Marriott recently changed their status match requirements. The old one was based on number of NIGHTS stayed during the match period. Now, the requirement is based on STAYS. Note that one stay can consist of multiple nights and would only count as one stay. This new requirement is easier to those that can switch between Marriott branded hotels and have one night stays.
You can get a temporarily match to Silver, Gold or Platinum status with Marriott rewards, and then you have at minimum three months to complete the requirements of the challenge you requested/were targeted for.
The normal Silver status requirements is 10 nights, Gold status requirement is 50 nights and Platinum status 75 nights within a calendar year.
The new Marriott taste of Silver/Gold/Platinum requirements are:
1. Silver 3 stays during three month period + the month when you sign up
2. Gold 6 stays during three month period + the month when you sign up
3. Platinum 9 during three month period + the month when you sign up
Marriott uses somewhat interchangeably words Taste of Silver/Gold/Platinum, status match, and challenge when it comes to accelerating the status with the program.
The key is to start the challenge after the 1st of the month. If you start the taste of challenge on September 1st, you have only September, October, and November to complete it. By starting September 5th you would have not only September, October, and November, but also December to complete it.
Marriott will give you an instant Silver, Gold or Platinum status for the duration of the taste of period and will extend it upon completion of the required number of nights.
If you fail to successfully complete the challenge, you can do it again after 12 months from the ending of the challenge period.
The best time to apply for a challenge would be right at the beginning of the month. Then you would have the temporarily Silver, Gold or Platinum status close to 4 months and, if you successfully completed the challenge, the status would be valid until February 2014.
Then in 2014 you can probably do another Taste of Silver/Gold/Platinum or simply buy back the Gold/Platinum status for additional year. Marriott Rewards has offered every year a chance to buy back the previous status, if you have been downgraded. You can read more about the process on a recent piece that I wrote.
How to request?
You can call your local Marriott Rewards customer service number. I would, however, rather request the challenge by email. This way you have everything in writing and there is no chance of miscommunication or misunderstanding the requirements. Marriott tends to be quite fast at replying to emails. Email addresses that you can use for requesting challenge are email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, or elite.member@Marriott.com.
What if I am denied the challenge that I requested?
There are few reasons that Marriott tend to give when they are denying the challenge.
1. Account not eligible
2. Not enough commitment to have Marriott stays
3. No forward bookings
All these are rather easy to argue. If you are switching from another chain, it is rather obvious that you don’t have prior stay history with Marriott or have future Marriott bookings. You can always reiterate the number of stays that you have had with competing chains and that it would be difficult to switch to Marriott, if you don’t get the elite status benefits during the “transitioning” period.
You may get different answer depending what email address you use and/or if you call Marriott. If the answer you received is not to your liking, it doesn’t hurt to contact Marriott using other contact channel i.e. phone.
It is normally rather easy to get a status match challenge from Marriott. The number of stays to get Platinum status extended is only 9 during the month you sign up + 3 full months. If you start the challenge at the beginning of the month, you have close to four months to complete it.
Trying to requalify the hard way is somewhat problematic though. Marriott requires 75 nights during a calendar year and only paid nights count. If you don’t requalify and would prefer maintaining the status, you can always use the Buy Back Your Status-offer from Marriott or to do another challenge
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