My Hotel Elite Status Strategy For 2022

My Hotel Elite Status Strategy For 2022

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With 2022 right around the corner, I thought it would be fun to share my hotel elite status strategy for the coming year, at least based on what we know so far. If there’s anything we’ve learned from the past couple of years, it’s that you really don’t know what’s going to happen, and a lot can change. But still, I’ll share how I’m thinking about things as we go into the new year…

What my hotel stays in 2022 will look like

Typically I could predict with some level of certainty what my hotel stays for the coming year will look like, but this is a case where I’m just going to let things play out and not make too many predictions. There are several factors at play:

  • For the next few weeks I have no desire to go anywhere, as omicron rips through the United States; I feel like just about everyone is getting it (though the people I know who got it had very mild symptoms), so I’m trying to avoid that
  • We still don’t have a permanent place to live (we’ve had severely delayed construction with our new home), and based on the current timeline we hope to finally move back to Miami around the middle of 2022
  • My mom continues to battle cancer, and I’m prioritizing spending time with her over everything else

We’ll see how things go, but my hope is that this spring things will look much better for travel on many fronts, and that I’ll be able to do quite a bit of international travel that I otherwise had on my list pre-pandemic. Of course we’ll see if that changes, but that’s where things stand as of now.

I don’t know what to expect from 2022 hotel stays

With that in mind, let me share how I’m thinking about hotel loyalty.

My 2022 hotel elite status strategy

Hotel loyalty programs can be a double-edged sword. On the one hand, they can offer valuable benefits and the ability to redeem points for free night awards. On the other hand, they can make us act irrationally, and choose overpriced and less charming hotels than you may otherwise find if you were a “free agent.”

Let me share how I’m approaching 2022 elite status, and also share how I’m ending 2021 with each major hotel loyalty program. I currently have status with Hilton Honors, IHG Rewards, Marriott Bonvoy, and World of Hyatt, so how will that change in 2022?

World of Hyatt Globalist status

World of Hyatt Globalist is my favorite top tier hotel status, and it requires 60 elite nights or 100,000 base points in a year to earn. World of Hyatt hasn’t announced reduced elite requirements for 2022, so I’m expecting to requalify for Globalist status based on the standard criteria. Regardless, there can be value in “fully” qualifying, given the value of Milestone Rewards.

Earning 60 elite nights per year isn’t too tough, especially when you consider the opportunities to earn elite nights with Hyatt’s co-branded credit cards:

There’s another major thing I’m hoping to accomplish with World of Hyatt this year, and that’s lifetime Globalist status, which requires one million base points. I’m at ~930,000 lifetime base points with Hyatt, so I’m just ~70,000 points from lifetime status (which equates to $14,000 of spending at Hyatts).

I should be able to lock that in this year, and am very much looking forward to that. If you’re lifetime Globalist you earn an additional four suite upgrade awards per year, plus additional free night certificates. Yes, that’s on top of the ones you’d earn if you requalify each year. There’s tangible value here.

How am I ending 2021 with World of Hyatt? I think it’s safe to say that I overqualified for status a bit, as I’ve earned 231 elite nights. This is due to having mostly lived in hotels in 2021, and on top of that World of Hyatt has had some great promotions.

I love that Hyatt offers confirmed suite upgrade awards

Marriott Bonvoy Platinum or Titanium status

Marriott Bonvoy is generally my backup hotel loyalty program, though with each passing year I seem to spend fewer nights at Marriotts. I’m currently a Marriott Bonvoy Titanium member and a lifetime Platinum member. Prior to the pandemic I was a Marriott Bonvoy Ambassador member, but I just no longer found that to be worth it.

Marriott Bonvoy hasn’t announced reduce elite requirements for 2022, though earning elite nights is still quite easy for those in the United States. Marriott Bonvoy members can earn up to 30 elite nights per year with co-branded Marriott credit cards, like the Marriott Bonvoy Business™ American Express® Card (review) and Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant™ American Express® Card (review).

