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Best hotel loyalty program

Discussion in 'General Discussion | Miles/Points' started by sappy02, Nov 5, 2012.  |  Print Topic


Best Hotel Loyalty Program

Poll closed Nov 19, 2012.
  1. SPG

    13 vote(s)
  2. Marriott

    2 vote(s)
  3. Hyatt

    12 vote(s)
  4. Hilton

    8 vote(s)
  1. sappy02

    sappy02 Active Member

    In your opinion what is the best hotel loyalty program? The programs I am interested in are: SPG, Marriott, Hyatt, and Hilton’s. There are pros/cons for each but hopefully folks can shed some light on their experiences with these loyalty programs. Some factors that I consider important in choosing the right program are as follows:

    - Racking up the highest number of points per $ spent (and it just so happens that the hotels in the area are not that expensive)
    - Most generous rewards relative to the points gained
    - Keeping the status for longer (not sure how long I will travel after I achieve elite status)
    - The breadth of hotel options across the world
    - Quality of the hotels in the network
    - Versatility of point redemption program
    - Perks of top tier status
  2. sobore
    • Original Member

    sobore Gold Member

    I'm curious, why no IHG?
    rwoman, Sweet Willie, Kalboz and 3 others like this.
  3. edekba

    edekba Gold Member

    In My Opinion
    • Hilton
    • Hyatt
    • IDK
    • Hilton
    • SPG
    • SPG
    • Hyatt
    Heh can you guess what programs I focus on? :-p
    Kalboz, marcwint55 and Jimgotkp like this.
  4. Jimgotkp
    • Original Member

    Jimgotkp Gold Member

    Personally, I think Hyatt and SPG are the best hotel loyalty programs if staying under 75+ nights a year. If you stay at hotels for 75+ nights a year then I would say Marriott and Priority Club. I only recommend Priority Club if you go to cities where there are IC properties because imho PC Plat is useless. The only useful status with PC is RA Ambassador which is only beneficial if staying at an IC.

    If I were to stay 75+ nights a year at hotels, I would go for SPG Plat and Hyatt Diamond but that's just me...
    flyingdawg, marcwint55 and edekba like this.
  5. Steven Schwartz
    • Original Member

    Steven Schwartz Gold Member

    Hyatt's claim to fame is great benefits and they ALWAYS deliver more than they promise. Starwood's is Cash and Points and the ability to get suite upgrades on an award stay - BUT!!! sometimes you really have to fight for it. You get a great room but a bad taste.

    We bought a Marriott timeshare years ago and that made Marriott my first experience with hotel points. After all these years, I'm still not uber-impressed.

    In the end, I'm grateful beyond words for the amazing number of free, incredible and opulent vacations I've been able to have.
  6. marcwint55

    marcwint55 Gold Member

    Hyatt and SPG and both great programs.

    Hyatt will get you four suite upgrades, good for up to one week each when you reach Diamond at 25 stays or 50 nights. They also have lifetime Diamond after about $200,000.00 in spending.

    SPG is really great for permanent status as you can be lifetime platinum after 10 years of platinum qualifying and 500 total nights, which includes award nights.

    The suite upgrades at SPG are not as generous as you need 75 nights to get 10 nights of guaranteed suite upgrades.

    I have found that both of those chains will generally upgrade their top tier members, and I have usually had success in getting a suite. Sometimes I have to be a bit persistent, but it usually works. Hyatt tends to be easier in the suite department.

    Marriott is not as generous as you need 75 nights to hit their top tier and their lifetime platinum is not easy to achieve. I've had platinum with them and they are usually good about upgrading.

    Hilton has been very good about upgrading and their top tier status can be achieved easily, but they have no lifetime status. You must qualify every year.
    flyingdawg and Jimgotkp like this.
  7. sicemdawgs

    sicemdawgs Silver Member

    I can attest to IHG Platinum status as being useless.

    SOLTATIO Silver Member

    I have had more luck with being upgraded by Hilton as a Gold than being platinum, diamond, super-duper superman level with other chains. My vote goes there.
    Ltyka1 and Kalboz like this.
  9. sobore
    • Original Member

    sobore Gold Member

    I did receive a few upgrades as a IHG Plat and the 50% point bonus. Now IHG Gold, that's where useless really means something! :p
    sicemdawgs and TRAVELSIG like this.
    • Original Member

    TRAVELSIG Gold Member

    Best Western card tops all for uselessness.

    Earlier this year we ended up at a Best Western near Beijing as it was the only hotel with last minute availability near where our meetings were. Literally the only hotel. I pulled out my Best Western card at checkin (which by the way they didn't even recognize- as in didn't know what it was) and all my colleagues started laughing. A lot. They thought it was a joke.

