What You Need To Know About Marriott Gold Status

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As of Friday Marriott Rewards and Starwood Preferred Guest are letting members link accounts, which includes the option to status match and transfer points between programs. Obviously there’s a big learning curve for many members, given that most of us are much more familiar with one program than the other.

On Saturday I outlined what newly minted Marriott Platinum members can expect, and yesterday I outlined what newly minted Starwood Platinum members can expect.

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However, status matching isn’t limited to just top tier elites, and arguably Starwood Gold members are actually getting the best deal of anyone. Starwood Gold members are being matched to Marriott Gold, which is a significant status upgrade.

Keep in mind that earning Starwood Gold status is super easy. For example, just for having The Platinum Card® from American Express you can receive free SPG Gold status. This now means that the American Express Platinum Card now offers free Marriott Gold status by connection as well.

So let’s talk about what you can expect as a Marriott Gold member:

Basics of Marriott Rewards perks

Let’s start with a very simple rundown of Marriott Rewards benefits by status level:

Marriott-Gold-Platinum

Let’s talk about the straightforward Marriott Gold perks first, which don’t require further explaining:

  • A 25% bonus on base points earned through hotel stays
  • Guaranteed room type
  • Complimentary premium in-room internet access

Now let’s talk about the perks that aren’t quite as straightforward: breakfast/lounge access, room upgrades, and 4PM late check-out. You’ll notice that a lot of the policies are identical to those for Platinum members.

Marriott Gold breakfast & lounge access perks

Marriott’s breakfast and lounge access benefit is identical for Gold and Platinum members, and it can be confusing.

Marriott Gold members get guaranteed lounge access for themselves and one guest at JW Marriott, Autograph Collection, Renaissance, Delta Hotels, and Marriott hotels, during normal operations, excluding at resorts. Per the terms, Marriott Gold members don’t receive complimentary breakfast at resorts, though many resorts still offer it.

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If there isn’t a lounge at the above hotels, Marriott Gold members get the choice between breakfast in the restaurant or 750 points.

The following hotels are excluded, and instead automatically offer Marriott Gold members 1,000 bonus points:

  • Boston Marriott Copley Place
  • Boston Marriott Long Wharf
  • Chicago Marriott Downtown Magnificent Mile
  • JW Marriott Washington, DC
  • JW Marriott New Orleans
  • JW Marriott San Francisco Union Square
  • The Lexington New York City, Autograph Collection
  • JW Marriott Essex House, New York City
  • New York Marriott Marquis
  • Renaissance New York Hotel 57
  • Renaissance New York Times Square
  • San Diego Marriott Marquis and Marina
  • The Algonquin Hotel Times Square, Autograph Collection

Yes, it’s that complicated. So while Marriott has almost 20 hotel brands, you only get complimentary breakfast as a Gold member at five of them (in fairness, a few of the other brands offer all guests complimentary breakfast).

marriott-brands

Don’t expect breakfast at Ritz-Carlton, EDITION, etc., or at any resorts.

Room upgrades for Marriott Gold members?

On paper, Marriott’s room upgrade policy is identical for Gold and Platinum members. Here’s the verbiage for room upgrades:

Complimentary Room Upgrade: Based on room availability at check-in and limited to a Member’s personal guestroom. Upgrades may include rooms with desirable views, rooms on high floors, corner rooms, rooms with special amenities, rooms on Executive Floors, or suites.  All upgrades are granted on a space-available basis, as determined at the time of check-in. Upgrades are subject to availability and identified by each hotel. Not available at Marriott Vacation Club.

As you can see, both Gold and Platinum members are entitled to room upgrades based on availability, which could include a suite, at the hotel’s discretion. So you could get a suite upgrade as a Gold member, but you’re not entitled it, since it’s entirely at the hotel’s discretion as to what type of room they want to upgrade you to.

