availability.

st regis rome suite living area
Suite upgrade at the St. Regis Rome thanks to Marriott Platinum.

Once you achieve Platinum Elite status, you are also eligible to pick a perk of your choice. The recommended perk to choose is the five suite night awards as they can be used to upgrade an existing reservation to a suite at the property of your choosing (pending suite availability).

Finally, when you reach Platinum Elite status you will retain it through the end of the current calendar year and for an additional 14 months after that year. That means if you were to earn Platinum Elite status in October 2022, you would retain status until the end of February 2024.

The Fast Track to Marriott Bonvoy Platinum Elite Status

Before we get into the method, it is important to note that you will need access to the US credit card market. If you haven’t already, be sure to look into getting an ITIN and first US credit card so you can take advantage of the US credit card market going forward. 

Remember, in order to earn Platinum Elite status, we are required to earn 50 elite qualifying nights (EQNs) in one calendar year. For ease of understanding, I’ve split the process into two different sections below.

Earning 30 Automatic Elite Qualifying Nights

In working towards the required 50 nights, the first 30 EQNs are the easiest ones to earn and require minimal effort short of signing up for a few credit cards.

Starting out, all of the Marriott Bonvoy credit cards offered in the United States offer at least 15 elite qualifying nights as one of the benefits for simply holding the card. These nights are added annually to your Marriott Bonvoy membership account and count towards both yearly and lifetime elite status.

Where it gets interesting is that you are actually allowed to earn the 15 elite qualifying nights twice on one Marriott Bonvoy account. In order to take advantage of this, you need to hold one US personal Bonvoy credit card and one US business Bonvoy credit card.

Thanks to this allowed double-dipping of free EQNs, US cardholders are able to achieve a cumulative 30 elite qualifying nights through holding two Amex Marriott Bonvoy credit cards: one personal and one business card.

marriott bonvoy elite qualifying nights earned in 2022
A max of 40 EQNs are available from credit cards; we will cover that later.

In the section below, we have listed all cards that offer free elite qualifying nights as a benefit and are eligible for double-dipping so you can pick and choose which cards are right for you.

Note that while the Marriott Bonvoy Personal and Marriott Bonvoy Business cards in Canada also offer 15 elite qualifying nights, these do not stack with each other nor do they stack with the EQNs offered by the US Bonvoy cards. You are only able to stack EQNs from US-based personal and business Bonvoy credit cards.

Once you have double dipped on the effortless EQNs from holding two credit cards, you will now have Marriott Bonvoy Gold Elite status as you have already earned the required 30 nights. Not bad for next to zero effort, however, we are still 20 nights away from Platinum Elite status.

Earning the Remaining 20 Elite Qualifying Nights

For the remaining 20 elite qualifying nights, there is no way around having to actually stay at Marriott properties. However, there are a few things to be aware of that can help you do this in a more efficient way.

Throughout the calendar year, Marriott may run various promotions that can include the opportunity to earn additional elite qualifying nights. These promotions are targeted and can be seen when you log into your Marriott Bonvoy account in a browser or via the app.

Some examples of past promotions have included:

  • Double Elite Night Credits: Earn 2 elite night credits for each night stayed at Marriott properties during the promotional period.
  • 12 Elite Night Credits for 2 One-Night Stays: Earn 5 elite night credits after just one stay at a Marriott hotel and another 5 elite nights after another stay (so hypothetically you earn 12 elite nights after just two separate one-night stays; 10 from the bonus and 2 from the stays themselves).

For example, thanks to a double elite night promotion and a local “Stay Edmonton” promotion, I was able to earn 6 elite qualifying nights at a rate of $27 per night. Learn more about how I pulled that off here.

The other option is to do a mattress run. A mattress run is when you book a stay at a hotel that you plan on paying for and checking in to but do not plan on actually staying. This means that you will physically check into the hotel, put the “Do Not Disturb” sign on your room door and then check out via the app at the end of your stay. 

There may be low-cost hotels in your city or nearby areas, which makes mattress running an interesting option when it comes down to earning a few more elite qualifying nights for status. Many Bonvoy members and travel hackers prefer to do cash mattress runs to conserve their points balance for more luxurious trips in the future. 

However, you can also do mattress runs on points if the price is right or if you are looking to burn some Bonvoy points. Remember that as a Marriott Bonvoy member you can also earn the fifth night free when booking four consecutive nights on points.

four points edmonton south hotel marriott bonvoy points booking cost
31,000 Bonvoy for 5 nights at the Four Points by Sheraton Edmonton South – not terrible for a mattress run.

It is important to note that you do need to physically check into the hotel to get credit for any stay. If you don’t plan to stay all 5 nights (or any of them), it’s a good idea to put a ‘Do Not Disturb’ notice on the door. You can then checkout using the Marriott Bonvoy mobile app on the last day of your stay. 

Ultimately, whether you want to earn the remaining 20 nights with planned stays on legitimate trips, or through mattress runs, is up to you. Either way, earning your last 20 elite qualifying nights through whatever method possible will get you to Platinum Elite with Bonvoy.

US Marriott Credit Cards That Earn Elite Qualifying Nights

If you want to follow this path on the way to Bonvoy Platinum Elite status, you will need to hold one US personal Bonvoy card and one US business Bonvoy card as that is the only way to double up on elite nights. Below are the cards that are eligible for double-dipping on elite qualifying nights.

