I have to admit, I have not been a fan of the Marriott hotels for a very long time. However, I’ve had some good experiences with their properties in Kochi last year, and further the JW Marriott Mussoorie Resort & Spa which opened about 6 months back.
Out of the blue this year, I received an email from Marriott Rewards offering me to have the Marriott Gold status for two years, if I could make 4 stays with them in the coming three months. The email arrived towards the end of January 2015, and I had never sought status from Marriott, so I first disregarded the email, only to pull it up a few days later and see it again. I wonder why was I targeted, but by the time I could decide to register, I was into February 2015.
Going for Gold
The T&C stated that I could get till the end of the 4th month from when I registered for the promotion to apply. Which meant if I signed up on January 31, 2015 I could only get time till April 30, 2015. While if I signed up on February 1, 2015, I got time till May 31, 2015. Since I had nothing to lose, I signed up anyway. I realised I was going to be making 3 stays anyways, which I could direct to Marriott, and then I would figure out about the fourth one later.
This did mean I had to stay at a horrendous Courtyard by Marriott at Amsterdam Schiphol which is over 15 minutes away from the airport but claims to be an airport hotel. I was going to be in Bangalore on a personal visit, and my initial plan was to stay at the Ritz Carlton Bangalore for two nights just because it was the first Ritz Carlton in India. However, now it made more sense to just cut that stay into two bits and stay at two different Marriott hotels to come up with the required number of stays. And that is what I did.
Why go for Gold?
You usually need 50 qualifying nights per annum to get Marriott Gold, which is their second-best elite tier. Here are the benefits you get:
Basically, room upgrades and lounge access/breakfast are good enough benefits over a period of two years, in my book, to send this amount of business their way. The 25% bonus points don’t hurt either, and faster internet is definitely a yes! I’ve heard good stuff from others about how Marriott treats their Gold elites, at least in Asia.
Now, Marriott is still not my number 1 choice in hotels. Hyatt is. But there is always a day when you could use status in your back pocket, and I don’t mind at least being mid-tier elite with all the chains (SPG Gold and Hilton Gold were already there). But it does not harm to have some more status when you do make that stay!
If you’re a Marriott Rewards member, do keep a look out for these special emails from them every once in a while. Who knows when they throw you a tempting offer you can’t resist.