I’ve come full circle in my thinking on hotel elite status……it matters. There was once a time when I thought hotel elite status was not that important. Don’t get me wrong, I liked the possibility of upgraded rooms and enjoyed lounge access, and most importantly, free internet for certain levels, I just didn’t “care” about it the way I do about airline elite status. Like airline status, with hotels, the higher the status the better, but one program, Starwood Preferred Guest, has really stepped things up, making it’s base status a real value proposition in my opinion.

In a perfect world I would just stay at Starwood Hotels, but that just isn’t going to happen. I had hoped to maintain SPG Platinum status for 2012, but unfortunately, I will drop to Gold come March 1. I was really sad about that until a few days ago when Starwood announced some pretty great enhancements for its entire program, but in my mind, especially for SPG Golds. What’s so great about it? Beginning March 1, as an SPG Gold, I will have the option of selecting 1 of 3 check in amenities, one of which is complimentary internet. I mention that because comp internet has been one of my primary reasons for even bothering with hotel elite status. Now that Starwood is making that available to entry-level elites, I’m very likely to continue making their hotels my first choice. That, combined with the noticeably better treatment I receive as an elite (better rooms, amenities, etc) are why I now value hotel elite status nearly as much as airline status.

Do you value hotel elite status as much as any other? Which programs are your favorite and why?