    Back on topic- the best program really depends where you travel to: for example Hilton is great in the United States and in some large cities in Latin America and Asia while SPG is far better for coverage in Europe and while International Hyatt properties are often wonderful they can frequently be a tad expensive for business travel depending on how much you like to spend.
    Sweet Willie and sobore like this.
  11. Sweet Willie
    • Original Member

    Sweet Willie Gold Member

    OP also forgot the "none" category, as well as numerous other programs
  12. thegrailer
    • Original Member

    thegrailer Silver Member

    Crowne Plaza in CPH gave upgrades and lounge access so I got something out of having PLT status. Lounge access was great since having at least some free booze saved a ton of money.

    quote="sicemdawgs, post: 1736544, member: 87932"]I can attest to IHG Platinum status as being useless.[/quote]
    Sweet Willie likes this.
  13. sappy02

    sappy02 Active Member

    It's because the hotel choices I have do not include any hotels in the IHG network.
  14. sappy02

    sappy02 Active Member

    Which one would you use in that case?
  15. Wandering Aramean
    • Original Member

    Wandering Aramean Gold Member

    What about wallet loyalty?? I get a lot more value on that than the hotel status benefits.
    Sweet Willie likes this.
  16. edekba

    edekba Gold Member

    which case?
  17. MSPeconomist
    • Original Member

    MSPeconomist Gold Member

    SPG gives you ten confirmed suite upgrades (confirmed 2-5 days before arrival) at 50 nights per year. The Hyatt suite certs can't be used for award stays but can be confirmed at time of booking. Many Hyatt suite upgrades are to junior suites, while SPG generally gives a standard suite, depending on the property. SPG will also upgrade Plats (25 stays or 50 nights per year) to standard suites if available either at checkin or when rooms are preassigned before arrival.
    sappy02 and marcwint55 like this.
  18. marcwint55

    marcwint55 Gold Member

    thanks for correcting my typo.
  19. traveltoomuch

    traveltoomuch Silver Member

    Hilton has been my program of choice for years, largely because of useful perks at the relativity-easy-to-get Gold tier and the availability of hotels. Award prices are pretty bad, though cash-and-points is nice.

    SMD3 brought me over to Hyatt, and it's been impressing me enough that I've had only two qualifying Hilton nights this year. The main downside is the small footprint and the dearth of mid-range properties -- if Hyatt Place doesn't float your boat, there's not much else at that price point. The other downside is the threshold for the tier that gets you breakfast and/or lounge: at Hilton it's 16 stays or 36 nights (Gold); with Hyatt it's 25/50 (Diamond). Upside: even the lowest-end Hyatt properties have decent bedding. If I didn't have Hyatt Diamond, I'd probably go back to Hilton.

    One standout of Hyatt: they honor status perks even on non-qualifying stays (e.g. priceline). Other brands typically have a poilcy of not doing so and practice varies widelt.
    edekba likes this.
  20. flyingdawg
    • Original Member

    flyingdawg Gold Member

    Often overlooked, but the SPG Moments Program is wonderful. The program allows you to bid SPG Points on experiences of various sorts from concert and sporting events to cooking classes with stars ect.
    edekba likes this.
  21. Sweet Willie
    • Original Member

    Sweet Willie Gold Member

    wallet loyalty is quite nice, I've argued for both hotel loyalty or no loyalty (wallet loyalty) depending upon how lucrative hotel promos are (especially back in the day of Hyatts buy 2 get 1 free).

    As with any program(s) YMMV, as of course if someone else is paying the bill why not utilize a hotel loyalty program. For me right now, wallet loyalty is the winner in my book this year, very slim pickings promo wise.
    so perhaps the title should be "Best Hotel Program considering choices that sappy02 has" :)
  22. norge
    • Original Member

    norge Silver Member

    I love Hilton because mid-tier (Gold) status gets me free breakfast, wi-fi & a room u/g now & then. Can't beat it. You'd have to have TOP tier in most programs to get these freebies.
    suenam and traveltoomuch like this.
  23. traveltoomuch

    traveltoomuch Silver Member

    Wallet loyalty has some serious perks. I used priceline extensively in 2008-2011 including one year with upwards of 80 room nights booked through priceline.

    I've found priceline less useful this year due to higher prices and more limited availability, but I've also been more willing to pay a small premium to get my Hyatt perks and points.
    Sweet Willie likes this.
    • Original Member

    TRAVELSIG Gold Member

    In SE Asia it is quite hard to beat agoda.com which also gives you 4-7% credit towards future bookings on any agoda booking. Using the credit is easy- you just click on the use my points button and it lets you decide how much you would like to discount your next booking. Saves a bit of money particularly in Thailand, India, Sri Lanka, Cambodia, etc.
    Sweet Willie likes this.
  25. Sweet Willie
    • Original Member

    Sweet Willie Gold Member

    some would say that with the money they save by not being loyal, they easily cover a breakfast & wi-fi (if they even need to as some don't need/want a hotel breakfast or wi-fi). Room upgrade is a who cares in my book if I'm traveling alone (which is most of the time), just give me a clean bed/clean bathroom.

    The other benefit to not being locked into a program is the freedom to truly choose where one wants to stay, Hilton (nor any chain) has a property in every location and if they do, it might not be the best location or the price point/award level one wants to pay.

    If your employer is subsidizing some/all of your hotel stays the above is moot.
    Wandering Aramean likes this.

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