The top of the elite ladder at Marriott is Ambassador Elite status. It holds some really special benefits that can make your life much more convenient as a frequent traveler. However, there are still some critics that claim Marriott Ambassador status is not worth it.
In this article, I am going to focus on what makes the Marriott Ambassador program super special and how anyone can make the most of it. I’ll cover Ambassador liaison service and also discuss benefits like Your24, breakfast, and upgrades.
What is Marriott Ambassador Elite status?
Marriott Ambassador Elite status is the top status offered for the Marriott Bonvoy loyalty program and it offers some of the best benefits in the hotel industry like Your24 and an Ambassador liaison, which is basically your own personal concierge.
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How to earn Marriott Ambassador status
To achieve or renew Marriott Bonvoy Elite Membership status, the following number of personal nights must be earned at participating locations between January 1 and December 31 of any given year:
- Silver: 10 to 24 nights
- Gold: 25 to 49 nights
- Platinum: 50 to 74 nights
- Titanium: 75 to 99 nights
- Ambassador: 100 nights + $20,000 U.S. dollars in qualified annual spend
Marriott has offered some pretty solid coronavirus elite benefits.
The first benefit is that your elite status earned in 2019 will be extended to February 2022.
In addition you will receive a one-time deposit of 50% of your tier’s annual Elite Night Credit requirement based on your status from 2019. This means that those Members who achieved Ambassador Elite will receive 50 Elite Night Credits.. Find out more details here.
Here’s how it compares to other statuses with Hyatt and Hilton.
World of Hyatt
- 10 qualifying nights
- 25,000 Base Points
- or holding 3 qualifying meetings/events per year.
- 30 qualifying nights
- 50,000 Base Points
- or holding 10 qualifying meetings/events per year.
- 60 qualifying nights
- 100,000 Base Points
- or holding 20 qualifying meetings/events per year.
- 4 stays in a calendar year or
- 10 nights in a calendar year
- 20 stays in a calendar year, or
- 40 nights in a calendar year, or
- 75,000 Hilton Honors Base Points in a calendar year
- 30 stays in a calendar year, or
- 60 nights in a calendar year, or
- 120,000 Hilton Honors Base Points in a calendar year
As you can see, Marriott Ambassador Elite status is one of the hardest elite statuses to achieve out of any hotel loyalty program with its high spend requirement. That spend hurdle can block many frequent travelers in certain regions from achieving status as some hotels might be priced less than $50 a night.
Ambassador spend requirement
The spend requirement for Marriott Ambassador Elite status is only achievable via stays, incidentals during your stays, meetings, or dining. Taxes and fees are excluded from counting towards the spend requirement.
Award nights, or using points for stays, do not count towards the spend requirement. So, if you redeem your points at high end properties, you award stays do not get a monitory value and therefore do not contribute to the spend requirement. (Award nights, only count towards Elite Night Credits.)
Ambassador via Credit cards
I would like to note that the annual spend requirement cannot be achievable via credit cards. All the spend must be made at a Marriott Property via stay or dining. Credit cards below can help with gaining you nights for status, but not Ambassador status directly.
Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant Card
- $300 in Marriott statement credit
- Bonus earning:
- 6x at Marriott properties
- 3x at U.S. restaurants and on flights booked directly with airlines
- 2x on all other purchases
- Each calendar year you can receive credit for 15 nights towards the next level of Elite status. Limit one 15 Elite Night Credit per Marriott Loyalty Program member.
- Priority Pass Select membership
- Receive a statement credit every four years after you apply for Global Entry ($100) or TSA Pre√® ($85) with your Card.
- No foreign transaction fees
- Free, unlimited Boingo Wi-Fi at more than 1,000,000 Boingo hotspots worldwide.
- Annual free night
The Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant (full review here) has decent benefits, even for its high annual fee. I for one love the annual free night worth up to 50,000 points. That means you can stay at a category 6 property on a standard award. Plus, the $300 Marriott statement credit is pretty flexible and can be used during any time you use the card at a Marriott property. Because of perks like these, this card is definitely one of the most impressive hotel credit cards out there.
Marriott Bonvoy Boundless
The Marriott Bonvoy Boundless Card offers automatic Silver status but you can earn Marriott Gold status by spending $35,000 in a year. That’s a lot in spend per year for a status that doesn’t even offer breakfast so I would rather put $35K to use in another way.
