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My husband Adam has been in a job for the past three years that puts him on the road quiet a bit – usually every other week, but fortunately they are quick one night stays. For him this is the perfect amount of travel. It gets him out of his routine here and there but also doesn’t take him away from the kids too much. For me, it has also been the perfect amount since it is just enough time away to earn top tier hotel status every year!
The past three years, we decided that Starwood would be his hotel of choice. He averages around 25-30 nights a year and for the most part travels to cities where he is always able to stay at a Starwood property. This has allowed him to easily earn Starwood Platinum Elite status every single year since most of his stays were also 1 night stays. Or I forced him to hotel hop on a multi-night stay to get more stays out of his trip!
With the legacy Starwood program, completing 25 stays earned you Platinum status which was perfect for our family. This got us upgraded rooms, lounge access, complimentary breakfast, etc. A great status to have, but unfortunately that is all changing! Starting in 2019 with the Marriott and Starwood merger, you can no longer earn status on stays, only nights. This means he will need to complete 50 nights within the calendar year and that will definitely not happen – and Platinum Elite isn’t eve top tier status anymore, there is now a Platinum Premier Elite status. Although, with the Starwood and Marriott credit cards, he’ll receive 15 nights towards status a year. He has multiple cards, but the benefit only allows you to earn a maximum of 15 nights regardless of how many credit cards within the Starwood/Marriott family you have. So that means 35 nights is needed. Not too bad and most likely doable, but not a shoe in like it has been in the past.
I also now have Lifetime Platinum Premier Elite status due to the merger so Adam having Platinum status does absolutely nothing for us when we are traveling for vacation. And that is what we like earning status for – the benefits when traveling just the two of us or with our family. When Adam travels for work he could care less about an upgraded room or lounge access. And having complimentary breakfast doesn’t do much when you are on an expense account.
So we are now re-visiting where Adam should focus his hotel stays at next year. Wyndham, Choice, and some of the other “lower” end hotel chains don’t do much for us. IHG Spire is probably the worst top tier elite status as the benefits don’t provide much, and we already have IHG Platinum status by just having their co-branded credit card. So that leaves us with Hilton and Hyatt.
Hilton Diamond status is definitely intriguing and would be easy to earn due to the Hilton status match opportunity. With just 8 stays in 90 days, Adam can easily earn Hilton Diamond status. That would be easy to do and there are Hilton properties everywhere he travels. But we just don’t find ourselves staying at Hilton properties too often for some reason. And the benefits are actually not that much better then the benefits you gain with Hilton Gold status – and we have that status. We can also easily get Hilton Diamond status with the Hilton Aspire credit card if we end up finding ourselves at a Hilton property where Diamond benefits would be worthwhile.
Hyatt Globalist status is my ideal, but I am just not sure we will be able to earn the status. Adam will have to complete 60 nights which is completely out of the realm of how often he travels and I definitely do not want him to be away that many nights anyways! But, if we gets the Hyatt credit card that will definitely put him closer. With the credit card, you receive 5 nights off the bat towards status and then for every $5,000 spent on the card, that will earn an additional 2 nights towards status. But with his business spend and our personal spend combined, we wont come even close to making up the difference needed. I do not love getting involves in manufactured spend, but I could make it work if need be. Earning Hyatt status will be a long shot, but definitely my preferred status. The benefits are amazing for our family, especially the suite upgrades! Also, once you earn Hyatt status, they give you a break on earning it for the following years, so it would be slightly easier.
Or maybe he becomes a free agent and just follows the best hotel promotion at the time. He can easily get his Hilton Diamond status, which means he will have top tier status at both Hilton and Marriott, and then follows the points based on the best promotion at the time. This approach actually might be the best option for maximizing our points. Since we already have a healthy number of points in all of the programs, it doesn’t really matter to us if we earn points in one program over the other. What matters the most might just be the amount of points we earn for a certain stay.
Are you starting to think about your hotel strategy yet for next year?