To some extent I can’t rationalize why hotels give us the option of earning elite status based on stays. Marriott is the only program that will only allow you to qualify based on nights, while Hilton, Hyatt, and Starwood let you qualify for their top tier status with ~25 stays. For airlines it makes sense to allow customers to qualify based on either miles or segments, given that there’s virtually no correlation between the distance of a flight and the price (often times a flight from San Diego to Los Angeles is more expensive than a flight from Los Angeles to Washington, which is 20 times the distance).
That being said, I’m not going to let the opportunity be wasted, so I almost always qualify for hotel status based on stays as opposed to nights. Beyond that, benefits are often on a per stay basis as opposed to on a per night basis. For example, Starwood offers a 500 point welcome amenity per stay for most of their hotels, while Hyatt offers a 1,000 point welcome amenity per stay at most of their hotels. Beyond that, Hyatt offers 2,500 bonus points per stay for a Diamond if the club lounge is closed. So if I stay at my local Hyatt two nights in a row, I would earn 3,500 bonus points based on the above, while if I checked in for a night on Friday and then again on Sunday, I’d earn double the points, even though I’m staying the same number of nights.
That being said, it can be a real pain to switch hotels, especially if on vacation with friends. But there’s an easy way to mattress run, assuming you stay at hotels a lot and have a consistent travel companion/spouse.
Generally there’s not a huge benefit to two people having status when it comes to hotel stays, except for the ability to alternate the person that earns points every night.
So say you’re booked at a Hyatt hotel over a weekend and wanted to stay for three nights. Say that I’m a Diamond and my travel companion is also a Diamond. I would put my Gold Passport number on the reservation the first night, my travel companion (who also has to be Diamond) puts his/her Gold Passport number on the reservation the second night, and I put it on the reservation the third night.
Ordinarily if my Gold Passport account were on the reservation for all three nights I would earn 2,500 points for the club lounge being closed once (if it is in fact closed), and I would earn the 1,000 point Diamond amenity bonus once, for a total of 3,500 points (plus base points). If instead we alternated every night, we would earn three times as many points, since we’d earn each of the above for each night, for a total of 10,500 points, plus the base points.
Now there are some slight issues with this. Specifically, you’ll likely have to check-in and check-out every day, at least on “paper.” You’ll probably be able to keep the same room, but you’ll need to “settle” every day. Still, that’s a lot easier than switching hotels every night.
This would be especially useful during a “faster free nights” style promotion, where you earn one free night for every two stays you make. You could spend four consecutive nights at a hotel, and each earn a free night to redeem anywhere in the world.
Anyway, this isn’t practical for many, though just something to think about. I know lots of people that travel with their spouses and make over 50 hotel stays a year. Think about splitting those nights between the two of you, and you’ll have enough extra points for a few nights at a five star hotel…
Or if you’re able to attend Star Mega Do 3, think about taking your spouse/friend along, as all participants get Hyatt Gold Passport Diamond Status through February 2013.