Continued experiments with posting schedule
As long as I've been writing this blog, I've posted on an extremely irregular schedule: my own. Typically, I get home from manufacturing spend, plop down at the desk and write about whatever I've been thinking about. When I'm done writing, I push "publish."
During Subscription Week, I started scheduling the "classic" posts from my archive on a specific schedule; I'd write up a post the night before and schedule it to post at 6 am (wherever Squarespace is based – in another hilarious shortcoming they don't tell you the timezone you're scheduled to post in).
I think there are advantages to both methods: I write in order to be read, so it makes sense to publish posts as soon as they're ready so folks can start reading them. On the other hand, I notice that when I publish posts late at night or very early in the morning there's more of an immediate response in the comments, since a lot of readers check my site first thing in the morning. If I publish in the afternoon, it might be 16-20 hours before readers finally get around to my posts.
At any rate, I'm going to keep the experiment going and schedule non-time-sensitive posts like today's to publish at 6 am. Meanwhile, I'll continue to publish urgent and time-sensitive posts as soon at they're ready. As always, I'd love to hear feedback one way or the other in the comments.
If you're going to manufacture Marriott Gold elite status, do it right
I mooted this idea on Twitter a few weeks back, and was reminded of it by Frequent Miler's recent post on manufacturing Marriott elite status.
Most folks know the headline benefits of the Chase Marriott Rewards Premier Visa Signature: an annual free night certificate good at Category 1-5 Marriot properties; 15 "bonus" nights annually towards elite status; and an additional "bonus" night for every $3,000 spent on the card each calendar year.
Frequent Miler did a little math and came up with the figure of $105,000 in spend each year to earn Gold elite status: 35 elite nights at $3,000 each.
But in focusing on those headline benefits, he missed the forest for the trees. The key to manufacturing Marriott Gold elite status with the Premier card is rollover elite qualifying nights.
Marriott has a generous rollover night benefit: every night in excess of those needed for your current elite status are rolled over to the next elite qualifying year. But since Silver elite status requires just 10 nights, and the Premier Visa Signature gives 15 bonus nights towards elite status, Silver elite cardholders receive an automatic 5-night rollover "bump" towards Gold status at the beginning of each elite qualification year.
Keep Gold elite status for 2 full calendar years – then do it again
Since elite status, once earned, is good for the remainder of the year it's earned and the entire following year, you don't want to manufacture spend all the way to Gold elite status: you want to end the year with between 45 and 49 elite qualifying nights. In January, you'll rollover 35-39 of those nights (the amount in excess of Silver's 10-night requirement), and your 15 bonus nights will make you an instant Gold elite – for 2 full calendar years.
To keep your Gold elite status, you need to end the second calendar year of elite status again with exactly 45 elite qualifying nights – in other words, earn 30 elite qualifying nights over the course of 2 years. That's just $45,000 per calendar year, rather than the $105,000 Frequent Miler suggested – or less than $4,000 per month in Premier credit card spend, even if you don't have a single paid night.
Unfortunately, this technique can't be used as easily to earn Platinum elite status, for the simple reason that Platinum status requires just 25 more elite qualifying nights than Gold, so the most nights you could roll over to the next year and remain a Gold elite is 24. You'd then still have to manufacture your way all the way from 39 to 75 nights, spending $108,000 as early in the year as possible.
While I've noticed my bonus nights roll over in the past, this is the first year I'm attempting to achieve Gold elite status with this technique, so there may well be something I'm missing. Naturally, I'll post an update in January after my rollover and bonus nights are credited. In the meantime, I'd love to hear from readers who have succeeded (or failed!) in earning elite status this way.