It’s that time of year again. I just noted in my mid-year airline status check that I can’t believe it’s summer already. I’m obviously pretty far down the path towards elite status for the year. I spent a few minutes putting together my progress for 2017. Along the way, I appear to have acquired quite a few more elite status cards than I was expecting. Here’s my current status levels and progress for 2017:
Hyatt Hotels (Globalist Status):
Hyatt remains my primary hotel chain. They made some pretty big changes to their loyalty program earlier this year. Those changes benefit someone like me who travels a lot. I need to stay another 17 nights to retain Globalist status for 2018. That shouldn’t be any problem at all. Notably, Hyatt set the re-qualification level for Globalist status at 55 nights instead of 60. Changes they recently made to lifetime Globalist status also means I’ll get double the number of free nights and suite upgrades once I hit 60 nights this year.
Starwood Preferred Guest (Platinum With 100 Nights):
At the midpoint of the year, I’m just about halfway to 100 nights. I’m a shoe-in to hit 50 nights, which means I’ll get to choose an SPG 50 benefit again. Will I stick my head in the sand and pick Suite Night Awards again? Possible achievements here are 75 nights to qualify for Your24 and a 4th Starpoint per dollar spent on property. And, 100 nights earns me another year with the Ambassador service.
Marriott Reward (Platinum):
Marriott’s top-tier status is awarded to those folks who qualify for SPG Platinum status as a result of their merger with Starwood. It’s a nice plus, for sure. I’ve earned more points on the few Marriott stays I’ve had than I would have otherwise, though I’ve received no other special perks (upgrades, etc) as a result of the status. I think Marriott did a great job when the merger was official, quickly working to match status and allow transfer of points between the two brands. But, it’s been almost a year since that happened. They still haven’t announced key details like whether they’ll honor SPG lifetime status.
More importantly, they haven’t plotted a path where stay activity at both chains could be used to qualify for elite status. I understand the tech might not be there mid-year to do this. But, I have to think they could manage some database queries on linked accounts to see how many nights a customer stayed with both loyalty programs. A few boxes of #2 pencils and some scratch paper….
Seriously. If the Marriott stays don’t help me re-qualify for SPG elite status, they’re giving me literally zero reason to move business there from other chains. And, the number of nights I’ve stayed at Marriott hotels this year reflects that reality.
Hilton Honors (Diamond):
This one was something of a surprise to me. I was given Hilton Honors Diamond status a few years ago as part of a partnership with American Airlines. I thought it was “nice” at the time, but I’ve never really been a Hilton guy. Earlier this year it appeared that Hilton was extending status for select folks (double-check your account if you haven’t).
That caught my attention. It now looks likely I’ll end 2017 with some form of Hilton status for 2018. I’m not sure if I’ll make it all the way to Diamond, but I’m pretty sure I’ll make it to Gold status.
You see, I’m a well-trained hamster. The folks that built the loyalty programs convinced me that status is worth something. Some folks will disagree (Hi, Seth). At any rate, that’s pretty much the sole reason those 9 nights are with Hilton in 2017 rather than with Marriott. Hilton gave me a path to additional status where Marriott didn’t.
IHG Rewards (Spire Elite):
Okay, someone needs to stop this train. First, top-tier Hilton status and now top-tier IHG status? Let’s just say neither of these were in my plans for 2017. I sort of stumbled into Spire Elite status through a backdoor I kinda knew about. It might be helpful for you folks, even if not the best value. Keep in mind that IHG elite status isn’t the most rewarding one out there.
I Wonder Where I’ll Be At The End Of 2017?
Hyatt, SPG and Hilton are the 3 chains where I will consider putting the rest of my stays through the end of 2017. I’ll be certain to score another 17 Hyatt nights. I already have most of them booked. Above 60 nights, I’m not exactly sure. Hyatt offers 10,o00 points or an additional suite upgrade for every 10 nights over 60. I definitely don’t need more suite upgrades. But, Hyatt treats me the best of any chain, by far.
I’ll also definitely lock up at least 4 more SPG nights to hit 50. That goal is too close not to hit it. 75 and 100 really are question marks. I don’t have any specific stays booked where Your24 can help me, but that’s always a possibility. 100 nights? That’s a stretch given current travel plans, though SPG will give me credit for up to 3 rooms a night and award rooms. That helps when we get two rooms on family trips. I’m just not sure we get a ton of value out the Ambassador service.
My bets? 70 or so nights with Hyatt, SPG 75 and 15 or 20 nights with Hilton.