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Which Hotel program to move?

Which Hotel program to move?

Old Jan 30, 15, 8:49 am
  #1  
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Join Date: Oct 2014
Programs: HH DIA
Posts: 11
Which Hotel program to move?

Yes, the time has come! After being a loyal HHonors member for more than 15 years (about 6 as DIA), I feel that it is time to move on. But am not sure to where. Can you please help me?

I usually travel to Europe (UK, Benelux, Nordics, Swiss, Czech, Hungary, Turkey and seldomly to USA) on stays of 5 weekday nights. What I liked with the HH Diamond was that I would always have FREE breakfast, Internet, and Lounge access. Occasionally I would be upgraded to a better room but that was not so important for me. Let's also be frank that the 'points and points' plus the diamond bonus always gave me 20 points on the dollar. Adding the promotions, myway, and sometimes 2x point bookings made it easier to achieve enough points for bonus family vacations.

Looking into other programs I'm having hard time to chose the most close to HHonors. Some have free breakfast some don't. Almost everyone has free Internet these days. Most do not have lounges or don't offer it as a benefit unless you are very high up in their program (as opposed to GOLD in HH). Also, one does not get 20 pnts/dollar (but then their rewards might be cheaper or they may still have a promotions for extra points). Another important thing (at least for me) is that the selected chain would have a presence in Europe.

So in the light of the above, I'd really appreciate any suggestions for a new chain that I can take my business to.

ps. Also appreciate few words about how easy is to have a status match to that chain.

Regards,
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Old Jan 30, 15, 2:51 pm
  #2  
 
Join Date: Nov 2013
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Programs: UA Gold, Hilton Gold, Marriott Gold, IHG Platinum, National Executive Elite
Posts: 3,820
Easy matches for Hilton Diamond:
- Accor
- Club Carlson
- IHG

All have a good presence in Europe. Carlson is the only one that offers free breakfast as a status benefit but only at the top-tier Concierge level, which you'll have to earn. (They would match you to Gold.)
davie355 is online now  
Old Jan 30, 15, 3:00 pm
  #3  
 
Join Date: Jun 2004
Location: I'm From Here
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I did the Marriott challenge last year, just to check it out.

To be honest, I saw NO difference between being a Marriott nobody and a Diamond. Except the occasional free (small) coffee or snack. My stays varied from Courtyard to Gaylord.

I am gold with Club Carlson and IHG. The former has treated me pretty well (upgrades, welcome gift) no lounge, no free breakfast. The latter has treated me as indifferent. Plus I find their properties underwhelming on the higher end.

Accor is nice too but don't expect too much from them. As Platinum, I have received slight to nothing in room upgrades. Capped free internet or throttled and no free breakfast at full service brands.

Trust me..the grass is not always greener. I would think SPG would be a great fit for me..however I stay in some small towns and while I can almost always find a Hampton, a 4 points is harder to find.
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Old Jan 30, 15, 3:03 pm
  #4  
 
Join Date: Oct 2009
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Originally Posted by ikar View Post
What I liked with the HH Diamond was that I would always have FREE breakfast, Internet, and Lounge access. Occasionally I would be upgraded to a better room but that was not so important for me. Let's also be frank that the 'points and points' plus the diamond bonus always gave me 20 points on the dollar. Adding the promotions, myway, and sometimes 2x point bookings made it easier to achieve enough points for bonus family vacations.
I love everything about you so I have to leave.
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Old Jan 30, 15, 5:07 pm
  #5  
 
Join Date: Feb 2013
Location: UK
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Originally Posted by davie355 View Post
Easy matches for Hilton Diamond:
- Accor
- Club Carlson
- IHG

All have a good presence in Europe. Carlson is the only one that offers free breakfast as a status benefit but only at the top-tier Concierge level, which you'll have to earn. (They would match you to Gold.)
Club Carlson is great even at the Gold level. I get breakfast 50% of the time and the 4 nights for 2, and 2 for 1 deals on weekend stays are cracking value.
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Old Jan 30, 15, 10:22 pm
  #6  
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Originally Posted by ikar View Post
Yes, the time has come! After being a loyal HHonors member for more than 15 years (about 6 as DIA), I feel that it is time to move on. But am not sure to where. Can you please help me?

I usually travel to Europe (UK, Benelux, Nordics, Swiss, Czech, Hungary, Turkey and seldomly to USA) on stays of 5 weekday nights. What I liked with the HH Diamond was that I would always have FREE breakfast, Internet, and Lounge access. Occasionally I would be upgraded to a better room but that was not so important for me. Let's also be frank that the 'points and points' plus the diamond bonus always gave me 20 points on the dollar. Adding the promotions, myway, and sometimes 2x point bookings made it easier to achieve enough points for bonus family vacations.

