Marriott Rewards has several ways of getting Gold or Platinum status including having status with United Airlines and utilizing their RewardsPlus partnership, doing the status match on the SPG side and use the status transfer between the programs or Taste of and/or Road to-offers that sometimes are open for all and other times targeted.
The main difference is that the Taste Of-offer usually gives the Gold or Platinum status up front for the duration of the challenge while Road To-offer only at the end of completing it.
You can access Marriott Rewards page for Gold and Platinum benefits here.
Taste of Gold or Platinum
Marriott Rewards sometimes targets accounts for “Taste of” promotions. You may find the status upgrade by signing in to your account, after receiving an email from Marriott or sometimes they mail out a flyer.
The requirements usually are 6 stays for Gold and 9 stays for Platinum over three month period. There is a version around that is also based on nights.
Note that you can only do one of these very 12 months. If you complete a Gold one, you cannot do Platinum one for a year.
These Taste of-challenges used to be the default option but you can no longer request them. You should ask for the Road to-one that is covered below.
Road To Gold Or Platinum Challenge
Marriott Rewards has still offered these Road to Gold or Platinum challenges that requires the member to complete certain number of stays or nights during a three month period. The status is only granted once the requirement is fulfilled.
The usual number of stay requirement for Gold is 6 stays and 9 for the Platinum one. There is also challenge that is based on nights.
How to request Gold or Platinum Road to-offer?
You can either do it by contacting Marriott Rewards customer service by filling out the online form (access here) or by calling the number in your region.
If you get turned down over the email, I would suggest that you give them a call. There appears to be quite a bit of leeway what the agents are allowed to do.
Remember to be clear that you are requesting Road to-offer. If you request status match, you will likely be turned down.
Keeping the Gold or Platinum Status?
The Gold usually required 50 nights and Platinum 75 nights during a calendar year. Marriott has a yearly Elite Status Buy Back Promotion for 25,000 points for Gold or 40,000 points for Platinum. The current one is valid until March 31, 2017 (read more here).
Marriott Rewards Status via SPG
Starwood Preferred Guest is now part of Marriott after the Marriott’s purchase of Starwood Hotels & Resorts closed last year. The loyalty programs are still separate, however. The programs do offer status linking. Gold for Gold and Platinum for Platinum
SPG members can get Gold status by completing one stay in Asia-pacific if they own certain MasterCard (read more here).
SPG offers status fast track that is open for all (read more here). SPG Gold requires 9 nights over three month period while Platinum requires 18. You can credit three rooms at a time towards the challenge and thus can complete the Platinum one is just six stays.
Marriott Rewards Status via United Airlines
Marriott Rewards and United Airlines have RewardsPlus partnership that grants Gold or higher MileagePlus members Marriott Rewards Gold status.
If one is not able to get the Gold or Platinum Road to-challenge from Marriott, they can do it on the SPG side. The Starwood offer is open for all.
Once you have got the status, you an keep it indefinitely by buying back the status yearly using Marriott Rewards points (at least they have allowed this as long as I can remember).