For all the frequent travelers out there, you are aware of the importance of achieving and maintaining travel reward status. I finally achieved Marriott Lifetime Gold Elite status in November 2015. It’s been a long term goal of mine which has been 11 years in the making.
I thought it would be interesting to know what the actual cost was to achieve Marriott Lifetime Gold status. Luckily I have saved all my travel expenditures from the day I became a Marriott Rewards member and was able to compile all my expenses.
Marriott Lifetime Status Requirements
In order to obtain a Marriott lifetime status, Marriott Rewards members have to achieve the following milestones:
Silver Lifetime Status
Gold Lifetime Status
Platinum Lifetime Status
My goal has always been to achieve at least Marriott Lifetime Gold status. With Gold Lifetime status, a member has access to the concierge lounge and room upgrades when available.
There are a few perks that would be nice to have which Marriott Lifetime Platinum status affords over Gold. If I stopped traveling for work today though I would be satisfied that I only ever achieved Lifetime Gold status.
Now that the requirements have been laid out for achieving Marriott Lifetime Gold status, I will explain how I gathered the needed 1.6M points.
I won’t be discussing the nights requirement of 500 stays. If you can collect 1.6M points then you’ll most likely fulfill the nights requirement. For myself, I had 764 nights under my belt by the time I reached 1.6M points.
Marriott Rewards Base Point Multipliers
For every dollar spent at a Marriott brand hotel, there is a point multiplier. You can either earn 5 points or 10 points per dollar spent.
The multipliers are applied to dollars spent on room stays, taxes and parking at the hotel.
Here are the multipliers for each hotel brand:
- 5 points – Residence Inn & TownePlace Suites
- 10 points – All other Marriott brand hotels
In my first two years of travel, I stayed at Residence Inn and TownePlace Suites for 85 nights out of 114 total. That put a severe damper on my base point earning potential as I only earned 5 points for every dollar spent instead of 10.
I wised up in year 3 and from that point forward have only stayed in a Residence Inn for 8 business trips out of 54. I never stayed in a TownePlace Suites again.
Base Points Earned Towards Marriott Lifetime Gold Status: 697,764
Marriott Rewards Program
Marriott has three levels frequent travelers can achieve. Each level has it’s own requirements and perks. I broke down the nights required to achieve each status:
- Silver – 10 nights a year
- Gold – 50 nights a year
- Platinum – 75 nights a year
I achieved Marriott Gold status after my first year of travel. In 2009 I achieved Marriott Platinum status and have maintained Platinum status ever since. My status has definitely been instrumental in achieving Marriott Lifetime Gold. Each status awards you bonus points:
- Silver – 10% bonus points
- Gold – 25% bonus points
- Platinum – 50% bonus points
Status Points Earned Towards Marriott Lifetime Gold status: 293,411
Marriott Rewards Credit Card
The Marriott Rewards® Premier Credit Card is a major player in achieving Marriott Lifetime Gold status.
Just for signing up, you get a huge 80,000 point bonus and the ability to get another 7,500 point bonus for adding an authorized user to the account.
Once you start using your card, you earn points in the following way:
- 5 points for every dollar spent at Marriott hotels
- 2 points for every dollar spent on airline tickets
- 1 point for every dollar spent on other purchases
Just signing up for the credit card alone gets you 5.5% of the way towards Marriott Lifetime Gold status. When I signed up for the Marriott Rewards® Premier Credit Card in 2004, I only got 35,000 points and 3 points for every dollar spent. What an increase!
Sign Up Points Marriott Rewards Credit Card: 35,000
Hotel Points on my Marriott Rewards Credit Card: 240,451
Other Purchases Points on my Marriott Rewards Credit Card: 183,374
I was a bit worried about the amount of points I received from “other purchases”. I have to remember though that I would put all my business travel expenses on my Marriott Rewards® Premier Credit Card as well as personal purchases.
When I spread out the points over the time it took me to achieve Marriott Lifetime Gold status, it ended up being $1,389.20 per month. That is very realistic so I felt much better knowing that!
Marriott Rewards MegaBonus
Throughout the year, Marriott offers MegaBonus promotions for achieving a certain amount of stays in a given period of time. The promotions are usually different for silver, gold and platinum members.
I achieved a number of MegaBonus promotions during my journey to Marriott Lifetime Gold status. When possible I did try to schedule travel just to get the MegaBonus.
MegaBonus Points Earned Towards Marriott Lifetime Gold status: 150,000
Marriott Rewards Points Summary
Here is a summary of how I earned points towards Marriott Lifetime Gold status:
Credit Card Sign Up
Credit Card Hotel Points
Credit Card Other Purchases
Cost to Achieve Marriott Lifetime Gold Status
Now the burning question that everyone wants to know. How much does it cost to achieve Marriott Lifetime Gold status?
The total amount Marriott has earned in revenue as a result of me staying in their hotels is $80,150.48.
That is just for hotels, taxes and parking at the hotel.
Of course hotels aren’t the only cost when travelling. I thought it would be fun to see how much my employer has paid for me to travel. The total cost is $170,200.50 in the 11 years it took to achieve Marriott Lifetime Gold status. Almost half of my travel related expenditures have gone towards hotels.
On top of that I had personal expenditures which contributed to my Marriott Lifetime Gold status on my Marriott Rewards® Premier Credit Card. I estimate these costs to be $6,000 per year over 11 years for a total of $66,000.
All total it cost $230,200.50 for me to become a Marriott Lifetime Gold member.
I want to point out that my employer actually paid $77,150.48 for hotels and I factored in $3,000 I’ve paid out myself for personal travel over 11 years at Marriott properties.
I have never paid much for hotels because, well, I have been using my Marriott Rewards points for vacations! All the while I’ve been living it up with concierge access and room upgrades.
Now I get these benefits for the rest of my life no matter what. These benefits have definitely come with a huge price tag but thankfully not from my pocket.
Hi readers! Have you obtained a Lifetime status with Marriott? Were you surprised to see how much it cost for me to obtain Marriott Lifetime Gold status?
We have had no change in lifestyle as a result (except more time with family) and are building wealth every month.
I hope to share some of our ongoing story with you and be an inspiration to you on your path to financial freedom!
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