In general you’ll find that many hotels prioritize Platinum upgrades ahead of Gold upgrades, so I wouldn’t expect as many great upgrades as a Gold member as you would as a Platinum member. As always, general elite recognition varies based on the part of the world you’re in. You’re much more likely to get a good upgrade upgrade in Asia than in the US, for example.

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Marriott Gold late check-out

In April Marriott Rewards added some new benefits that were inspired by SPG, and among them was late check-out. Here’s the verbiage on Marriott’s late check-out, which is identical for Gold and Platinum members:

Guaranteed Late Checkout: Gold and Platinum members may check out as late as 4 p.m. This benefit is guaranteed at all hotels, except at resort and convention hotels, where it is based upon availability. Marriott Vacation Club is excluded from this benefit.

At first they seemed to be playing games with this, but Marriott has assured me that the intention is that Gold and Platinum members receive guaranteed 4PM check-out at all non-resort properties across all of Marriott’s brands. However, some members report that Marriott is playing some games with this.

Marriott-Benefits

Bottom line

On paper, Marriott does very little to differentiate Gold and Platinum status. The three main differences in published benefits between Platinum and Gold are as follows:

  • Platinum members get a 50% points bonus, while Gold members get a 25% points bonus
  • Platinum members get a 48 hour availability guarantee
  • Platinum members get a welcome gift, consisting of either points or a food & beverage amenity

On top of that, the unpublished treatment may differ at times, so Platinum members may get better upgrades than Gold members, etc.

Overall Gold status is a great mid-tier status level, and SPG Gold members are getting a very nice upgrade with this status match.

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Comments

  1. “The following hotels are excluded” – Does this mean they’re excluded from providing breakfast ever? Or that they’re excluded from having to provide breakfast if the lounge is closed (i.e. on a weekend)?

    Also- Is there is list of resorts (i.e. in the Caribbean) that do generally offer breakfast even though they’re not required to under the T&C’s?

  2. Hi Lucky, thanks for the useful info as always. Question: do you (fore)see any possible advantage to waiting before getting status match? I’ve got spg platinum and could match to marriot platinum now. But I don’t have any immediate plans to stay at a marriot – or I do stay at one of their hotels over the next year, it wouldn’t be much. So I guess the possible risk might be that they match me, but then if I don’t keep my marriot status after a year, they could downgrade me, no? But maybe whenever the programs officially merge (assuming they truly do), my spg platinum status (which I’ve already re-qualified for through end 2017) would in that case translate back over to marriot platinum? Kudos if you’re able to understand what I just wrote.

  3. SPG platinum’s that did not re-qualify for next year get a “soft-landing” to gold. Free lounge and breakfast at Marriott until Feb 2018 for not having to do anything!

  4. So, Marriott gold members do not get lounge access at the properties listed above, like at the JW Marriott New Orleans? Was looking to book that hotel for Mardi Gras because it has a massive lounge.

  5. FYI – YMMV… but I received free breakfast/lounge access at the JW Marriott Essex House in NYC as a Marriott Gold (Ritz Carlton Visa cardholder).

  6. what about courtyards in Asia with lounges and breakfast buffet? Its hit or miss for Marriott Gold and Plat Elites.

  7. FYI…Your post made me nervous as I just booked a room at the JW in New Orleans as a gold member. I called the hotel and they confirmed that they do in fact offer lounge access to Marriott Gold members.

  8. Does anyone know if you convert your spg gold status to marriott gold now , and then in a month or so you become platinum , does marriott automatically upgrade too itself or do you have to convert it again , or should I just wait till then ?

  9. I’m really curious why complimentary breakfast is not provided at Courtyard properties for golds and plats.
    What makes these properties so special?
    Courtyard is not even a high-end brand, so I don’t see the need for any kind of exclusivity with breakfast there.

  10. @Gabe, I just booked Boston Marriott Long Wharf and on the booking confirmation it says that the lounge is closed on weekends (something like Friday 2 pm-Sunday 4pm) so I’m thinking JW in New Orleans may be similar since they’re both on the list. They offer 1000 points on weekends, but the lounge should be open during the week.

