I’m not a huge fan of Marriott (much like Delta I have nothing against the brand, their loyalty program just doesn’t interest me personally), though one area in which they were super generous was with status challenges. Without proving status in another program they’d offer anyone off the street a Gold or Platinum challenge. They’d give you the status upfront for three months, and to keep it you just had to make six or nine stays during that period, respectively.
A lot of people used this to simply make one or two stays nicer, given that you could do the challenge multiple times.
Not surprisingly, per Frequent Miler, they’ve discontinued this and are no longer consistently offering challenges. According to the rep Frequent Miler spoke to it was because “ordinary” Platinum members complained about status dilution from members on challenges. I wouldn’t be surprised if it has something to do with Marriott’s new partnership with United, where every United Gold member and above now gets Marriott Gold status, so they have to do something to prevent their elite ranks from spinning out of control.