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Some of us have to work really hard and have a difficult time earning hotel elite status. But the free trips all over the world with the extra elite benefits, like free breakfast and complimentary suite upgrades, make the journey to elite status a worth while endeavor. For others, the path to elite status and benefits is a cake walk. In my case, I like to maintain elite status at multiple hotels, so I set myself up for a more challenging route to elite status.
I like to maintain elite status in multiple hotel programs. This means I must use a strategy and prioritize my stay patterns in order to make every night and stay count, even if I spend more nights in a hotel than I do in my own bed. My 2012 prioritized hotel elite status programs are 1) Hyatt where I’m about 400k points away from life time Diamond, 2) SPG where I’m only 3 years away from life time Platinum, and 3) Marriott because I really like staying at Ritz Carlton hotels (Exhibit A and B) for free.
Strategy To Earn Extra Hotel Points And Stay Credits
The basic strategy is to only stay the minimum amount of nights to receive a certain benefit. In this case, elite member stay bonuses and elite earning stay credits are the prize. Alex, our co-writer at Points, Miles & Martinis shared with us his Q1 hotel stay strategy where he racked up over 125k Hyatt points in 26 stays.
We illustrate below how to use this strategy for a three night stay. In order for this to work, you must have hotels in a relatively close proximity and a place for your luggage to stay for the daytime while you are out and about.
- Night one – Hotel A
- Night two – Hotel B
- Night three – Hotel A or other
Also, be careful if hotels A, B, and C are all in the same hotel chain. Some hotels that are in the same program and city (i.e. some SPG properties in Dallas) are on the same reservation system and will only award you one 3 night stay instead of three 1 night stays.
Example Where We Earned Extra Stay Credits & Bonus Points
We recently made a quick trip down to Tampa for two nights over a weekend. The rates in Tampa are relatively low at around $100-150 for most hotels. This meant that we would not use points for our stay. Instead, we used a publicly available rate code to secure our reservations.
Instead of booking a 2 night stay at the Westin Tampa Bay, we booked a 1 night stay at the Westin and a 1 night stay at the Grand Hyatt Tampa Bay. The hotels are just down the street from each other. We were out and about all day, plus we had late check out thanks to elite status, so switching hotels didn’t inconvenience us. Using this strategy meant we would earn an extra 3,500 Hyatt Points, 500 SPG Points, and a stay credit at each hotel.
For the 1 night stay at the Westin Tampa Bay we earned the following extra points:
- SPG Platinum bonus – 500 points
- SPG stay credit towards status (only 25 stays needed to achieve Platinum status)
For the 1 night stay at the Grand Hyatt we earned the following extra points:
- Diamond Bonus – 1,000 points
- Regency / Grand Club Closed Bonus – 2,500 points
- We still received free breakfast at the Grand Hyatt even though we got 2,500 bonus points since the lounge was closed
- Stay credit towards the Hyatt Possibilities promotion and status (only 25 stays needed to achieve Diamond status)
By booking multiple 1 night stay’s at hotel properties instead of multiple night stays, you can earn extra elite stay credits and extra bonus points. In this example we earned extra Hyatt and SPG points and stay credits by switching hotels during a quick two night stay in Tampa. There is one important question you have to ask yourself if you are going to use this strategy.
When are the extra points and benefits worth the trouble of switching hotels?
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