Marriott’s integration with Starwood has been something of an IT nightmare, and 19 days after the supposed merger members are still reporting issues with disappearing points, incorrectly combined nights and status and all other kinds of hi jinks.
If the abysmal manner in which Marriott has handled this merger hasn’t put you off the brand completely, you’ll be pleased to know that Marriott Rewards is once again offering status challenges.
As per God Save the Points, the new Marriott Rewards status challenge requires:
- Platinum: 16 nights in 3 months
- Gold: 8 nights in 3 months
For comparison’s sake, the old Starwood challenge required
- Platinum: 18 nights in 3 months
- Gold: 9 nights in 3 months
The old Marriott Rewards never had an official status challenge program, but you could request for a “Taste of Gold” or “Taste of Platinum” status challenge which involved earning
- Platinum with 9 stays in 90 days
- Gold with 6 stays in 90 dayas
- Silver with 3 stays in 90 days
In theory you could have attained Platinum status in the old Marriott Rewards program with just 9 nights, assuming you did 9 x 1 night stays (eg. by shuttling between neighboring properties every night), so this new threshold is significantly higher. That said, I think the majority of travelers aren’t the “switch each night” variety and in that respect, 16 nights might be easier for them to attain.
Registering for this challenge
To start this challenge, you’ll need to call Marriott Rewards (801-468-4000, use Skype) or Starwood Preferred Guest (888-625-4988, ditto). You should get an email confirming your enrolment and the qualifications you need to finish the challenge.
Unlike a status match, it is unnecessary to demonstrate prior status with a competing chain. That’s to say, you can sign up for a challenge without any status at all. If you get a CSO who insists you need to have status, simply hang up and call again. Do note that you are limited to doing one challenge every three years.
There’s a lot of contradicting information out there as to whether award nights count towards this challenge. My first instinct was “no, of course not, what kind of stupid question is that” because I can’t think of any status challenge that has counted non-revenue nights. Apparently, however, this is what some members have been told by CSOs so we’re going to need to wait and see what happens there.
If you’ve got an extended period of business travel coming up, it definitely makes sense to see if you can fit this into your schedule. Marriott Platinum benefits include goodies such as room upgrades, free breakfast and late check out, so there’s definitely value to be had here.