There are 3 basic levels of Elite status. Silver, Gold, and Platinum. Levels come with certain implied benefits. You can read through the benefits by mousing over Marriott Rewards on your sign in page. A drop down menu will be seen. Click on Marriott Rewards Home..... scroll down to the bottom of the page. Under Discover Benefits, you'll find Membership Benefits.... I attached the link below if these instructions are confusing.
The bottom line is, as a member of Marriott Rewards, you can earn points to cash in for all types of things including free night stays. As you stay more and earn more nights, you'll increase certain benefits and also get bonus points of 20%, 25%, and 50% for Silver, Gold, and Platinum status. The annual threshold nights stayed or earned for these Elite levels are 10 for Silver, 50 for Gold, and 75 for Platinum. Your credit card will award you one Elite night credit for every $3000 you spend. Each of these nights may allow you to achieve a higher Elite status and therefore increase your points earning potential. Welcome to Marriott Rewards and have fun earning the chance for "free" stuff. This site has lots of great info and fine folks to educate, share, and help on your journey.