Of course, both Silver and Gold Elite status is not the same as Ambassador. You’ll also be given 15 Elite Night Credits each calendar year, which can help you reach Gold status much quicker since you’ll only be 10 nights away from reaching Gold or 85 nights from Ambassador. Free nights start out at 5,000 points per night for off-peak Category 1 awards and welcome bonuses can range from 75,000 to 100,000 points after meeting minimum spend requirements.
Another great benefit of this card is that you get an annual free night for properties that cost up to 35,000 points per night.
Remember, both cards spend do not count towards your Ambassador spend requirement.
What are the Marriott Ambassador Elite status benefits?
There are two benefits that are truly unique to Marriott Ambassador Elite status. Ambassador service (having an Ambassador liaison or better known as a personal assistant or concierge assigned to you) and Your24 are truly what makes Ambassador Elite status worthwhile. Then on top of those two unique benefits, you also get the same benefits as Titanium and Platinum Elite status.
However, experience does differ between each Ambassador liaison and that can make or brake the experience for you.
Ambassador service is best described as having your own personal assistant or concierge. Now, obviously you won’t get your own personal assistant that will do everything for you, but they will be your own personal assistant for anything related to Marriott.
You can ask your Ambassador liaison to ask to find out information about your hotel, put in special requests that are extra special compared to normal special requests you might make by yourself, or help with support if you are experiencing any problems.
Ambassador liaison service
My Ambassador liaison has been wonderful when it comes to achieving and going above and beyond on my requests.
On my first stay as an Ambassador Elite, she requested the hotel to make a very personalized cake with a plane on it along with a note. They even decorated the bed with rose peddles congratulating me.
She has made my stays very special and I cannot thank her enough, but there are some instances that the Ambassador liaison doesn’t follow through or ghosts the Ambassador Elite.
Having a pool of Ambassador liaisons, of course there will be differences in level of services, but having drastic differences can cause people to stop believing in the program.
Luckily, if you have an Ambassador liaison, you can request to switch your Ambassador liaison. So, if you are experiencing problems with your Ambassador liaison or there is no connection, you have to be proactive and switch.
I have my Ambassador liaison based out of Singapore, but there are Ambassador liaisons based all over the world like US, Ireland, Japan, China, etc.
Some tips on making your Ambassador service great is being upfront and personable to your Ambassador liaison. Remember they are a person you want to work closely with. Some Ambassador liaisons might be more proactive, so if you prefer a proactive liaison, make the switch if needed. Remember, you also make or break this service.
One of my favorite Marriott Ambassador benefits, that other hotel chains need to add, is Your24.
Your24 is a benefit that allows you to check-in and then check-out 24 hours later. That means, you could check-in at 11:00pm one night and check-out the next day at 11:00pm.
There is one negative, this benefit needs to be requested beforehand by your Ambassador liaison, which can be a hassle if your Ambassador liaison isn’t proactive (I explain more about Ambassador inconsistency above). The benefit is also not guaranteed. So, hotels can refuse your request.
When Your24 is accepted, it’s always exciting. I love to use my Your24 benefit during overnight layovers. Perfect when my flight arrives at midnight and I am departing the next day during during the evening. (It still feels weird to check-out at during the evening.)
How to use Your24 Marriott Ambassador Elite benefit
To use Your24 benefit, all you need to do is call or email your Ambassador liaison and he or she will request it to the hotel and the hotel will either approve or reject your request to use Your24.
You can improve your odds of using Your24 benefit by selecting hotels that have a moderate occupancy rate during your stay. The benefit works great during mid or low season, but not during peak travel seasons.
75% Bonus on Marriott Rewards Points
- Ambassador Elites are credited with a 75% bonus on base points earned during stays.
At most Marriott properties you’ll earn 10 Marriott points per dollar spent, so with this bonus you’ll be able to earn 17.5 points per dollar spent. At a value of .8 cents per point, Ambassador status earns 14% back.
Complimentary room upgrade
Ambassador Elite receive a complimentary upgrade to the best available room subject to availability which could include the following:
Complimentary upgrade includes suites, rooms with desirable views, rooms on high floors, corner rooms, rooms with special amenities or rooms on Executive Floors.
- At The Ritz-Carlton, suites are only included for Titanium Elite and Ambassador Elite Members and rooms with direct Club access are excluded.