In 2022 I won’t be going out of my way to stay at Marriotts:

  • Frankly I’m happy with my lifetime Platinum status for the times that I am staying at Marriotts, since it offers the basic perks I value, like some sort of breakfast, guaranteed late check-out, etc.
  • Realistically I’ll probably still make it to 50 elite nights, given that I’ll start the year with 30 elite nights due to my co-branded credit cards; this would allow me to select some Marriott Choice Benefits, like suite night awards
  • Maybe we’ll see Marriott Bonvoy offer a further promotion of some sort for earning status, in which case I’ll maybe earn Titanium status, but it’s not something I’d go out of my way to earn

Personally I don’t generally enjoy staying at Marriott Bonvoy properties in the US, as I find that they often overpromise and underdeliver. The main reason I don’t totally throw in the towel with Marriott is because I love some of Marriott’s Luxury Collection resorts in the Mediterranean, and being able to redeem points there in summer is always a highlight of my year. That being said, with Marriott Bonvoy’s new dynamic award pricing, we’ll see how much value there is in redeeming points at these properties.

How am I ending 2021 with Marriott Bonvoy? I’m ending with 96 elite qualifying nights, though that’s not nearly as much as it sounds like. In 2021 Marriott Bonvoy deposited elite nights equal to 50% of status in accounts, so that was 38 elite nights right there. Then there were another 30 elite nights from credit cards.

I love many of Marriott’s Mediterranean properties

Hilton Honors Diamond status

Hilton is a brand that has grown on me so much in recent years:

  • Hilton has greatly increased its portfolio of luxury hotels, which makes me actually want to stay at more Hiltons
  • Just for having the Hilton Honors American Express Aspire Card (review) you get top tier Honors Diamond status; on top of that, the $450 annual fee card more than pays for itself based on all the other perks, like an anniversary free night award, a $250 resort credit, a $250 airline fee credit, and more
  • Hilton Honors has gotten better at delivering on elite benefits than Marriott Bonvoy has in many ways, or at least the program doesn’t over promise and under deliver in the same way

While I don’t specifically seek out Hiltons, I do find myself staying at Hiltons when they’re the best option in a city, and in many cases I’ve come to prefer Hiltons to Marriotts. From the perspective of chasing status there’s limited need to stay with Hilton more, though, given that there’s nothing beyond Diamond status.

I had a great stay at the Waldorf Astoria Los Cabos

IHG Rewards Platinum status

IHG is very much my backup hotel group, since IHG Rewards’ elite benefits are weak (for example, IHG doesn’t offer free breakfast to any elite members). However, the IHG® Rewards Premier Credit Card (review) offers Platinum status and an anniversary free night certificate on your account anniversary every year, so I do find myself staying at IHG properties once in a blue moon.

I’ll only do so in situations where there aren’t better Hilton, Hyatt, or Marriott options, or where an IHG property is by far the best deal.

I redeemed a free night at the Kimpton EPIC Miami recently

Virtuoso & other programs

The truth is that you don’t actually need to be loyal to a hotel group to receive elite-like benefits. There are all kinds of programs offering room upgrades, breakfast, hotel credits, and more, all based on the method you use to book.

These include Virtuoso, Amex Fine Hotels & Resorts, Four Seasons Preferred Partner, Hilton Impresario, Hyatt Privé, Marriott STARS & Luminous, Rosewood Elite, etc. I find myself booking through these programs quite often, regardless of whether I’m staying at a luxury points hotel, or whether I’m staying at an independent hotel.

I book most of my paid Hyatt stays through Privé

Bottom line

The past couple of years have certainly been unusual when it comes to travel loyalty, given that the travel industry came to a standstill for some amount of time. As we get into 2022, I’d like to be more optimistic that things will materially improve, but it seems the year won’t get off to a very good start due to omicron.

I’m not making too many bets on 2022, but am taking a very simple approach to hotel elite status. I’ll strive to earn World of Hyatt Globalist status, and also think this will finally be the year where I earn lifetime Globalist status, which I’m excited about.

