Feb122008

The Disadvantage of Marriott Rewards

What do I think of Marriott Hotels and Marriott Rewards?

– There are 250 Marriott brand hotels in California. They are everywhere and I really liked the hotels I have visited and stayed in. Comfortable rooms and generally lots of seating in the lobby for people to hang out is a common feature. Having said that I like the hotels, I do not like their high level of nights for top-tier elite status.

Being Loyalty Royalty is the Goal of the Game

San Jose Airport Courtyard Marriott

Courtyard by Marriott, San Jose Airport

The 75 night threshold for Platinum elite status makes Marriott Rewards a non-starter for me. There is significant added value through complimentary upgrades, bonus points, special offers, and amenity gifts offered to the top-tier elite frequent guest.

The advantage of Hyatt, Starwood, and Hilton is the ability to easily reach top-tier elite status with 25 to 35 paid nights when you have a travel pattern of mostly 1-night or 2-night stays. Hyatt and Starwood require 25 stays or 50 nights. Hilton requires 28 stays or 60 nights for top-tier Diamond elite status.

The way the system works is a frequent guest with 25 1-night stays will earn top-elite status while a guest who has 36 paid nights, but all earned as 3-night stays will only have mid-tier elite status. The nights spent and money spent are not the dominant criteria for elite qualification for Hyatt, Starwood, or Hilton. Hilton does have a spending elite qualification factor that may benefit some high spenders with fewer nights or stays.

IHG Priority Club and Marriott Rewards count hotel nights, not stays, for elite qualification. Top-tier requires 50 nights with Priority Club and 75 nights for Marriott Rewards.

The high threshold of hotel nights for top-tier elite status keeps most frequent guests outside the inner circle of diamond and platinum amenities and upgrades. The perks are still widespread for Loyalty Royalty frequent travelers.

The ability to change a hotel loyalty program rules at short notice make the current offers for fast-track elite status with Starwood Preferred Guest and Hyatt Gold Passport all the more enticing. The ability for a frequent guest to lock in top-tier elite status for two years, through February 2010, is a financially savvy move.

Starwood Preferred Guest Platinum elite packet

Starwood Preferred Guest Platinum elite membership packet

This could be a dream travel year with a high return on your hotel loyalty investment.

Starwood required registration by January 15, 2008 for the opportunity to earn double hotel stay credit through February 29, 2008.

Hyatt’s offer is still available and details were discussed in previous Hotels-and-Points posts.

Instant Hyatt Gold Passport Platinum Elite Offer for New Members:
http://www.goldpassport.com/gp/en/benefits/join.jsp?me02_mbr_src=INT16

Stays Count Double registration
www.goldpassport.com/SCD08

About Ric Garrido

Ric Garrido of Monterey, California started Loyalty Traveler in 2006 for traveler education on hotel and air travel, primarily using frequent flyer and frequent guest loyalty programs for bargain travel. Loyalty Traveler joined BoardingArea.com in 2008.

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