Wait, Hotel Status Doesn’t Matter For Families???

a group of people posing for a photo

I must have missed the newsflash.  Someone re-wrote the value of hotel elite status, scoring it low on the upside list for families.  But, I’m getting ahead of myself.

Dia, who writes the blog Deal Mommy, is a friend of mine.  Sometimes we see eye-to-eye, nodding our heads when sharing travel tips.  Other times, our views depart. I read Dia’s take about how hotel status matters less for families last night.

Boy, do we disagree.  I’m hoping Dia jumps in here for a friendly debate.  Kinda like the throw down Jeanne and I had a few years ago before the merger of American Airlines and US Airways.

Dia uses the example of a Hyatt Regency versus a Hyatt Place in Chicago.  She details the much bigger room at the Hyatt Place as her primary reasoning for why the property matters more than her elite status.  This just leaves so much unaccounted for…..

Families, How Many Bedrooms And Bathrooms Are There In Your House?

Family travel is just different.  If you have a couple of kids, I see you nodding your head.  Don’t lurk in the back of the room.  Come up front here.  How many bedrooms does your family have for your 2 kids?  3, you say?  Ah, yes.  One for you and your spouse and one for each of your children.  2 bathrooms?  Got it.

Ah, I see another hand in the back.  Come on up front and help us with some more perspective.  You have a smaller home?  Your two kids share a bedroom with each other, while you and your husband sleep in the other bedroom?  Ah, but you still have two bathrooms.

See, here’s the thing.  Very few families live in one bedroom and one bathroom.  So, why should we decide that’s the default answer when we go on vacation?

Dia and her daughter handled a Hyatt Place just fine.  And, even though I’m spoiled, I could share a hotel room with one of my kids.  No problem.  But, I’m not trying to do that for a week-long vacation.  That’s just not enough space for a family of 4.

Sometimes, life is about sacrifices.  I see all your heads nodding out there again.  But, what if you could use that elite hotel status to make family travel better.  How, you ask?  I’m glad you did.  But, you saw that coming.  😉

How Elite Status Helps Families Travel

There are plenty of different flavors of family travel.  Your style of travel will guide the sort of benefits you can get from elite status.  Let’s take a look:

Earning Extra Points: Ground zero for family travel is to figure out how to get two rooms.  Sure, you can survive in one room, 4 people sharing a bathroom.  But, if you can earn points at a higher rate due to your elite status, that means you’ve got a better shot to be able to afford two rooms.

Connecting Rooms: One of my favorite benefits of elite status is when we’re requesting connecting rooms.  Don’t get me wrong.  Elite status isn’t a guarantee that you’ll get connecting rooms.  Lots of variables here, including when you book and how busy the hotel is.  But, being able to say, “I give this hotel chain a lot of business throughout the year and I could use your help” is a more convincing line than “pretty please, with sugar on top”.

Upgrades: Again, no guarantees.  But, elite status can help you earn an upgrade to a larger room.  Sure, sometimes that’s a luxurious suite at a seaside resort.  But, it can also be a corner room in a sleepy Sheraton with an extra couch and some space to spread out.

Free Breakfast/Lounge Access: Free breakfast is a common benefit for folks who hold elite status, though there are a few exceptions (cough, IHG, cough).  I don’t need a luxurious breakfast.  I do enjoy the breakfast at both Hyatt Place and Hyatt House.  It’s more than enough for our family of 4.

I also like the comfort of knowing that I’ll get a breakfast at all the other properties in the portfolio.  That can add up to some big savings in a European city where no Hyatt Place is available.  Okay, I can’t help it.  I’m throwing in the obligatory Park Hyatt Paris Vendome reference just to try and get under Dia’s skin.  But, I think the Hyatt Regency Etoile is an even better fit for families, especially when they complete room renovations.

Hotel Status Doesn't Matter For Families
The Buffet Breakfast Included For Diamonds At Park Hyatt Place Vendome-Paris


The Final Two Pennies

Come on Dia.  Give me your best shot!  It’s still a good time to be an elite member of a hotel loyalty program.  Does that mean you should spend hundreds of dollars mattress running?  I’d lump that in the same category as buying points or miles when they’re “on sale”.  If you know how to leverage the benefits, go for it.  But, I wouldn’t recommend either speculatively.

Hotel elite status can make a big difference in the quality of family travel.  Especially when there’s a line for the only bathroom!

Which Side Are You On?

The post Wait, Hotel Status Doesn’t Matter For Families??? was published first on Pizza in Motion



    1. Michael, hahahaha. Hyatt Place breakfast is just fine. Some HPs cut corners. But, most stick to the script and have a hot breakfast sandwich, eggs, bacon, pancakes, oatmeal, hard-boiled eggs, etc. I don’t need extravagant for breakfast. I need fresh/hot and quick.

