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AGGGG – What should I do with hotel loyalty / status this year? SPG again?

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Rene’s Points For Better Travel, a division of Chatterbox Entertainment, Inc. has partnered with CardRatings for our coverage of credit card products. Rene’s Points For Better Travel and CardRatings may receive a commission from card issuers. Opinions, reviews, analyses & recommendations are the author’s alone, and have not been reviewed, endorsed or approved by any of these entities. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.

spg choices

I have this fight with myself every year and each year I “just” squeak by. I mean, I earned 26 stays last year with SPG and none of them were a “mattress run” that is, going to the room, tossing a pillow around and leaving,  just for the stay credit. It takes 25 stays to make or keep platinum but 2 of my credits came from my now canceled personal SPG AMEX card and 2 more came from my business SPG AMEX card that I still hold now.

As you can see from the screen shot above, I have already got my 2 credits this year from the business card. I use the SPG business card now and then to make SPG points, especially once I have spent $60,000 on my Delta AMEX Reserve card as there is then no point in spending beyond that number (after 60k I can no longer earn more bonus MQMs so I move on to other cards).

But my AGGGG moment comes each time I look at just how many stays I will need and get each year. I like SPG hotels so that is just not the issue. I already get free GOLD status from my NON-Delta AMEX Platinum card so I really don’t “need” to earn even the 10 credits it takes to get that – but I know I will stay more than 10 nights a year at SPG hotels.

My other frustration is I just don’t stay “that many” nights in hotels. I tend to drive my choice to stay all-in at SPG to get to that 25 number each year. I really should stay more at Club Carlson hotels as I have a bunch of points from both my wife and I getting their cards again and again over the years. I don’t use those points because I am staying at SPG hotels. Same goes for IHG hotels as I am all SPG. See my problem?

I have so far this year 8 nights booked plus the 2 from my card. I am sure I will need another 10 here and there. That will leave me just 5 short (or less) by the end of 2015. So do I push again? Do I give up and settle for Gold in 2016. Do I match with another hotel and then chase that status with them? Do I stay at more IHG hotels as just holding the Chase IHG card gets me free Platinum anyway (but not near as nice as SPG Platinum).

I don’t know. I really don’t. I have Crossover Rewards no matter what with my Diamond Delta status so it is not a must I keep my SPG Platinum status going. What should I do readers? – René
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Rene’s Points For Better Travel, a division of Chatterbox Entertainment, Inc. has partnered with CardRatings for our coverage of credit card products. Rene’s Points For Better Travel and CardRatings may receive a commission from card issuers. Opinions, reviews, analyses & recommendations are the author’s alone, and have not been reviewed, endorsed or approved by any of these entities. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.

Responses are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser's responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.

René de Lambert is a contributing writer and the founder of RenesPoints. He is an avid Delta and SkyTeam flyer who has held Delta’s top Diamond Medallion status for many years and flown millions of miles.


  1. Drop it like it’s hot.

    It seems more of a hassle to maintain that. Maybe you should go platinum stays free for 2015?

  2. John DELTA Reply

    I find myself in a similar situation this year as well. I had been hoping to do a Hyatt Diamond Challenge, but that opportunity seems to have fizzled out…they just haven’t announced any reinstatement of anything similar.

    But I do like the Crossover Rewards with SPG. I can get plenty of Hyatt Gold Passport points in other ways from an Ultimate Rewards CC.

    So, without the Hyatt Diamond Challenge, I am looking at SPG for status. Perhaps I actually stay in more hotels than you do yourself Rene when on Mileage Runs. I just don’t like the tag and turnarounds…I usually stay at least one night (typically using Hyatt Points+Cash). Perhaps if you did more of that (hotel stays) you would (could?) earn more SPG nights.

    I also agree with you that Club Carlson is a good alternative (I really like some of the Radisson Blu properties)

    I suggest you figure out what’s affordable in terms of monetary costs and your travel patterns and find the loyalty program which fits best in the new year. Often programs that are easy to get points otherwise do not incentivize us to get status beyond the first or second tier as the payoff is not that much more rewarding for the additional costs & hassles.

