The "Taste of Gold/Taste of Platinum" promos don't seem to always be offered, but are usually available by contacting customer service. In the past Gold could be reached with 6 separate "stays" in a certain time frame or end date. Platinum could be reached for usually 9 stays in the same time period. Once you complete the number of "stays" you are granted the Gold/Plat status until the Feb of the following year. So say you are Gold now, and wanted to be Plat, you would stay 9 times between now and say April 30th. Then you would have it until Feb 2016. Then in 2016 you would have to earn it again the hard way. Once a challenge is accepted, it will not be offered again, regardless of a successful completion or not, you can't simply keep challenging every year.
LIke KS77 said, the Gold and Platinum challenges don't seem to be generally available right now. I did one several years ago to earn temporary platinum status. The challenge worked in Marriott's favor since I liked the perks and now choose Marriott brands when I can to keep that status. I might not have worked well enough though since they don't seem to do it as often any more, if at all. They also seem to be targeted at people who are close to making the next level, but just won't make it in one year. When they started roll-over nights seems to be about the same time I started seeing fewer challenges. If you are already Plat, you would not be notified of a challenge since there wouldn't be anywhere else to go.
The Bonus and MegaBonus programs seem to be similar. I had a bonus available to me at one time, so I told a friend, but they were not eligible for the bonus. I guess not every bonus is for every user. Some might only be for gold and above or for Marriott credit card holders, or similar.
I am currently on a Taste of Gold Challenge. It finishes at the end of this month. I had to stay 6 times in 3.5 months to keep Gold for a further 12 months. I have not achieved it, but then I knew I wouldn't. I only travel for leisure, and have stayed twice, so will go back to silver .
I always have silver elite status because I am in the UK and have a Marriott Credit Card. The best we can achieve over here with a credit card is 10 bonus nights!
The Taste of Gold has been nice for my 2 stays, but quite honestly it doesn't make a lot of difference to me. I use the same hotels, usually book one of the better rooms in the first place so get executive lounge access etc anyway. Also, although I have been upgraded, this has been at one of my favourite hotels, where they have always treated me as a valued returning guest regardless of my Elite status, so I can't say whether or not being temporarily Gold made a difference.
So basically all I have gained is 5% extra bonus points. I am not complaining; it has been very nice thankyou Marriott. But I was never going to retain the Gold.
There are 2 types of challenges available to advance to either Gold or Plat, namely the "road to" and "taste of" challenges. So if you call Marriott, state that your travel is increasing to Gold/Plat levels and ask of they could offer something to help you get there earlier you will likely be offered either:
a) Road to Gold/Road to Plat. Here you keep your current status but are given a 3 month target to acheive a reduced number of stays. Once the stays are achieved you are immediately promoted to the new Gold/Plat status, even though you don't have the nights; or
b) Taste of Gold/Taste of Plat. This is the same as the above save the new status is granted whilst you pursue your reduced target and withdrawn if you don't manage it.
The targets for both the taste and road seem to be the same, 6 stays for Gold, 9 for Plat. I rang Marriott as a Gold last year at this time, indicated my travel was improving and asked for help. I was given the "Taste of Platinum" challenge, 9 stays before 31st March...
Just curious - for people that have or are completing the challenges, did you always have to request them or were they offered to you? If they were offered was it in the "Promotions" section of the MR website, via mailing, email....? I came very close to maintaining my Gold status but did not quite make it in 2014.
I was offered a Gold challenge by email (but I saw it in my promotions a day or two before I got the email). At the time the challenge started, I had just reached 50 nights for the year (making Gold the hard way ). I called and asked if I could be switched to the Plalitnum challenge.
On s separate note, if you were Gold in 2014 but didn't have enough nights to renew and you will be dropped to SIlver, you will be given a chance to "buy back" your Gold status for 25k points. Look for that info in February.
Hey bjones8162! Great question. You can ask for complete the challenge for one status level above your current status. You can request this either via phone or email. Occasionally, as @Tommo781 and @bejacob mention, you may be offered the challenge. Either way, you can take the challenge once every year.
Best time to request the status is the first week of a new month.
IE, if you request is january 30th, you'll only have 3 months
If you request it say feb 3rd, you'll have till the end of febuary PLUS 3 months to complete it (essentially 4 months) Just a quick tidbit of information.
I was also told my a marriott rep that "Taste of" challenges are no longer offered, I see that the rep lied to me since some of you report being given one recently.
The reps aren't really lying. I know someone within MRCS & they confirmed last fall they were only authorized to do the "Road" challenge. However, about a month or so later Corporate started sending out/enrolling folk in the "Taste" challenge.
I signed up a friend for mine for the "Road" & he was 1-2 stays shy of his getting Gold (would still get them in the original timeline), when he called to say he had gotten an email saying Welcome to Gold. In checking w/ MRCS, he had been enrolled by Marriott in the "Taste". I had to confirm with the rep that even though he was in the Taste that the original terms of the Road applied & he wasn't going to have to do an extra 3 stays because of when the Taste kicked in.