Started from the bottom, now we're here. I logged onto the Marriott site last week to see that my lifetime nights went from 747 to 754, as some recent activity hit my account. Since I've already passed 2,000,000 lifetime points about 6 weeks ago (I'm at 2.08M now), this means that I have now qualified as LTP under the legacy Marriott Rewards program, which will convert to LTPP in January, per Marriott's rules.
2018 has been an aggressive year for me in the race to LTPP. I ended 2017 with no lifetime status whatsoever. I had only 372 lifetime nights and 1.19 million lifetime points on December 31st, 2017. That was plenty of nights for LTS status, but just shy of the points requirement.
If you're doing the math, then you figured out that I exactly doubled my nights total so far this year (from 372 to 754) and added almost 900,000 points (from 1.19M to 2.08M). You probably also figured out that in less than a year, I achieved LTS, LTG, LTP and LTPP. I admit that it's pretty crazy to amass that type of activity from only January till September, so I figured it was worth a post to share how it happened and what I did.
I definitely did not start the year thinking I'd be LTPP by year's end. In fact, at the beginning of the year if you'll recall, LTPP was a vague status with unclear benefits and unclear qualifying criteria. It seems to have been rewarded to members achieving an excess of 150 nights for a few years in a row and some decent spend on their accounts (although, even those criteria don't match each case). In any event, it wasn't on my radar, because it wasn't a status you could necessarily plan to achieve. However, LTG by year's end was my legitimate goal, and LTP by the following year's end (2019) was my next goal. That was how I entered 2018.
I reached LTS almost immediately in January, since I was only missing 10,000 points. I also received a big boost of almost 100 lifetime nights from 2017 rollover nights. By the end of January, I was LTS with 504 nights and about 1.25M points. That already put me above the nights requirement for LTG and 350k points away from the points requirement for LTG.
[Note: Rollover nights have now been eliminated. 2018 was the last year you could get them.]
Now, here's the thing, I do a massive amount of credit card spend. I've had both marriott chase cards for a while now, and I used the marriott business card for almost all my business expenses, which are hefty. I figured out long ago how to use a cc with vendors, and I easily accrue a few hundred thousand points through credit card spend a year, not including any sign up bonuses or upgrade bonuses. Without all this cc spend, I'd admittedely not be lifetime anything.
[Note: Haters gonna hate.]
On top of the points, however, I was also, up until recently, getting 1 elite night credit for every 3k in spend plus an additional 15 elite nights for each card that I had. This equated to a lot of nights for me. In 2018 so far, I achieved over 100 nights in cc bonus nights. Add that to the almost 100 rollover nights from 2017, it put me at more than 200 nights this year without ever sleeping in a Marriott bed.
[Note: The elite night credit per 3k of spend has now been eliminated on the business card and the 15 nights credit has now been limited to one award per year (not one award per card). As of now, you can still get 1 elite night credit per 3k of spend on the legacy personal Chase Marriott card, so long as you didn't upgrade the card this year.]
That being said, I am a loyal Marriott member and I do sleep in a bunch of beds. This year I've stayed in some great Marriott properties is San Juan, London, Paris, Madrid and other less magical places like New Jersey (please, no offense to anyone). I also tried out a bunch of SPG properties and, with the exception of one bad Design Hotel experience (which I wrote about elsewhere), I thoroughly enjoyed all of them.
So, between my actual stays, my rollover nights, my cc points and cc nights, I would be at over 250 nights for the year and over 630 lifetime nights. I would also be at about 500k points for the year and at about 1.72M lifetime points. All of this activity was pretty much in line with my expectations and I would have easily met my goal of LTG this year. I would have been very happy with that.
Then Marriott made their earlier than expected merger announcement, with new tiers and timeline. At first, I was resigned to stay at LTG, which would have converted to LTP in August. But, the more I sat with it, I realized this would be the only opportunity I would have to reach LTPP (unless Marriott changes the rules down the line).
Sooooo, I followed a lot of the advice that I found here on Insiders to close the gap. I had my spouse transfer me a whole bunch of points for a specific reward redemption. She had some points accumulated, but she also took advantage of the 35% points sale that was going on at the time through spg, and then transferred her points to her MR account. I also splurged and bought some points directly from Marriott. These methods brought me over the LTPP finish line in terms of points.
As for nights, I had a bunch of interviews to do for work, so instead of doing them at the office, I did them at a courtyard marriott in the neighborhood, thereby earning 10 elite nights per interview that I conducted. I did 12 interviews, so that got me 120 extra nights, which brought me over the finish line in terms of nights.
[Note: 10 elite nights per meeting has also been eliminated in the new program. It will now be limited to one 10 elite night award for the 1st meeting only.]
So, to recap, I achieved LTS, LTG, LTP and LTPP this year by using every tool available in the legacy MR program. Many of these tools have been limited or eliminated, but here they are below:
- stay at marriotts (duh)
- use MR credit cards
- conduct meetings at marriotts
- transfer points from family who dont need them for status
- purchase points (preferably when they're on sale)
Thank you to all the people on this site who have taught me so much. I won't mention anyone or tag other threads in this post, because there are too many that helped me.
Now all I have to do is wait till January till my account actually reads LTPP. Currently, it still shows LTP.