find the cheapest fairfield inn you can find and spend the $79 to keep the status, you can always put up your favorite family member over xmas in your name for one night. The extra 10% you get in 2009 in points far exceeds the cost for one night
I agree with gkalten. However, I am finding that some of the Marriott hotels do not do the customary extras for gold elite and one has to fight a bit to get concierge lounge and other priviliges, expecially overseas and at Residence, Courtyard, etc.
I would ask Marriott Rewards (through the contact us button the web site) if they can comp you one night to make it--never hurts to ask, and given the economy right now, loyatly amoung guests is a high priority
I have the same situation and called Marriott Rewards customer service. I was told they WILL NOT give the one night. Period. You will have the option to buy back the gold elite status for a few hundred dollars. At least $200.00 and I was told to make a reservation in a lower cost courtyard or fairfield to accumulate the extra night. If not I will lose gold status. So I dont think they will waive the one night deficit at all.
I had a similar situation a year or two ago and I was renewed at Gold level although I was also a night or two short. Rewards made the upgrade/renewal without any request or contact fm me; I was impressed.