I already have over 100 nights this year and I am constantly on the road for business. Since Platinum is the highest tier, and since I have all the reward points I need, does it make sense to start staying at another hotel chain to hit an elite tier, or are there other benefits that kick in for people who stay more nights? Just wondering?
In my opinion there are a couple of reasons for continuing to stay at Marriotts this year:
1) the number of nights you have above your current status requirement roll over to next year to help meet your status requirement. So if you have 100 nights, the 25 nights above the platinum requirement count in 2010 toward your elite status qualification for 2011.
2) the Megabonus promotion is running now where you could earn 35k or 50k bonus points.
That said, since I earned my platinum status early this year, I have been trying to "spread the wealth" and stay in Starwoods and Hiltons to try and build status there. Hope that helps.
For three reasons, I recommend sticking with the program. These are:
1) While qualifying elsewhere you are sacrificing the perks with the second chain that you have already earned as a Marriott Rewards platinum member.
2) For the first time, nights in excess of 75 this year will count toward your platinum status next year.
3) There is a little known (and non-advertised) lifetime status program based on total (i.e. lifetime) nights and points earned as well as dollars spent. Once these three criteria are met, a member qualifies for lifetime elite status, with the highest being Platinum Emeritus. At 100+ nights per year your total accumulation will be recognized once you have met the 1,000 night minimum (assuming you're not as old as I am and still have time to qualify - as I have).
While it is not always possible given travel schedules I have found that staying at the same hotel over a period of time has great benefits and rewards too. Everyone recognizes you, doors open that might not otherwise, rooms are blocked by rooms control, birthdays are remembered, etc.
One particular hotel kept the same room for me whenever possible and always near the Concierge Lounge as well. The Starbucks person had my drink (complimentary) ready every morning and smiled.
You get to know the staff and they become friends. It's a good thing.
I understand where you are headed. However, you may not be aware that you have made an incorrect assumption.
There are - in fact - several unpublished MR tiers (you may wish to consider them sub-tiers) above Platinum:
Lifetime Platinum - has been described in this thread already. Qualifying criteria have also been detailed, and include - in part - 1000 lifetime room nights at qualifying rates, a minimum number of years of active membership in MR, and several other cirteria. Obvious benefit - you don't have to qualify annually. This is a great recognition for retired folks who have had years of MR loyalty but may not travel as much as they used to.
Premier Platinum - qualifying criteria is unpublished. Primary benefits are an unpublished reservation desk and phone number and - perhaps more importantly - instant recognition of the MR member's status to hotel management, room blockers and front desk personnel because MARSHA (the rez system) highlights PP status on front desk checkin screens. I have found that PP status results in top priority treatment of a guest (although I have found that Marriott associates provide generally excellent treatment of all guests anyway).
Hope I got this right: If there are about 30 million worldwide Marriott Rewards members and the most loyal (in the past that was 2-3% of all members in terms of paid nights in a calendar year) are selected for this recognition, then there are about 600,000 to one million Platinum Premier members who qualify each year!
Whole lot of folks potentially, but the actual PP numbers are most likely different: the two to three percent might be at the very high end (say those who 150 nights for three years in a row) and thus the universe would be smaller than I have shown above. Marriott can and does apparently adjust the entry requirements from year to year.
I have never had to wait long for a person to answer the phone at the SLC Platinum Premier desk and each person has been a wonderful associate who is very helpful. Hotels are more than happy to offer upgrades when asked, if they have them, and rooms at reasonable rates are nearly always available.
So, for me the Platinum Premier level works wonderfully and is worth every night!
For FY2009 there is a small benefit on nights over 75. You can carry over nights from this year to next based on their promotion. You might want to check as I do not remember if you need to register but effectively you could make platinum elite easier for FY10 or even hit it this year if you have enough stays. Then in 2010 you can knock of Hilton, etc. Enjoy