My husband Adam is the business traveler in the family and with a new year starting soon we want to make sure to align his business hotel strategy with our family travel goals. While I’ve already determined that Hyatt will give my family the best benefits while traveling, I also want to ensure we are maximizing the points earned.
Maximizing Our Points
The #1 thing to know is that all points are not created equal. So while you might earn more points at one chain over another, you also have to look at their redemption value. There are also other factors to take into consideration — points earned from status and points earned from the hotel chains co-branded credit card. With the chart below I took a few things into account: 1) The credit card that will earn you the most number of points, and 2) Top Tier status with Marriott is Platinum (not Platinum Premier). This is because the number of nights needed to earn Platinum status is similar to earning status with the other two chains.
Because of the amount my husband travelers and combined with credit card benefits, I am assuming top status with all chains when figuring out which hotel group will earn us the most amount of points. I am also assuming he is spending 35 nights a year with an average hotel cost of $200/night ($7,000 spend/year).
With the calculations above, he will earn the following:
Hyatt: Will earn 10.5 points per dollar spent –> total points earned = 73,500 World of Hyatt points
Hilton: Will earn 34 points per dollar spent + 1,000 points per stay (Diamond benefit) –> total points earned = 260,000 Hilton Honors points
Marriott: Will earn 21 points per dollar spent + 500 points per stay (Platinum benefit) —> total points earned = 158,500 Marriott Bonvoy points
Based on my families typical travel patterns, we stay at the lower end of the high end properties — 20,000 points with Hyatt, 50,000 points with Marriott, and 80,000 point properties with Hilton. Based on the number of points we’ll earn, that will get us 3.68 nights at a Hyatt hotel, 3.25 nights at a Hilton hotel, or 3.17 nights at a Marriott hotel. Of course this doesn’t account for the various promotions throughout the year or the fact that Hilton and Marriott both give you your 5th night free when using points. It also doesn’t account for the fact that Hyatt and Marriott are now offering peak vs. off-peak awards. Fortunately, Hyatt’s chance doesn’t go into effect until March, so as long as we make our peak reservations before then, we will be locked into the normal rate for the rest of the year.
Over the past few years, none of the hotel chains have actually offered outstanding promotions, but Hilton has seem to be the “better” of the bunch. With the 5th night free opportunities and the bonus points earned with promotions, Hilton would probably give us the biggest bang for our buck.
But… we think we are going to stick with Hyatt. Here are the two reasons why:
Suite Night Upgrades
When we travel with our kids, having a suite is amazing. Our kids are still young, they go to bed at different times, wake up at different times, and do not always sleep through the night — having some separation overall is definitely a requirement. When you complete 50 and 60 nights, respectively, with Hyatt you earn two suite upgrades to use (for a total of four). The suite upgrades can be used on one stay up to 7 nights, which is a pretty amazing benefit. The best part, however, is that these upgrades can be used at the time of booking and are not based on availability when you check in. For us, knowing ahead of time that we are going to have a suite is huge! We might even pick a vacation destination based on knowing we will get a suite.
Complimentary Breakfast for Us AND our Kids
At all three hotel chains, if there is a Club Lounge, then there is no issue (usually) getting us and the kids breakfast. But, when there is no Club Lounge (for example, almost every Marriott resort!), Marriott and Hilton only grant breakfast to two guests in the room. Hyatt, on the other hand, will provide breakfast to two adults AND two kids. This means our kids can eat for free as well and we do not have to have the added expense. Also, Marriott and Hilton only offer continental breakfast as a benefit, where Hyatt offers “full” breakfast.
Earning Top Tier Status
For my family, earning top tier status is very do-able when we combine business stays with leisure stays and credit card spend. Here is how you can earn status at these three chains:
With the Hilton Honors American Express Aspire Card you automatically receive top-tier Diamond status. Getting this status right off the bat without having to step foot into a Hilton hotel is great. No need to earn status the hard way.
You need 60 nights to earn top-tier Globalist status. While this is definitely not as easy to earn as some of the other hotel chains, the World of Hyatt Credit Card will give you 5 nights towards status plus you’ll earn you 2 nights towards status with every $5,000 put on card. Since all “stays” towards status can be combined, earning top tier status might not be as hard as you think.
You need 50 nights a year to earn Platinum status and all Marriott credit cards, such as the any Marriott co-branded credit card, such as the Marriott Bonvoy Boundless Credit Card, will give you 15 nights towards status a year. (You can only receive a maximum of 15 nights per year regardless of the number of Marriott credit cards you have).
I am very set on earning as many Hyatt points as possible this year and maintaining our Hyatt Globalist status. While I know that this might not allow us to fully maximizing the points earned, it is the best overall option for my family.
What is your families hotel strategy next year for maximizing your points earned?