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Racking up Nights for Lifetime Status

Racking up Nights for Lifetime Status

Old Sep 5, 20, 10:58 am
  #1  
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Racking up Nights for Lifetime Status

Hi All,

Out of some weirdness over the years I am sitting on 8 years as a platinum with only 311 nights stayed. I would love to get my plan for lifetime platinum in place. I am guessing when the pandemic ends I will easily hit the two more years of platinum but I am pretty far away from the additional 289 nights to meet the lifetime threshold. So, I am wondering if I could get some advice on how to rack up as many of the nights portion in the cheapest or most effective way? I don't mind using points and cash for mattress runs and any promotions, websites, etc. to get them but its a long way to go so I figured I should get a head start asap.

Any advice would be greatly appreciated!

J.
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Old Sep 5, 20, 11:08 am
  #2  
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Obtaining the Chase Marriott Bonvoy Boundless Visa card ($95 annual fee) and the Marriott Bonvoy AmEx business card ($125 annual fee) would earn you 15 nights each upon approval and at the beginning of every calendar year. That is a total of 30 nights per year if you have both.

These cards are available to U.S. residents, though similar cards are offered in some other countries.
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Old Sep 5, 20, 11:46 am
  #3  
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Thanks. I have both of the old version Amex cards so I am getting the nights from there already. I am thinking I might try to make a deal for a long term stay with points at a category 1 hotel might make sense for me. Do you think if I called a manager and explained why I was "checking in" and that they didn't need to even clean the room they would have an issue with that? Also wondering if I could just make a deal for a deeply discounted extended stay and pay with cash. Trouble is, no category 1 hotels are anywhere near me in Los Angeles so I have to get a hotel that doesn't mind accommodating what I am trying to do without me even showing up at the front desk. I figure I will be short about 150 nights by the time I hit 10 years of platinum status.
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Old Sep 5, 20, 11:49 am
  #4  
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Look for nights count double or rollover promos.

If you're working from home, wouldn't it be good to go someplace for a change of scenery?

Please don't ask a hotel to give you credit for a "stay" where you don't show up. This is fraudulent and violates program rules.
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Old Sep 5, 20, 12:06 pm
  #5  
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Originally Posted by MSPeconomist View Post
Please don't ask a hotel to give you credit for a "stay" where you don't show up. This is fraudulent and violates program rules.
Thank you. I didn't know that was a violation. If the hotel has app based check in, it seems reasonable to say I don't want any cleaning service due to covid. Think they would honor that?
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Old Sep 5, 20, 12:47 pm
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Originally Posted by jgoodm View Post
Thank you. I didn't know that was a violation. If the hotel has app based check in, it seems reasonable to say I don't want any cleaning service due to covid. Think they would honor that?
Sure, checking in and requesting no cleaning is a legitimate request but your intention is fraud which is what MSP was explaining.
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Old Sep 5, 20, 12:52 pm
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Originally Posted by damnyourefine View Post
Sure, checking in and requesting no cleaning is a legitimate request but your intention is fraud which is what MSP was explaining.
Yep, I got that part. Thanks.
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Old Sep 5, 20, 5:58 pm
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Originally Posted by jgoodm View Post
Thank you. I didn't know that was a violation. If the hotel has app based check in, it seems reasonable to say I don't want any cleaning service due to covid. Think they would honor that?
If you think you can get away with never setting foot at a hotel and still getting frequent guest nights/points/stay credits simply by using online checking and saying you don't want housekeeping service, think again. All of the major hotel groups have procedures in place to stop this type of activity because it is against the rules.

Any decently-run hotel will check to ensure that any online check-in has actually arrived. That's especially true for multi-night reservations. The last thing a hotel wants is to assume a guest arrived when they haven't because the hotel doesn't want a room sitting empty for more than one night. (The hotel might recover the first night as a no-show charge. However, they won't be able to charge the full stay even if the guest checked in online. So, most hotels will check.)

