a table with drinks and a city skyline in the background

A la carte would be the nice “marketing spin” way of putting it, but in reality, hotels give most guests less than ever before. To unlock all things that once seemed standard: wifi, breakfast, noon check out, the chance at an upgrade, you’ll need elite status. We all need perks. Even if you’re not spending 60 nights a year in hotels, there are a few easy ways to lock in meaningful benefits. Here’s how!

a pool with lounge chairs and a bedTake A Status Fast Track

Want top tier status for just a fraction of the usual required nights? That’s a thing! Many top hotel chains will offer status fast track challenges, where guests can complete between 5-15 nights for top status, rather than 50+. Planned around a holiday, this could be a game changer. Here’s the best current opportunity. Even if a hotel doesn’t publicly offer a “fast track” it’s always worth calling the customer service number to ask if they’ll grant one.

a pool with chairs and umbrellas on top of a rooftopBook Through The Right Channels

Sometimes it’s not which hotel you book, but how. Top travel agents, like those in the Virtuoso or Luxury Privileges programs have access to incredible benefits, just for booking with them. Before booking, especially for higher end properties, look up a travel agent affiliated with one of these brands. Often there will be a $100 food and beverage credit, room upgrade, breakfast and tons of other money saving perks, just for booking with a pro. Amex Fine Hotels & Resorts can also offer similar perks, if you have the Platinum card.

a pool with a stone building and a stone castleGrab A Hotel Credit Card

Sure, there isn’t a credit card out there that makes you a faberge egg level member, but there are plenty that get you mid tier status with great benefits. Hyatt’s card offers “Discoverist” status, which gets premium wifi, a better room and late check out. The Amex Platinum will get you both Hilton and SPG Gold, which includes similar benefits. Same for Hilton, Marriott, IHG and other cards.

a deck with chairs and umbrellas on a deck overlooking the oceanUtilize Double Points Promos

They put em out there, and too many people blow it. We’ve covered fast tracks, but then there are the fast tracks available in plain site-that people fail to register for. Hotels offer quarterly bonuses, where you can earn double points and or double credit for each night you stay. You must pay attention to marketing emails (or read this site and others) to get the tip when things go live, but it’s points you cannot miss out on. The simple things are often the best. Here’s a round up of the current offers.

a building with palm trees in front of itMatch Your Status Everywhere

The simplest mechanism for regular benefits is the status match. A status match is where elite status you already have with one chain, is granted by another chain in hopes of luring your business over. You do not lose your current status, only gain a concurrent status, perhaps even one that lasts after your original status expires. If you find yourself with itineraries that don’t involve your main loyalty chain, look into a match. Hilton is the easiest to gain, which you can do here. You can even get them to waive the stay requirement.

 a room with a television and a table(Bonus) Big Spend For Top Status

The Marriott and Hilton credit cards each let you reach top tier elite status (Platinum, Diamond respectively) just from spending. For Marriott, you’ll need to spend $75k on the Ritz Carlton card, which will then subsequently give you Marriott, Ritz and SPG Platinum status. Hilton requires 40,000 in spending on their Surpass card for Diamond. Hyatt gives you five nights of elite status credits toward top tier status when you spend $20,000, and an additional five nights when you spend another $20,000.


Gilbert Ott

Gilbert Ott is an ever curious traveler and one of the world's leading travel experts. His adventures take him all over the globe, often spanning over 200,000 miles a year and his travel exploits are regularly...

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  1. Color TV, Air Conditioned Rooms and Direct Dial Phones are the Modern Free WiFi, Free Breakfast and Late Check Out it seems.

    Many of the bonus point promos (not all) award non-status points. These vary. Just sayin.

    I think $75k in spend on a hotel card is silly for most people but if you can manage to capture Marriott Platinum Status (which they don’t normally offer status matches to) then it also gives you United Silver status which could be a bonus.

    To me the simplest way to top status is to get the IHG card which gives you Platinum Status and then use part of the sign up bonus to buy IHG Ambassador status. Then use this card to match to many others like Hilton, etc.

  2. Doing the Marriott platinum status challenge as we speak. At $75 per night, plus a couple of stays paid for by work, it’s cheap, easy, and gives SPG and Ritz status also. See you in the club lounge!

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