I’m a road warrior who spends a great deal of time on the road. Between work and personal travel, it’s normal for me to have somewhere to be other than home just about every week of the year. As we passed the mid-point of 2019, I figured it was time to take a look at my progress on elite status for 2019. I already recapped my airline status progress. As we dig into hotel status for 2019, feel free to look back at my 2018 progress and predictions for 2019. Here’s how 2019 is shaping up:
World of Hyatt
I’m already a lifetime Globalist with Hyatt, though I still want to call it Diamond status. Because I’ve already achieved the highest level of lifetime status Hyatt offers there’s no specific need to stay there on a yearly basis to achieve status. The fact that I’ve already re-qualified for Globalist status in 2019 (60 nights needed) should emphasize how valuable I view Hyatt status. There is no better hotel status for road warriors. There was a time where you could argue that Hyatt’s footprint is too small. Now that they have over 1,000 hotels and a healthy pipeline of new development, the argument that a business traveler can’t rely on them for the majority fo their travel just doesn’t hold water.
Hyatt’s award category changes this year were pretty balanced. They did add a new category (Category 8) to the award chart. That’s specifically been reserved for the most luxurious of the Small Luxury Hotels of the World. Those are getting added to the Hyatt program at a pretty good pace.
Hyatt made their elite status even more valuable this year by teaming up with American Airlines to offer more earning and some interesting status match opportunities. If you haven’t linked your accounts yet, you should do it now.
They brought back one of my favorite promos for the summer, a 10% rebate on pretty much all point redemptions. And, they continue to add hotels to the mix, including some really cool properties that are part of Alila Hotels.
At first blush, I was surprised I ended up with 25 nights at the midpoint of the year. However, some of those nights came from credit cards (15, IIRC). I had one family stay in Australia (more on that further down the road) and two paid stays for work. I also booked a couple of nights for a family member as an award stay. As I suspected, I’m nowhere near the $20,000 needed to retain an Ambassador in 2020. Given all the challenges Marriott still seems to have (mostly unforced errors), I don’t see a lot of motivation to book with them. That’s a shame after over a decade of loyalty to SPG. My final year of Ambassador status will likely end with a whimper, not a bang. I still have lifetime Titanium Elite status that I can fall back on when Marriott is in my plans.
Marriott’s 2019 hasn’t been markedly better than their 2018. They started out with their CEO displaying ignorance about the basics of hotel reservations. Sometimes, you’re better saying nothing at all, though that’s not a common practice for Marriott lately. The data breach has been a sore spot for Marriott. They initially tried to pawn it off on problems SPG had. However, their horrendous response times to customers affected by the data breach clearly indicate things aren’t anywhere near right.
The Marriott award chart changes for 2019 were pretty reasonable, all things considered. I did get a pretty big surprise from American Express in relation to my Marriott AMEX card. It hasn’t done a ton to change my behavior much, but that’s more to do with the fact that Marriott points just aren’t as valuable as SPG points were. Marriott’s current summer promotion isn’t one that has inspired many.
I predicted at the end of 2018 that Hilton would get more of my business in 2019. Looks like I got that prediction correct. I had 8 nights in all of 2018 and already have 13 nights this year. I won’t make Diamond by the end of the year but may still end up with the status. More on that later as well.
One lonely night at IHG, when I was preparing for the inaugural flight out of Paine Field earlier this year (which is an incredible airport). We usually stay at a Holiday Inn Express when we visit family in Nova Scotia. We’ll be staying in a trailer this year (yikes!) so I’m imagining this is as far as my IHG counter gets this year.
The Final Two Pennies
If you follow along on a regular basis, my heavy commitment to Hyatt shouldn’t surprise you. They provide by far the best elite recognition, thus they’re the hotel status I value the most. Now that I’ve finished up qualification for the year, I could go put the lion’s share of my business through the rest of 2019 somewhere else. There are a variety of reasons that won’t be the case. The most important one right now is that Hyatt really does treat me so much better than all the other chains. Why spoil a good thing?
How are you doing chasing hotel elite status in 2019?
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