Redeem Points To Maintain Your Marriott Status

Every year Marriott Rewards seems to offer the option of redeeming points to maintain your current elite status. This promotion is exclusively for retaining your current status, and can’t be used to buy up to a higher elite tier.

Now, it’s pretty normal for airlines to offer status buy back opportunities nowadays, though you can usually only pay in cash, and it’s usually outrageously expensive.

Via View from the WingMarriott’s elite buy back promotion is now live for 2016. I’d say this is the most lucrative opportunity out there to “pay” to retain elite status.

Marriott-Elite-Buy-Back

Marriott’s elite buy back offer 2016

In the case of Marriott, they simply charge you points to maintain your status from the previous year. Until April 1, 2016, you can retain your Marriott elite status at the following rates:

  • Buy back your Platinum status – only 40,000 points
  • Buy back your Gold status – only 25,000 points
  • Buy back your Silver status – only 7,500 points

Personally I value Marriott Rewards points at ~0.8 cents each. So while there are virtually no benefits for being Marriott Silver, I’d totally pay the equivalent of ~$200 to retain Marriott Gold, and if I were a Platinum member I’d certainly consider paying the equivalent of ~$320 for Marriott Platinum status. While the differences between Gold and Platinum are marginal on paper, it’s a moot point in this instance, since you can only buy the status you had the previous year, whatever it might have been.

Keep in mind that at full service properties, Platinum members receive a 500 point welcome gift, so even if you don’t make enough stays to requalify for Platinum, you could earn back quite a few of those points through the welcome gift alone.

Marriott-GRU-Airport

How to take advantage of the offer

There are two ways to take advantage of an elite buy back offer.

The first option is to phone up Marriott Rewards at 800.321.7396 and say you want to buy back your status.

The second option is to email Marriott Rewards at EliteBuyBack16@Marriott.com with your name and Marriott Rewards number, and let them know you want to buy your status back.

Just to clarify, you can only buy up to the status you had in 2015. So if you were Gold in 2014, for example, you couldn’t redeem 40,000 points to get Platinum status. You also couldn’t redeeming 7,500 points to get Silver status.

Bottom line

While Marriott does have among the highest qualification tiers for status, at least they make requalifying much easier by consistently offering buy back offers, for those inclined to redeem points. I’m curious to see if this option sticks after Marriott Rewards and Starwood Preferred Guest merge (though we’re still a ways off from that happening).

To the Marriott loyalists out there, do you plan on redeeming points to retain your status?

Comments

  1. Are you aware that when you spend points t buy back status with Marriott, they deduct the points from your lifetime balance as well as your redeemable point balance? Happened to me last year; both observed it in my balance and confirmed it with Marriott. A bad deal if you cares about achieving lifetime balance.

  2. It also worth noting that Marriott Platinum will also get you United Silver, which can get you a free bag and the occasional upgrade. I happily paid the 40k last year and got a lot more out of it than $300 including an upgrade on Copa’s PTY to MCO flight with the extended recline seats. Well worth it.

  3. Thanks very much for the information. I am a Marriott loyalist and I have found that having Gold Status, though not worth much on paper, is very meaningful as far as the treatment I receive, etc. Thanks for this information and I will buy back my Gold Status now.

  4. When does Marriott status expire? I’m still showing last year’s status, not sure how far into the year that might carry me.

  5. @E-PHL : As current Marriott Plat, I had the same question. When I looked for this info, Marriott CSR agents said, current status (officially) expires on Jan 31, but many Plats reported that in the past, it actually expired sometime or End-Feb if not re-qualified.

    @ William: Me ! Marriott Plat status recognition and treatment is darn good in the Middle East in general where I work, and I came across some chances to collect missing Plat arrival gift compensation ($100) a couple of times. Also I do really like Marriott’s strict elites’ “guaranteed” benefits and the associated compensation policy.

  6. When is it that you receive notification of whether you qualified for 2016 status? We still say platinum but I think it is based on last years (which was a buyback as I missed my purchases on my marriott card by something like 5000…as I thought I had already made it…ugh)
    Anyway, I don’t know how to see if I made it for 2016 (based on my stays and credit card purchase combined). I’d like to know if I am going to have to buy back my plat status again this year.
    What is it I am missing?

  7. To all readers of this thread and all Marriott Rewards members:

    I have done the buyback a few times and horrified to only learn this year of the deduction when the customer service representative mentioned to me that they would deduct points both from my balance and lifetime status. No publication from Marriott and no representative had ever told this to me before – both extremely misleading and unjustified to the customer!

    I contacted Marriott today and the manager I spoke with was both rude and dismissive of my concerns, offering no help to make me whole or to escalate and have the policy changed. I am not giving up though and will be trying to escalate to the CEO and/or even file a class action lawsuit.

    I implore anyone else also impacted to not let Marriott to step on you. The deduction is completely unfair and unacceptable, and Marriott needs to make us whole. Thanks in advance to anyone who is willing to share their experiences with me on this issue or to work alongside me in ensuring Marriott rectifies this wrong!

    Thanks,
    tigrr49

    P.S. You can reach out to me via the FlyerTalk forum: http://www.flyertalk.com/forum/marriott-ritz-carlton-rewards/1657589-anyone-bought-back-status-year-seen-decrease-lifetime-points-2.html

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