Brand Loyalty - Hotels

Discussion in 'General Discussion | Miles/Points' started by nelsoji, May 9, 2012.

  1. nelsoji
    Original Member

    nelsoji Silver Member

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    I tried to do a search on this thread title and didn't get many hits - so here goes. There are obviously a lot of people who have status at multiple hotel chains (and even airlines - but for my needs - chains is what I am looking for), so can anyone break down why they either stick with one brand hotel for all their stays or follow the best deals/get status at multiple brands?

    I travel for work, am on the road ~100-150 nights a year. Depending on where the client is and what their expense pain threshold is, I don't always have the option of being loyal to one brand. My loyalty has switched so much that now I am top tier at Starwood, Marriott, and Hyatt. Lately I have been following the best promotions - I would simply figure out which promo I could get the most value out of and try and top that off, then move on to next best, etc.

    I also do know that there are co-workers who will do anything to stay loyal to their brand, including driving a long distance every day so they make sure they can find one of their hotels "near" the client. These folks have racked up hundreds of thousands of points at their respective chains and will stay there regardless of promotions.

    So my ask of this community - what do you do and why do you do it?

    If this was already discussed elsewhere I am sorry about that!!! You can flame me - but at least point me in the right direction when you do it - haha!!
    yaychemistry likes this.
  2. MSPeconomist
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    MSPeconomist Gold Member

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    For me, location is usually extremely important. If either SPG or Hyatt had a bigger footprint, I would do them almost exclusively, except for the iconic independent (frequently historic) hotels that I love, special boutique properties, or small Europan hotels with amazing restaurants.
  3. riceoven

    riceoven Silver Member

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    I usually go for the brand with the best promo within the brands I have status in. If they are about the same, I will stay in the chain I need more nights/stays in to re-qualify, or if there is a hotel that I would enjoy staying in more.
    daemon14 likes this.
  4. mowogo
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    mowogo Gold Member

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    I have some brand loyalty by status, but distance also figures into my decision. The only time I stayed a long drive from the work site was because the best option near my site was a Comfort Inn, and I was a Priority Club and Hilton Guy at the time (this was during the Holiday Inn refresh). Right now I am Priority Club and Hyatt, though due to some other events, I may be forced back to Marriott for a little bit.
  5. FlyingBear
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    FlyingBear Silver Member

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    I am on the road about 50-60 nights a year and have a choice of hotel only for 10-15 of those, so my "loyalties" are all over the place. That said, when given a choice, I stay at Priority Club places, as they range in prices enough for me able to adjust to "tolerable" levels of spending per our finance department, they are all over the world and my main goal is getting as many points as possible for redemption in hotels on vacations with my wife.
  6. mattsteg
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    mattsteg Gold Member

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    Obviously there are considerations in terms of property preferences, proximity, etc. These are heavily dependent on the person and their travel patterns and priorities. I'll speak to the loyalty-program considerations first.

    A big component of what you do comes down to where you travel, how many nights a year, and how much you value status. Also, what do you wish to redeem points for. I value status perks highly, want to redeem for high-end stays, and to put a number on it stay say 80 paid nights for work, overwhelmingly 1-night stays. My work travel is split between metropolitan areas and out in the middle of nowhere.

    The "middle of nowhere" component of my travel is such that I could never go all-in with Starwood and particularly Hyatt. They just do not have the coverage. Hyatt is particularly bad in this regard. For these stays IHG, Marriott, and Hilton are the primary options. My choice is Hilton for these reasons - there are reasonable high-end redemption options, actual elite benefits, easy qualification to Gold based on stays or promos, and stay-based qualification to Diamond. Marriott's weak benefits and night-based qualification are very unattractive, as is IHG's bizarre split structure with the ambassador invite-only program, and that programs non-extension of benefits on award stays.

    For the remaining stays in more metro-type areas, all of the chains are an option. I could stick with Hilton, go with Starwood, maybe go with hyatt, although their footprint is weak and prices higher than appropriate for my travel budget much of the time. These stays I have chosen to prioritize getting the best elite benefits out of, plus points earning and redemption options. Starwood is my choice here, with decent distribution, low-cost full service hotels (so I can actually enjoy benefits like club lounges and suite upgrades, while often paying rates similar to e.g. a Hampton Inn), generous benefits, and lots of very attractive options to redeem at.

    I split for 2 reasons. 1 is to diversify redemption choices - I can go with Hilton or Starwood properties so my options are multiplied. The second is that I prefer the Starwood package, but it just isn't always an option. I toyed with Hyatt last year, but just couldn't quite make it work for me. The benefits there are quite lucrative, but the big differences of free full breakfast and confirmed suite upgrades aren't huge to me - I'm not a huge breakfaster most of the time, and when I want a suite most would be when I also want to burn points, which I can't simultaneously do at Hyatt.

    I'm evaluating whether plat50 makes sense for me, and will likely target that this year.

    To cut the ramble short, all in one basket is good to 1) get to top-tier and 2) get to high-end rewards quicker. If you have enough to get to top tier in multiple programs 1 is not an issue, and if you either have enough, earn enough, or can grab a CC or something to top off points, then 2 isn't a huge issue. At that point, I find diversity of points to be more attractive.

    Within the programs I choose to participate in (or something really attractive outside of them) I can follow the best promotions, keeping my goal/target elite status in each in mind.

    If it was feasible, I'd consider all-in with SPG for 75 or 100 nights for the extra benefits there. If I stayed at more high-end hotels on paid stays and Intercontinentals worked for me, I'd consider all-in to get RA status.

    Hope this helps, could certainly stand to be more coherent!

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