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I am so giving up on “status” after this year. I will just try to make mid-tier levels work.

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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.

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Not much Hyatt Diamond love at this place!

No, I am not giving up on airline status (for now, but one day maybe yes). I have my Delta Diamond status for this year, all of next year, and if Delta does not do as I expect them to, that is, to dump MQMs for REV based elite status then I will even have at least Platinum or Diamond status until 1FEB2019! And clearly after May this year I will have  lifetime  annual Delta Silver Medallion status due to crossing the 1 Million Mile mark in MQMs (yeah, just a little bit excited about this one). Now I need to think about what airline I try next? 🙂

But what I am giving up on is hotel status after this year even though I tend to stay 30-40 nights each year in hotel rooms (not a ton, but more than most). Let me explain and much of it has to do with where the hotel industry is going as a whole and what I have seen over the past few years.

Just like the airlines that, let’s face it, mostly have a tri-monopoly (and even more so with hubs) have a lock on air travel and prices. The hotels want to consolidate the same way so that they also will have a similar lock on where you stay and spend. We have seen the detrimental and crushing effect this has had on the airline loyalty programs and the exact same thing has slowly begun in the hotel space. It is now just a matter of time.

Elite status on airlines means less and less. Look at Delta. Upgrades for Diamonds used to be all but guaranteed. Delta even PROMISED we would get MORE, not less like Mr. Ham “President” Sandwich Glen tells us today. The same thing goes for hotels.

I have been testing Hyatt Diamond status since they matched me this year. I have liked some bits as they tend to have more “fast” rules than SPG. But this last trip to Ft. Myers I stayed at a Hyatt Place and asked for a possible late checkout of 2PM and was told they were too busy and full – check back in the morning. Really? An entire hotel and a Diamond cannot stay a few extra hours in a hotel nowhere near the beach? This really motivates me to reach out for Diamond again next year (said no one ever)!

With SPG I have mostly been pleased but I hate to have to beg for a full breakfast when the club lounge offerings are “Meh” (not always, but if not good I will go and request it). Same goes for upgrades. I really hate it when I am offered an “upgraded” deluxe room that is the same room as the floor below, but since this is higher up, it is an upgrade? That just reminds me of Delta’s C+ seats. They “say” it is an amazing upgrade, when it really is the same seat as the rest of coach. Sigh.

The point is, if I am going to have to beg, borrow or cajole my way to get something as a top elite, why not just make due with mid status that means I will have to do that exact same thing?

After all, with my Chase IHG card I get Platinum status. With my non-Delta AMEX Platinum card I get SPG Gold status. With my Club Carlson card I get Gold status. I have a bunch of IHG points now to burn from the IHG postcard promo. I can make SPG points cheap whenever I want and Gold status worked and I got almost as many upgrades. I tend to stay at Sheratons so with the SPG biz card I get free club access anyway. Club Carlson I am conflicted about but again it is free status just from the card.

So after this year I will give up my Hyatt Diamond, my Hilton Diamond, my SPG Platinum status and go free agent with credit card status perks. Am I making the right call? – René




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. Phil in ATL Reply

    I thought Hyatt Diamonds were garunteed 4 pm checkout. Does that not apply to Hyatt Place?

    I was easily matched to Hilton top tier from Hyatt Diamond in Jan. Maybe you can do that too in Jan of 2017 and maintain top teir status via status matches.

    Thnx- Phil

  2. Rene, I too am Diamond Hilton, Hyatt and Platinum SPG. And with all the devaluations, I am thinking what the heck? Is it worth it anymore? I look at my perks. Breakfast (at the Andaz Papagayo Resort, or St Regis Priceville etc) I am in heaven. 4pm check outs at SPG or Hyatt, no problem, they even ask me at check in. Upgraded rooms? I have to ask at Hilton, but Sheraton automatically upgrades me and others are hit or miss. Lately I have been greeted by a concierge email ahead of stays, such as at a Conrad, Westin resort, Waldorf, Phoenician and I get my upgrades that way. So are these perks worth the extra $1600-$3000 I might spend to reach the elite elite level? It is all a personal decision, but probably not. As I stay less and less at places, it makes more sense to just buy breakfast. But if I stay at a nice resort and the view will make all the difference in the world, and I am staying longer than 3 or 4 nights, then yes, the top elite level spend is less than paying for the room outright. Especially if you have 2 or 3 stays a year with those many nights. Sometimes they walk me directly to my room and I feel special. The attention to detail and responsiveness is often times 2nd to none. But I wonder if I am at a St. Regis, with no status, in a regular room, would I still get that attention, just because they are supposed to be such a stellar hotel? I don’t know, but would like someone to tell me.
    So for hotels, I might value status more than with an airline. Delta is certainly trying to piss off it’s loyal members. I wonder at some management meetings if they all laugh at us, knowing they are taking away our goodies. In any event, with DL, I value the GU’s very much, but am finding it increasingly difficult to use one. Upgrades are a thing of the past. i don’t even consider them anymore and just try to buy first when I can. Once I decide I could care less about the GU’s, then it is all over for me.

