Marriott Bonvoy ends soft landings for all but Ambassador Elites

Marriott Bonvoy members who failed to requalify in 2022 will not receive soft landings in 2023, unless they're Ambassadors.

Marriott Bonvoy has historically had an unofficial policy of soft landings, where elite members who failed to requalify for their existing tier would be downgraded one tier at most. For example, a Platinum member who failed to meet the requalification threshold would be downgraded to Gold, even if he/she had no qualifying activity otherwise. 

Unfortunately, this policy will change from 2023 onwards.

Marriott Bonvoy ends soft landings for most members

JW Marriott Maldives

From 2023, Marriott Bonvoy will no longer offer soft landings for elite members, with one limited exception:

  • Ambassador Elite members who fail to requalify will drop to Titanium Elite for the following year
  • All other elite members who fail to requalify will be downgraded to the tier based on their 2022 qualifying activity

Q: Will all members that do not reach status in 2022 be downgraded to the next Elite tier?

A: We are pleased to offer Titanium Elite status to our current Ambassador Elite members who do not achieve the 2022 published criteria to maintain Ambassador Elite status.

As part of Marriott Bonvoy’s annual business processing, all other Elite Members with a status expiration date of February 2023 that did not achieve a higher Elite Status or renew their existing Elite Status during 2022 will be downgraded in early March 2023.

Status downgrades haven’t been a big concern for the past few years, thanks to the COVID-era extensions that Marriott Bonvoy was handing out. However, with travel more or less back to normal across the world, hotel chains are reverting to their regular qualification policies. 

To paraphrase the words of one B. Spears, if you want free breakfast, room upgrades or late check-out, you’d better labour, harlot.

Marriott Bonvoy elite qualification

As a reminder, here’s the number of qualifying nights you’ll need to clock for elite status with Marriott Bonvoy. Both award and paid nights count towards earning status. 

TierQualifying Criteria
(Per Calendar Year)
Silver Elite10 qualifying nights 
Gold Elite25 qualifying nights
Platinum Elite50 qualifying nights
Titanium Elite75 qualifying nights
Ambassador Elite100 qualifying nights + US$23,000 spend

All elite night credits are counted in the year they are earned, so if you have a stay that spans 2022 and 2023, the nights in 2022 will be applied to 2022 qualification, and the nights in 2023 to 2023 qualification. 

Either way, your status only expires on 28 February of the following year, so anyone who has failed to meet the requalification criteria in 2022 will be downgraded after 28 February 2023. 

Conclusion

W Bali Seminyak

Marriott Bonvoy members who failed to requalify for their current tier in 2022 will not receive a soft landing in 2023, instead being downgraded to the tier that corresponds with their 2022 activity. The only exception is for Ambassador Elites, who will be downgraded one tier to Titanium.

There’s no denying that the Bonvoy elite ranks have swelled over the past few years, thanks to status extensions and (in the USA at least) free elite nights from credit cards. There’s even been rumours that Marriott intends to make Titanium the new Platinum, either by cutting lounge access or breakfast from the Platinum tier (or both; for what it’s worth, Marriott has denied this).

So in that sense the removal of soft landings isn’t completely unexpected, and to the extent that it improves the elite experience, all the better (as an honoured lifetime member of the absolutely worthless Gold tier, I have absolutely no skin in the game). 

(HT: OMAAT)

Aaron Wong
Aaron Wong
Aaron founded The Milelion to help people travel better for less and impress chiobu. He was 50% successful.

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Eric

How about those elite members who qualify permanently through marriot vacation club (timeshare programme)? I would assume they are not impacted.

Peter

The problem is travel only restarted in mid year. Rest assured the hotel groups that didn’t provide pandemic soft landings (Accor for example) will find their clients loyalty waning.

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