Best Hotel Loyalty Program for those starting at Zero?

Discussion in 'General Discussion | Miles/Points' started by THREEA4ME, Feb 14, 2011.  |  Print Topic

  1. THREEA4ME
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    THREEA4ME Silver Member

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    I have 25-30 stays upcoming, zero points in every hotel chain, zero status, etc., and as an Explat, I LOVE status, so I'm reading the blogs and the experts and trying to figure out what is the best program for me, based in LA but travelling to Europe at least three times this year and once to Shanghai.

    It's a shame that because you are Executive Platinum with AA does not entitle you to any kind of transferable status, but I'm willing to put the stays in. All things being equal, what's the easiest way to achieve meaningful status (free stays and club lounge access being priorities).
     
  2. hobo13
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    hobo13 Silver Member

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    Hyatt has the lowest top-tier qualification requirement of the majors. 25 stays and you are a Diamond, easy as that.
     
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  3. justinhamlin
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    justinhamlin Active Member

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    We started out with both Hilton and Marriott and really have come to love the Marriott system a lot more due to the customer service, quality, promotions and LNF, etc. Just never been 100% sold on Hilton, more than likely due to the Marriott bias
     
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  4. Kaanapali
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    Kaanapali Gold Member

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    In the past Hilton has given some level of status for Exec Plats, but it was generally by invite only. However it never hurts to call and ask to see if they can give you a sort of status match.
     
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  5. Rambuster
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    Rambuster Silver Member

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    I'd go for Hilton Gold via one of their promos. 4 stays usually gets you Gold.
     
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  6. sobore
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    sobore Gold Member

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    I do like priority club since points do not expire and if you find a 'point break' property where you can redeem only 5000 points for a nights stay it can work out well. If you are looking for status benefits, generally Priority club is not that great. As a Platinum you do get a 50% bonus on points which is nice, occasionally a decent upgrade. Gold status is lame and not worth much other than a 10% point bonus.​
     
  7. It depends on who is paying for the travel.

    If its business or money is no object, go with Hyatt or SPG

    If its personal, Marriott or Hilton, as their portfolios allow for more coverage in the budget and economy arena.
    Additionally, these chains will\are opening more new hotels since thats the only arena getting any real investment these days. Money to build Luxury is still hard to get, compared to four years ago.
     
  8. travelingmore
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    travelingmore Gold Member

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    I agree, and Hyatt has had lots of great promotions, for free nights, and miles. But they don't have a lot of properties, so it depends where you expect to be traveling.
    Marriott is my favorite, but the qualification rungs are steep (25 Silver, 50 Gold and 75 n. a year for top level Platinum). They do, as said, have a good amount and variety of properties and it has worked for us. Next best -- Starwood -- also a lot of properties and 10 stays/25 nights for Gold, more for Platinum. Check out what's available for where you are going.
     
  9. Mark.Dragon
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    Mark.Dragon Silver Member

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    The most easiest to get "Top Status" is for me Priority Club Programm!

    You will find a Hotel of Priority Club almost everywere and they have different branchs with prices from low (like Holiday Inn or Holiday Inn Express) to high (like Crown plaza or Intercontinental)!

    With the right promos you will get the Goldstatus with almost 2 Stays and also the Platinumstatus with Points very fast! A normal Stay in a Holiday Inn for 54,-- Euro brings you around 6000 Points and sometimes also much more...

    I also like the Possibility to get for every 2 Nights one free Night with the Promos like "Biggest Free Nights Offer"
    You spend 2 nights in cheap hotels like in Holiday Inns (for around 110 Euro) and you can spend a free night for example in a Intercontinental Hotel were the Night costs more than 250 Euro! [​IMG]

    Gold Elite—Stay 15-49 nights or earn 20,000 points
    • All Club benefits plus:
    • Priority Check-in™ ensuring your room and key are ready upon your arrival
    • 10% bonus on base points
    • Exclusive toll-free Gold Elite customer service number (may not be available in all regions)



    Platinum Elite— Stay 50 or more nights or earn 60,000 points
    • All Gold elite benefits plus:
    • Complimentary room upgrades (subject to availability)
    • Guaranteed room availability (72 hours in advance)**
    • 50% bonus in base points
    • Exclusive toll-free Platinum Elite customer service number (may not be available in all regions)
     
  10. deant
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    deant Milepoint Guide

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    You might think of HHonors. If you get the Surpass card it can give you a big boost to a meaningful tier. Also the CC helps you build points rapidly.