- The Complimentary Enhanced Room Upgrade are available at all Participating Brands except at Marriott Vacation Club, Marriott Grand Residence Club, Aloft, Element and participating Vistana properties.
I have received some amazing upgrades as an Ambassador Elite. Sometimes the best suite available at the property or constant suite upgrades.
The welcome gift for Ambassador Elites will be the same as Platinum Elites. It all depends on the property and brand. At a lot of properties you will be able to choose between 500 to 1,000 points or a food and beverage credit/free breakfast.
I prefer breakfast over other welcome gifts, but sometimes I will go with points or another welcome gift if the club lounge breakfast is satisfying.
Elite Welcome Gift
|JW Marriott, Marriott Hotels, Delta Hotels, Autograph Collection, Renaissance Hotels||United States, Canada, Europe: 1,000 Points per Stay or U.S. $10 food and beverage (“F&B”) credit per Stay
Asia, Australia, Pacific Islands, Caribbean, Mexico, Central America, South America, Middle East, and Africa: 1,000 Points per Stay or F&B amenity per Stay
Asia, Australia, Pacific Islands, Caribbean, Mexico, Central America, South America, Middle East, and Africa: 1,000 Points per Stay or F&B amenity per Stay or breakfast in restaurant per day of Stay for Member +1
|Gaylord Hotels||1,000 Points per Stay or U.S. $10 F&B credit per Stay||U.S. $100|
|St. Regis, The Luxury Collection, W Hotels, Sheraton, Le Méridien, Westin, Tribute Portfolio||1,000 Points per Stay or amenity per Stay or breakfast in restaurant per day of Stay for Member +1 (including Resorts)||U.S. $100|
|The Ritz-Carlton, EDITION, Marriott Vacation Club, Marriott Grand Residence Club, Design Hotels TM||1,000 Points (per Stay)||
|Courtyard||United States, Canada, Europe: 500 Points per Stay or U.S. $10 F&B credit per day for Member +1**
Asia, Australia, Pacific Islands, Caribbean, Mexico, Central America, South America, the Middle East, and Africa: Properties without lounge – 500 Points per Stay or F&B amenity per Stay or U.S. $10 F&B credit per day for Member +1**
Properties with lounge – 500 Points per Stay and breakfast in lounge – if lounge is closed, breakfast in restaurant per day of Stay for Member +1
|AC Hotels, Moxy Hotels||United States, Canada, Europe: 500 Points per Stay or U.S. $10 F&B credit per day for Member +1**
Asia, Australia, Pacific Islands, Caribbean, Mexico, Central America, South America, the Middle East, and Africa: 500 Points per Stay or F&B amenity per Stay or U.S. $10 F&B credit per day
|SpringHill Suites, Fairfield, Residence Inn, TownePlace Suites||United States, Canada, Europe: 500 Points per Stay or F&B item
Asia, Australia, Pacific Islands, Caribbean, Mexico, Central America, South America, the Middle East, and Africa: 500 Points per Stay or F&B amenity
SpringHill Suites, Residence Inn:
Fairfield, TownePlace Suites:
|Four Points, Aloft||500 Points per Stay or amenity or breakfast in restaurant per day for Member +1||
Aloft: U.S. $25
|Protea Hotels||500 Points per Stay or breakfast in restaurant per day for Member +1||U.S. $50|
|Element||500 Points per Stay or amenity||U.S. $25|
Guaranteed Lounge Access
As an Ambassador Elite you will get guaranteed lounge access for you and one guest staying in the same room at:
- JW Marriott
- Marriott Hotels
- Delta Hotels
- Le Méridien
- Autograph Collection and
- Renaissance Hotels.
Lounge Access is not offered at the following brands:
- The Ritz-Carlton
- St. Regis
- The Luxury Collection
- W Hotels
- Design Hotels
- Tribute Portfolio
- Gaylord Hotels
- Four Points
- SpringHill Suites
- Protea Hotels
- AC Hotels
- Moxy Hotels
- Residence Inn
- TownePlace Suites
- Marriott Vacation Club
- Marriott Grand Residence Club
- and participating Vistana properties.
Generally, whenever a lounge is closed or the property does not have a lounge or an approved alternative the property will offer you daily breakfast in the restaurant. If Lounge Access or alternatives are not available at eligible properties, Platinum Elite Members will be compensated $100 U.S. dollars for the inconvenience. Therefore, it’s for Ambassador Elites as well. There are a few special rules for different properties and locations and you can read more about those here.