Looking into other programs I'm having hard time to chose the most close to HHonors. Some have free breakfast some don't. Almost everyone has free Internet these days. Most do not have lounges or don't offer it as a benefit unless you are very high up in their program (as opposed to GOLD in HH). Also, one does not get 20 pnts/dollar (but then their rewards might be cheaper or they may still have a promotions for extra points). Another important thing (at least for me) is that the selected chain would have a presence in Europe.

So in the light of the above, I'd really appreciate any suggestions for a new chain that I can take my business to.

ps. Also appreciate few words about how easy is to have a status match to that chain.

Regards,
Using the right credit card you're up to 32 points/$. At one point (triple points promotion) I was getting 52 points/$, and that was a couple of devaluations ago. At this point, 32 points/$ is about a 10% discount, maybe a little more. I find Hyatt points are worth a lot more (recently, over $.02 each).

Why are you leaving Hilton? What aren't you getting that you want?

(I don't know about European footprints. You might want to check out the forums for the other hotel chains and see what people say about them.)
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Old Jan 31, 15, 9:07 am
  #7  
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Europe coverage really depends on where you are traveling in Europe.

I would say that Marriott is probably the closest program to Hilton's in terms of elite benefits, points earnings, etc. And that includes free breakfast for both Golds and Plats (except at resort hotels for some unknown reason.) And in general, I've received very good treatment by Europe hotels from my Marriott Plat status. Note that most Marriott FS hotels will have a lounge and you will get access to it.)

If there are Starwood hotels close by where you are traveling, I would say that the top level elite benefits include free breakfast as well (at virtually all their hotels) plus you will probably get better upgrades (though I realize that may not be as big a sale point for you.) And getting Plat with Starwood can be fairly easy as they will do a one time status match. Maintaining Plat status with them can be with as few as 21 nights. (25 stays will get you Plat status, plus if you can get 2 of the SPG Amex cards, you will get a total of 4 stays and 10 nights credit toward renewing your elite status.) And assuming there are hotels in the areas you want to use points at, Starwood's program is probably the easiest to use points for awards (i.e. if they are selling a standard room, then they have to offer it for base points as well.) But Starwood hotels tend to only be found in the larger metropolitan areas with holes even there. It always hard to maintain elite status with a program that doesn't have hotels where you are traveling.

IGH has lots of hotels spread out everywhere, but their stay program is probably one of the worst in the industry. They give very few elite benefits and if you want to get any benefits at their top level hotel chain (InterContinental) you have pay just to join that program (as their normal frequent stay program doesn't cover that hotel chain.) Though earning points for stays is probably comparable to Hilton's.
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Old Jan 31, 15, 1:26 pm
  #8  
 
Join Date: Nov 2013
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Originally Posted by hhoope01 View Post
IGH has lots of hotels spread out everywhere, but their stay program is probably one of the worst in the industry. They give very few elite benefits and if you want to get any benefits at their top level hotel chain (InterContinental) you have pay just to join that program (as their normal frequent stay program doesn't cover that hotel chain.) Though earning points for stays is probably comparable to Hilton's.
That's not true at least in the US -- as IHG Platinum I've received suite upgrades and 2pm late checkout (without asking for it) at Intercontinental hotels. They've even upgraded me when I booked on Hotwire.

IHG Rewards is weak but far from the weakest in the industry -- that would be the discount brands like Choice and Wyndham.
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Old Jan 31, 15, 4:27 pm
  #9  
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Originally Posted by davie355 View Post
That's not true at least in the US -- as IHG Platinum I've received suite upgrades and 2pm late checkout (without asking for it) at Intercontinental hotels. They've even upgraded me when I booked on Hotwire.
I won't argue with you concerning another program on the Hilton forum, but I will say, if anyone wants to know what your most likely experience will be, go over to the IGH forum and read through the various posts/threads there.

But you are correct about "weakest in the industry". I was actually referring to the weakest of the big national hotel rewards programs (Marriott, SPG, Hilton, Hyatt).
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Old Feb 1, 15, 6:06 am
  #10  
 
Join Date: Apr 2008
Location: Germany, Austria
Programs: IHG Spire Amb, HH Diamond, LC Aurelian, LCAH Gold, MR Silver, LH M&M Frequent Traveller
Posts: 1,054
Originally Posted by ikar View Post
Yes, the time has come! After being a loyal HHonors member for more than 15 years (about 6 as DIA), I feel that it is time to move on. But am not sure to where. Can you please help me?

I usually travel to Europe (UK, Benelux, Nordics, Swiss, Czech, Hungary, Turkey and seldomly to USA) on stays of 5 weekday nights. What I liked with the HH Diamond was that I would always have FREE breakfast, Internet, and Lounge access. Occasionally I would be upgraded to a better room but that was not so important for me. Let's also be frank that the 'points and points' plus the diamond bonus always gave me 20 points on the dollar. Adding the promotions, myway, and sometimes 2x point bookings made it easier to achieve enough points for bonus family vacations.