    However, the bottom line is where you plan to travel (and on whose dime) and what hotels are available in those cities.
     
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  11. Misplaced Texan
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    Misplaced Texan Gold Member

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    I'm a big fan of Hyatt. While it's no fun to start from zero, they do generally have nice properties and it's always better to stay in a base room of a nice hotel than in a base room of a bad hotel.

    Plus, you'll be platinum after your first five stays which gets you bonus points, free internet, and a platinum reward for every three stays (can be redeemed for more points, club access, of F&B).
     
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  12. 2soonold
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    2soonold Gold Member

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    Depends[​IMG]; I went with Hilton because right now they have THE hotels that I would most like to stay in for free. On down the road, that will change for me.
     
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  13. Westsox
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    Westsox Gold Member

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    I like Hilton and Priority Club. I maintain PC status and my wife maintains HHonors status. If possible, try to get a credit card tied to whichever program you choose or maybe try both. You get additional points when using the branded credit card for hotel expenditures.

    Check out priorityclubinsider.com for all the current points offers. Sign up for all of them that might apply. May can be stacked on each other and produce many points in a short time.

    With 25 to 30 stays, a couple of credit cards, and possibly a few hotel changes while on a trip and I bet you could get status with more than one program.
     
  14. MSPeconomist
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    MSPeconomist Gold Member

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    It depends a lot on whether your goal is eventually to achieve status in the program or just to get a few benefits immediately.

    If you're arriving at a fully booked hotel, for instance as part of a large convention, you will probably get an upgraded room (but not suite, etc.) just for having signed up for the hotel's loyalty program--usually free, but be sure that your new number is added to the reservation--because everyone will have a "run of house" reservation at the same rate. If someone will be upgraded, most hotels would prefer to give the better rooms to new loyalty program members over the general public.

    A few programs give nontrivial benefits from day one, even if they're not generally useful. IIRC Loews is one, but it requires a reservation at the program's rack rates to get anything and this seems to be enforced. A better example is Omni, which gives IIRC pressing, a small upgrade, and coffee and pastry delivered for free with a wakeup call.

    The paid levels (Access or higher) of Leaders' Club (LHW) also give benefits without any nights/stay qualification requirement.
     
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  15. kenbo
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    kenbo Silver Member

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    I'll also throw in my vote for Hyatt. After 5 stays, you will be Platinum and receive free internet and have access to the priority check-in lines. For every 3rd stay after you reach Platinum, you'll receive a Platinum Extras Award. As you continue to climb the status ladder, the value/benefit of the awards will increase. I think that's a good way to keep customers engaged in the program.
     
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  16. ramolnar
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    ramolnar Silver Member

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    Where in Europe? If you're going to places with Hyatts, I'd go with Hyatt. 25 stays is very achievable, since there are relatively inexpensive weekend stays in the LA area. Hyatt Diamond gives you lounge access or full breakfast, and with bonuses it's not that hard to accumulate free stays even outside a FFN (2 stay/1 night) promo.

    Otherwise, right now I'd look at Marriott. The Air China PhoenixMiles promotion has been extended until May 31. 12 nights in 90 days gives you Gold status for all of 2011. It's open to all members, too.
    http://www.joinmarriottrewards.com/airchina/en/?enrlcode=AN10

    Priority Club is really easy to gain status with - just get the credit card - but doesn't provide the lounge access you want.
     