  11. @lucky
    Residents inn NJ, booked regular room on points 15k got 2 Br upgrade every time I stayed visiting family

    I was only silver at those times, just ask for a better room…
    I’m 3/3 on getting a 2 Br

    Yes they say not confirmed only a studio but asking someone face to face when checking in works (most) of the time on low volume nights, likely not around holidays etc.

  12. Hmmmmm….

    @Lucky sez: “both [MR] Gold and Platinum members are entitled to room upgrades based on availability”

    While the new language that also “entitles” MR elites, like SPG elites, to room upgrades is a definite improvement for being more even-handed, it is still problematic because it is oxymoronic. One is “entitled” to nothing if there is a contingency, like availability, and a dependency, like the hotel has the final say, which is precisely what you say in the next sentence, but somehow limit it to Golds when the T&C are the same as for Plats! So, which is it? Why not dispense altogether with “entitlements” and “guarantees” because there are no such things in loyalty business that the small print does not take away?… 😉

    I believe that the MR T&C for Golds and Plats are such that a Gold who knows how to play the game can enjoy most of the Platinum benefits, except for the 48-hour reservation “guarantee” benefit — a greatly watered down version of the powerful HH “Diamond Force”, which is as close to being “guaranteed” as perks get, because it was algorithmically automated by programming it in the hilton.com hotel search engine, thereby taking it out of the discretion of individual properties. Really.

  13. @Ken, I am speculating here, but I think these mentioned hotels, do not offer Breakfast in the restaurants, when the lounge is closed. Instead they automatically offer, 1000 points.

  14. I need some advice on upcoming trip. I booked Sheraton on the Park, Sydney and since I have SPG biz card, should get breakfast at the lounge. It costs 12K points per night. I would like to stay instead at the Sydney Harbour Marriott Hotel at Circular Quay (better location although its behind 2 spots or so in Tripadvisor). It costs 40K Marriott points (equivalent 13K SPG points or so). I have SPG Gold and Marriott Gold (by status match now).

    What would be the breakfast policy for Gold Elites in the Sydney Harbour Marriott Hotel. Should I email them asking if Gold elites get complimentary breakfast in the lounge or restaurant? Any experiences regarding Australia when it comes to Marriott Gold Elites.

  15. Hello,

    I am SPG Lifetime Platinum with 986 stays in the past 10 yrs. What would happen to a lifetime SPG Platinum member? I believe I am Gold as well at Marriott.

    Thanks!

  16. Like @Tom, I wonder why no breakfast at Courtyards. I understand the Ritz and comparable properties, but not the Courtyards. I have an upcoming stay and the breakfast is 23 Euros. I don’t think so. German pastries are better anyway. 🙂

  17. DCS Lie Alert: Hilton “Diamond Force” (not even it’s real name) was debunked by an ex-Hilton employee in 2014

  18. The fact SPG Gold is being matched to Marriott Gold is a slap in the face to existing Marriott Gold elites like myself. 10 nights at an SPG property earns you Gold so now you can be Marriott Gold with 10 SPG stays. What a crock that is. Since we Marriott Golds actually earned our status, it’s a slap in the face.

  19. A MR platinum, who failed to get room due to overbooked MR hotels, when “Diamond Force” was able to AUTOMAGICALLY “force” the availability of several award and revenue rooms at overbooked HH hotels, wrote the following [1], not in 2014, but in 2015:

    “Impressive. That is a diamond edge over Marriott. Platinum desk could do nothing and said had to work with hotels. They’ve already negotiated blocks out which have not yet been released. Perhaps closer in, but still unlikely. Still have to debate whether it is worth it to reacquire diamond, but I’d definitely be more willing now.

    As a former diamond, I enjoyed, but since I only stay at lower end properties, the benefits hasn’t been there over gold, but this is a nudge in the right direction. If travel patterns maintain, can probably be both diamond and platinum this year.”

    Case close!

