I had sent Marriott an e-mail before they announced the buyback asking if they would do it again because I, too, did not want to lose my gold elite status. A nice CS person wrote back with some details and said to watch for the announcement and I could contact him again at the time. So when I saw the message about buyback on this MRI site, I e-mailed him. To my surprise, I got back the following:
"I can verify that the Elite Buyback is available for 2013, and the discount is available until 02 April 2013, however:
Because of your past loyalty to Marriott, our corporate office chose to automatically renew your Gold Elite status for 2013. Congratulations! You will be able to view the changes online in 24-48 hours when our system updates with the new information. A new membership card has been requested. Please allow four to six weeks for processing and delivery. You will need to stay the qualifying number of nights during 2013 to retain this status for the following year (or do a buyback in 2014)."
This is a wonderful thing in my world, and just another reason to love Marriott! Why don't you contact them via phone if you have time and see if they can do this for you? I'm not sure how I was singled out for this but I am grateful. Good luck!