Something that I’ve been contemplating over the last few weeks has been the Marriott Gold “road-to” challenge. For those that aren’t aware, Marriott offers a pretty sweet deal to fast track to either their Gold or Platinum elite status. This “road-to” offer gives anyone with either Silver or Gold elite the chance to complete a challenge within three months and move to the next higher level. For Silver-Gold, it’s 6 stays in 3 months, and Gold-Platinum it’s 9 stays.
The “taste-of” challenge gives the member the higher status for a 3 month period, with the challenge to complete those night. This is a targeted promotion, though, so you must be contacted by Marriott to be eligible. (With anything in this game, it doesn’t hurt to pester the Marriott customer service line to see if they will give you the promotion)
So I want to go over my strategy, even though plenty of people may disagree.
I am currently traveling weekly, and staying in all Marriott properties. So I am racking up the points, and nights, but I have decided to hold off on the “road-to” Gold promotion, in search of something more! While I could quickly and easily complete the challenge, I don’t see a ton of benefit in the Gold status with the hotels I am staying at now. I am working in Columbia, MO, so while there are some nice Marriott properties–it is no JW downtown. They don’t have lounges, there is no need for me to check out early, and I wouldn’t find much use out of a suite upgrade–I’m also traveling on the company’s dime, so no need to worry about paying for breakfast!
So I have decided that I will earn Gold status the old fashioned way, head to pillow. Once I get Marriott Gold status in about 6 weeks, I will request the road-to Platinum challenge–may even try calling Marriott to see if they’ll grant me the “taste-of” challenge. Even though the Platinum challenge is 9 stays, I can easily complete that by hopping to different Marriott properties throughout the week–remember it’s STAYS not nights. And this is where it gets fun…
So we all know by now that Marriott and Starwood merged, and with that comes transferable elite status. So this means Platinum with Starwood. But on top of that, Marriott partnered with United a few years back that still applies. Marriott Platinum matches to United Silver Elite. Nothing crazy, but for not flying any miles it’s a pretty awesome perk. Possible Economy Plus upgrades, free checked bags and more.
*Note: the status is transferable both ways, but you must be at least a United Gold Elite member to receive status with Marriott.
And finally, the fourth piece of the quad-fecta. This isn’t a full status match, but Starwood and Delta have partnered to give Starwood Elite members benefits when flying Delta. This doesn’t match completely to Delta Silver Elite, but a lot of the benefits are similar.
So you’ll get many of the same benefits that a Silver Elite member will get, and potentially save a ton of money and time in travel. Also might score some free upgrades as mentioned in my previous blog!
The final leg…
Just by getting Marriott Platinum status you can basically receive status/benefits in 3 other programs. That’s 4 (~3.5) elite statuses just by getting to Marriott Platinum– but as I’ve mentioned it isn’t as easy as I’ve drawn out. I’m hoping my plan of waiting will pay off– hopefully I’ll take some United flights and most definitely stay at a St. Regis property somewhere around the world.