I received an interesting offer from Chase. For $10 more a month, I could change my Marriott Premier Plus card to the stealth Marriott Bonvoy card. Aesthetics alone, this is worth the increase from $85 a year to $95. Look how nice it is:
In seriousness, everything Bonvoy has been a flop up to this point. Without the old SPG cash and points system (see Are Marriott Cash + Points a Myth?), my Marriott balance might as well be zero. I don’t care if it’s category 8 or category 1, even paying 25k will drain even the most robust account. Contrast this to paying 3k a night at the Aloft Bangkok. Back then SPG points were actually worth something. Now, they are almost as bad as most domestic airline programs.
With these negative changes, I had to decide whether it was worth going for ‘platinum’ status with Marriott and how I would achieve it. Reaching 50 nights or 25 stays with SPG provided 4PM checkout, suite upgrades, and great overall service. That was fairly easy to do. Now, to reach that same level of status, now called Titanium Elite, I would have to stay 75 nights. (On paper, the benefits I want e.g., suite upgrades, 4PM checkout, are available to Platinum Elites but many have written that suite upgrades don’t happen as frequently.) Add in my move to Puerto Rico and the lack of desire to travel as a result of coming to this tropical paradise and the chances that I reach 50 nights, let alone 75, are looking bleak.
Cue Chase’s offer: If I spend 3k in 3 months, I would receive 15 nights towards requalifying for elite status. Right now, I’m at 20 nights, 15 having come from one of my Bonvoy cards and 5 from actual stays. With 10 more from booking an office meeting (which used to be unlimited until bloggers do what bloggers do), I would be 5 away from Platinum Elite.
For me, that’s the deal of the year. While I scramble to figure out what program deserves my loyalty, at least I know that I will have 4PM checkout through 2020 with Marriott, something that is indispensable for my lifestyle (see Courtyard by Marriott Hong Kong: New Year’s Cert Rescue Story).
TPOL’s TIP: I now have the Chase Marriott Bonvoy, the Amex Personal, and Amex Business Bonvoy. They are worth the fees for the free night.