Backup loyalty programs

Old Jul 30, 13, 5:29 pm
  #1  
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Backup loyalty programs

Once you obtain the status you want with HHonors who starts working on another loyalty program and if so what program would be ideal? I was considering trying for status with marriot due to their large footprint. I would love to do Hyatt, but I just can't get the stays in due to their lack of offerings in some locations.
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Old Jul 30, 13, 6:20 pm
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I was HH primary, Marriott secondary, giving me very broad coverage, and since SW and HY are rarely where my clients are.

Since the HH MEGA-SUPER-UBER-devaluation earlier this year, I do MR primarily, with Radisson and HY secondary, and HH or IC if no other choices.
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Old Jul 30, 13, 6:39 pm
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The OP has figured out the first concern: hotels where you need them.

Another concern is the value of benefits from the secondary hotel program if he can't attain a high level. One needs 10 stays or 25 nights to get Gold at Starwood, for example. Below that level I (personally) don't find any value and wouldn't go out of my way to stay at Starwood. At that point I just pick based on location and rate.
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Old Jul 30, 13, 6:53 pm
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Originally Posted by 3Cforme View Post
The OP has figured out the first concern: hotels where you need them.

Another concern is the value of benefits from the secondary hotel program if he can't attain a high level. One needs 10 stays or 25 nights to get Gold at Starwood, for example. Below that level I (personally) don't find any value and wouldn't go out of my way to stay at Starwood. At that point I just pick based on location and rate.
I was considering doing a marriot challenge for plat (they may only offer gold). I looked at Starwoods and people rave about them, but with the properties I looked at it seems like they tend to be a more expensive proposition than Hiltons or Marriots.
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Old Jul 30, 13, 7:47 pm
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Originally Posted by Red259 View Post
I was considering doing a marriot challenge for plat (they may only offer gold). I looked at Starwoods and people rave about them, but with the properties I looked at it seems like they tend to be a more expensive proposition than Hiltons or Marriots.
Does that mean you pay for your stays on your own dime and are price sensitive?

I do, and as such I can't afford to stay at SPG in most places. Partly because SPG have few if any "midscale" properties, they are higher priced than the Hampton/HGIs that I most often use within the Hilton program domestically.

Btw, are you aware of the step up (or even more) that the right cards can give you (if you live in the USA)? You can get Hilton Gold status for $95/year without any stays required with the Reserve card. You can get IHG Reward Platinum status (though what that gives you is debatable) for holding the credit card for that program (which btw for $49/year after the first year gives you a free hotel night cert every year after the first year). You can get 15 nights toward Gold/Plat status at Marriott with the Marriott Premier Visa from Chase (which btw for $85/year after the first year gives you cat 1-5 free hotel night cert every year after the first year). And so on.

So you want to have status in several programs, you may want to think about which ones to get credit cards for, so you don't need as many nights and/or stays in that program just to (re)qualify for status. That can free up nights and/or stays to put towards another program where you can't get it all from a credit card.

Meanwhile, which program works as a backup depends partly on where you travel. There are zillions of small towns in the USA where the only programs are Best Western, Choice, and/or Wyndham Rewards. If you travel to such small towns, you need one more of those. But if you don't, you may not need any of those. So that's just another example of why it's hard to give a general answer to a broad question such as "what hotel program is best"?
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Old Jul 30, 13, 8:09 pm
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Originally Posted by sdsearch View Post
Does that mean you pay for your stays on your own dime and are price sensitive?

I do, and as such I can't afford to stay at SPG in most places. Partly because SPG have few if any "midscale" properties, they are higher priced than the Hampton/HGIs that I most often use within the Hilton program domestically.

Btw, are you aware of the step up (or even more) that the right cards can give you (if you live in the USA)? You can get Hilton Gold status for $95/year without any stays required with the Reserve card. You can get IHG Reward Platinum status (though what that gives you is debatable) for holding the credit card for that program (which btw for $49/year after the first year gives you a free hotel night cert every year after the first year). You can get 15 nights toward Gold/Plat status at Marriott with the Marriott Premier Visa from Chase (which btw for $85/year after the first year gives you cat 1-5 free hotel night cert every year after the first year). And so on.

