Fellow Marriott Members,
Please consider with me the definition of the term "qualifying stay" as defined by Marriott Terms & Conditions.
A “stay" or "qualifying stay" means all consecutive nights a Rewards Program Member registers and personally pays and stays at any Rewards Program participating hotel, for which the room is billed to the Member.
Per the above statement, and "stay" means all consecutive nights a member "registers" and "pays" for which the room is billed to the Member.
If the term "stay" must be defined, let us also define "registers" and "pays."
To Register - (Enter or record in an official list as being in a particular category.)
The member registers via the reservation portal, and is contractually bound to pay for the reservation, in the event he does not cancel within the allotted cancellation period, regardless or whether he uses the hotel service or not.
To Pay - (Give money that is due for work done, goods received, or a debt incurred.)
The member gives money that is due for the hotel service provided, as determined under the contractual obligation ("room reservation").
Therefore, in accordance with Marriott Terms & Conditions, a member must register, and pay, for a "stay."
The consecutive nature of the nights, applies if the consecutive nights are determined in the reservation, or if the original reservation for one night is amended to include multiple nights. Meaning, that if a member registers for three nights, and pays for three nights, that is considered a "stay." However, if a member registers for one night, and pays for one night, that is also considered a "qualifying stay," regardless of other consecutive registrations.
Per Marriott Newsletter dated August 6, 2012, "A stay is defined as consecutive nights spent at the same hotel, regardless of check-in/check-out activity."
This statement is correct - the action of checking in and checking out does not define a "stay" (i.e., if a member makes a reservation for five nights, and "checks-in/checks-out" five times, that is still one stay, as the member registered and paid for one reservation). However, "registration" and "payment" do define a "qualifying stay," therefore making five separate reservations qualify as five separate "stays."
Case in point: The book ends of a "stay" are determined by "registration" and "payment" as contractually agreed upon at the point of reservation.