Beyond that, I’ll use my Marriott Bonvoy Platinum lifetime status, and maybe I’ll earn Titanium status through my stays, though I’m not going out of my way to do that. I also love having Hilton Honors Diamond status on account of having a credit card, which comes in handy quite often. Then once in a while I also appreciate my IHG Rewards Platinum status.

I do find it interesting that both Marriott Bonvoy and World of Hyatt haven’t yet announced reduced elite requirements for 2022, so I’m curious to see how that plays out.

What’s your hotel loyalty strategy for 2022, and how are you going about planning that given all the uncertainty?

Conversations (24)
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  1. Steve Guest

    @Ben Schlappig

    Why don’t you pursue lifetime Hilton Diamond

  2. Lukas Guest

    After being stuck at home March 2020 - May 2021, I’m currently travelling more than ever - and LOVING it! The covid meassures don’t bother me at all. A small price to pay. For 2021, I’ll reach roughly 100 actual nights ”in bed”, earning me Hilton Diamond and Marriott Titanium. For 2022, I’ve already booked 84 nights, mostly on Hotels.com and Hilton :)

  3. Scott Guest

    I've lived in hotels 100% for last 2 years because I travel 90% for my job. Mostly Hilton (Diamond) and IHG (Spire Elite) but will probably focus on Hyatt this year because my rollover nights alone will requalify me for Hilton.

  4. iamhere Guest

    Your comments about Marriott - Platinum at least gets you lounge access at most brands. Some of the premium brands do not offer it included. Gold status marriott is like platinum with others. I do not think any of the hotel brands have decent mid to low end hotels in the US or it may vary by property.

  5. David Diamond

    Enjoyed the update Ben, and sorry to hear your mom hasn't quite fully recovered yet. I hope 2022 finds your mom, and the world at large, in better health than the last 2 years, so we can all go back to some approximation of normalcy.

  6. Scott De Guzman Guest

    I am in agreement with those readers who are annoyed with the pop up videos. I always have to close them out first when reading a post and it happens with every post. You would think if I closed out one, it would be good for the rest of the time I am on your site. But no. It makes going to each post a chore and I don't like it. Please remove them.

  7. Mike Saint Guest

    Lucky,

    I've always enjoyed your blog over the years. I'm really sorry to hear about your mom. I've found more and more during COVID, I'm enjoying traveling less and less. It's really not fun anymore. From having to wear masks for many, many hours on a plane, to worrying about getting stranded somewhere, to coming up positive on a COVID test..... it's just not that fun.

    The best important thing is good health and I hope your mother beats cancer.

  8. KyliePug New Member

    Why does your website always suggest often outdated and expired offers at the bottom of your posts? Its really annoying and a waste of time for readers to unknowingly click and read another article to later find out its some expired offer from 2019!

  9. DCS Diamond

    From the perspective of chasing status there’s limited need to stay with Hilton more, though, given that there’s nothing beyond Diamond status.

    Hmmm...

    This is what is beyond Diamond status:
    — One additional free night certificate for use at ANY category hotel after spending $60K
    — 10K bonus points after reaching 40 nights [reduced to 20 nights during the pandemic], and award nights count!
    — 10K bonus points every 10 nights after...

    From the perspective of chasing status there’s limited need to stay with Hilton more, though, given that there’s nothing beyond Diamond status.

    Hmmm...

    This is what is beyond Diamond status:
    — One additional free night certificate for use at ANY category hotel after spending $60K
    — 10K bonus points after reaching 40 nights [reduced to 20 nights during the pandemic], and award nights count!
    — 10K bonus points every 10 nights after reaching 40 nights [reduced to 20 nights] with NO CAP
    — 30K additional bonus points when one reaches 60 nights [increased to 40K after 60 nights]
    — Ability to gift Gold status at 60 nights [reduced to 30 nights and I now have a Gold status to gift!] and to gift Diamond at 100 nights [reduced to 60 nights]

