Marriott Rewards matches Hilton HHonors in offering top elite status through credit card spend, albeit, quite a bit more credit is required to reach Marriott Rewards Platinum compared to Hilton HHonors Diamond if relying primarily on the credit card for status.
Enhancements announced today for Marriott Rewards VISA credit card offered through Chase Card Services gives members the opportunity to earn one elite qualification credit night for every $3,000 in charges.
Marriott Rewards issues three cards which confer automatic Silver elite membership.
1. Marriott Rewards Credit Card, $30 fee, guaranteed Silver elite with 10 complimentary elite nights credit every year of membership.
2. Marriott Rewards Business Card, $30 fee, guaranteed Silver elite with 10 complimentary elite nights credit every year of membership.
3. Marriott Rewards Premier Card, $65 fee, guaranteed Silver elite with 15 complimentary elite nights credit every year of membership.
Higher Elite Math: Card members start out with 10 or 15 elite nights. Additional elite qualifying nights can be achieved solely with credit card charges or a combination of hotel stay night credits and credit card night credits for a somewhat lower spending level on the card to reach higher Marriott Rewards elite membership.
Marriott Rewards Gold Elite = 50 nights in calendar year
Basic Personal Card or Business credits 10 nights and requires an additional 40 night credits = $120,000 spend
Premier Card with 35 night credits = $105,000 spend
Marriott Rewards Platinum elite = 75 nights in calendar year
Basic Personal Card or Business with $195,000 spend = 65 night credits
Premier Card with $180,000 spend = 60 night credits
Now of course there is no reason to have Marriott Rewards Platinum elite status if you are not staying in Marriott hotels. In practice, Gold or Platinum elite status will be bridged through a combination of your hotel nights and credit card spending.
If you earn 15 complimentary elite nights with a Marriott Rewards Premier VISA and you stay 35 nights in Marriott hotels, then you are Marriott Gold elite. But, Platinum elite is only 25 nights x $3,000 per night away from your reach. Spend $75,000 on your MR Platinum VISA and you are Platinum elite.
And for 2010, say you have 20 rollover nights from 2009 when you completed the year with 30 elite nights and Silver status. Between rollover nights, hotel stays, and credit card spending, Platinum elite is suddenly within reach of many more Marriott frequent guests who may be maxed out on their nights away from home, but not maxed on their capacity to charge.
Another enhancement for cardmembers is 15,000 bonus points when redeeming for a 7-night hotel stay in a Category 7 or 8 hotel. Essentially cardmembers get a rebate. I assume you have to guarantee the reward stay with your Marriott Rewards credit card. Details on the bonus points are not posted on the website.
Marriott link to Marriott Rewards VISA Enhancements