I figured I’d share a few tips to getting Marriott Platinum Elite and United Premier Silver with as little as 37 Marriott stays and the Marriott Rewards Premier Credit Card.
First and foremost, Marriott and United have a partnership called RewardsPlus which allows Marriott Platinum Elite members to receive complimentary United Premier Silver status. Or, if you currently have United Premier Gold status, Marriott will provide you with complimentary Platinum Elite status, but we won’t get into that part on this post.
Premier Silver Benefits
Here’s what you get when you have United Premier Silver status.
Now from my experience and from what I read on the Flyertalk forums, you likely won’t get Complimentary Premier Upgrades on most of your flights, but it’s a nice perk to have if the plane does happen to be rather empty up front.
The benefits that you’ll likely find the most appealing are the complimentary Economy Plus seats, priority check-in, priority security screening, priority boarding, special Premier phone line that you can call, and one free checked bag per person.
The Points Guy values Premier Silver at $970 and I’ve seen typical Economy Plus seats priced between $59 and $145 per leg, so for a round trip transcontinental flight, it Economy Plus seating would cost around $400 for two people…in addition to your regular fare of ~$1000.
To earn Premier Silver the “old fashioned way”, you’d have to earn 25,000 Premier Qualifying Miles or fly 30 segments. Plus spend $3000 on tickets just for yourself.
Platinum Elite Benefits
On the Marriott side, reaching Platinum Elite status gives you a ton of great benefits.
Some of the best benefits are the guaranteed lounge access/breakfast, arrival gift, and guaranteed late checkout.
When my sister and I stayed in the Fremont Marriott Silicon Valley, we were able to eat for free each morning at the sumptuous breakfast buffet in the restaurant downstairs because of my Platinum Elite status. Normally, the buffet is $24 per person, so I feel like getting $48 in free food for a $113 hotel stay is a pretty good deal. In addition, the $10 food and beverage credit that we received as an arrival gift was great to use towards dinner one night.
How to Do It
If you don’t stay at Marriott properties very often, you can spread this out over two years. The end goal is to have 50 “nights” on your account and then call Marriott to start a Platinum Challenge, where you will have 3+ months to make 9 individual stays at any of the Marriott brand properties.
Here’s where the credit card comes in. Holders of the Marriott Rewards Premier Credit Card get credited for staying 15 “nights” when they receive the card and then again on each anniversary. In addition, each year you receive 1 free night certificate that you can use to stay at a Category 1-5 hotel. To sweeten the deal even more, you get 80,000 Marriott points when you sign up for the card and spend $3000 in the first three months.
Any nights earned in excess of the number needed for your current elite level will roll over to the next year. So ideally, you could apply for the credit card in February, putting you at 15 nights of credit + 1 free night certificate. Throughout the rest of the year, you can stay an additional 14 nights, bringing you up to 30 total nights for the year.
When the new year comes, any nights over the 10 you needed for Silver Elite status will will over to the next year, so in this example, you’ll be left with 20 nights on your account. Add the 15 nights at your credit card anniversary + 1 free night certificate, plus another 14 paid nights, and, ta-da! You’ve achieved Marriott Gold Elite status by only staying 28 nights over the course of two years.
Then, when you’re feeling brave, adventurous, bored, or have a bunch of planned travel coming up over the next 3 months, you can call Marriott to request a Platinum Challenge!
Ideally, if you call on the second day of the month, you’ll get the rest of the current month plus the following three months to complete the challenge. To complete the challenge and receive Platinum Elite status, all you need to do is complete nine more stays.
If you need to do some “mattress runs” to reach those nine stays, I’ve found that weekends at hotels that cater to weekday business travelers can be very inexpensive. The Fairfax Marriott at Fair Oaks for example, was only $67 plus tax for a Saturday night stay.
As soon as you complete your nine stays, your account should show Platinum Elite. All that’s left to do now is log on to RewardsPlus and enroll to get your United Silver Elite status. No flying required!
So even if you don’t happen do much traveling, you can easily earn Marriott Platinum Elite and United Premier Silver with as few as 37 paid hotel nights. I hope you find this informative, and as always, happy travels.