the people that met the requirements and say they only had 40 nights and didn't get any further nights -- only get their 40 nights taken away and still have gold until feb. 2016 -- how is that fair?? when I will be paying 50 nights?
Marriott sometimes extends Gold to those who are a bit short of reaching the qualifications. It doesn't do so every time & normally takes into consideration past stay patterns over several years when deciding whether to offer it or not.
The 'lite' elite vs. the 'earned the hard way' elite debate is nothing new - and extends across all hotel chains & airlines. It's not specific to Marriott. I've read the discussions/arguments for years.
BTW - just to clarify something. Nights aren't 'taken away'. They count towards status during a year & permanently count towards lifetime status. However, the night qualification clock restarts January 1, so however many nights you showed for qualification for this year will show until Dec 31, and then on Jan 1 nights will reset to zero. That's true of airlines as well & other hotel chains. It's always a bit of a bummer/shock to see the 0 at the start of the year!