My Challenge to Marriott Gold Elite Status

A few years ago I spent some time as a Marriott Gold Elite member. I liked the benefits that came with Gold status, and frankly, I liked Marriott Rewards. As my knowledge of other hotel frequency programs increased, I branched out to Hilton HHonors and Starwood Preferred Guest. SPG quickly became my favorite hotel program. That said, changes in my travel patterns came and I found myself staying at Hilton properties more frequently, ultimately reaching HHonors Diamond status and SPG Platinum status while seeing my Marriott elite status drop to dirt. I always missed Marriott. I don’t think of myself as a creature of habit, but perhaps I am. While I love the whimsical differences of the various W Hotels I’ve had the pleasure of staying at, I have to admit that there was always something that I missed about the familiarity of Marriott hotels.

Like all things, my stay patterns again shifted and I found myself booking an increasing number of Marriott family hotels. I had Silver Elite status by virtue of my Marriott Rewards Premier Visa. But having experienced Gold Elite status in the past, I knew that was what I wanted. OK…I really wanted Platinum Elite, but the fact is that I knew I would probably be able to maintain Gold for the longer term so that is what I went for. I knew from reviews of Flyertalk and Milepoint that Marriott would frequently offer a status challenge if you inquired, so I wrote a brief email and sent it to elite.member at stating the following:

Hello. I would like to request a challenge to Marriott Rewards Gold status. I believe that my upcoming travel patterns and plans should allow me to obtain and maintain this status going forward and would appreciate the opportunity to challenge up to Gold. My Marriott Rewards # is XXXXXXXXX, and my address is XXXX Street, Atlanta, GA XXXXX.

Marshall Jackson

I received a reply from Marriott the same day offering to upgrade my status to Gold immediately. I would keep the status until the end of January 2013. During that time, I would need to complete 6 paid stays at Marriott family hotels. The email asked for a reply if I accepted the challenge, which I sent. The next day when I logged into my Marriott account, I was Gold Elite.

I completed my 6th stay before Christmas, and in retrospect, I could have easily completed a Platinum challenge as well based on current bookings for January. But like I said, I expect I can maintain Gold Elite for the long term, and I find the benefits it offers mesh well with my travel needs. My favorite benefits are complimentary internet, lounge access, and free breakfast. Room upgrades are nice, and I enjoy them when I get them as well. You can review all the benefits of Marriott Rewards Gold Elite status here.

About Marshall Jackson

Marshall Jackson is a former airline pilot, grounded by diabetes. After spending several years in operations management, he exited the airline business for a more stable career. But that hasn't dampened his interest in airplanes, airlines and travel in general.

More articles by Marshall Jackson »


  1. […] Which brings me back to Marriott Rewards. Yes, things do come full circle. With my relocation to Atlanta, I have found that my travel needs have evolved yet again. It seemed that everywhere I was going, there was always a Marriott property, whether it was a Courtyard or a JW Marriott, that met my lodging needs. I debated sticking with my old habits and love of Starwood, and backing that up with the HHonors Gold status provided by virtue of my HHonors Reserve Visa. In the end, I elected to cover my hotel needs in a different way, and challenge my way back to Marriott Rewards gold status which I had lost several years ago. You can read about my challenge experience here. […]


  1. I was under the impression that a Marriott gold challenge was for a three month period. Did they just give you one month, or was this request made a few months ago?

  2. They actually give you remainder of current month plus a full 3 months. So best to start a challenge in the first few days of a month.

  3. you can ask to continue the challange and go for Platinum…call the number customer service number and ask.

  4. I am very happy with Marriott. Have been Platinum for a few years. Hyatt may have better properties but you can find a Marriott property anywhere which is not always the case with Hyatt.

  5. I was looking to do a Gold challenge this year, and my Marriott stays begin on 3/3, do you think I should ask on Sat 3/2 and hope they update quickly, or just get the 3 months and ask today?

  6. I appreciate you quick response, I am doing the request today, and I think I will respond early Saturday. this upcoming stay will be 4 nights, so may get concierge access mid-stay if it takes a couple of days to update.

  7. i wonder if a stay is equivalent to night. If not, can i check in and out from the same property the same day to qualify for the 6 paid stays? Or do I need to do achieve ‘paid stays” between 2 marriott properties? I know SPG qualify stay = night (or i could be wrong!). Thank you!

  8. @Sarah,

    Sorry for the slow response to this comment! I am not able to definitively answer your question, but I would be leery of checking in and out of the same property multiple times in a day counting toward the status challenge. I would clear that question up with Marriott in the email to them about the challenge before I bet on it.

  9. Should of done rhe platinum challenge even if you won’t maintain it year after year. Who knows what tomorrow brings.

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