LAST CALL: Marriott Bonvoy Annual Choice Benefit 2020 – Choose Yours By January 8

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Marriott Bonvoy in 2018 introduced Annual Choice Benefit-options for members that reach 50 and 75 nights in a calendar year. SPG offered these for years, while Marriott Rewards members didn’t have anything comparable.

You must choose your 2020 Annual Choice Benefit by midnight ET on January 8, 2021. If a member doesn’t select, Marriott will deposit the Suite Night Awards as a default option (not necessarily the best).

You can access Marriott’s page for choosing Choice-benefit here.

READ MORE: Marriott Bonvoy Rate & Bonus Points And Miles Promotions

You must make the 2020 Annual Elite Benefits Choice by 11:59 PM ET on January 8, 2021, for both 50 and 75-night levels.

Marriott Bonvoy will deposit by default the Suite Night Awards to eligible members if you don’t choose.

50 nights Choice Benefit-options:

  • Add five Elite Night Credits to your 2020 total.
  • Save 40% on a bed from your favorite hotel brand.
  • Gift Marriott Bonvoy Silver Elite status to a family member, friend, or colleague.
  • US$100 Charity Donation to WE.
  • Get five Suite Night Awards™ to redeem for upgrades to suites and premium rooms.

Five Elite Nights Credits-option is useful if it helps you to reach 75 (or 100) nights. Otherwise, there is very little value (they do count towards the lifetime). Note that even if you make the 2020 choice in 2021, the elite nights are added to your 2020 tally.

Silver status doesn’t come with any meaningful benefits, and 40% off your favorite bed is not useful for most.

Suite Night Awards (SNA) can be worthwhile if you stay at full-service hotels and if you can get them confirmed for meaningful upgrades (that you would not have otherwise received).

Donation to WE (the previous partner was UNICEF) is the only option that costs Marriott.

75 nights Choice Benefit-options:

  • Add five Elite Night Credits to your 2020 total.
  • Save 40% on a bed from your favorite hotel brand.
  • US$100 Charity Donation to WE.
  • Get five Suite Night Awards™ to redeem for upgrades to suites and premium rooms.
  • One Free Night Award worth up to 40,000 points.
  • Gift Marriott Bonvoy Gold Elite status to a family member, friend, or colleague.

Five Elite Nights Credits are only worthwhile if you wouldn’t otherwise reach 100 nights, AND your eligible spend is 20,000 USD or higher. You would then granted an Ambassador status. The nights count towards the status earned in 2020, even if you make the 2020 choice in 2021.

Bedding discount and Gold status are not useful for most. The donation to WE would be a nice gesture.

Five Suite Nights Awards is again an option with the same caveats as previously. My preferred choice at the 75 nights level is the free night award capped at 40,000 points.

When to make a choice?

You should not make the 50-night choice before you know the total number of nights you will consume in 2020. If you end up with 70 to 74 nights, the best 50-night choice is 5 Elite Night Credits because:

  1. You get Titanium-status
  2. You get another Choice Benefit-option

The Suite Night Award and the Free Night Award-certificate are deposited into your account immediately after choosing. There is a warning that it can take up to two weeks, but the process is instantaneous.

What to Choose?

50 nights: Suite Night Awards or 5 Elite Nights (only if your total number of qualifying nights in 2020 was 70 to 74

75 Nights: Free night award worth 40,000 points or 5 Elite Nights (only if this helps you reach 100 nights AND your 2020 qualifying spend is $20K or higher)

Deadline

You must choose by 11:59 PM ET on January 8, 2021, or Marriott will choose the default option for you (Suite Night Awards).

Conclusion

Members often are misguided and believe that the Elite Night Credits apply for the membership year when the choice is made, which is incorrect. It applies to the year when they were earned. The credits earned in 2020 will only count towards the status in 2020, even if the actual choice is made in 2021.

The free night award must be used by the end of the following year when it was earned. Again, earned not when the choice was made.

The elite night options-are only useful if they allow you to reach 75 (Titanium) or 100 (Ambassador) nights level, and the latter also requires a minimum of $20,000 eligible spend.

Suite Night Awards can be useful for some, but I have found them to be mostly useless and instead choose something else. They are valid until the end of next year when they were earned (not when selected). All SNAs earned in 2020 are valid until December 31, 2021.

The free night award at the 75 nights level is my preferred choice. The options at the 50 nights level are not great. Previously, SPG members could choose a free night award at this level, but Marriott discontinued that option.

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