Obtaining Marriott Bonvoy Platinum or Titanium Tier – Is It Worth Going The Extra Mile?

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A frequently discussed topic is the issue of whether or not it’s worth to stay an extra 25 nights at Marriott Hotels in order to obtain Bonvoy Titanium status instead of basic Platinum.

Bonvoy Platinum at 50 nights will already entitle the member to standard suite upgrades, lounge access and breakfast as their arrival choice benefit so is Titanium really worth that much more?

One could say that Platinum has all the bases covered because the associated basic benefits are almost exactly the same as for Titanium yet there might be an argument that would motivate many to clock in an extra 25 nights for the higher tier level.

Here are all the Bonvoy Benefits at a glance for you to compare:

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The only noteworthy difference between Bonvoy Platinum and Titanium is that Titanium members are entitled to the 48-hour reservation guarantee, suite upgrades at Ritz Carlton (no club access) as well as 25% more bonus points for all Marriott spend.

What isn’t displayed on this chart is what I like to call the “Upgrade Soft Benefit” which includes the packing order in which guests are upgraded and the type of upgrades someone receives.

Given the amount of elite members out there nowadays and the inflated numbers in the last year or so through status matches, challenges, complimentary tier extensions and incentive nights as well as credit cards that all resulted in a rather high number of Platinum members the best strategy is to reach beyond the Platinum level if possible.

It remains a question what direct benefit Titanium would give you. At least in theory hotels upgrade based on status and that determines a priority order for good rooms and suites to be given out. Hotels don’t have unlimited amounts of suites (especially not to be given away for free) and the upgrade benefit includes Standard Suites, not Specialty Suites.

From personal experience having traveled both with Platinum and Titanium in recent years is that the higher tier helps you in two ways: When staying at properties the first time and for receiving upgrades in excess of their typical standard suite inventory. I’ve gotten a lot of upgrades to villas and diplomat/presidential suites since being Titanium, this didn’t usually happen while I was Platinum, at least not in this frequency.

Generally hotels always prefer to give the best rooms to their most loyal guests that repeatedly stay at the property and this makes good business sense. It’s better to keep your repeat guests happy than a one off customer which doesn’t mean you should skip his upgrade or give him a bad room.

I find Titanium helps a lot when staying at hotels for the first time. Again I’ve often received rooms well above what the hotel is supposed to give as complimentary upgrade even on the lowest rate (I always book the lowest possible rate except in cases where it makes most sense to book a Virtuoso / Fine Hotels & Resorts rate with $100 credit).

Hotels can also see who is a lifetime tier member or not although I don’t know if Marriott has an official policy on whether hotels should upgrade Lifetime Platinum members over Platinums or vice versa. The properties can make up their own rule in this regard and many do upgrade Lifetime members ahead of their counterparts of the same status level (Lifetime Platinum vs Annual Qualified Platinum).

SPG used to provide hotels a list of incoming elite guests with upgrade ranking based on several factors that were never disclosed within a tier (remember that SPG only had two and later Ambassador too).

It’s a bit easier to obtain Titanium over Platinum when selecting the 5 elite nights when going for your Bonvoy Elite Choice at the 50 night level. Beyond that at the 75 night level you’d already be Titanium and selecting the free night certificate makes most sense.

Conclusion

The value of Bonvoy Titanium vs Platinum depends a lot on your personal stay profile. It’s always good to have as high a status as possible in order to extract your benefits but most of the time this comes at a considerable cost.

I wouldn’t invest a lot of money and effort into Titanium if you mostly visit the same properties and they already treat you well. Also when staying at lots of select service hotels that really don’t have great rooms it doesn’t pay off to have even the highest tier. If you often visit different full service hotels and the Ritz Carlton brand then Titanium does pay off in my experience and if it’s possible I’d recommend trying to obtain Titanium.

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