Marriott Board Room

Why I paid $150 to sit in a Marriott Board Room by myself…

Disclosure: Basic Travel Couple, LLC has partnered with CardRatings for our coverage of credit card products. Basic Travel Couple, LLC and CardRatings and MileValue may receive a commission from card issuers. This compensation may impact how and where links appear on this site. This site does not include all financial companies or all available financial offers. Terms apply to American Express benefits and offers. Enrollment may be required for select American Express benefits and offers. Visit americanexpress.com to learn more.

Leading into a new year; Marriott Hotels typically sends out a nice little email recapping your travels with the company and it’s always a great refresher to be reminded of all the trips we’ve traveled cheap over the last 12 months! This year was no different, but there was a huge TWIST with the recent Marriott and SPG merger that led to status downgrades a few months ago.

If you’re asking yourself, what the heck is hotel status and why does it even matter?

Having “Status” means that you are a loyal customer with a particular hotel brand, which can lead to perks like:

  • Complimentary Wifi Access
  • Discounted room rates
  • Bonus points when booking a room
  • Welcome gifts when checking in
  • Room Upgrades
  • Lounge Access which includes Free Breakfast, Free Happy Hour with drinks/food included
  • Many other rewards which are dependent on the Hotel brand

So as you can see from above, having hotel status can certainly save you some serious cash-money which is why it is one of our best and favorite travel tricks. When we heard about the merger and potential loss of status we knew that in life all good things do at some point come to an end…..or do they?!


Marriott Bonvoy Business® American Express®  Card

Limited Time Offer: Earn 100,000 Marriott Bonvoy bonus points once you spend $4,000 on eligible purchases within the first 3 months from account opening. Offer expires on 11/2/22. This card is great for earning on your business travel hotel stays.

  • 6x points at participating Marriott Bonvoy hotels
  • 4x points at restaurants worldwide, at U.S. gas stations, on wireless telephone services purchased directly from U.S. service providers, and on U.S. purchases for shipping.
  • 2x points on all other eligible purchases
  • Earn 1 free night award each card year on your cardmember anniversary.
  • Receive complimentary Marriott Bonvoy Gold Elite Status
  • $125 annual fee. (Rates & Fees)

Terms Apply. Learn More Here.


Essentially, with the New Marriott Status Chart, we were downgraded to a Gold Elite status which DOESN’T offer the free breakfast, comped nightly drinks, hors-d’oeuvres, and suite upgrades. In order to get back into our favorite lounge and utilize one of our favorite travel tricks, we would need to reach 50 Nights before December 31st to reach Platinum Elite. After the merger, we had accumulated 42 nights, which meant we had 8 more nights to reach the next level.

So if I were to ask you how a reasonable person might go about reaching those 8 nights you’d probably say book 8 nights at the cheapest Marriott closest to your home. Sounds reasonable enough, however, after a thorough search using Marriott’s reservation system, the cheapest I could find was $68/Night which works out to be $741.60 with taxes and fees.

Running the numbers in my head and considering some upcoming trips we have planned it would be cutting it close to break even with all of the perks. So far we have two trips booked for 2019 with the Marriott property; 5 nights in Aruba and 3 nights in Chicago. Breakfast and Happy Hours I estimate at a couple of hundred dollars on the high end for those two trips which still leaves us way short of that breakeven mark. In Aruba, to upgrade to an Ocean Suite is over $400 cash and it is an amazing looking room! So with that in mind, I thought it might be worth the $741.60. As I was leaning in to confirm the offer I had a last-minute epiphany, two words: BUSINESS MEETING.

I once heard about an easy way to earn 10 Elite Nights without actually stepping foot in a hotel room. According to Marriott’s website, you can book a meeting through their website in 1 of 26 hotel brands that are participating in the promotion and receive 10 Nights credited to your account. This promotion has since expired.

I decided to give it a shot and submitted the form which took only a few minutes in total. The following day I received an email from a representative at the Marriott Fairfield Inn with a contract for my “Basic Travel Meeting” on December 13th from 6-8pm for $150! Because I’m working on meeting a minimum spend for the Capital One Savor Cash Rewards Credit Card, I decided to use the Savor to cover this expense with my intention to use the $500 bonus offer to cover scuba diving in Aruba. With Basic Travel Strategies, thinking ahead is critical to saving the most amount of money!    

Capital One Savor Cash Rewards Credit Card


  • Earn 30,000 bonus miles once you spend $3,000 on purchases within the first 3 months from account opening.
  • 4% cash back on dining & entertainment, 2% at grocery stores and 1% on everything else
  • Annual Fee waived the first year

Learn More Here.


Now, this might be too good to be true, right?! I just found a Basic Travel Strategy that essentially cut my cost from $741.60 to $150.00!!! I could already smell that salty ocean air from my balcony in Aruba. 🙂

On December 13th, I showed up at the Fairfield Inn and checked into my meeting. The Marriott associate who checked me in was very accomodating and showed me to my conference room. To my surprise, she even offered me complimentary Ice Cream, which apparently they offer every weeknight evening!

So I spent two hours getting some work done and eating all of the ice cream my stomach could handle for $150! The lengths that I go to for a fantastic travel strategy. 🙂 As of now, the clock is ticking, per the contract, it states that “Approximately 10 Business Days after the conclusion of the event’ I will receive my coveted award nights.

UPDATE: Six short days after completing my meeting, I received the below email from Mariott.

I had achieved my goal to complete my stay with Marriott to keep my staus! Another #BasicTraveTip for the win!

Drop us a comment below on your best travel strategy!

New to Credit Card Rewards Points? Check out the BASICS Below!

Editorial Disclaimer: Opinions, reviews, analyses & recommendations are the author’s alone, and have not been reviewed, endorsed or approved by any of these entities.

The comments section below responses are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser’s responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

5 Basic Travel Strategies

Need-to-know tricks for cheap travel.

Top Credit Card Offers

Chase Freedom Flex℠

Earn a $200 Bonus after you spend $500 on purchases in your first 3 months from account opening

Citi Premier Credit Card

Earn 80,000 bonus ThankYou® Points after you spend $4,000 in purchases within the first 3 months of account opening

Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card

Earn 60,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $750 when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®.

American Express® Gold Card

Earn 60,000 Membership Rewards® Points after you spend $4,000 on eligible purchases with your new Card within the first 6 months of Card Membership.

credit-card

We're Dave & Lisa

An easy-going, fun-loving couple who have a passion for adventure and exploring the world! Our strategies have saved us over $100,000 in travel over the last four years, and our goal is to help you do the same.

Keep Exploring