These are the kind of questions that I tend to get a lot in December. Is it worth extra few stays/nights to hit the next level in hotel loyalty program or how could I get the last few EQM’s in to hit certain status level with an airline.
Here’s the question from a LoyaltyLobby reader:
I’m a big fan of your blog and I was wondering if you could lend your opinion on a status matter. I’m fairly new to the miles and points game, and earned elite status with a hotel for the first time this year. Currently, I am Marriott Gold, and will have 70 nights with my planned bookings through the end of the year. Is it worth it to host an event or go on a mattress run to earn the last 5 nights? Are the Marriott Platinum benefits THAT much better than Gold?
How much better would my status match options be with Platinum? Is United Silver status all that great, especially since they’ve only promised it as a benefit through June 2014?
My hesitation is this: if I hold on to my 70 nights, I will start out 2014 with 20 EQNs, plus 15 for holding the CC, which means I would only need another 15 nights to renew Gold status for 2015. I know there are gripes about the MR program, but overall I’ve been very pleased as a Gold. I’ve always encountered great service, good breakfasts/lounges, and been given upgrades about 75-80% of the time.
Any advice you can offer would be very much appreciated! Thanks for always providing such interesting and helpful content!
The Marriott Gold and Platinum benefits mainly apply at the full service properties. The reader had been satisfied with the Gold benefits receives, so she must stay more at full service properties than limited (or “Select Service” as they are now often called) service ones.
The Marriott Platinum benefits are better upgrade wise, if you travel outside of North America and especially in Asia, where you would often receive suite upgrades instead of club room ones.
Marriott Platinum members also receive Platinum amenity of 500 points per stay or F&B amenity. Also, the Marriott elite level guarantees are stronger for Platinum members compared to Gold ones.
One thing to bear in mind is that Marriott always allows you to buy back the elite status that you are about to lose for set number of points. You can access the 2013 offer here. So, come 2015, if the reader is downgraded to Gold status from Platinum one, she can always use points to remain at the Platinum level.
The United MileagePlus Silver status is not worthless, as it comes with some fee discounts, although the upgrade benefit is mainly theoretical. I would expect the partnership between United and Marriott to continue.
Whether someone should or should not spend some extra money to make it to the next level on an airline or hotel loyalty program, are always questions that are very difficult to give straight answer to. Most of the time my reply is that it depends.
I would, however, do the extra five stays to ensure the Platinum status in 2014.