    And, of course, there is the big one beyond the Diamond status: the Lifetime Diamond Status! I will just reproduced here what I just posted elsewhere in this space:

    I am pursuing Lifetime Hilton Honors Diamond, which I will be just ~60K base points short of attaining after AMEX posts bonus points that I just earned at 14x on my most recent 6-night stay at Hilton Buenos Aires , as such bonus points will continue to count as base points until 12/31/2022. In fact, because every single bonus points earned on the Aspire counts as a base point, I can reach LF HH Diamond next year by just charging up about $8,500 worth of domestic US dining (7x) or $4,300 worth of revenue stays (14x) on the card. According to current info in my account, I have earned (excluding the pending Aspire points) an incredible 241,808 Base Points this year on just 7 eligible stays (32 nights) mostly thanks to the Aspire card bonus points!!!

    The benefit of LF HH Diamond, of course, is that it will put me at the top of Hilton's new global automated room upgrade queue!

    In short, rather "nothing" there is plenty beyond the HH Diamond status for those with a broader view...

    G'day.

    1. Jill Guest

      @DCS
      Where is the Hilton base points located?

    2. DCS Diamond

      @Jill - The number of base points is right there on the status tracker that shows your current tier in colored circle. On a web browser, there are two tabs at the top right of the tracker. One the says "Nights", which is the default and displays the number of nights you've earned, and another says "Points". Click on the latter and it will display the number of base points that you've earned.

      It...

      @Jill - The number of base points is right there on the status tracker that shows your current tier in colored circle. On a web browser, there are two tabs at the top right of the tracker. One the says "Nights", which is the default and displays the number of nights you've earned, and another says "Points". Click on the latter and it will display the number of base points that you've earned.

      It is even easier on the HH mobile phone app. Go to "Account", then it will display the status tracker with three tabs: night, stays and points, which report on how many of each of those you've accumulated.

    3. Jill Guest

      @DCS
      I am talking about total over the number of the years instead of manually adding them

    4. DCS Guest

      Aha - You need to email customer support for your lifetime totals. I have done twice, the first time in 2017 and the second in late September this year, and got a response both times within 7 days...

    5. neal Guest

      What is the tier beyond Diamond status called?

  10. Andy Guest

    I will definitely go for Hilton Diamond requalification, which should not be too difficult for me as a European without credit card status benefits, given the rollover of nights stayed in 2021.

    As for Marriott i hope to requalify at least as Platinum (currently Gold), but this could be difficult if the combined effect of Omicron and no lowered requiermements hit … I also await the communication by Marriott.

    On Hyatt I‘ve given up years...

    I will definitely go for Hilton Diamond requalification, which should not be too difficult for me as a European without credit card status benefits, given the rollover of nights stayed in 2021.

    As for Marriott i hope to requalify at least as Platinum (currently Gold), but this could be difficult if the combined effect of Omicron and no lowered requiermements hit … I also await the communication by Marriott.

    On Hyatt I‘ve given up years ago, being in Europe …

    But, being in Europe, I will requalify AllAccor and Melia, both at Silver level. Both programs offer relatively good Silver benefits but not much beyond.

  11. Wylie Guest

    Please stop having videos open whenever I go to one of your pages from a FB or email link. It's really annoying to a loyal long time reader. I'm sure I am not alone. Hopefully your online earnings are sufficient that you don't need to degrade the experience with pop up videos that have to be closed by the reader for an extra couple bucks. Thank you.

    1. Steve Diamond

      How about a feature if you have a login or account then you can disable videos. It is very annoying for everyday readers, this way the regulars dont see them and the highly valued one-off readers that found there way here without logins will get the videos. Perfect solution Ben!

    2. Eskimo Guest

      @Steve

      I think you got it completely reversed.
      The highly valued readers are the regulars. The one-off readers don't make money. OMAAT isn't a hobby, it's a business.

  12. Greg Guest

    Ben I am not sure I see the Hyatt Globalist elite program as positive as you do. Since they gutted the points and cash program, closed the majority of the club lounges, and raised points prices with the peak pricing I don't see the same value anymore.

