Posted by Ric Garrido

Hotel elite status has significant monetary value if you frequent hotels regularly and want better room choices and complimentary benefits received as an elite loyalty member. Be a smart shopper and the cost of loyalty does not necessarily mean paying more for loyalty program hotels.

There are several types of travelers, so there is no “best” hotel loyalty program. There is a good argument I can make for elite membership in any of the largest ten global hotel loyalty programs.

Your hotel market segment (average price and price range of hotel rooms booked), travel geography, and hotel needs during your stays are major factors in choosing a hotel program.

In January 2014 Loyalty Traveler examines major hotel loyalty programs with a general overview of the hotel chain, loyalty program structure, elite benefits and award stay free nights and discounts.

Hotel Loyalty Programs

  1. Accor Hotels – Le Club Accorhotels
  2. Best Western Hotels – Best Western Rewards
  3. Carlson Rezidor Hotels – Club Carlson
  4. Choice Hotels – Choice Privileges
  5. Fairmont Hotels – Fairmont President’s Club
  6. Hilton Worldwide – Hilton HHonors
  7. Hyatt Hotels – Hyatt Gold Passport
  8. InterContinental Hotels Group – IHG Rewards Club
  9. Kimpton Hotels – Kimpton InTouch
  10. La Quinta Inns & Suites – La Quinta Returns
  11. Marriott International – Marriott Rewards
  12. Preferred Hotel Group – I Prefer
  13. Ritz-Carlton Hotels (Marriott) – Ritz Carlton Rewards
  14. Starwood Hotels – Starwood Preferred Guest
  15. Wyndham Worldwide – Wyndham Rewards

Hotel elite status benefits make the hotel experience more rewarding at the time of the stay and with elite bonus points on stays and sometimes promotional opportunities for discount hotel nights and exclusive gifts and events.

There is no doubt that elite benefits are becoming more valuable in several programs for many top elite hotel loyalty members. But, the loyalty commitment bar is getting higher and spending 60 to 100 nights per year in hotels is not the kind of lifestyle most travelers have or desire.

When money is the primary factor limiting your hotel travel, then hotel loyalty programs can be strategically used to maximize free nights. There are opportunities each year to earn free hotel nights through points and promotions to get a return of investment close to what you spend.

Averaging $2,000 in added hotel stay benefits and free hotel rooms on $2,000 in hotel spend is something I have been doing for more than a decade. Can I still accomplish this rate of return on my hotel spend in 2014?

The hotel loyalty program world is changing and has changed in 2014. Another look at these major chain hotel loyalty programs in January 2014 will reveal some facts, some changes and some values you may find useful for your travels this year.

This is an introductory post on Hotel Loyalty 2014. I will add links to the hotel chains and programs above as articles are published this month.

Hotel Kämp, Starwood Luxury Collection, Helsinki, Finland (March 2013) in a historic full suite using SPG Suite Night Award certificate on Cash & Points award stay. SPG Platinum elite members with 50 nights receive 10 Suite Night Award certificates annually. Link to my Hotel Kämp review.

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Ric Garrido of Monterey, California is writer and owner of Loyalty Traveler.

Loyalty Traveler shares news and views on hotels, hotel loyalty programs and vacation destinations for frequent guests.

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3 Responses

  1. Ric,

    Timely post.

    I’m debating whether it makes sense to continue my annual spend — as I’m a recreational/leisure traveler.

    Currently, I’m Diamond with Hyatt and because of the agreement with Mlife, I’m able to qualify for Diamond for 25 nights for probably a total spend of $2250 ($750 for 15 nights with mlife) and $1500 for 10 nights with Hyatt.

    For this $2250, I receive, with promotions, probably about 80,000-100,000 Hyatt points.

    I also love the Hyatt Best Rate Guarantee — a recent great snag was a Park Hyatt that was going for 400 euros a night and because of best price, I got it for 121 a night. With the wine reception, amenity, and breakfast for 2, it was a steal.

    In sum, do you find my overall spend good value to remain a Diamond member, given the thrust of this above post?

  2. As primarily a leisure traveler, just not worth it to me anymore. Have had some nice rooms over the years, but came to the realization that i was overspending along the way to get that bigger room where i mainly just sleep and use the toilet.

  3. […] Do you need hotel elite status benefits in 2014 or just a hotel? […]

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