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The complete guide to earning Marriott elite status with credit cards

The Points Guy 10/4/2022 Ryan Patterson
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Earning Marriott elite status recently became easier with revamped cobranded credit card benefits.

While it depends heavily on how much you travel, you can save yourself hundreds, if not thousands, of dollars every year with elite status benefits. So why not start ahead every year just by opening a credit card?

The Marriott Bonvoy program has the largest footprint worldwide, with more than 8,000 properties in 139 countries. Breaking it down, there are five levels of elite status, three of which one can earn with a credit card:

  • ​​Silver Elite: 10 elite nights.
  • Gold Elite: 25 elite nights.
  • Platinum Elite: 50 elite nights.
  • Titanium Elite: 75 elite nights.
  • Ambassador Elite: 100 elite nights (plus $20,000 in annual qualifying spending).

Let’s take a closer look at how you can earn Marriott elite status with credit cards, all the way up to Titanium Elite.

In This Post

Earning Marriott elite qualifying nights

Marriott makes earning elite status easy with cobranded credit cards. THE POINTS GUY © The Points Guy Marriott makes earning elite status easy with cobranded credit cards. THE POINTS GUY

One coveted perk of Marriott cobranded cards is the 15 to 25 elite night credits you receive annually by holding the card.

Better yet, Marriott relaxed its rules on double dipping elite nights with consumer and business cards in 2020. So, you can earn 15 nights from a business card and up to 25 nights from a personal card, giving you up to 40 elite nights per year earned from credit cards alone. That’s just 35 nights away from Titanium Elite status.

However, it’s important to note that you cannot receive nights from multiple personal cards. Further, you must be the primary cardholder on a business and consumer card to combine them.

Here’s how many elite nights you’ll earn with each Marriott cobranded card:

Card  Issuer Annual fee Number of elite nights credited
Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant™ American Express® Card American Express. $650. 25.
The Ritz-Carlton™️ Credit Card 

No longer open to new applicants

Chase. $450. 15.
Marriott Bonvoy Bevy™ American Express® Card American Express. $250. 15.
Marriott Bonvoy Bountiful Card Chase. $250. 15.
Marriott Bonvoy Business® American Express® Card American Express. $125. 15.
Marriott Bonvoy Premier Business Plus Card

No longer open to new applicants

Chase. $99. 15.
Marriott Bonvoy Boundless Credit Card Chase. $95. 15.
Marriott Bonvoy American Express Card 

No longer open to new applicants

American Express. $95. 15.
Marriott Bonvoy Premier Credit Card

No longer open to new applicants

Chase. $85. 15.
Marriott Bonvoy Bold Credit Card Chase. $0. 15.

The information for the Marriott Bonvoy Bountiful, Ritz-Carlton, Marriott Bonvoy Premier, Marriott Bonvoy Premier Plus, Marriott Bonvoy Premier Business Plus and Marriott Bonvoy American Express cards has been collected independently by The Points Guy. The card details on this page have not been reviewed or provided by the card issuer.

Related: Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant American Express Credit Card review

Marriott Bonvoy Silver Elite (worth $35)

You can earn Silver Elite status with 10 elite qualifying nights and, according to our valuation guide, it’s worth around $35.

The status tier is included with the following cards:

Card Issuer Annual fee Spending threshold
Marriott Bonvoy American Express Card  American Express. $95. Included.
Marriott Bonvoy Boundless Credit Card Chase. $95. Included.
Marriott Bonvoy Bold Credit Card Chase. $0. Included.
 

Related: Free nights and easy status: Here’s why I have 4 Marriott Bonvoy credit cards

Marriott Bonvoy Gold Elite (worth $800)

You usually earn Marriott Gold Elite status after 25 elite qualifying nights at Marriott properties.

The tier includes enhanced amenities such as space-available room upgrades, a welcome gift and 25% more points back. Gold Elite status can go a long way even if you are an infrequent guest at Marriott properties.

Travelers can achieve Marriott Gold status through numerous credit cards, including:

Card Issuer Annual fee Spending threshold
The Platinum Card® from American Express American Express. $695. Included.
The Business Platinum Card® from American Express American Express. $650. Included.
The Ritz-Carlton Rewards Credit Card Chase. $450. Included.
The Marriott Bonvoy Business card American Express. $125. Included.
Marriott Bonvoy Premier Business Plus Card Chase. $99. Included.
Marriott Bonvoy Boundless Credit Card Chase. $95. Allows you to earn Gold Elite status when you spend $30,000 on purchases each account year.
 

