For years, I’ve said I’m happy to be a free agent. Not being loyal to any travel company lets me book whatever fits our travel needs for each trip. Over time, I’ve realized that I’m not as much of a free agent as I’d like to think.
For the last three years, we’ve had Marriott Bonvoy Platinum status, and while I’ve never stayed for a Marriott hotel because of the status benefits, I’ll include their hotels in my searches. Honestly, the only perk we’ve gotten from status was special parking spaces at a Courtyard by Marriott in Texas.
We also have several hotel co-brand credit cards which offer free night certificates and I’m always trying to figure out a way to burn those, lest I let them go to waste.
Finally, if I’m free to pick a hotel, I’ll spend way too much time comparing properties looking at location, amenities, reviews, etc. No longer can I simply look at an area, find a place close to why we’re going and make a reservation. Times were so much easier back then.
This brings me to my point. What must it be like to have top-tier loyalty status and never doubt where you’ll stay? Or if you’re staying in a big city, it must be nice to compare hotels based on which one will most likely provide a suite upgrade and has the best breakfast.
I’m jealous of people who have hotel status that means something, like World of Hyatt’s Globalist status. When I read their reviews, they’re full of mentions about upgrades to suites, club lounge access, complimentary breakfasts consisting of more than just powdered eggs and multiple starches and hotel staff proactively offering a late checkout.
None of these things are necessary, but having them doesn’t suck either. I can be happy in the entry-level room with a king-size bed and we can go to Starbucks for coffee in the morning. If I wanted those extras, I could book a club level room as we did in Kauai, or I could use a Hyatt Privé agent (which gives many of the same perks received by Globalists.)
I know that it’s possible to buy up to the level of service provided to top-tier hotel loyalty members, it would be nice to know that I’d receive those benefits on every stay.
I also know we don’t stay at hotels enough for any program to give us top-tier status. I’d have to devote every one of our stays to a single brand to come close. Even that plan would depend on finding a chain that’s everywhere we travel and possibly augmenting our stay credits with a co-brand credit card.
Since we don’t stay at hotels that much over a year, I’m OK receiving the standard treatment except for the rare occasions when we’re feeling a little bit extra and pay to be treated like we’re someone important.
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