Marriott gutting Bonvoy Events as elite qualification shortcut (2019.12 Update: The 10 Elite Night Credit Is Officially Gone)

[2019.12 Update] Today Marriott changed its official terms and conditions, and the 10 elite night credit for Marriott Bonvoy Events will officially end on Dec 31, 2019.

A strong rumor recently surfaced among the Points & Miles community (1, 2) regarding Marriott’s intent to get rid of the ability to earn 10 Elite Qualifying Nights from your first Marriott Bonvoy Events (previously known as the Rewarding Events). This change is slated to take effect in 2020, which is only less than two weeks away.

For those of you who are not very familiar with this program, it basically gives out 10 EQN to anyone who hold an eligible “event” with Marriott. The definitions on the nature of such events are pretty lax: it can be as big as a corporate annual gathering or as small as a one-hour one-on-one interview. There are some incremental opportunities to get more Nights by booking hotel rooms. The key is, however, you get 10 EQNs for the first meeting you have regardless of the cost. As you can see, this leaves a lot of room for exploitation and there are people who book a really cheap events just for the sake of getting the 10 EQNs. Some even do not show up at all.

However, the party seems to be over. We managed to get a first-hand confirmation from someone sharing this screenshot with us:

Apparently this is internal information and you could see towards the end of the message that “this change has not been publicly shared.”

Now it shouldn’t come as a surprise that Marriott is taking such action, given how many people have been exploiting this method as a shortcut to reach elite status with Marriott.

Let’s do some quick math here. An Amex or Chase Marriott co-brand credit card gives you 15 EQNs annually; 10 EQNs comes from a ~$100 meeting event; and you get a birthday EQN each year. You see, you are only 24 nights away from getting Platinum. So for those “event goers” who would otherwise not qualify for Platinum status, this change would be a very bad, bad news for sure.

On the other hand, those who earn their Platinum/Titanium status in the hard way should applaud this change. When there are fewer elite members, the elite benefits promised by Marriott will (hopefully) be better executed.

Are you affected by this change? If so, what’s your take?

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