Marriott’s 2017 Status Buy Back Promotion Is Now Live

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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).

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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

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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.

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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.

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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.

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. 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)

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Comments

  1. Also note that when you buyback status it reduces your lifetime points accumulation. Well that was the case a year ago.

  2. I was Marriott Platinum in 2016 and only got to 63 nights but my status is still showing as Platinum even though they clearly updated and marked my nights back down to zero to start the year. Do you know if they are just slow in reflecting a downgrade or have there been reports in the past of them basically saying “good enough” if you get to within a certain number of nights for requalification?

  3. Can you buy back gold if the only reason you are gold is because you bought it back last year? We don’t stay that often, but the status pays for itself after one or two trips with the free breakfast late check out

  4. I am in a similar situation to @Rob. I hit 68 nights last year with Marriott and my status now shows I need 75 nights in 2017 to ‘renew platinum’, with no roll-overs posted. I know that Marriott will occasionally just let you have it, so I am hoping that this is the case. If not, I am Global Services with United, so I hope that they still do the unpublished match to Platinum. If that doesn’t work, I will just take the hit and go to Gold. I have a lot of nights planned this year, so with rollover, I should be Platinum again by June.

  5. @Rob and @David. I think Marriott has just simply renewed your Platinum status. That is exactly what they did to me, even though this past year was the first when I was a Platinum Member. They also sent a letter saying that even though I did not reach the Platinum level (had 58 nights only in 2016), they still gave me the status. It happened to me also years ago when I did not reach the Gold but they renewed it anyway.

  6. I had Gold status from my Milage Plus last year. Now, in this new year, I can re-claim gold through my Starwood/AmEx Platinum card, right? How do I go about making sure I’m matched? Do I need to go through AmEx, Starwood, or Marriott? Thanks!

  7. I just got notice from Marriott that they were giving me the status from last year as a bonus this year. Platinum status for 2017 even thought I was short the number of nights.

  8. Hi Lucky,

    I’ve been so busy with other issues in the last several months that I am probably one of the few people with active Starwood/Marriott accounts who has not yet linked them.

    I have Lifetime Gold on Starwood.

    In 2016, I paid, I think 15,000 points (decreased from the original ‘offer’ of 25,000 points) to keep my Marriott gold status. I seem to recall that because I procrastinated this worked to my benefit.

    So, here is the question: If I link accounts now, will I get Marriott Gold (by virtue of my Starwood LIFETIME Gold) for 2017? I assume the two gold levels are comparable? Or does Starwood gold match to Marriott Silver? I simply haven’t had time to dig back through the emails and articles on this.

    Thanks for a tip!

  9. I have the same situation as @Rob and @David. I only have 34 nights and there are four missing nights pending. I did not make the 50 per nights last year but my status still Gold. As a matter of fact, I have always been Gold without reaching 50 nights for 3 years. I never find out what happened.

  10. Hi I have also livetime Gold status with SPG does that status transvers over to Marriott, if I combine my reward points, would I get Marriott gold status? I try to get at least gold status at Marriott, it’s hard for me to get 50 nights in a year since I’m a flight attendant and stay through my airline in Marriotts which doesn’t count to my account!
    Thanks for the info

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