    [1] https://milepoint.com/forums/threads/hhonors-diamond-force-even-for-award-stays-is-alive-and-well-and-better-than-ever.114710/#post-2554016

  20. @C’Kirk – MR Gold is now a giveaway level, I’m sorry to break it to you. You can also be MR Gold with 0 stays BTW.

  21. @Captain Kirk

    Just to further elaborate, if you reach SPG and MR gold (or Plat) the first year, you can pretty much re-qualify with 20 nights for another year on both programs (and if you have the MR card, then that’s just 15 nights of staying). That’s how I have kept my status for the last multiple years – by waiting for the end of year “challenges.” Now it’s even easier since I will just focus on MR (more valuable to me since I am a regular at some of their properties and am treated like royalty) and get status match! TBH, the hotel loyalty program “rules” are total hack.

  22. In the above post, I meant just 5 nights and not 15 nights (which I was asked to do during the last week of December last year) to re-qualify as a plat for this year.

  23. In agreement with JO in that hotel loyalty programs are a “hack” (love that word).

    To be frank, SPG, MR, HH, IHG, Hyatt, and the Carlson chains are all pretty much more of the same (same s**t but diff color) – at one point or another I have held elite status in all of the mentioned chains and looked for a better alternative until I have come to realize that they are all utter rubbish.

    Three years ago I parted with the mainstream chains and have never looked back. Between the 4 Seasons, Taj Hotels and Resorts, Oberoi Hotel Group and the Shangri-La Hotels and Resorts, I get immense value, attention and service regardless of how frequently I stay there. Ultimately, like all industries, you get what you pay for.

  24. @Gerard-You realize, I assume, that this whole blog–hell, this entire hobby–is based on the proven case that with a little effort, you can get much, much more than you pay for!

    @Lucky, etc al. I had the opposite benefit the last few days: With upcoming stays at Salzberg and Frankfurt Sheratons, and late flights out from each, I connected my accounts on Friday and used my MR gold status (via Ritz card) to get SPG gold. I got upgrades at both hotels, and very late checkouts from both! (Also access to both lounges, but that was from SPG Biz amex.)

  25. @wt: i wouldn’t shift my stay to marriott circular quay just for the lounge. we stayed there in march and it seemed to be a large, sterile, banquet hall-type room. the hotel was overall rather rundown as well. don’t know whether they were in the midst of remodeling and that lounge was just a makeshift arrangement … you can call them and check (the makeshift-looking one i’m talking about was one level above reception; hopefully they have a proper one that’s higher up)

  26. @mbh good point but it all depends on what you describe as value. I get significant returns by charging my hotel stays to various cards offering multiple travel points, such as the Chase Reserve now (and the JP Palladium previously) and utilize those on various travel expenses. I’m loyal to four seasons also for the same reasons that Gerard described, after experiencing inconsistencies on a regular basis from SPG, Hilton, etc. Sure I pay more upfront, but I never have a reason to complaint about the accommodation and the hospitality.

  27. @Stacey. Funny you should ask. I emailed Marriott that question two days ago and just heard back today. They told me no.

  28. This piece, article, infopage or whatever the poster wants to call it is very poorly written.

    In essence, Marriott Golds get complimentary lounge access at the Marriott, Renaissance, Autograph Collection, Delta, and JW Marriott. If there is no lounge or an issue that leads to you not being able to use the executive lounge/club, you will be compensated through vouchers for the breakfast buffet or a’la carte dining at the hotel’s restaurant OR you can choose to receive the 750 points. For example, if the executive lounge at a US Marriott is closed for the weekend, you will get vouchers for breakfast at the hotel’s restaurant. If you stay at any one of the exclusive hotels the poster listed, and you are unable to use the lounge for any reason, you will automatically receive 1,000 points with no breakfast vouchers.

    Ritz-Carltons and any hotels affiliated with the Ritz are completely excluded as well.

    Courtyards do not offer complementary breakfast for whatever reason, but it might have to do with the fact that it is the international “inexpensive” brand for Marriott.

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