    Further reading posts on the suite upgrades, many of us Globalists have expiring suites as we cannot use them at many hotels unless you are the type who...

    Ben I am not sure I see the Hyatt Globalist elite program as positive as you do. Since they gutted the points and cash program, closed the majority of the club lounges, and raised points prices with the peak pricing I don't see the same value anymore.

    Further reading posts on the suite upgrades, many of us Globalists have expiring suites as we cannot use them at many hotels unless you are the type who does lots of speculative booking months and months out to find suites.

    Hotel prices are up and travel is just not as enjoyable right now with additional costs and stress with Covid testing and the various Covid rules that takes away the enjoyment of many hotels. Restaurants closed or limited capacity with big line ups, activities cancelled because of Covid rules.

    Combine the Covid stress and additional costs with sky high prices in many hotels and I don't see myself doing as much travel still. Much more last minute travel when things are good,

  13. Pam Guest

    Ben - I truly appreciate the top-tier status’ you have built over many days & dollars. All while staying pristine in a lender’s eyes. Very impressive. And I also know a lot of work - the simple statement of almost achieving Lifetime Globalist entails an enormous amount of planning & positioning of resources.

    Congratulations & thank you for steering your posts towards points success while also bending conservative in your approach.

    Here’s to achieving Lifetime...

    Ben - I truly appreciate the top-tier status’ you have built over many days & dollars. All while staying pristine in a lender’s eyes. Very impressive. And I also know a lot of work - the simple statement of almost achieving Lifetime Globalist entails an enormous amount of planning & positioning of resources.

    Congratulations & thank you for steering your posts towards points success while also bending conservative in your approach.

    Here’s to achieving Lifetime Globalist, moving into your new home, & so much more in the New Year for you, Ford, & Winston.

  14. Russ Member

    Best wishes to your Mom, Ben!

    Another thing about Marriott Properties that has irked me is is they have gone from consistency —> more like Airbnb where you have to check what amenities are open at what property. I find myself picking limited service Marriott brands with free breakfast over full-service hotels due to club lounges that remain closed.

  15. Andrew Diamond

    Thanks for sharing!

    I'm likely going to prioritize Hyatt and FHR/brand-programs for the non-Hyatt nights.

  16. D3kingg Guest

    Just staying at Hilton this year. I have gold status with the AMEX surpass. I opt for 1,000 bonus pts instead of the $12 or $15 food and beverage credit. I stay at Hilton and Doubletree so no loss there. In the second half of the year I should have a better idea of where I stand with American . If I’m looking short on LPs I will start using the Barclays aviator silver at hotels . Looking at around 25 hotel nights this year.

  17. Jill Guest

    wait a minute you didn’t make lifetime Titanium Elite with Marriott Bonvoy

Featured Comments Most helpful comments ( as chosen by the OMAAT community ).

The comments on this page have not been provided, reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any advertiser, and it is not an advertiser's responsibility to ensure posts and/or questions are answered.

Wylie Guest

Please stop having videos open whenever I go to one of your pages from a FB or email link. It's really annoying to a loyal long time reader. I'm sure I am not alone. Hopefully your online earnings are sufficient that you don't need to degrade the experience with pop up videos that have to be closed by the reader for an extra couple bucks. Thank you.

3
Steve Diamond

How about a feature if you have a login or account then you can disable videos. It is very annoying for everyday readers, this way the regulars dont see them and the highly valued one-off readers that found there way here without logins will get the videos. Perfect solution Ben!

1
Pam Guest

Ben - I truly appreciate the top-tier status’ you have built over many days & dollars. All while staying pristine in a lender’s eyes. Very impressive. And I also know a lot of work - the simple statement of almost achieving Lifetime Globalist entails an enormous amount of planning & positioning of resources. Congratulations & thank you for steering your posts towards points success while also bending conservative in your approach. Here’s to achieving Lifetime Globalist, moving into your new home, & so much more in the New Year for you, Ford, & Winston.

1
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