In the interest of full disclosure, One Mile At A Time earns a referral bonus for anyone that’s approved through some of the below links. These are the best publicly available offers that we have found for each card. Please check out our advertiser policy for further details about the partners we work with. Thanks for your support!
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.
Well, Marriott’s elite buy back promotion is now live for 2017. I’d say this is the most lucrative opportunity out there to “pay” to retain elite status (which isn’t to say you should take advantage of it, though, as I’ll explain below).
Marriott’s elite buy back offer 2017
In the case of Marriott, they simply charge you points to maintain your status from the previous year. Until March 31, 2017, 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.
Just to clarify, you can only buy up to the status you had in 2016. 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.
This doesn’t work for SPG elites
Now that Marriott has taken over Starwood, there are lots of opportunities to match status between Marriott and Starwood. However, it’s worth noting that those who earned Marriott status by linking their SPG and Marriott Rewards accounts in 2016 aren’t eligible for this offer. So you need to have earned your Marriott status in another way in order to buy it back.
However, nowadays it’s much easier to get Marriott status than in the past, given that you can match your status from SPG. For example, you can earn SPG Gold status just by having The Platinum Card® from American Express or The Business Platinum® Card from American Express OPEN, and then you can match that status to Marriott Gold.
So the need to buy back status isn’t as useful as in the past, given all the ways to earn Marriott status nowadays. Still, some will find value in this offer for maintaining Platinum status.
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. So in general this deal could represent a good value, though also keep in mind that there are lots of other ways to earn status with Marriott now that they’ve taken over Starwood.
To the Marriott loyalists out there, do you plan on redeeming points to retain your status?
(Tip of the hat to View from the Wing)