  3. Santastico Reply

    Loyalty is an old word. It means nothing when the economy is hot and companies don’t need your business anymore. Look back to 2008/2009 and now. Compare how Delta and Hyatt treated you there.

  4. Yes, you are making the right call. It’s sort of the way I “roll.” Yes, we get Hilton Diamond and Shangri La Gold Circle Diamond (top tier) from our AMEX card (not to mention Accor Platinum, Carlson Gold and SPG Gold); but the hotel status just does not mean that much to us. I prefer FHR hotel deals (with upgrades that tend to really “work”) as well as branching out to non-program properties such as Peninsula, Four Seasons, and MO (usually via FHR and with buy 2 get 1 type deals) IMHO, hotel status is “great” if you visit the same property in the same cities over and over again.

  5. It’s interesting you bring this up, I was making this same decision right after Hyatt made changes to their suite upgrades and at the uncertain future of SPG / Platinum status.

    I’m shooting for “credit card” status across the board. In the end I may get mid-tier airline and hotel statuses, but I won’t be mile or mattress running for status.

    Free agency will be the new normal, until oil goes up and airlines start to get desperate again.

  6. Never understood the Hyatt [love] among the blogging community. Since none of my hotel stays involve more than 2 people, and coffee for breakfast is perfectly adequate, Hyatt Diamond is wasted on me. A suite is marginally desirable if I’m travelling with colleagues and need a room to meet in (but nearly all business hotels have meeting rooms…). And Hyatts only sporadically exist in places I need to travel.

    When I travel for leisure, I don’t want to linger in a hotel any longer than I absolutely have to. And meals (even breakfast) are always better where the locals eat, and I can usually get a whole bunch of breakfasts for the price of a single mattress run.

    I do appreciate not being stuck in the 1st floor accessible room next to the elevators and ice machine, but the most valuable elite benefit for me, often, is the elite check-in line. Credit card mid-tier works fine for both.

  7. Rene,

    You now get Hilton Gold with the non DL Platinum Amex. You need to request it.


  8. I have to admit that when I saw the headline, I thought that you meant airline status, and pretty much agreed with you. I find top tier hotel status to be much more valuable than airline status, although in all fairness I have never been top tier in any airline program. It’s just that I tend to fly largely on award tickets, in J or F on really long trips, so earning status without flying much is tough without resorting to Delta. Early last year I did the Hyatt Diamond Challenge, then did a MR. Between last year and this, I’m looking at 30+ free nights with top tier status. The club lounges are simply amazing in Asia, and I’ve saved a couple hundred thousand points for better rooms with my status. Granted, that status is set to expire at the end of this year, but unlike me, you have the paid nights to keep this going. If you don’t want to have to fight for promised benefits with SPG, maybe sticking with Hyatt would be the way to go. As you said, the SPG business card at least gets you in to Sheraton clubs, so one benefit would be partially retained.

  9. Hilton Diamond status is only good for getting into a hotel when it is sold out. Breakfast is pedestrian at best, but you still pay an upcharge for breakfast at a Doubletree (some do not upcharge) or you get coffee and a pastry at a Waldorf Astoria.

    But, when it comes to upgrades or late checkout… In my three years as Diamond I’ve never been “given” an upgraded room just because of my status. BUT, I have been offered an upgraded room for a fee. When I ask about my status as an upgrade, the front desk will tell me they don’t have any rooms for a status upgrade.

  10. Marriott Platinum – love their consistency, upgrades without asking, free breakfast and they are everywhere (especially with SPG acquisition) I need them to be.
    Hilton Diamond via status match – there is nothing like a Waldorf. Hyatt brand is good to OK but there are so few of them. Just my .02. Thanks for your blog Rene.

  11. ghostrider5408 Reply

    You know I guess I have been traveling for work (almost 40 years now) and marvel at how quick people to whine and switch just because they didn’t get an upgrade or they have to use their allotted upgrades in one year. In the “old days” it was all based on revenue how much you gave them and in return they gave to you. It’s like Respect, ” you have to earn it” it’s not given. I am a huge supporter of revenue based awards. I had one of the first Eastern Airlines card, walk up show my card and get a FC if available. With that they also issued blank tickets which we filled out right there !!!

