Having Hotel Elite Status is a must for both the business and leisure traveler. Actually, it could be even argued that it is more important than airline status, and can be earned for as little as four stays at a hotel property (lower tier elite status, that is).
The Complimentary Suite Upgrades, Free Breakfast, Free Internet, 4 pm Checkout and Premium Bonus Points that come with elite status can add up to huge savings and a much more relaxing and enjoyable hotel experience.
Similar to airlines, Elite status at the major hotel properties will usually come in three flavors:
- Low-Tier Status (such as Marriott Silver, Hilton Silver…)
- Mid-Tier Status (such as Hyatt Platinum, Marriott Gold, etc…)
- High-Tier Status (such as Hyatt Diamond, Starwood Platinum, Marriott Platinum, etc..)
That said, not all programs are created equal. Each hotel company has different requirements for attaining the various levels of elite status and they can vary dramatically.
There are a couple of ways to get Elite Status:
- Hotel Stays – earning it the hard way…
- Status Match – a great way to expedite the process
- Travel Credit Cards – you can spend your way to elite status with the right credit cards
- Promotions – hotels will offer some fast track promotions, in addition to status match, to earn elite status much faster.
Which program is best for you? That really depends on your travel preferences. For example, the top tier status in the Hyatt Gold Passport program, Diamond Elite, is widely regarded as the most lucrative top tier program in the industry, but they only have about 500 properties in 48 countries. Contrast that with Marriott and Hilton which each have close to 4,000 properties in over 70 countries, but have a much stricter qualification process and not as many benefits.
Check out the following Hotel Elite Status Profiles from the major hotel chains and see which ones are the best fit for you and how to get a status match:
Other: There are a variety of smaller hotel programs as well such as Joie deVivre, Stash, Thompson, etc.. While these all have great properties, we are going to focus on the major chains for this exercise.
Milepro Tip: Pick one that you want to focus on, but sign up for all of them. There is no charge and only takes a couple of minutes to sign up for each of these.
At a minimum, make sure you sign up for the loyalty program of any hotel that you plan on staying with because the benefits start as soon as you sign up. For example, Kimpton Hotels will give you free internet access, plus some other benefits, just for signing up for their program – that will save you around $20 per day.