Some properties will offer executive lounge as a welcome gift, as you’re Ambassador, you are entitled to the welcome gift and can select the executive lounge as one of the options.
- Elite Members and above may check out as late as 4 p.m. local time of the Participating Property.
This benefit is guaranteed at all Participating Properties, except at resort and convention hotels and Design HotelsTM, where it is based upon availability. Marriott Vacation Club, Marriott Grand Residence Club, and participating Vistana properties are excluded from this benefit.
Complimentary United Premier Silver status
As an Ambassador Elite, you automatically get Premier Silver status with United Airlines.
This means you can get complimentary upgrades when flying United, free baggage allowance, priority baggage, priority check-in, priority boarding, and Star Alliance Silver status.
Surprisingly, as a Premier Silver member, I have been upgraded to first class and economy plus seats on certain routes.
Complimentary enhanced Internet service
- This benefit is provided where available, regardless of booking source, at all Participating Brands worldwide except at the EDITION brand.
Keep in mind that you can get this benefit with the Marriott Boundless credit card.
Stay for 5, pay for 4
- Book 5 consecutive award nights and you only pay for 4 nights (this perk is available to all Marriott status levels but is worth mentioning).
When Marriott announced the starting date of their off-peak and peak awards Marriott also made changes and one of which is changing this 5th night free benefit. Redemptions made on or after the 14th of September will be subject to the stay for 5, pay for 4 benefit and not the 5th night free. The stay for 5, pay for 4 works by booking 5 consecutive award nights, the cheapest night will become free.
This is looked as an abrupt devaluation by many, including myself.
48-hour guarantee availability
- 48-Hour Guaranteed Availability: Limited to Titanium Elite and Ambassador Elite Member’s personal guest room. Guaranteed room availability for reservations booked at least 48 hours prior to arrival.
If you travel on short notice and want a guaranteed room, this benefit is more useful than anything as nothing is worse than arriving and you have no room. It’s excluded for certain events, but certainly more straight forward than other benefits received above.
Is Marriott Ambassador Elite status worth it?
Short answer is yes, I think it’s worth it, but only if you and your Ambassador liaison can work together.
Hotels treatment to Ambassador Elites
Whenever I stay at a hotel as an Ambassador Elite, managers or directors make an effort to meet me at check-in when I notify them of my arrival time.
It feels special, somewhat like I am a VIP guest at some of these hotels. I have noticed when hotels make an effort to welcome elites with meeting a manager at check-in or personalized notes, it really makes the stay at the hotel far more than another random hotel. For me, it creates a name for the hotel.
On top of all of that, I usually witness more unique room upgrades than before. While sometimes the room might be the same as a Platinum Elite, the upgrades become more consistent.
Ambassador liaisons have power
Whenever there is a problem or a special request, a good Ambassador liaison will follow through and make it right. They won’t promise you anything, but they will always try to make it right.
Liaisons can be a superhero for making a special occasion stay very special. If my Ambassador liaison is reading this, I have to thank her!
How to contact your Ambassador liaison
You can contact your Ambassador liaison by phone or email. I prefer communicating over email as I am not a fan of calling.
When you become an Ambassador Elite, you will receive a welcome email with your Ambassador liaison’s contact information and hours. If you contact your Ambassador liaison after their work hours, you can talk to another Ambassador.
For general Ambassador support, where you need to handle anything Marriott related, you can contact via one of the methods below for general Ambassador Elite support.
- USA: +1-316-558-9420
- Asia Pacific: +86-20-38157156
- Europe: +353-21-4861222
I think Ambassador Elite status is worth it. You can truly get more out of stays by having the status alone and then your Ambassador liaison can sometimes make your stay extra special. However, the key is being able to work with your liaison and if it’s not working, switch to another liaison.
This article was originally published by Steve Smith.
Daniel Gillaspia is the Founder of UponArriving.com and creator of the credit card app, WalletFlo. He is a former attorney turned full-time credit card rewards/travel expert and has earned and redeemed millions of miles to travel the globe. Since 2014, his content has been featured in major publications such as National Geographic, Smithsonian Magazine, Forbes, CNBC, US News, and Business Insider. Find his full bio here.