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Favorite Hotel Programs

by John the Wanderer
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Favorite Hotel Programs – 

Hotel frequent guest programs have really enhanced their elite benefits to try to make the brand stand out from the other.

For example, Starwood gives free lounge access to Platinum guests along with a choice of 500 points or continental breakfast for each stay.

Hyatt gives free lounge access or food and beverage credit for those properties that do not have a lounge and free full breakfast for two for Diamond members.

All the brands offer some form of upgrade to rooms. Starwood gives upgrades up through suites. Hyatt gives upgrades excluding suites.

At Starwood, I have occasionally received a junior suite and two times over the past five years, I received the Presidential Suite upgrade. One time in New York at a Sheraton, and one time in Minneapolis at the Le Meridian.

Smaller programs such as Kimpton give an amazing welcome amenity to their Inner Circle Members as well as free stays when new properties open.

In the past, I used to stay at Hilton and was an elite member but for whatever reason about six or seven years ago I discovered Starwood and have been staying there since. Last year I earned Lifetime Gold based on five years of Platinum membership as well as a lot of nights over those five years. Gold gives some upgrades and a more basic welcome amenity.

The thing I value the most about Starwood is the lounge access. This benefit has been an excellent experience especially in other countries where the food and beverage offerings are a lot more extended than in the US. In Dubai I was given access to a lounge that served breakfast, lunch and dinner as well as had complimentary drinks throughout the day.

I have been earning Platinum which requires 25 stays per-year. This used to be easy when I was traveling more; however, the past few years I have had to do mattress runs in town in order to re-qualify. I recently posted a review of a mattress run that I did at the Sheraton Bloomington.

A friend of mine is an Inner Circle Member at Kimpton. He has shown me pictures about the welcome amenity which typically is a bucket of beer as well as appetizers or some other item. He also gets a “Raid the Minibar” credit. I have been pretty impressed.

I am curious about what your favorite hotel program is and what you like best about it?


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