So you want to have status in several programs, you may want to think about which ones to get credit cards for, so you don't need as many nights and/or stays in that program just to (re)qualify for status. That can free up nights and/or stays to put towards another program where you can't get it all from a credit card.

Meanwhile, which program works as a backup depends partly on where you travel. There are zillions of small towns in the USA where the only programs are Best Western, Choice, and/or Wyndham Rewards. If you travel to such small towns, you need one more of those. But if you don't, you may not need any of those. So that's just another example of why it's hard to give a general answer to a broad question such as "what hotel program is best"?
Yes, I pay for my own stays. I kinda thought that SPG was outside my price range to do anything more than the occasional stay. I'm doing the Hilton Gold challenge now, because I did not want to apply for the credit card at this time (I have an outline of the cards I wish to obtain over the next year and a half to maximize my travel rewards so there are a few cards that I need to get before I get that one. Hence why I elected to take the gold challenge, otherwise I would have just gotten the card). Most my travel tends to be to more populated areas and overseas. I appreciate your and everyone else's feedback as I am just starting out and its a lot to take in and get educated on!
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Old Jul 30, 13, 8:15 pm
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I always go for my diamond status with hilton and go for a secondary--I got turned off marriot because in my pricepoint its mostly courtyard and courtyard irritates me(lol)
so this year im working on holiday inn--great pricepoint and their resorts are really nice
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Old Jul 31, 13, 1:08 pm
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Originally Posted by nlkm9 View Post
so this year im working on holiday inn--great pricepoint and their resorts are really nice
Holiday Inn is in IHG Rewards (formerly known as Priority Club), and there's no need to "work on" status there, if you're USA-based. Just get the Priority Club Select credit card (or whatever they've renamed it or about to rename it), and you get instant Platinum status, lots of one-time signup bonus points, a 10% rebate on reward redemptions, and after 1 year, when your modest $49/year annual fee is finally due, a free night certficate usable at most properties worldwide (I'm not sure if all the resorts qualify, but it's not explicitly capped at a tier at present).

Originally Posted by nlkm9 View Post
I got turned off marriot because in my pricepoint its mostly courtyard and courtyard irritates me(lol)
At first, I didn't try Marriott much because in my pricepoint it was mostly some Fairfields and only some of the time, but then I discovered LNF (Marriott's Best Rate Guarantee), and I'm amazed at how much I'm able to use it to get even some full-service Marriotts down from $150+ to $80ish (sometimes even less). It gives you 25% off of the third-party rate you found, and you can in theory use it for every single hotel night you need, there are no restrictions on "once a month" like at those programs where the BRG gives you totally free night. And you earn normal Mariott nights/stays/points/promos on such LNF discounted stays! YMMV, but if you didn't know about this, you may want to look into it to see if it's worth giving Marriott another try. Start here:

http://www.flyertalk.com/forum/marri...rsion-brg.html

(Btw, I avoid Courtyards too! )

Last edited by sdsearch; Jul 31, 13 at 1:15 pm
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Old Jul 31, 13, 3:55 pm
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Originally Posted by sdsearch View Post
Holiday Inn is in IHG Rewards (formerly known as Priority Club), and there's no need to "work on" status there, if you're USA-based. Just get the Priority Club Select credit card (or whatever they've renamed it or about to rename it), and you get instant Platinum status, lots of one-time signup bonus points, a 10% rebate on reward redemptions, and after 1 year, when your modest $49/year annual fee is finally due, a free night certficate usable at most properties worldwide (I'm not sure if all the resorts qualify, but it's not explicitly capped at a tier at present).