    So I am glad people are foregoing their Diamond status next year more room for us in the lounge.

  12. I have IHG platinum “status” (from a credit card) and I used that to match to Hyatt Diamond, which I then used to match to Hilton Diamond. I get SPG Gold-lite through my PM status.

    Hotel status in general is pretty much worthless. I have never been recognized as a Hilton Diamond, and Hyatt just doesn’t have enough locations. I recently had the choice between a Hilton, a Holiday Inn, and a Comfort Inn. The Hilton and Holiday inn were $150. The Comfort Inn was $80, and I of course went with that. The bed was very comfortable, and the room was decent. I got 8 hours of sleep, and hopped on a plane. That’s all I really need.

    Staying at nice hotels is of course preferable, but I’m no longer going out of my way, or paying significantly more. My only standards are a clean room, and a triple-sheeted bed. The other stuff doesn’t really matter. I pretty much won’t pay more than $130 for a hotel room anymore.

  13. For those of you worrying about hotel status: before I learned about the miles and points hobby I never had any kind of status with anyone.
    However it did not stop me from getting free hotel upgrades.
    How did I get them? I just simply smiled and asked if I could get a complimentary upgrade when I was checking in. As long as the hotel was not full, half the time they did! Sometimes they would offer me a big upgrade for a nominal amount. Ex: from a $350 room to a large $1,000 suite for $100 more. I had the best results in Asia.

  14. I agree with @DDiamond. I get lots of upgrades with Marriott’s family of properties without even asking, even on using points for free nights. I was Plat on Hilton for 3 years and got almost nothing. SPG gave me an upgrade once because of my Plat Amex and I had to ask for it.

    As far as the food in the lounges, it depends on the property and where. The JW Marriott Park Lane in London has the best lounge I have ever been in. Used points there and got a free upgrade to a “family” suite, which is a suite with a sitting room seperate from the bedroom. The lounge there includes beer and wine and serves full meals including High Tea.

    Courtyards dont give you anything and you have to pay for a mediocre breakfast.


  15. @DrJohn –

    Check the fine print on that. If a Hilton proprty is oversold by 2% the 48 hour guarantee benefit is void. Not really a benefit at all, in my opinion.

  16. No one gas really mentioned what I value most–being treated as though they give a darn about my comfort. We all know that customer service is dying, but to the extent I get treated better, I value the status. That varies tremendously from one property to another, and I’ve found no consistency among chains.

    I pay more to shop at Nordstroms just because of how they treat me. I used to have the same loyalty to the Ritz chain, but they seem to gave let go of “the guest is always right” philosophy as well. I’ll pay a good bit to be treated well, and nothing [upsets] me more than paying a lot and being treated poorly.

  17. I travel a lot internationally. Top hotel status is definitely worth it to me for stays outside the US. For the large majority of domestic travel, mid-tier would suffice.

  18. I have to Agree Hilton Diamond is much more worth is internationally. just did 14 days in Thailand they treat you much better. Plus when booking award nights 4 night 5 is free.

  19. Hi Rene!

    Glad I found your blog and discovered that there are other people out there, like me, who are fed up with the arbitrary devaluation or our Skymiles and the non-transparent manner in which the unfavorable changes are instituted. I fly mostly international routes, am a Million Miler and have about 600,000 banked miles.

    My thinking is as follows: Skymiles have value, and thus, are currency. Skymiles already banked have been earned through an existing agreement between Delta and the Skymiles member. Two years ago I could fly RT Narita to Honolulu for about 45,000 – 60,000. Today the same award ticket is 85,000 – 120,000. The intrinsic cost to me has doubled. Could the U.S. Treasury do this with U.S. Savings Bonds. No! They can’t! This activity is illegal. Delta Skymiles and other airline mileage programs must be regulated and the value of our earned miles must be protected.

    From the recent news, Delta’s plans will drastically reduce the value of our miles and reduce seat availability on most routes. It is insulting for Delta to imply more award seats will be available when we all know (but can’t confirm because redemption charts are no longer available) that this will only happen on unpopular routes. These routes are unpopular for a reason.

    Because of this I am thinking about quitting Skymiles this year. What do you think?

    I think it is important for Delta to understand that there are, hopefully, 10’s of thousands or, even better, millions of outraged Skymiles members willing to leave the Skymiles Frequent Flyer Program if they don’t institute change in our favor. Can you suggest a platform where we can consolidate our voices and send a strong message to Delta? Directly to Richard Anderson who, when it comes to the management of the Skymiles Program, has his head in the ground.

    Thanks for sharing all of your knowledge with us!

    Bobby Y

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