Earning the Most Amount of Points for My Family: Hilton vs. Hyatt vs. Marriott


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My husband Adam is the business traveler in the family and with a new year starting soon we want to make sure to align his business hotel strategy with our family travel goals. While I’ve already determined that Hyatt will give my family the best benefits while traveling, I also want to ensure we are maximizing the points earned.

Maximizing Our Points

The #1 thing to know is that all points are not created equal. So while you might earn more points at one chain over another, you also have to look at their redemption value. There are also other factors to take into consideration — points earned from status and points earned from the hotel chains co-branded credit card. With the chart below I took a few things into account: 1) The credit card that will earn you the most number of points, and 2) Top Tier status with Marriott is Platinum (not Platinum Premier). This is because the number of nights needed to earn Platinum status is similar to earning status with the other two chains.

Because of the amount my husband travelers and combined with credit card benefits, I am assuming top status with all chains when figuring out which hotel group will earn us the most amount of points. I am also assuming he is spending 35 nights a year with an average hotel cost of $200/night ($7,000 spend/year).

With the calculations above, he will earn the following:

Hyatt: Will earn 10.5 points per dollar spent –> total points earned = 73,500 World of Hyatt points

Hilton: Will earn 34 points per dollar spent + 1,000 points per stay (Diamond benefit) –> total points earned = 260,000 Hilton Honors points

Marriott: Will earn 21 points per dollar spent + 500 points per stay (Platinum benefit) —> total points earned = 158,500 Marriott Bonvoy points

Based on my families typical travel patterns, we stay at the lower end of the high end properties — 20,000 points with Hyatt, 50,000 points with Marriott, and 80,000 point properties with Hilton. Based on the number of points we’ll earn, that will get us 3.68 nights at a Hyatt hotel, 3.25 nights at a Hilton hotel, or 3.17 nights at a Marriott hotel. Of course this doesn’t account for the various promotions throughout the year or the fact that Hilton and Marriott both give you your 5th night free when using points. It also doesn’t account for the fact that Hyatt and Marriott are now offering peak vs. off-peak awards. Fortunately, Hyatt’s chance doesn’t go into effect until March, so as long as we make our peak reservations before then, we will be locked into the normal rate for the rest of the year.

Over the past few years, none of the hotel chains have actually offered outstanding promotions, but Hilton has seem to be the “better” of the bunch. With the 5th night free opportunities and the bonus points earned with promotions, Hilton would probably give us the biggest bang for our buck.

resort pool
Pool at the Hyatt Baha Mar

But… we think we are going to stick with Hyatt. Here are the two reasons why:

Suite Night Upgrades

When we travel with our kids, having a suite is amazing. Our kids are still young, they go to bed at different times, wake up at different times, and do not always sleep through the night —  having some separation overall is definitely a requirement. When you complete 50 and 60 nights, respectively, with Hyatt you earn two suite upgrades to use (for a total of four). The suite upgrades can be used on one stay up to 7 nights, which is a pretty amazing benefit. The best part, however, is that these upgrades can be used at the time of booking and are not based on availability when you check in. For us, knowing ahead of time that we are going to have a suite is huge! We might even pick a vacation destination based on knowing we will get a suite.

Complimentary Breakfast for Us AND our Kids

At all three hotel chains, if there is a Club Lounge, then there is no issue (usually) getting us and the kids breakfast. But, when there is no Club Lounge (for example, almost every Marriott resort!), Marriott and Hilton only grant breakfast to two guests in the room. Hyatt, on the other hand, will provide breakfast to two adults AND two kids. This means our kids can eat for free as well and we do not have to have the added expense. Also, Marriott and Hilton only offer continental breakfast as a benefit, where Hyatt offers “full” breakfast.

Earning Top Tier Status

For my family, earning top tier status is very do-able when we combine business stays with leisure stays and credit card spend. Here is how you can earn status at these three chains:

Hilton

With the Hilton Honors American Express Aspire Card you automatically receive top-tier Diamond status. Getting this status right off the bat without having to step foot into a Hilton hotel is great. No need to earn status the hard way.

Hyatt

You need 60 nights to earn top-tier Globalist status. While this is definitely not as easy to earn as some of the other hotel chains, the World of Hyatt Credit Card will give you 5 nights towards status plus you’ll earn you 2 nights towards status with every $5,000 put on card. Since all “stays” towards status can be combined, earning top tier status might not be as hard as you think.

Marriott

You need 50 nights a year to earn Platinum status and all Marriott credit cards, such as the any Marriott co-branded credit card, such as the Marriott Bonvoy Boundless Credit Card, will give you 15 nights towards status a year. (You can only receive a maximum of 15 nights per year regardless of the number of Marriott credit cards you have).

pine cliffs marriott
Stay in a two-bedroom villa on the beach in Portugal using your Marriott points.

