Valid points NUHusker and Shoeman, and I tend to think that for some it is the last way to maintain a status due to economic issues that have curtailed travel for some members. Individual choice makes some people do things differently than others.
In doing a risk/gains assessment some members must see the continuation of the status they formerly had as more valuable than the points they have earned through stays and other bonuses.
I was a MR member for nearly two decades before I used a single point as a redemption for travel. and I am not sure why I waited so long. Acquaintances told me that they bought tangible items, TVs, etc., with accrued points, which I felt was less of a bargain that the trips I could take for free. Now I have spent 1.5 million points on travel and enjoyed every moment of it.
So free will being free and will, every MR member will make a personal choice to retain or not. I am not sure what I would do if that prospect were facing me. As always it depends on circumstances.
My attitude is to look at the overall value proposition. I'm a point junkie and PointSavers addict. For me and my wife, redeeming points for free nights delivers the maximum value.
Including hundreds of thousands of points secured by trading our Marriott timeshares every-other-year, incentive bonus points gained at time of purchase, bonus points from friend and family referrals, and points earned via hotel stays, we've spent over 3.5 million points since the Marriott Marquis program - all on redeeming 'free' nights. (never on buy back). That's a run rate of about 115,000 points on free nights a year since inception.
Annual maintenance fees for Marriott timeshares have increased steadily each year since the initial purchase, but the exchange to Marriott Rewards points remains fixed. So, forfeiting valuable points to requalify another year, isn't necessarily the best value, IMO. (For example, Marriott Vacation Club has offered complimentary high speed Internet for years and does not participate in complimentary upgrades or offer club level. Priority, room assignment, view and access to recreational amenities is based upon number of weeks owned, room configuration, home resort and season. Compared to Rewards points, the metrics are different.)
As other Marriott owners will attest, tangible benefits include deeply discounted owner rates at Marriott Vacation Club resorts as well as Bonus Weeks at a fraction of the cost. So, it's possible to nearly double the number of nights up to two weeks for the price of one week - thus creating even more vacation value.
Even though Marriott's timeshare model changed last year, the benefits and options under the legacy program are 'grandfathered' and protected under statute. What has changed is the Rewards point engine. Incentive bonus points for purchasing are reduced dramatically. And, uncertainty about changes in the timeshare program has impacted referrals negatively. My wife and I have not referred any family or friends to buy Marriott over the past year, so that channel for generating points is dry.
From that standpoint, we value the points even more and are very careful about spending them. Yes, it is a complicated model for assessing value proposition. But we feel that the status as Marriott owners delivers benefits on par with the Elite status obtained by 'buy back.' Should we decide to sell our timeshares, Buy back would have a higher position in the deck.
While I haven't needed to take advantage of this opportunity, I suspect that I would if my situation changed. While I appreciate the views of those who believe that the elite level be earned rather than "bought" I also believe that those of us who have maintained our level but for whatever reason cannot do so for a period of time should be given the opportunity to maintain our level. We are, after all, still loyal Marriott clients. If my level of travel drops, I will still only stay at Marriott properties even if they cost more. Such loyalty is what Marriott is attempting to reward, and I for one, think more kindly of a company that does so.
Lots of points and lots of nights over your lifetime.
Lifetime Platinum Elite status is offered after the following two qualifications are met:
Guest has earned 750 Elite nights over the history of the Marriott Rewards account.
Guest has accrued 2,000,000 total points earned during the history of the account.
For Lifetime Gold Elite, the Elite night requirement is 500 nights and the point requirement is 1,600,000.
For Lifetime Silver Elite, the Elite night requirement is 250 nights and the point requirement is 1,200,000.
I've finally hit silver lifetime (although I can't verify that since the site isn't working right now to see my lifetime points). I have enough nights for gold elite, but I am still way off on the points. I'm probably only about two years from having enough nights for Platinum lifetime elite. I just need to find a way to earn points faster.
alwweb - I think you may have inadvertently answered a question posed some 5 years ago. However, you did note that you need a way to earn points faster, There is a great deal of content on Insiders that addresses this very subject. However, for simplicity, I have cut and paste a little below that might be of help....This was an excerpt from an exchange I had with someone just starting out, but like you, trying to amass points fastest....
The credit card, as I shared earlier in the thread, was something that came to me late. I've always been an Amex points guy, and kept all my spending between two corporate and personal Amex cards. I signed up for the Visa when I realized I only needed another 270k points for LTP status on Marriott. I wish I had done so years ago, because the points, and the nights, really add up quickly. We treat our credit cards like debit cards at my house. Every receipt goes in the checkbook register, deducted as though it's already gone from the account. At the end of the month, we pay them off and never run a balance. If you carry a balance, the interest can rapidly diminish the value of the points and status you are chasing. Long story short, get the credit card, use it for everything, and pay off the balance every month.
Happy points collecting!
This was the entire original thread (see link below)