Additionally, any room that is checked-in but clearly vacant will likely get flagged by Housekeeping on the departure day. If that procedure happens, it will almost certainly result in loss of any frequent guest credits. Because it is against the Terms and Conditions, hotels will probably avoid paying the hotel group for frequent guest benefits because they can.

Finally, some local governments require hotels to perform welfare checks on all hotel guests. It varies, but in many cases the hotel meets this legal requirement by having Housekeeping, Security, or a Manager enter the room once ever 3 to 5 days. As soon as that happens, you'll get checked-out. The only way to know if a hotel does this is by checking local law. Even that's not enough, because some properties will do it even if not required by law. (It's become far more prevalent since the Las Vegas hotel sniper.)

Because of financial stress due to COVID, there are probably more hotels than usual that might look the other way and violate the rules just to get the revenue. But, finding those places would be difficult. And trusting them is something I'd never do. If a hotel is willing to break the rules, that means they also might be willing to take your money and "suddenly" decide to lie and say your long-term stay rate doesn't include frequent guest benefits at the end of your "stay."

That's the fraud discussion. Moving on:

It's perfectly legitimate to book a hotel room and not sleep there every night. While not the norm, it does happen. Airlines will book crew rooms but not use them every night. And individuals will do similar things occasionally to use the room as an office, backup bedroom to avoid a long commute, or even a standing affair. (I worked in hotels for many, many years and saw all those things.)

You won't be breaking the rules if you negotiate a long-term stay and actually use the room at various points. You'd want to make sure you show up in person on the check-in day. You also should plan on using the room occasionally.

In terms of finding a hotel, don't focus too much on the category. Everything is crazy due to COVID. A category 3 hotel on an outparcel of a suburban shopping mall that has no business might offer a bigger discount than a category 1 hotel that still has some business.

Finally, all of this is going to be a pain. You're essentially manufacturing 5 months worth of room nights. Ask yourself if it's worth the effort.
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Old Sep 5, 20, 6:05 pm
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Without knowing where you live there are some really cheap hotels right now. We considered but did not book a $59 night tonight; opting to stay with my mother in law instead. (That is already proving to be a mistake, but I tried to tell Mrs. Jayer and she didn't listen. Not the first time for that or my MIL acting out. But I digress). If nearby just get in and out everyday and make enough mess to look occupied. Or take a nap and leave.
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Old Sep 5, 20, 6:16 pm
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Thats really interesting - I have 578 nights now so soon getting a good LT status but I wasn't aware that someone needs to stay every night in a hotel to get a credit as it would otherwise violate T&Cs.

I can remember at least 2 nights during my younger years working as a consultant on week long engagements and staying in Marriott hotels, but for reasons I cannot explain further I ended up on some Thursday nights staying over in different places

Paid the whole stay though - always thought that's what counts...
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Old Sep 5, 20, 6:18 pm
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Originally Posted by Duck1981 View Post
I can remember at least 2 nights during my younger years working as a consultant on week long engagements and staying in Marriott hotels, but for reasons I cannot explain further I ended up on some Thursday nights staying over in different places
Certainly you were out so late volunteering at the soup kitchen that you just crashed there. Totally understandable. 😇
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Old Sep 5, 20, 6:30 pm
  #12  
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Originally Posted by Duck1981 View Post
Thats really interesting - I have 578 nights now so soon getting a good LT status but I wasn't aware that someone needs to stay every night in a hotel to get a credit as it would otherwise violate T&Cs.

