For most of my life, I never understood why people valued hotel status. Besides free internet and a sub-par breakfast, what were you getting for your loyalty?
That was, until my first business trip when I ate the hotel breakfast for 6 out of 8 mornings because of my Hilton Gold status. Since then, I get why people chase status and go on mattress runs to collect nights to reach a higher status level. I’m personally still not going to do it, but now I understand instead of asking, “What’s the big deal about a free breakfast?”
2020 and 2021 have thrown the hotel loyalty universe into chaos. Status extensions, roll-over night credits, reduced status levels and additional credits from prior status and co-brand credit cards have made it easier than ever to attain status for 2021 into 2022.
Here’s where we sit with our hotel status levels, how we got there and if we’re going to keep it.
Both Sharon and I have Hilton Gold status for 2021. I have it because I earned it in 2019 from my work travel and my status carried over into 2020. Sharon got her status by having the Hilton Surpass AMEX card. Even with Hilton slashing the requirements to earn status by 50% and rolling credits from 2020, there’s no way I’ll earn status in 2021. That will leave Sharon the only one with Gold status in 2021 if we keep her Surpass card open for another year.
I’m happy with keeping Hilton Gold as I think that’s the sweet spot of the Honors program.
Sharon earned Marriott Bonvoy Platinum status through a back door when the Marriott Rewards and SPG programs merged in 2018. This gave her status for all of 2019 and the beginning of 2020. We milked the last few days of status with stays in January and February and ended up with enough nights, when added to the COVID credits, to earn platinum status for 2020 into 2021. Now we’re in 2021 and with Marriott’s gift of 1/2 of the status requirements and having Marriott co-brand credit cards, Sharon’s Marriott Bonvoy Platinum for 2021, 2022, and into 2023 without a single hotel stay in 2021.
Since I think Platinum is also the sweet spot of the Marriott Bonvoy program, I’m not sad about getting the status for another 2 years.
IHG Rewards Club
The only IHG level higher is Spire Elite, which takes 75 nights to earn and isn’t much better than the status you get from just having a co-brand credit card.
World of Hyatt
I have Hyatt Discoverist status by holding the World of Hyatt co-brand card. Hyatt has dropped the qualification levels for status in 2021 by 50%. It now takes 15 tier qualifying nights to reach Explorist and 30 tier qualifying nights for Globalist. I already have 5 nights from the Hyatt Credit card. The only status worth going for is Globalist and we’re not going to travel enough in 2021 to get 25 nights.
Accor, Choice & Wyndham
I have no status with any of these programs.
When I look at our hotel status levels, I’m satisfied where we are. At our pre-COVID peak, the most we stayed at hotels for a year was 52 nights. There’s no way that either of us is going to earn status by staying at hotels. With a combination of hacking the current reduced requirements and status from credit cards, we’re assured of getting free internet and hopefully a room that doesn’t overlook the a/c unit or the dumpster.
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This post first appeared on Your Mileage May Vary