Looking into other programs I'm having hard time to chose the most close to HHonors. Some have free breakfast some don't. Almost everyone has free Internet these days. Most do not have lounges or don't offer it as a benefit unless you are very high up in their program (as opposed to GOLD in HH). Also, one does not get 20 pnts/dollar (but then their rewards might be cheaper or they may still have a promotions for extra points). Another important thing (at least for me) is that the selected chain would have a presence in Europe.

So in the light of the above, I'd really appreciate any suggestions for a new chain that I can take my business to.

ps. Also appreciate few words about how easy is to have a status match to that chain.

Regards,
I used to be HH Diamond for many years, and I was always very happy with the Hilton HHonors benefits in special and the Hilton service in general.

When my travel locations changed from Europe and Asia to mainly homeland Germany I got a problem with coverage so I found IHG as best alternative.

The adaptation was not easy for me. During my stays as Platinum never felt like at a Hilton, as Diamond (or Gold), especially not at HIs, neither CPs. ICs: Yes they are ok or even superb in holiday destinations like Paris and Cannes. But I have a paid Ambassador card as well, so I donīt know how it is with Platinum only at ICs.

You would miss the free breakfast and the guaranteed lounge access you have as Dmd. Maybe also the Hilton team spirit. Donīt laugh at me, I can feel it. As well you could miss top hotels like Trianon Palace Versailles and Rome Cavalieri.

With IHG you can collect easier points with their promotions and bonus packages, and you spend less points on reward stays, e.g. 50.000 per night maximum at their top categories like Carlton Cannes or Le Grand Paris. But you will get no breakfast and/or or lounge access, neither on paid nor on reward stays. You will find many HIX with ok rooms and comp. breakfast. The upgrade policy is better than in the past, but depending if you stay more often at an particular hotel. Platinum status you get with 40 or 50 nights depending on the brand mix you use or 60.000 points which can be reached more easy if you book Bonus Point packages which count towards elite, reward nights same.

Accor is ok as Platinum in Sofitels or Pullmanns, maybe Novotels. But you will not find executive lounges with some exceptions mainly in Asia, practically none in Europe (except Budapest, Berlin, maybe some more) nor you get free breakfast at their restaurants. And you have to stay in a lot of elder Ibis and Mercure hotels to use the coverage advantage which will not make you always happy during your business week.

Marriott would be the logical alternative for you with similar benefits. But you need 75 nights to reach their top level, compared to 30 stays with one night (or 60 nights) only to reach/keep Hiltons highest tier.

It depends also on your no. of stays/nights per year and the amount of money you can spend per night. With my 80-100 nights per year I shifted also many nights to LHW and slh properties which are 36* in Germany together. Most rates are above Hilton or IHG average. You get free breakfast with their cards at paid and rew. stays (LHW small fee, slh for free) and one free night cert, after 4-5 paid stays dep. on type of card. But with restrictions, at LHW only 1 cert. per one stay redeemable, 3 cert. with the expensive Unlimted membership, slh no restrictions. The hotels are individually styled and you might not find electric sockets and iron and ironing board easily as in an Hilton.

Well I finally recommend you to stay Diamond at HH Honors if coverage in the regions you travel is no problem. If you spend significantly more stays/nights than needed for Dmd think of additional options. I always regretted that circumstances did not allow me to keep Diamond status, and I will go for it again now seeing improvements in Hiltons policy in Germany to increase the no. of hotels.


*EDIT

Last edited by submonte; Feb 1, 15 at 6:42 am
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Old Feb 1, 15, 10:13 am
  #11  
 
Join Date: Jun 2014
Posts: 33
Originally Posted by ikar View Post
Yes, the time has come! After being a loyal HHonors member for more than 15 years (about 6 as DIA), I feel that it is time to move on. But am not sure to where. Can you please help me?
It sure makes a difference how many nights you have in total in which cities. For me HHonors and ClubCarlson worked out pretty well in the recent past. So Accor definitely became somewhat better in the last year.

From my point of view, it would also be important, which type of branded credit card you can utilize to boost status/earnings. Currently the earnings side of HHonors does not appall too much me, whereas the Status recognition is quite ok. OTOH as CC Concierge you do not get that much for top tier status (apart from the breakfast), but the earnings are good (241 as already mentioned is also valid for Gold status).

Looking at the current movements in the fx-markets, it might also be interesting, which amount of $/€/... you are willing/alllowed to spend on room/breakfast/...

So this is kind of a travelling salesman problem, where the optimal solution depends on a lot of variables, most of which are not known to the community at this Point in time.
Fly1By1Wire is offline  
Old Feb 2, 15, 8:03 pm
  #12  
 
Join Date: Apr 2003
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Originally Posted by BrlDsguise View Post
I love everything about you so I have to leave.
Well, while internet is still free, it's not the same internet that used to be free—it's a much, much slower internet. That's why I'm seriously considering moving to another chain.
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