The Cost of Achieving Marriott Lifetime Gold Elite Status

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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

250 nights
500 nights
750 nights

1,200,000 points
1,600,000 points
2,000,000 points


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:

Base Points
Status Points
Credit Card Sign Up
Credit Card Hotel Points
Credit Card Other Purchases
MegaBonus Points

Total

697,764
293,411
35,000
240,451
183,374
150,000

1,600,000

43.6%
18.3%
2.2%
15.0%
11.5%
9.4%

100%


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.

 

Final Thoughts

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?

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Welcome to all aspiring early retirees! My wife and I still work however we have each been able to cut our hours worked from 40 each week to 24.

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!
Cash Lab
Follow Me

Cash Lab

Welcome to all aspiring early retirees! My wife and I still work however we have each been able to cut our hours worked from 40 each week to 24. 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!

6 thoughts on “The Cost of Achieving Marriott Lifetime Gold Elite Status

  • August 29, 2016 at 6:26 pm
    Permalink

    Congratulations on Lifetime Gold! I’m lucky if I get Gold status every year 🙂

    Reply
    • August 30, 2016 at 1:23 am
      Permalink

      I’ve been there Travel Bug! Travel budget cuts would sometimes leave me shy of maintaining platinum status. Thankfully Marriott was always forgiving and would bump me up to the next level even when I didn’t make the nights stayed in a year requirement.

      Reply
  • September 13, 2016 at 12:47 pm
    Permalink

    Back when I traveled for work, I had Platinum status for my last two years on the job. Like you, it took me awhile to wise up on the brands. I spent a LOT of nights at a Residence Inn when there was a Courtyard NEXT DOOR. I thought the convenience of breakfast in the hotel made the Residence a win.

    Now that my travel budget is all on me, I’m at Lifetime Silver and it will take awhile to get to Lifetime Gold. I love the Marriott Rewards Credit Card!

    Reply
    • September 13, 2016 at 1:14 pm
      Permalink

      It’s true Karl, the Residence Inn is nice especially if you are away from home for an extended period of time. But if you are trying to achieve a lifetime status it’s not the best way to go.

      Many of my co-workers like to stay at the Residence Inn since they have larger rooms. Unfortunately our travel budget has been cut so it will take them years to get Lifetime Gold status. I’m glad I chose my hotels wisely for all those years!

      The Marriott Rewards Credit Card is crucial for achieving Lifetime Gold and Platinum status. It accounted for 28.7% of my total points!

      Good luck in achieving Lifetime Gold status!

      Reply
  • October 11, 2016 at 12:54 pm
    Permalink

    First, congratulations on lifetime gold. As a frequent traveler myself, I know how awesome that is!

    Second, I really like the leg work you did on this. I’ve never thought about how much I’ve spent on hotel stays… just the nights I’m away from my family. I’m at roughly a year and two months.

    I’m working on lifetime silver, just need 200k more points. Its the points that are the hardest for me as well. I was thinking about getting a new CC to get another 80k in points, but I haven’t yet. I already have one and another seems silly… but Chase obviously wants me to get another card really badly.

    I’m happy for you that you don’t have to travel as much anymore! That’s a great position to be in – the perks without the yearly stay commitments!

    Reply
    • October 12, 2016 at 8:55 am
      Permalink

      Nights away from family are definitely a hidden cost that needs to be mentioned! This year I won’t even make the nights required to become Gold. That’s fine though since it means I have been home more. But when I do travel I still enjoy the Gold perks. I’m fortunate that most of my travel was done prior to getting married and having children.

      If you currently have the regular Marriott Rewards Credit Card, you can upgrade that card to the Marriott Rewards Premier Credit Card without opening a new account. Then it would be worth asking about getting the 80k bonus points for upgrading. The 80k in points accounts for about 7% of the total points needed for Lifetime Silver!

      Best of luck to you in achieving Lifetime Silver. Hopefully you can make up some of the time away from home by cashing in some Marriott points on a nice family getaway 🙂

      Reply

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