ritz cancun
Image courtesy of Ritz-Carlton

Tis’ the season where elite benefits begin to expire. As the year comes to a close, a mad dash to secure those last points needed to qualify or re-qualify become crucial. But even if you’re starting from scratch, there’s a fantastic opportunity to secure a year of incredible benefits at over 1 million hotel rooms, and more than 5,700 hotels around the world. We’ll show you how.

a city with lights on the waterGet Moving

Our friends YHBU highlighted a hidden in plain sight “hack” to earning hotel status, combined with a generous offer open to anyone. Rather than requiring the standard 75+ nights to acquire Marriott Platinum, anyone can sign up for a fast track challenge, requiring 19 nights. While that may sound crazy and expensive, it doesn’t have to be either. As a quick reminder: for the time being, if you earn either Marriott, SPG or Ritz Carlton status, you can instantly match it across all three brands, giving you Platinum with each, rather than just one.

a group of rocks in the water with Phi Phi Islands in the backgroundHot Escapes

Using SPG “HotEscapes” YHBU highlights that it’s entirely possible to complete the required nights for the challenge under $1000. The best rates are often found in Europe and Southeast Asia, so if you have upcoming travel planned, this is phenomenal. For example, Dubrovnik is a fantastic place to visit and the Sheraton is just €68 per night in the current “HotEscapes” promotion. Same goes for Thailand, Vietnam and quite a few other places.

a swimming pool and a bed by a houseThe Challenge

SPG offers an elite challenge, open to anyone which we detail in full here. Through the challenge, you’ll need just 19 nights in 90 days. While that may be a lot, it can be worth “mattress running” to achieve three valuable statuses for an entire year. Simply follow the instructions on the linked page to request your challenge, when you know you’ll have a window where 18 nights is possible. You DO NOT need to stay in the same property, so you could combine local stays wherever home is, with some planned vacation and cheap hotels. Expensive ones work too, but this is easier.

a living room with a tv and couchesWorth It?

We’re all for bragging rights, but they’re rarely worth $1000. If however you will be staying many nights across the Starwood, Marriott or Ritz group of hotels next year, the benefits can be nothing short of fantastic, and could realistically save you more than $1000 in the next year. So yes, the long story short- this is all about how much you’d be able to use the benefits, taking advantage of suite upgrades, complimentary breakfast, late check out and other perks.

Featured image courtesy of the Ritz Carlton Cancun.

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 Comment

  1. I think I may be missing something. Given your example of €68 (~$80USD)…if you stay there for 19 nights, that would be roughly $1600USD. But the title of the article states “less than $1000.” How are you knocking off nearly 1/3 of the cost? Can you explain the math?

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