I'm not sure if another MRI member has found and posted this article, but it is one of the most comprehensive comparisons of the major hotel loyalty programs I have seen. So I thought it worth sharing again - just in case: Best Hotel Rewards Programs | U.S. News Travel
The comparisons used the following factors:
Top 10 for quick review:
|3 -Tie||Best Western Rewards||4.0-stars(4.09)|
|3 -Tie||Club Carlson||4.0-stars(4.09)|
|5||IHG Rewards Club||4.0-stars(4.04)|
|7||La Quinta Returns||4.0-stars(3.88)|
|8||Starwood Preferred Guest||4.0-stars(3.86)|
|10||Hyatt Gold Passport||3.5-stars(3.68)|
Great info, pingreeman. Thanks for including the methodology as well. Interesting to see how far down the list SPG, Hilton and Hyatt are.
I noticed on the airline side, Alaska's Mileage Plan came out on top. Not surprisingly, Delta ended near the bottom of the list. I suspect once the new earning policy for AA has been in place for a while, it will drop quite a few spots on that list.
It is an interesting breakdown but I don't think it is very meaningful. I was a Wyndham Rewards member for several years, The reason was that much of my work locations were in remote places in Ontario, Quebec, West Virginia and Pennsylvania where it was much more likely to find a super 8 or a days inn than a full service property of any brand. I racked up a lot of points and at one time had something like 45 free nights worth of points. The problem is to use them. If people find it difficult to use category 1 to 5 Marriott certs, try finding a nice Wyndham property where you want to go. The other problem with their program is they have a 4 year expiry policy. 4 years goes by pretty quickly especially when you are flogging the road.
On the other hand I am also a long term HH person, Yep it is hard to achieve free nights at top properties, but I maintained gold or diamond for several years and it;s other benefits are pretty much the same as Marriott or better.. So I am of the opinion that these rankings are meaningless and by changing the criteria a little, Wyndham and Best Western would be at the bottom where they belong and HH would be up with Marriott.
peymanagement As true of all rankings, regardless of the subject, the factors that go into weighting different features and components of the analysis do not always meet the same criteria or consideration that we, as individuals, would wish. However, considering the factors in this ranking are "standard" across the different programs at least allows for some apples-to-apples comparisons among the different brands.
I, like you, was also surprised to see HH and Hyatt towards the bottom of the list. I would have guessed HH might have placed in a tie for 3rd and Hyatt (only due to their numbers and locations) perhaps 6th.
I must also agree that the "rankings" in general are meaningless. For example, I know that MR points are generally "easier" to earn and go further in value than do HH, but my main goal for HH is to convert the points to guaranteed suites (there I go again) when I wish; MR has not shown any effort (and probably never will despite my lamentations) to match the HH program, thus all my paid nights since 02/2013 have been at Hilton (over 600) with Marriott receiving 3 in the same time span.
pingreeman and any marriott person listening, I wonder if they could do something like say the hotel is cat 5 but cat 6 or 7 depending on the guaranteed upgrade you want. I think we'd be happy to spend our points this way and maybe get us to burn through points quicker. Maybe somebody has already thought of this, but somehow this seems so simple.
And as diamond of Hilton, I just stayed there in Germany. No real acknowledgment of my loyalty or upgrade of any sort. But I did get one of my rooms checked in early. Given that I was coming off an international flight, that was really all I was hoping for. I've never gotten anything too awesome from Hilton, but I don't really use them much except when a M isn't available.
I am glad I am a member of the MR program but I must say being a Diamond Member of Hilton has paid off in HUGE upgrades! Last week I was upgraded to the Ambassador Suite at Xi'an Hilton and I have NEVER received anything close to this type of upgrade within Marriott except a few junior suites at the JW in Vegas (Summerlin).
My big problem with the methodology is that it does not consider the quality or value of the actual hotels. It does not consider the properties at which you must stay once you accumulate the benefits.
Obviously, one must also consider how available benefits can be used by an individual customer and that is very personal. If they don't offer the hotels I want in the locations that I want, then the nights (free or not) are not very valuable.
I've tried to stay at a Hyatt and frankly they don't make it easy, I feel. I travel plenty (+100 night easily), but really don't find much opportunity to try Hyatts out much. I can't be very loyal when there just aren't that many locations. I'll loose my status next year and frankly I barely knew I even had it.
I'm very much looking forward, however, to adding SPG to my hotel choices!