I can remember at least 2 nights during my younger years working as a consultant on week long engagements and staying in Marriott hotels, but for reasons I cannot explain further I ended up on some Thursday nights staying over in different places

Paid the whole stay though - always thought that's what counts...
No one here ever said that you have to stay the whole night or stay every night to get credit; at least the overwhelming majority of hotels don't do bed checks. The point is that you won't get credit if you never actually appear at the property.
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Old Sep 5, 20, 7:10 pm
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Originally Posted by jgoodm View Post
I figure I will be short about 150 nights by the time I hit 10 years of platinum status.
Personally, I'd look at it this way. Don't manufacture the 150 nights to achieve Lifetime in the shortest possible timeframe in this way. Let's say your average room rate is $100 so you will be paying 150 * $100 = $15,000 of manufactured spend for which you get no value. If you manage an average room rate of $75 then it will be $11,250 which is still significant. Not exactly mattress-run levels of expenditure. I know you talk about spending points but there's the opportunity cost of not spending those points on a high-end luxury resort vacation at an aspirational property you'd never pay cash for (which is what I save my points for). Anyway, keep with me...

I'm going to make a few assumptions based on the data you gave us and if they are wrong it doesn't matter because the exact same principles can be applied to your specific data points. The current rollover of status from 2020 to 2021 is irrelevant to this. You've told us you've got eight years (in 2020) and will achieve ten years with 450 nights.

It's 2020 and you have eight Platinum Lifetime years. You will do additional nights to qualify as Platinum in 2020 (for 2021) and 2021 (for 2022) reaching 450 nights and ten years Platinum qualification during 2021.

We are assuming you are doing the minimum 50 qualifying nights a year to get Platinum but you may do more. At this minimum it will take an additional three years to do the required 150 nights which sounds like a long time but how many nights a year will you normally spend in Bonvoy hotels? More? At Titanium qualification of 75 nights, your 150 nights is only an additional two years of natural stays without a cent of manufactured spending. Two years still sounds like a long time? Maybe but why are you so anxious about it? You want to gain Lifetime status and then... what? Stop doing the nights at Bonvoy hotels and try something else? In which case, why the strive for Lifetime? Let's assume you want the Lifetime because you're loyal and like the benefits.

So, this is how I would consider it: After 2021 (when you've got your ten years already) how many nights in Bonvoy hotels would you expect to do naturally in 2022, 2023, and 2024. If it's more than 50 each year then you've got your Lifetime in the bag without a cent of manufactured spend. If it's fewer than 50 each year then you know exactly how many mattress-run nights you need to manufacture in each year to reach Platinum. I guarantee it will be significantly fewer than the 150 you are currently facing (though only you know how many nights you would normally do each year though your current patterns seem to imply 50 a year meaning *no* manufactured spend to achieve Lifetime Platinum).

Just my view. I don't like to see the value of hard-earned cash being wasted. And during this time you don't know if you will receive a double nights promo or there's some other give-away like the one we just had to further accelerate your goal naturally.

Last edited by ftrichard; Sep 7, 20 at 12:30 am Reason: Correcting a brain-freeze number
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Old Sep 5, 20, 8:40 pm
  #14  
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A few years ago, I booked 25 nights at a Sheraton for $19/night (error rate that they honored) about 2hrs away from my home. Needed the nights to hit SPG Plat for a trip to Asia later that year. Figured I would easily get the value back. Think there was some sort of points promo going on also so think I was only out a couple of hundred in the end.
I did not stay. Instead I drove up there, and put a bunch of books and stuff in the room. Told the front desk I needed somewhere to study for exams so would be coming and going but not sleeping. Left a note saying the same in the room so house keeping would not freak out if they did not get the memo from front desk. Left my phone # on the note with instructions to call me with questions. Halfway through, I drove up again and moved stuff around. Everything worked out fine and I got my points and my plat status which I maintained and have since turned to lifetime.
That said I cannot see how it would make sense to manufacture 150 nights. That is a lot of $$, even at $50/night
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Old Sep 5, 20, 8:52 pm
  #15  
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Originally Posted by Duck1981 View Post
I wasn't aware that someone needs to stay every night in a hotel to get a credit as it would otherwise violate T&Cs.
You don't necessarily need to stay every night. But you do need to physically enter the room.

I wouldn't call this an ethical or moral issue (or attach labels like "fraud"). It's just a question whether the hotel will credit you the nights. If you don't physically enter the room, there's a very good chance it won't.
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