Marriott Bonvoy previously introduced Annual Choice Benefit-options for members that reach 50 and 75 nights per calendar year and this week I went ahead to make my best pick for the Titanium qualification level (75 nights).
Members have to choose an option before the Suite Night Awards will be deposited by default after January 15th each year which in most cases isn’t a very attractive option.
Marriott Bonvoy sometimes doesn’t email eligible members after they reach the night requirements to select the award, but you can do it using the link below. Last year I didn’t get an email for my 50 night choice and it took roughly 5 days after my 50th night posted until I was able to make my selection.
This time Marriott did email me after I reached 50 nights but not for the 75 nights but the following was send to a friend who just qualified as well:
You’ve earned an additional Annual Choice Benefit because you’ve stayed at least 75 eligible nights with participating Marriott Bonvoy™ hotels this year. Select your second Annual Choice Benefit from six options,* including one Free Night Award and Marriott Bonvoy Gold Elite status for a family member, friend or colleague.
We understand world events have had an impact on everyone’s travel plans, including yours. Please stay healthy, and we look forward to welcoming you back soon.
However roughly 36 hours after my 75th night posted it was displayed in my online account that I’m eligible to select a choice award:
If a member doesn’t make a choice on his own, Marriott will choose the Suite Night Awards as a default option each January which isn’t necessarily the best option.
You can access Marriott’s page for choosing Choice-benefit here.
You must make the 2021 Annual Elite Benefits Choice by 11:59PM ET on January 15, 2022 for both 50 and 75 nights levels.
Here are the 75 Night Choice Benefit-options offered to me this round:
On the face of it the Five Elite Nights Credits-option is only useful if it helps you to reach the next tier which in this case would be 100 nights (plus $14,000 spend) for Ambassador, otherwise it won’t help you any further in hard benefits.
There is however an extra value proposition with these five nights for those on the way to Lifetime status as they count fully towards the Lifetime goal as well. However this is a more attractive choice at the 50 night choice level where there are very few attractive options, at the 75 night choice level the best pick is really the free night award.
Since I’m already Lifetime Platinum, this year I picked the 5 Suite Night Awards for my 50 Night Choice Benefit because that was the only option that made sense in my situation.
This time for my 75 level I once again decided to select the free night certificate for a night up to 40,000 points in value.
There is still my 2020 certificate from the previous elite choice in my account whose expiration got extended until January 3, 2022 (for now) and another one will be deposited this month from the Bonvoy Amex which is good for a night up to 35,000 points value. I just hope I’ll be able to properly utilize these two certificates within the next 18 months at properties with a decent value, obviously contingent on the opening of countries for traveling.
In the past I’ve been able to get a return value of $150-200 for such a free night. Five lifetime nights are worth approximately the same but of course you could also argue lifetime nights are worth zero if you’re just patient and wait until you get them clocked in anyway. In the past I have picked them at the 50 night level but since then my only option at that level were the SNA’s.
The charitable donation is an option if you really can’t use anything. Marriott will make a donation on your behalf to the organization as listed, this year it’s one in Kenya.
People often misunderstand the selection process and believe that the Elite Night Credits apply for the membership year when the choice is made, which is incorrect. It applies for the year when they were earned. The credits that are earned in 2021 will only count towards the status in 2021, even if the actual choice is made in January 2022.
The elite night options-are only useful if they allow you to reach 75 or 100 nights Ambassador level (and the latter also requires a minimum of $14,000 eligible spend). Lifetime nights could be a consideration too.
Suite Night Awards can be useful for some, but I have found them to be difficult to apply and would instead choose something else. They are valid until the end of next year when they were earned (not when selected). All SNAs earned in 2021 are valid until December 31, 2022.
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 were able to choose a free night award at this level too, but Marriott discontinued that option. 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.