Serious travelers sometimes bend over backwards to reach their elite status goals within an airline or hotel loyalty program. Everyone loves a surprise upgrade from time to time, right? But, no matter how hard you try, there are some status levels that even the most dedicated mileage runner or travel planner cannot reach without a little nudge from the hotel or airline.
Rumor has it that Marriott has one such elite status. This secret level for ultra loyalists, called Cobalt, must come with a personal invite from the hotel chain’s president and CEO himself. The elusive status is a level that is not officially part of Marriott Bonvoy’s published status tiers.
While all members can strive for the highest public level, Ambassador Elite, which requires staying 100 nights per year and spending $20,000, Cobalt still remains out of reach for most. Certain Marriott employees are apparently able to nominate top customers to the CEO’s inbox for consideration.
Cobalt dates back to the Ritz-Carlton Rewards program, which has since been merged into Marriott Bonvoy, as a way for the luxury brand to recognize its top priority guests. According to Marriott, which has been communicating with some of its hotels on the Cobalt program, this is not a publicly discussed part of Marriott Bonvoy and there are special perks that hotels should provide when they welcome one of these rare guests.
Cobalt status recognizes “top priority guests and influential leaders in their field,” according to The Points Guy. Welcome amenities and suite upgrades are in order for those with the coveted Cobalt status attached to their name. At Edition hotels, Cobalt diners can expect a VIP table assignment in the restaurant or bar. At St. Regis, members are invited to “ritual moments,” which are exclusive, locally inspired activities—although it’s left up to the hotel to decide how best to enchant a high-spending guest.
Other privileges vary by brand, but include things like club lounge access at the Ritz-Carlton properties with a personal welcome from the manager or a private tête-à-tête with the general manager in the restaurant at some JW Marriott hotels.
It’s no wonder Marriott wants to keep Cobalt a secret and shared very few details publicly except for that the status “is offered to select travelers globally by invitation.”
Marriott is not alone in recognizing the highest of spenders or travelers deemed to be of top value. Airlines have been doing it for years. American’s Concierge Key and United’s Global Services programs are both top-level statuses within their respective airlines’ elite tiers. They bring the highest of upgrade priority and personalized support for reservations. Delta 360 is a similar VIP program for the airline’s highest spenders, although it is not a part of Delta’s formal elite status levels.
All three of these airline programs are invitation-only, and they are based upon several factors, which could include a high amount of airline spend and those with strong influence over corporate accounts. Wondering just how much you need to spend? That’s a highly guarded secret that can fluctuate annually, according to those that have achieved this level of airline status nirvana. You never know if you re-qualify until you get an invitation for the following year.
Whether Cobalt privileges are in the cards for you or not, remaining loyal toward a travel brand always delivers some type of perks or privileges. If you’re looking to earn another, easier-to-attain Marriott elite status, a good place to start is with a Marriott Bonvoy credit card. The Marriott Bonvoy Bold, for instance, has no annual fee and gives you 15 elite night credits per year, which automatically means puts you in the Silver Elite status bracket. That’s Marriott’s lowest status bracket, but it means you’re well on your way to earning Gold Elite status, which requires 25 nights. With the Bonvoy Bold, you can also earn a 50,000 point sign-up bonus after you spend $2,000 in the first three months of opening your account.
Learn more about applying for the Marriott Bonvoy Bold card here.
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