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  17. IDGflygirl
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    IDGflygirl Gold Member

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    I agree with my fellow Hyatt fans![​IMG]
    I started with Hyatt, acheived Diamond on a challenge, & then status-matched to SPG Plat -- all last year![​IMG]
     
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  18. mowogo
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    mowogo Gold Member

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    It depends on budget and where you are traveling. If you are going to major cities, then you can pick any program you please, as all different tiers of properties are available. If you are traveling to places even like RDU, your options start becoming limited, with only the bottom tier of Hyatt, but many levels of Hilton, Priority Club, and Marriott to choose from. SPG is similarly limited with many cities not even having any real SPG properties (Although GSO does "have" a Sheraton, it is an old property that has not seen much love). Hilton is easy to earn status, but has horrible redemption rates. Priority Club is great to earn points and status, but has few lounges. Marriott is great for earning, but the on property recognition of your status is spotty at all but the full service hotels. Thus it all boils down to where you travel, and which properties you want to stay in while you are traveling.
     
  19. tahewett
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    tahewett Silver Member

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    I have found that Priority Club works well for our travel needs. They have a broad selection of product levels as stated above (HI's to CP's and all the way to IC's). At least in the US, there are HI's in damn near every town, and most of them have been updated/remodeled in the last 5 years so they mostly feel new. There aren't lounges in them, sadly. However, on my 3 most recent stays, I've been automatically upgraded to suites before I arrived and in one oversold case on Christmas Eve, the airport HI in DEN magically came up with a room for us. (They were getting ready to turf another guest out to a different hotel to clear space for us, but actually found a just-cleaned room to put us in so no one had to face the subzero temps again...)

    Easy to get extra points by checking out priorityclubinsider.com before you book as someone else posted. You'll be Plat before you know it. And points are extremely easy to redeem - they even add a Cash & Points option if you don't have enough points. Also, IME all Plat privileges have been honored on reward stays, including the suite upgrades. That's a very nice thing, especially since I hear not all chains do this.

    I've heard great things about Hyatt, but they just don't seem to have properties where I travel to.
     
  20. Jenny & Curt
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    Jenny & Curt Gold Member

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    Did a similar thing --achieved Hyatt Diamond through "stays count double" in January 2010, status match to SPG Platinum later in the year. No problem for me to maintain SPG Platinum through stays I already have booked this year. Hyatt, which is really my favorite group, is under-represented in the areas I have travel plans for, so I am glad to have the SPG as a backup. Will have to work to requalify for Hyatt Diamond this year, but it was so great to have last year that they have already won my loyalty and desire to requalify. (All travel is self-paid, so we have the $$ hurdle to leap.)
    I really recommend starting with Hyatt, as they (IIRC) don't status match anymore. Others do, so you could achieve Hyatt Diamond and then status match to someone else for a backup.
     
  21. IDGflygirl
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    IDGflygirl Gold Member

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    I am very much in the same boat (ie. self-funded travel)!
     
  22. kenbo
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    kenbo Silver Member

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    Me too! I'll try to spend some time on random days researching future rates and booking for several months out if rates are favorable. I'll mix in a few HP/SS stays too even though I won't receive as many points as a HR or GH but when everything is self-funded, you do what you gotta do.
     
  23. IDGflygirl
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    IDGflygirl Gold Member

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    Exactly!
     
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  24. Kaanapali
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    Kaanapali Gold Member

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    On My own dime here too :) I find the GH Kauai does not care who funded your Diamond status or from what level you achieved your status/points from [​IMG]

    Backup is SPG and Hilton...to cover those areas without a Hyatt (or in HNL...where I prefer Moana over the Hyatt!)
     
  25. IDGflygirl
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    IDGflygirl Gold Member

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    I don't like Hilton b/c they don't 'like' me!
    I went through a period of dis-use & didn't realize that they take away points![​IMG] So, I am disinclined to patronize them![​IMG] I would go with Marriott or Priority Club before Hilton!
     
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