Marriott has discontinued their Taste of Elite Challenges (Gold/Platinum fast track offers) effective sometime late August, 2013, that was very fast route to status with Marriott Rewards. You can read more about these former offers here.
Marriott confirmed this by email:
I apologize to inform you that Taste of Elite Challenges have been discontinued.
All the hotel chains have been offering one form of elite match from other chain. Marriott was the only one that would give you the challenge without having any status with other hotel chains and you would get the status upfront for the duration of the challenge period.
It is likely that the status match/fast track offer/taste of challenge/road to Gold or Platinum will come back in some form in the coming months.
Let’s see and wait what Marriott is going to come up with. I think that it is very unlikely that they wouldn’t have some sort of status match offer from competing programs.
The current one was very easy and likely some signed up without ever going to fulfill the requirement to only enjoy the status during some random trip.
Thanks for LoyaltyLobby reader for sending me a copy of the email that he had received from Marriott regarding the discontinuance of the Elite Challenges.