Personal US Marriott Bonvoy Credit Cards

There are four personal US Marriott Bonvoy credit cards that are available for this method: the American Express Bonvoy Bevy card, the Chase Marriott Bonvoy Boundless card, the Chase Marriott Bonvoy Bold card, and the American Express Bonvoy Brilliant card.

Credit Card Welcome Bonus Net Value
Chase Marriott Bonvoy Boundless 150,000 Marriott Bonvoy $1,255 Apply
American Express Marriott Bonvoy Bevy 125,000 Marriott Bonvoy $875 Apply
American Express Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant 150,000 Marriott Bonvoy $700 Apply
Chase Marriott Bonvoy Bold 30,000 Marriott Bonvoy $270 Apply

All of the cards in the table above offer 15 elite qualifying nights for simply holding the card, except for the American Express Bonvoy Brilliant card which offers 25 elite qualifying nights.

However, if you are considering applying for the Bonvoy Brilliant card, read on below to find out why you don’t need to chase EQNs for Platinum Elite status with this card.

Business US Marriott Bonvoy Credit Cards

There is only one business US Marriott Bonvoy credit card available for this method: the American Express US Marriott Bonvoy Business card.

American Express US Marriott Bonvoy Business

The American Express Marriott Bonvoy Business card earns Marriott Bonvoy points and offers cardholders benefits such as an annual free night and 15 elite qualifying nights to work towards Bonvoy status.

BONUS
125,000 Marriott Bonvoy
MINSPEND
$5,000
NET VALUE
$1,000+
ANNUAL FEE
$125
FOREX FEES
No

This card offers 15 elite qualifying nights towards status, a reasonable annual fee of $125, and a free annual night worth 35,000 Bonvoy points.

Remember that even if you do not have a business, there is a way to get business credit cards as an individual.

The Even Faster Track to Marriott Bonvoy Platinum Status

While the method above was far and above the easiest way to earn Platinum status for quite a few years, that all changed in September 2022. American Express refreshed the Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant credit card with an increased annual fee of $650, however the card now grants instant Platinum Elite status in addition to offering quite a few value-added perks. Check out the other perks of the Brilliant card in our review here.

American Express Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant

The American Express Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant card earns Marriott Bonvoy points and offers cardholders instant Bonvoy platinum status, an annual $300 restaurant credit, an annual free night, 25 annual elite qualifying nights, and Priority Pass Select membership.

Check out our American Express Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant review for more details about this card.

BONUS
150,000 Marriott Bonvoy
MINSPEND
$5,000
NET VALUE
$700+
ANNUAL FEE
$450
FOREX FEES
No

This card also grants 25 elite night credits per calendar year, however, they are useless for earning Platinum Elite status since the card already automatically gives Platinum status. However, they can be helpful if you are looking to pursue a higher level of status, such as Titanium Elite status at 75 elite qualifying nights per year.

Furthermore, these elite night credits would also stack with a personal Bonvoy card, giving you a starting point of 40 elite nights.

Conclusion

The ability to combine elite qualifying nights granted from two credit cards in the United States is a great way to get an easy boost towards earning Marriott Platinum Elite status. While you will still need to accumulate an additional 20 elite qualifying nights through stays and promotions, 30 nights gets you more than halfway to Platinum status which is the most significant yet attainable status level in the Marriott Bonvoy program.

On the flip side, if you are looking for an even faster route to Platinum Elite status, you can simply hold the Bonvoy Brilliant credit card. While it has a high annual fee, the instant Platinum status along with other perks can definitely make it worth it.

Frequently Asked Questions

  1. How long does Marriott Platinum status last?

    Marriott Platinum status lasts through the current calendar year it is earned and through the following calendar year. It will then expire at the end of February in the following year.

    For example, if Platinum status was earned in 2022 it will last until the end of February 2024.

  2. How many nights are required for Marriott Platinum status?

    50 elite qualifying nights, which can be earned in a variety of ways, are required to earn Marriott Platinum status.

  3. Can you buy Marriott Platinum status?

    No, you cannot buy Marriott Platinum status. However, you can hold the American Express Bonvoy Brilliant credit card which grants instant Platinum status.

  4. Do Marriott Platinum members get free breakfast?

    Yes, Marriott Platinum members are entitled to free breakfast for themselves and one guest.

Reed Sutton

Reed Sutton

Founder at Frugal Flyer
Reed is addicted to the science (and art) of earning and redeeming travel points, and frequently pairs his trips with his other hobby: photography. Through Frugal Flyer, Reed aims to distill some of the complex and esoteric points strategies into digestible information. Furthermore, he hopes to use his technical expertise to develop invaluable applications and tools for the travel community.

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2 comments on “Fast Track Your Way to Marriott Platinum Status

  1. Hello, does this mean that by holding the Marriott Brilliant I would technically gain titanium status because of the 25 elite qualifying nights per year? So Platinum status which is 50 nights +25 equals 75 making me titanium or am I wrong?

    Reply
    • Hi G,

      If you already have 50 elite qualifying nights on your Marriott Bonvoy account for 2022 and do you not already hold a US personal Bonvoy credit card, you can absolutely you can sign up for the Amex Bonvoy Brilliant and will receive 25 EQN thus bumping you to 75 EQN for 2022. This would be a super easy way to reach Titanium status if that is of interest to you.

      Hugh

      Reply