I recently wrote about my periodic progress check for earning and maintaining airline elite status. Typically, I will do the same for my progress towards hotel elite status. This year I haven’t found myself as dedicated to maintaining elite status with a particular hotel chain. Frankly, I’ve never been as fond of hotel elite programs as I have that of the airlines. Perhaps I’m weird, or maybe it’s because I just see a hotel as a place to sleep and simply don’t value the perks of status with hotels as highly as I do an airline. Certainly, I place some value on hotel elite status, but I used to “care” a lot more about it than I do now. What happened?

I really believe the biggest change for me in the last year was the Citi® Hilton HHonors™ Reserve Card. You might ask why? For a $95 dollar annual fee, I get Hilton Gold status which includes points bonuses, the shot at room upgrades, breakfast if not upgraded to a room with lounge access, and complimentary wi-fi. In short, I can get mid-level status and never set foot in a Hilton property. Of course, I wouldn’t bother with the card if I never stayed at Hilton family hotels. Hilton has become a nice backup plan for me, if you will, just because of Reserve Card.

In other words, I can experiment with different hotels that cater to my tastes ( see Kimpton and more Kimpton) and not worry about losing a respectable level of elite benefits with a chain that has properties just about everywhere. As quite possibly the last travel blogger on earth to jump on the Hyatt bandwagon, it may be time to try them too. I’ve had good experiences with Marriott, and will stay with them when it makes sense, but I’m probably going to loose my Marriott Rewards Gold status after this year. Hmmm…..wonder if Hyatt will status match me? 🙂

In summary, I don’t feel the same about elite status with hotels as I do with airlines, and in my case the Hilton Reserve card changed the game just a bit. As a result, it’s not likely that you’re going to find me on any mattress runs this year to make sure I maintain status or obtain a higher level of status with a particular hotel family. I’m sure a lot of you feel differently about this than I do. Would love to hear alternative points of view in the comments.

-MJ, May 11, 2013