At first, I didn't try Marriott much because in my pricepoint it was mostly some Fairfields and only some of the time, but then I discovered LNF (Marriott's Best Rate Guarantee), and I'm amazed at how much I'm able to use it to get even some full-service Marriotts down from $150+ to $80ish (sometimes even less). It gives you 25% off of the third-party rate you found, and you can in theory use it for every single hotel night you need, there are no restrictions on "once a month" like at those programs where the BRG gives you totally free night. And you earn normal Mariott nights/stays/points/promos on such LNF discounted stays! YMMV, but if you didn't know about this, you may want to look into it to see if it's worth giving Marriott another try. Start here:

http://www.flyertalk.com/forum/marri...rsion-brg.html

(Btw, I avoid Courtyards too! )
Why don't people like courtyards? I am nervous now as I thought they might be a good alternative to HGI. Thanks for the headsup on the discount method. That's something I am going to really look into now. If I get status in both then I can just choose between comparable locations based on price.
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Old Jul 31, 13, 7:15 pm
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Originally Posted by Red259 View Post
Why don't people like courtyards? I am nervous now as I thought they might be a good alternative to HGI.
Because no matter how super-tall-high-stratospheric your elite status is at Marriott Rewards, you don't get free breakfast at Courtyard. And the breakfast there is typically some strange "bistro" concept.

So think of it as an HGI where no matter whether HH Gold or HH Diamond you get no free breakfast, and in any case it's not the great HGI breakfast at all. (What it actually is, I'm not sure, because I've only stayed at Courtyard twice, once in San Diego when I was catching an early flight on which I was getting breakfast anyway and I was leaving the hotel before breakfast would have started there anyway, and the other time in Aguadilla in western Puerto Rico where as an MR Plat they did give me a free "continental" cold breakfast in the regular restuarant. So I've never actually seen this breakfast "bistro" which most Courtyards apparently have.)

The other difference is that the two Courtyards I stayed were easier to get "lost" in downstairs. It's like they've segmented things much more than at an HGI downstairs.
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Old Jul 31, 13, 8:17 pm
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I would suggest earning points that are actually useful like SPG or Hyatt.
Why would you want another watered down devalued backup program?
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Old Jul 31, 13, 8:29 pm
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Originally Posted by Red259 View Post
Why don't people like courtyards? I am nervous now as I thought they might be a good alternative to HGI. Thanks for the headsup on the discount method. That's something I am going to really look into now. If I get status in both then I can just choose between comparable locations based on price.
I really don't like Courtyards and I thought it was just me. I have never been to one that I actually enjoyed and I don't find them as comfortable as Hilton properties. Their color schemes and layout and their beds just rub me the wrong way. HGIs are way better, even with their beds being the worst in the Hilton system and I think HGIs are a very fair one on one comparison between the two chains. To be frank I would much rather be at a Hampton than a Courtyard (and I know Marriott is aiming that chain to be a notch higher than a Hampton) and I am someone who earns Diamond status by actually staying at Hilton properties and stays at a Hampton only once maybe twice a year because I prefer the other HHonors and the Hampton is for when the others are not available.
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Old Aug 1, 13, 3:27 pm
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Originally Posted by Miesque View Post
I would much rather be at a Hampton than a Courtyard (and I know Marriott is aiming that chain to be a notch higher than a Hampton)
Marriott's equivalent to Hampton is Fairfield. And I would much rather be at a Fairfield or a Hampton than a Courtyard, even though (price equal) I would rather (if with HH Gold or better status) be at an HGI than either Hampton or Fairfield.
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Old Aug 1, 13, 5:12 pm
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Hyatt is just too rare where I go in the USA, and the properties are very expensive for those of us who pay our own way.

I'm mainly Hilton, though I get Diamond from AmEx Surpass spend regardless of stays. So I went out and picked up a SPG AmEx. Now I've spent enough on that to get SPG Gold, so that's my backup status chain.

I agree that SPG has fewer affordable hotels (it's hard to compete with Hilton's "Hampton in every town" strategy!) but you can often find an affordable night. Plus, as pointed out, the redemption options are much more enticing than Choice or IHG. And I dislike Courtyards, so there's that.

I was considering using Radisson as a backup status chain since they're affordable domestically, have great international aspirational properties for redemption, and offer a crazy-good credit card bonus. But the SJC Radisson is switching to Starwood, so I've given up that idea. So, SPG!
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Old Aug 1, 13, 7:43 pm
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I wanted ihg as a backup because the resorts are really nice and I wanted to build some points there. I would love to learn more about this LNf guarantee and what it entails... Courtyards make me crazy because some wont even give you coffee and the bistro concept is awful and expensive... And paying 10 bucks for a gin and tonic? Yikes--
I woukd much rather stay at a Hampton, I always know what I'm getting.
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