Hotel Cheat Sheet – Elite Benefits

a person holding a phone

The benefits provided by elite status with one or more hotel chains are often considered to be the sweetspot of the loyalty hobby. If only because, instead of being treated a bit better for the duration of your flight, hotel benefits apply 24 hours a day for the duration of your holiday!!!

But for those who don’t necessarily have the time to study each hotel chain’s loyalty program in detail, here’s a quick cheat sheet outlining the most important elite benefits. And not every benefit… but simply those that are truly worthwhile and available to each chain’s upper tier elite members.

a living room with a large window overlooking a city
Grand Hyatt Hong Kong. Photo courtesy of Hyatt.


What everybody wants…  To spend points or pay for a standard room, and end up staying in a suite or at least a bigger room with a desirable view. Some elite members make a DYKWIA fuss to get upgraded. Others just play it cool, safe in the knowledge that well-run hotels have already upgraded their most important guests…

Hyatt Globalist

Up to standard suites… confirmed based on availability at check-in.

Globalists also can earn certificates that allow them to confirm suite upgrades in advance.

Marriott Titanium and Platinum

Up to standard suites… confirmed based on availability at check-in.

Platinum members can earn 5 Suite Night Awards that confirm five days in advance of arrival. Titanium members can choose another 5 Suite Night Awards.

Hilton Diamond and Gold

Depends on the generosity of the individual hotel. Repeat guests often receive better upgrades.

IHG Spire and Platinum

Don’t expect an upgrade you might notice, but some IHG hotels are generous.

a restaurant with tables and chairs
Lounge at Grand Hyatt Hong Kong. Photo courtesy of Hyatt.

Executive Lounge Access

Some executive lounges offer little more than a bowl of peanuts and a sometimes-working coffee machine. Others – especially overseas – offer amazing food and drink all day long.

Hyatt Globalist


Marriott Titanium and Platinum


Hilton Diamond


Hilton Gold

Only if you are upgraded to an executive floor room. (not usually a problem when available)

IHG Spire and Platinum

Rarely. Some Crowne Plaza hotels are generous.

a plate of food on a table



Some people prefer to grab a Starbucks and go. I’ve come to appreciate the value of a lazy morning taking my time over a nice hotel breakfast.

Hyatt Globalist

Guaranteed, although sometimes only in the executive lounge.

Marriott Titanium and Platinum

At most Marriott brands (excluding Ritz Carlton, Edition, Design Hotels, Courtyard, AC, Moxy). Sometimes only in the executive lounge…

Courtyard, AC and Moxy hotels are supposed to offer a daily room credit that would part-cover the cost of breakfast.

Hilton Diamond and Gold

Only outside of the United States.

Within the US, you will receive a voucher that won’t cover the cost of breakfast.

IHG Spire and Platinum

Not happening…

Late Check-Out

Who wouldn’t rather keep their room until a couple of hours before an evening flight…

Hyatt Globalist

4 p.m. is guaranteed.

Marriott Titanium / Platinum

4 p.m. is guaranteed everywhere except at “resorts”.

Hilton Diamond / Gold

Depends on the hotel / availability. 2 p.m. is a lot easier to negotiate than 4 p.m.

IHG Spire / Platinum

If available, many IHG hotels are willing to give elite members a late check-out.

Bonus Points

Although one always hopes for special treatment during a hotel stay, it’s also nice to see extra bonus points post to your account afterwards, helping you accumulate points for your next award stay.


Diamond = 100% bonus + 100-1,000 point welcome amenity

Gold = 80% bonus. Sometimes you miss out on the welcome points by choosing breakfast instead.


Spire = 100% bonus + variable welcome amenity

Platinum = 50% bonus + variable welcome amenity


Titanium = 75% bonus + 500-1,000 point welcome amenity

Platinum = 50% bonus + 500-1,000 point welcome amenity


Globalist = 30% bonus

The Bottom Line

Hyatt Globalist is the status that offers the best guaranteed (and soft, emotional) benefits. Marriott Titanium / Platinum status isn’t bad either, provided your hotel isn’t playing games to avoid its obligations…