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I am considering the unthinkable: setting myself up to get #bonvoyed by completing a Marriott mattress run for Titanium status. I know, Marriott loyalists regularly do mattress runs to achieve higher status. But lately, all the talk is about Hyatt and their top-tier Globalist after only 30 elite nights. With several promotions and incentives though, I decided to give Marriott another look.
I am currently a Marriott Platinum member, despite staying only one night in a Marriott Hotel since summer 2019. In 2020, two things happened that significantly changed how elite nights are earned with Marriott: 1) while a Chase Bonvoy Bold, Chase Bonvoy Boundless, Amex Bonvoy or Amex Bonvoy Brilliant always award the cardholder 15 elite night credits, Amex and Marriott announced that the 15 elite night credits from the Amex Bonvoy Business card STACKS with the elite nights from the personal cards (i.e., up to 30 elite nights from credit cards alone), and 2) Marriott gifted all elite members 50% of the nights required to earn their 2019 status.
In 2019, I was a Platinum member, so I earned 25 elite nights from the Marriott announcement and 30 elite nights for holding the Amex Bonvoy Business and Amex Bonvoy Brilliant (I also hold the Chase Bonvoy Boundless). With these changes, I earned 55 elite nights in 2020, which was more than the 50 nights that Platinum requires.
Early in 2021, Marriott announced the same promotions for earning elite status from 2020. Members will earn 50% elite night bonus for your 2020 status threshold. Once again, I earned 55 elite nights (30 from credit cards and 25 from the Marriott bonus). This is 5 more nights than what Platinum status requires. I am now a Platinum member through February 28, 2023.
You might wonder why I am now considering a mattress run for Titanium status (75 elite nights). After all, I was in the exact same position in 2020 and didn't go for it. Well, Marriott came out of the gate running in 2021 with several awesome promotions.
First, Marriott announced targeted promotions for February and March 2021. Some members received offers for free night certificates after a certain number of stays. Other members received offers for bonus points after each stay. My offer is for 22,500 bonus points after 3 stays: 6,000 bonus points after the first stay, 7,500 bonus points after the second, and 9,000 bonus points after the third stay.
Second, Marriott announced another promotion running concurrent with the targeted promotions. From February 16 through April 27, 2021, Marriott members earn double elite nights and double points on all stays of two or more nights AND a 10% discount on off-peak award nights booked by February 21, 2021. Suddenly, Marriott has cut the gap between Platinum and Titanium in half!
But wait, that's not all! American Express announced spending bonuses at Marriott: spend $200 or more, get $50 back. Between Derrick & I, we have this offer on 3 different Marriott cards: a Bonvoy Brilliant, a Bonvoy, and a Bonvoy Brilliant authorized user card.
Why I'm Considering a Mattress Run
As mentioned above, I am currently at 55 nights. I need only 10 more nights during the current double elite nights promotion to reach 75 nights and Titanium status. While completing a mattress run, I will earn double points, 22,500 bonus points via the targeted promotion (assuming 3+ stays), and the Titanium member perks (notably a free night certificate worth up to 40,000 points). I will also use the Amex offers to offset $150 of the total cost.
Searching the Maryland, Virginia, and DC areas, the cheapest rate was $57 per night (plus tax) at a Courtyard. A four-night stay costs $254.24, less $50 back from a Bonvoy Brilliant offer.
In all, a 10 night mattress run will cost $636.10 in cash, less $150 in cash back, or $486.10. Theoretically, I could erase this cost by using Chase Ultimate Rewards and my Chase Sapphire Reserve to “Pay Myself Back” with 32,407 Ultimate Rewards. Think about it: 32,407 URs to earn Titanium status for two years. You also get a Free Night Certificate worth up to 40,000 points, and a total of 42,000+ Marriott points (double points promo, targeted promo, elite earnings, and CC spend). Not bad at all.
But wait, it's even easier, although the return may not be quite as good. Marriott has confirmed that for the double elite nights promo, so long as the first night is a paid, night, all other nights can be via points. Since this will not work for the targeted promotion of bonus points, which requires paid nights only, I priced out a 10 night stay with cash + points. I found a Category 1 hotel where I can pay cash for night 1 and points for the remaining 9 nights. Total cost in this scenario is $102 and 39,000 Marriott points. In return, you earn Titanium status for 2 years and a free night certificate worth up to 40,000 points.
While not for everyone, the numbers suggest that a 10 night Marriott mattress run works for me. I will likely opt to pay cash for my mattress run and use just under 33,000 Ultimate Rewards to offset the cost. My return is Titanium status through February 2023, a Marriott free night certificate (up to 40,000 points), and 42,000+ Marriott points. YMMV.
Are you considering a Marriott mileage run? Do the math and see if it makes sense for you! Come over to our Facebook group and let us know your decision.