Would you like to have Marriott Gold Status in Canada without staying 50 nights? I know I do. Some of the benefits from having Gold Status includes: free room upgrade, late checkout, lounge access, and free breakfast. Marriott is also very generous to us Canadians and it’s one of the few hotel chains that offers a credit card with a free signup bonus of 50,000 points + a free night certificate. Oh…and I forgot to mention that the first year annual fee will be waived and you automatically get silver status (late checkout!).
The first I time I ever travel hacked was from my trip to Orlando and Miami Florida. Karen and I stayed at a Marriott Hotel in Miami for FREE thanks to using the free night certificate that comes with the Marriott Hotel VISA card. Typically, Karen and myself stay at cheap hotels because that is what our budget can afford. There was even two occassions when we ended up sleeping in the airport just to save money on accommodations. When we finally got to stay somewhere nice, it was a huge surprise to say the least. In a way, we felt like a couple of peasants that managed to sneak in a palace and for one day pretend we were royalty.
One of the cool benefits that we received was the late check out feature. We definitely got a chance to sleep in some more instead of waking up extra early to prepare check out in the morning. I bet staying at a Marriott property with Gold Status is amazing. I am definitely aiming to get Gold Status next year
Here are some strategies and steps to fast track your way to Marriott Gold status in Canada:
Step 1: Get Status in a Competing Hotel Chain
Doing a status match or challenge from major competing hotel chains is the only way you can be eligible to qualify for Marriott Gold Status in Canada without staying 50 nights. The major competing chains are the following:
- Starwood (They have now merged so we’ll see what changes happen in 2016)
- Fairmont (Accor)
Here are your options to gain status from some of the competing hotel chain:
Starwood: Signup for the American Express Platinum Card and request for the Starwood Gold Status code. After getting the code, contact Starwood and give them the code that was provided by American Express and request to be upgraded to gold status. Once they give you Gold Status, you can now contact Marriott and request for a Status Match or Status Challenge.
Hyatt: The promotion is not available right now but Hyatt was doing a Diamond Status Fast Track in early 2015. Hyatt said they will bring back the Fast Track Status Challenge once again in the future so stay tuned for that.
Fairmont: Signup for the Scotia Bank Platinum American Express and they will give you Premier Status with their President’s Club for free. Earlier this year, you could have gotten Premier Status with Fairmont without getting the credit card but that promotion is now over.
Sometimes, some hotel groups let you have mid-tier status for free as part of their promotion. If you keep an eye on those promotion, you might be able to take advantage of such promotion to get a jump start to Elite Status. For example, myself and a few members of our Meetup Group managed to obtain Premier Status with Fairmont Hotel earlier this year (which I used to status match with Best Western to get Platinum Status).
Step 2: Contact Marriott Hotel and Request for a Status Match
Call Marriott and inform them of your status with one of the hotel chains above. One individual from the Travel for One Year Starting from Scratch Meetup Group obtained Premier Status from Fairmont Hotel and proceeded to call Marriott Hotel. He told them about his Premier Status with Fairmont and they offered him a status challenge. If he stayed six times within 90 days at a Marriott property, he would be awarded Gold Status.
Alternatively, you can also send Marriott an email at firstname.lastname@example.org and send them a screenshot of your status with one of the competing hotel groups above. They should offer you the status challenge and will be awarded Gold Status after staying six times in a Marriott property.
There has been reports of individuals asking a Marriott representative to ask their supervisor if they can do the Platinum Challenge instead; sometimes, this request will be granted! Of course, like with everything else, it doesn’t hurt to ask. The only difference then would be that you have to stay nine times at a Marriott property as oppose to six.
Step 3: Mattress Run
Mattress running is when you purposely stay at a hotel property for the purpose of obtaining status. You may not even go out of town to do this. It could simply mean you are doing a staycation at a local Marriott Hotel.
Your goal then is to stay at a Marriott property six times to get Gold Status or nine times for the Platinum Status.
Now keep in mind, when I say six stays or nine stays, it doesn’t mean six nights or nine nights. If you stay at a Marriott property three days in a row, that only counts as one stay. This means you need to spread out your stays to qualify for the status challenge. Some strategies that individuals have reported is that they called the hotel and informed them that they are doing the status challenge and the front desk staff was able to help them out by manually checking them in and out every night. That means you can stay on consecutive nights and count each night as one stay.
Step 4: Save Money on Mattress Runs
Since you are doing a mattress run, your goal then is to save as much money as possible by staying at the cheapest Marriott Hotel property as possible.
Here are some strategies that I found that you can use to minimize the amount of money spent for Mattress runs:
If you live in Vancouver, you can take advantage of the BeVancouver promotion where for the first night stay at a Marriott property, they will give you a $100 Prepaid AMEX card. This means if the stay costs you $200, you technically get $100 back in the form of a prepaid American express credit card.
Groupon frequently has deals for Marriott Hotel where they’ll either give you a really cheap hotel stay or give you a discount. Just keep your eye on Groupon.
You can also do a search in Google and type Category 1 Marriott Hotel properties. If you live by the American border, you can simply drive down and stay at their Category 1-3 Marriott Hotel properties to save some money. I understand that our Canadian dollar is not very good right now so it might not be the best idea to go down the States. Honestly, even with our weaker dollar, it is still worth it to go down the States to do a Mattress run because our Marriott Hotel Properties tend to be Category 6 and above meaning they cost more.
An even more outrageous method is to do a Mattress run outside the country. Marriott’s newly acquired hotel chain line, Protea, is giving 20% off discount and free breakfast as part of a new promotion. Check it out here. If you are already traveling and if you are in the Africa region, this is a good opportunity to work on building your Gold Status.
Is it worth it to mattress run to get Gold or Platinum status with Marriott Hotel?
That’s a good question and the answer is it depends on how frequent you plan on staying at Marriott Hotel properties.
Here is my take on having a Marriott Hotel Gold or Platinum Status. If you have a partner or a bunch of friends and stay at a Marriott Hotel property, you can cut the cost in half or by 1/4 by having everyone split the cost of the stay. This is especially beneficial to everyone if you have status because of the possibility of room upgrade, late checkout and free breakfast.
Other benefits includes having the ability to now status match with other hotel groups on an annual basis. This means every year, you will have a minimum mid-tier status with a hotel group.
Here’s an example of how this would work:
- 2016: Gold status with Marriott
- 2017: Status Match with Starwood and obtain Gold status
- 2018: Status Match with Hyatt and obtain their mid-tier status
- 2019: Status Match with IHG and obtain their mid-tier status
- 2020: Status Match with Hilton and obtain their mid-tier status
This means for the next five years, you just solidify yourself with some sort of hotel status every year. This means every year, you are eligible for free room upgrade and other status perks.
Marriott Hotel also lets you renew your Gold status every year for 25,000 Marriott Hotel Points. If you get the Marriott Hotel VISA card, you will get 50,000 welcome bonus points. You then have the option of allocating 25,000 of your Marriott Hotel points to maintain your status.
If you have any questions, feel free to reply to this post or email me at email@example.com