  1. Having traveled with kids exstensivly for 20+ years I have to say I’m with Dia on this one. Status is nice when I travel solo or with just my husband (which I get to do more and more now that the kids are grown) but with kids in tow status is worth very little and even less once your kids pass age (is it 10? Where breakfast benefits get cut off in no lounge Hyatt’s and Hilton’s). And tbh lounge breakfast is at best okay in most places, limited for adults and even more limited for kids.

    Status is nice but it will have less and less value as your kids age.

  2. Hyatt’s policy on breakfast for Globalists is for only two people now, no? That would make the breakfast benefit at a limited service property better for families. The same applies with other chains where they only offer breakfast/lounge access for one more additional guest (total of two guests) unless you pay for each additional guest. However, with most of the full-service properties charging quite a bit for breakfast ($20+ per person), it’s probably better to head outside and eat at a cafe.

      1. Children 12 and under, per Haley’s point above.
        (and thanks for sparring with me. It helps keep me nimble 🙂

  3. Hi, think I’m going to start another controversy here by saying that “status doesn’t much matter for anyone any longer – families or singles…” I clarify this by hotel and also qualify that this is based on my own personal experience only. Marriott seems to have almost fallen apart since their acquisition of Starwood. I hasten to add that I’m a Marriott “Lifetime” Gold as well as Platinum Premiere Elite. I’m Hyatt Globalist; and only Silver Hilton.

    I have noticed that none of the chains seem to put much stock in their loyalty programs these days – of the three, Hyatt seems to be trying harder to please customers.

    Be interested in your comments?

  4. If this was 5+ years ago, I probably would be in more agreement. Now, for me, I prefer hotels and a more luxurious environment. I will also say that programs like FHR can provide a lot (plus more, and better properties) than just elite status with a hotel group. In addition, FHR’s benefits are contractual, so a 16:00 check-out is REALLY a 16:00 check out. Now, back to Elite Status with hotels, the “strong” mid-teir status that is available easily without meeting stay requirements (Marriott Gold/SPG Gold/Hilton Gold) are quite the win-win since you are getting the status perks without having to spend a horrible number of nights at any of these chains. Regarding the best perks (suite upgrades, etc.) that’s a tough one, since qualifying for Marriott/SPG Platinum or Hyatt Globalist; that takes a LOT of nights and stays; often forcing you to stay at Marriott or Hyatt properties when there are better (sometimes even independent non-big-chain) options. The Hyatt Breakfast that requires Globalist, just doesn’t seem worth it to me unless you are always staying at Hyatt properties based on your business travel (and, once again, you get a better or equivalent breakfast option via programs like FHR or Virtuoso). Now, to me, the bigger argument is why stay in a hotel at all? For non-road warrior types, families have amazing options with AirBnB — especially in Europe. You’re talking 2-3 rooms + lots of space (and a kitchen) for far less than your average Park Hyatt in Europe (yes, I know, points, but that’s not always an option for folks — and some people are doing a European holiday for 7-14 days… that’s a LOT of points for top SPG and Hyatt properties). So, I’m not really sure that Elite Status for hotels works for all families. Does it work for mine? Yes, in combination with FHR. Could I personally choose AirBnBs… yes, but I’m a hotel guy and really like twice daily maid service, hotel bars and room service. But, for many family travellers today… they are looking far beyond anything hotels (luxury or otherwise) can offer…. and it totally makes sense.

  5. I agree with Dia on this one. If I took your advice, I would:
    – Spend twice as much money/points on two rooms instead of one room
    – Beg for connecting rooms (if the hotel even has them and doesn’t screw-up the room assignments). The best most places will do for you in advance is put a request note on the reservation
    – Stress out over whether I might actually get an upgrade, and beg if I don’t
    – Set a bad example for my kids by stressing out over upgrades, adjoining rooms, and begging for elite handouts instead of enjoying a rare non-business trip
    – Blow a gasket with my kids watching when the hotel screws up my adjoining room request
    – Make my kids eat food scrapings and leftover peach yogurt at a cramped lounge\

    All for what . . . a free Snickers bar platinum gift at check-in at the Marriott?

  6. Connecting rooms huh? You admit it is not a benefit of any hotel program, any at all. Zero. Zilch. None. But yet it is a benefit of elite status for you. What is the track record of elite status vs. non elite status among the major chains for getting a connecting room vs. not getting one? By major, I mean Marriott, Hyatt and Hilton of course. Presumably, you’ve got a lousy track record at those hotels where have no status and a fabulous track record at those where you do, and data from each to back it up.

    My guess: that part is B.S. and misleads people here.

    1. Mdtravel, I actually have am excellent track record getting connecting rooms. I have to work at it. It takes effort to communicate my needs. Best proof of that is looking at my trip reports and seeing the suites or other rooms we get the show connecting rooms.

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