Overall

I am very set on earning as many Hyatt points as possible this year and maintaining our Hyatt Globalist status. While I know that this might not allow us to fully maximizing the points earned, it is the best overall option for my family.

What is your families hotel strategy next year for maximizing your points earned?

The responses below 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.


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Delta Segment Flyer
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Delta Segment Flyer

I end up staying at more than one chain. But to my Hyatt gets great value, treated well and also some good low point award travel plus the guaranteed upgrades. Not close IMHO if you can hit the 60. Without credit card at about 65 and only needed 55. Will get the credit card after first of year and make getting globalist very easy.

Courtyard
Guest

Thanks for this comparison. I am traveling alot and prefer Marriott. I have never heard about this Point-Programm. Starwood card seems to be a very good idea.

FreeIsGood
Guest
FreeIsGood

I would strongly suggest considering the opportunity cost of that 50k Hyatt credit card statement – not just in the value of points but in terms of many ‘easy’ sign up bonuses that require spend to earn. You also mention that you might have to buy gift cards, which signals that 50k is indeed stretching it and not a good long term strategy to place stays. (Might be worth it to hoard Hyatt points for a few years then burn them all with a well timed status run). But back to the opportunity cost. I think it makes more sense… Read more »

kodoma
Guest
kodoma

Now that Marriott has taken over and destroyed SPG, I will start with Hyatt next year. I get far better redemption value in big cities with Hyatt. Will burn some SPG points and take advantage of my Plat status this year but no more paid stays for me.

Six million point man
Guest
Six million point man

I am a life time Platinum on Marriott, lifetime diamond at Hilton and switched to Hyatt 3 years ago at the merger start. The two things that are different. HYATT service- knows the socks off off of both Marriott and Hilton. Suite redemption. I tried using my Marriott suite redemption award this week and while there was a suite available for my stay, the new Marriott hotel refused to honor. “We want to try and sell the room and won’t let you use a suite night award. If you have 2 million points you redeem. That’s. 400,000 points a night… Read more »

Kyle Hawkins
Guest
Kyle Hawkins

I’m so torn, so thanks for the article. I’m currently Platinum Marriott, Diamond Hilton and Platinum Choice. I have auto diamond at Hilton bc of the Aspire. Most of my stays are at like Hampton/Garden Inn/Springhill Suites/etc. And most of my stays are all 1 night stays, so the Hilton bonuses for stays always really help me, and I earned a TON of Lufthansa miles this year bc of that bonus of 2500 per Hilton stay. I love the Hyatt near my main city of trips, but it’s not in any of my other. So I’m not sure I could… Read more »

WR2
Guest
WR2

If you are sticking with Hyatt, why not still get the Aspire? Good to have backup top tier status with Hyatt’s limited footprint. It’s a ridiculously lucrative card too.

Boraxo
Guest
Boraxo

Agree 100%. Next to Marriott, Hyatt is the best for our redemption needs and has properties everywhere we like to go except weak in Europe. Suites and breakfasts are big plus for families. Hilton is a joke at high end & resorts.

James
Guest
James

We like Hilton for the wide range of properties offered and even though we already own an every other year Marriott timeshare, we prefer the flexibility of Hilton’s every other year timeshare that we just purchased in DC that provides hotel points that we can use and we no longer have to qualify for Gold status since retiring last year. I also get points that I can use on any airline or hotel on my Merrill Visa Signature card that provides the flexibility rather than be limited to any one airline or hotel so using these points for travel to… Read more »

Jason Brandt Lewis
Guest
Jason Brandt Lewis

RANDOM THOUGHTS (and remembering that, clearly, no one size fits all): For me, the problem with Hyatt remains their small footprint. In many of the places I travel — and it’s important to note I’m semi-retired, and my “road warrior” days are long past — Hyatt properties are either nonexistent, or what’s available are only the low-end properties (Hyatt House, Hyatt Place). Generally this means Hyatt is a non-starter. Like Adam, I was an SPG loyalist, and in the pre-merger world, Starwood was my “go to,” followed by Hilton, with Marriott third. For 2018, “Marriwood” was still my go to,… Read more »

Sheena
Guest
Sheena

Just curious if there is any reason you didn’t include IHG in your article? When I started my travels I was Hilton, then I moved to Marriott, now I’m with IHG (mainly based on point value). I must confess, I’ve not really even looked in the Hyatt program. With IHG I get 10 regular points per stay, a 100% bonus for being Spire Elite, and then 5 points per $ using my IHG card (the new credit card with an $89 annual fee will get you 10 points rather than 5). So 25/30 points per dollar depending on which card… Read more »

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