    • @John DELTA – good input. truly. the best part about SPG is they don’t mind if you do say 2 days back to back on 2 reservations for 2 stay credits vs other hotels so simpler to keep my SPG status. Grrrr… need more input! 🙂

  3. TexasYankee Reply

    No Flaming allowed! What about the amex HH surpass card or citi HHonors card and spend $40k for the Diamond status? I know it is not a good value for the spend. The citicard would give you Gold status which is real close to Diamond with HHonors. Since I have close to a million HH points I am stuck with them.

    • @TexasYankee – good ideas. i have a way to get a few more credits at SPG this year unless someone gets really greedy 😉

  4. MSPDeltaDude Reply

    Priceline everything and with the money you save, but yourself a nice breakfast 🙂 I really like Hyatt Diamond and that’s after 5 years as a Marriott Gold/Plat. Marriott was fine, but was never upgraded. If you don’t care about upgrades into suites and just want good customer service I would go Marriott Gold.

  5. Marriott and SPG Plat. As I travel a lot, I put a lot of value on my life for when I decide to take a job close to home. To me, that means looking at lifetime programs at each chain. I would say in that regard, SPG is top notch. And I understand that you’ll always travel a good bit, but for the rest of us, losing focus might be the difference in lifetime status. If you’re committed to keeping your Amex Plat long term (even if you hit lifetime Gold) due to lounge access, you could probably stray.

  6. John DELTA Reply

    @Rene –

    Perhaps another strategy is to go for lifetime Gold status with SPG.

    Since maintaining Gold elite status for 5 years grants lifelong gold status.

    Maybe then it’s worth it and you’d be free of the nights and $30K annual spend requirements.

  7. René,
    I look at it this way. SPG rates are usually more than are allowed by the company I work for. I have not yet looked at Hyatt, but am currently Platinum at Marriott. I used to be Diamond at Hilton, but they made so ridiculously expensive points wise to stay at their properties.

    I would give up SPG, as you automatically get Gold status with a Regular Platinum American Express card which will keep you eligible for the double points with Delta. Hilton does a combination of stays / nights in a calendar year for status and I believe that Marriott is nights only, needing 75 to achieve Platinum. Platinum at Marriott automatically gives you Silver on United. But with Marriott you only need to get Gold for access to most concierge lounges and this year I think silver and up gets free internet as well.

    Hilton allows you to double dip and earn both points and miles, I assume they still offer Delta as an airline. I learned the hard way, that if you don’t stay at a Hilton and earn additional points, you will lose the points that you accrued.

    Marriott has different promotion through the year that allow you to earn mega bonus points by staying a certain number of nights in determined time periods. Marriott also has rollover nights. I had 88 nights last year and 13 rolled to this year.

    I know that Hilton offers an Amex card and Marriott has cards from chase that will either give you 15 or 10 nights a year. Chase will also award 50,000 points after $1000 spend

    That’s my $.02.


  8. Your dilemma is such a personal choice, my input maybe unhelpful. But in addition to great hotels I would consider retaining your SPG platinum status for the Crossover rewards from the additional stays and earning Starpoints, which are pretty fungible into delta and other airline miles plus a bonus when you convert. Some bloggers think Starpoints are the most valuable points around. With a handful of stays this year I make “Lifetime” SPG Platinum and won’t have to worry about making any minimum stays to keep the Platinum benefits. Any suggestions on a new hotel program I should concentrate on?

  9. @john, I get my crossover rewards with my complimentary Gold SPG status from Platinum American Express (not the DL card). I also get upgrades with this not sure about concierge club or free internet.


  10. I too am Diamond, SPG gold as well by stays and also the relationship, IHG/Intercontinental Platinum….I see almost no benefit from any of the hotel relationships other than a free bottle of water or wifi, which now seems to be going free at all. I’d like to find out which of the major hotel chains really matches up and provides benefit with Delta, max transfer miles etc. Even at Diamond/Gold with SPG and Platinum at IHG I never get concierge floors, clubs etc. and I obviously stay a lot. So Rene, maybe a new hotel group all together? I tried Tablet hotels, some cool options that are smaller for something fresh.

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