Our community of Elite Travelers understands the importance of loyalty and recognition when it comes to travel. But aside from earning free rooms and free flights there are many more perks to achieving status with travel. So we thought we’d take a survey and ask our viewers and web users about their favorite benefits of loyalty programs. We’ll start with hotels in this blog and focus on airlines later.
Yes everyone likes free. Free rooms are great but many hotel loyalty programs also offer a host of other ‘freebies” for their highest-level travelers. Martin G, a lawyer from Paris, France who is a Marriott Platinum Elite says his most coveted perk is having access to the Concierge Lounge. “For me it’s a place to have a free breakfast, cocktails and hor d’oeuvres (that’s snacks for those of us in the US) and a place to have a meeting.” He figures this saves him quite a bit of money while on the road and adds, “I often meet other solo travelers in the lounge. It gives you someone to chat to over a beer and canapé (again snack) at the end of a long day.”
Susan W, of Roanoke, Virginia tells us she travels about 100 nights a year as a high tech recruiter and maintains top tier status at SPG (Starwood Preferred Guest) and Hilton HHonors. She likes to spread her business around since, “You can’t always find a hotel from your preferred chain in every city.” For Susan the most important perks are, “beating the crowds by having a separate desk to check in at, free wifi (charging anyone for wifi is a pet peeve of ours) and late check outs, early check-ins.” She says on a recent business trip to London, UK, “Getting into my room early to shower and change after a long flight was truly a wonderful perk.” And we agree.
Allison W, of Vancouver BC is a Hyatt Gold Passport Diamond Member who confesses to, “making the odd mattress run at the end of each year just to make sure I re-qualify.” Hyatt’s top tier status is changing in 2017 to become World of Hyatt and requires 60 nights in a calendar year to maintain the highest status “Globalist”. With only 600 proporties worldwide that’s a lot of room nights. Allison’s plan for next year is to skip Hyatt and concentrate on Hilton IHG which makes her sad but, “The cost-venefit ratio will no longer pencil with Hyatt. I feel they’ve made a grave error.”
And finally Peter L of Hong Kong who travels throughout Asia as a Marketing Consultant says, “For me IHG Ambassador is best. One benefit is all that I care about; free room upgrades. I love booking the cheapest room knowing that they’ll almost always move me to one of the best. That’s worth my loyalty.”
So what about you? What is your most important, or the most coveted perk you seek from hotel status? And which hotel loyalty program do you think is the most worthwhile?