Related: Guide to Marriott and Hilton elite status with the Amex Platinum and Business Platinum

Marriott Bonvoy Platinum Elite (worth $2,475)

Marriott Le Meridien Maldives. KATIE GENTER/THE POINTS GUY © The Points Guy Marriott Le Meridien Maldives. KATIE GENTER/THE POINTS GUY

Marriott Bonvoy Platinum Elite is the third tier in the Bonvoy program, and you can reach it after passing 50 elite qualifying nights.

New as of September 2022, cardholders receive complimentary Platinum Elite status simply by holding the Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant American Express. With elite perks such as annual Choice Benefits, enhanced room upgrades, a dedicated phone line and free breakfast at select properties, one can quickly come out ahead with money saved. 

There are now two ways to earn Platinum Elite status by holding a credit card: You can either hit spending thresholds or just be a Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant American Express cardholder.

Card Issuer Annual fee Spending threshold
Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant American Express Card American Express. $650. Included.
The Ritz-Carlton Rewards Credit Card Chase. $450. Allows you to earn Gold Elite status when you spend $75,000 on purchases each account year.
 

Related: 3 reasons I continue to chase Marriott Platinum status year after year

Spending on the Bonvoy Boundless card

You can earn extra elite nights with your Bonvoy Boundless card. ISABELLE RAPHAEL/THE POINTS GUY © The Points Guy You can earn extra elite nights with your Bonvoy Boundless card. ISABELLE RAPHAEL/THE POINTS GUY

There is one final way to earn elite qualifying nights through credit cards: reach higher spending on the Bonvoy Boundless card.

For every $5,000 spent on the card, you can accrue 1 elite qualifying night. While $5,000 is a lot, it may help if you are close to your next status before your next trip. It also should be noted that there are no caps on this perk, so you can spend your way to Titanium Elite status if you have enough expenses.

Paired with a Bonvoy Business and Bonvoy Brilliant card, you could spend $175,000 on your Bonvoy Boundless card to earn Titanium Elite status. That’s a lot of spending but could make sense if you have a lot of reimbursable business expenses or otherwise need to spend a lot of money on a credit card.

However, there’s a large opportunity cost associated with spending on the Boundless card. Spending $5,000 earns just 10,000 Marriott Bonvoy points, worth $84 per TPG’s valuations. However, if you put this spending on a Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card to earn 2 Capital One miles per dollar spent, you’d earn 10,000 Capital One miles, worth $185.

With that in mind, you should only spend on your Boundless card if you’re just a few nights short of the next elite status tier. Otherwise, you might be giving up significant value.

It’s also worth noting that the Marriott Bonvoy Premier Credit Card — which is no longer open to new applicants — earns 1 elite night credit per $3,000 spent.

Related: The award traveler’s guide to Marriott Bonvoy

Other ways to earn Marriott elite nights

Award nights count toward Marriott elite status. MARRIOTT © The Points Guy Award nights count toward Marriott elite status. MARRIOTT

It’s also worth mentioning that award nights and free night awards count toward your elite qualification.

So as long as you use the free night awards included with many cobranded credit cards, you’ll move the needle closer to your desired elite status tier. The same goes for hotel nights booked with points earned with your Marriott cobranded credit card.

Make sure to factor this into your Marriott elite status qualification strategy. If you have three free night certificates from various Marriott cobranded credit cards, you can consider that as three nights closer to your next Marriott elite status tier.

Related: Hyatt Globalist to Best Western Gold: Here’s how 11 TPG staffers stand midyear on hotel elite status goals

Bottom line

At the end of the day, it can be overwhelming starting each year with zero qualifying nights in your account. However, it may very well be worth the investment of an annual fee to start off with up to 40 elite qualifying nights in your account on Jan. 1, potentially saving you thousands of dollars each year.

For rates and fees of the Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant card, click here.

For rates and fees of the Marriott Bonvoy Business card, click here.

For rates and fees of the Marriot Bonvoy Bevy card, click here.

SPONSORED: With states reopening, enjoying a meal from a restaurant no longer just means curbside pickup.

And when you do spend on dining, you should use a credit card that will maximize your rewards and potentially even score special discounts. Thanks to temporary card bonuses and changes due to coronavirus, you may even be able to score a meal at your favorite restaurant for free. 

These are the best credit cards for dining out, taking out, and ordering in to maximize every meal purchase.

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Editorial Disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airlines or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

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