After experience staying at both Hilton, SPG and Marriott,I personally had the best experience with Marriott, and I am seriously think about whether or not should I "intentionally" pursuing eligible nights and member status?
I am currently only stayed at one night with Marriott, and I think I might travel and enjoying the nice hotel more often from now, I already plan to stay 7 nights with Marriott for my Vacation visiting Bangkok next June . I can become Silver member next year if I challenge, and probably challenge a gold member in 2018...
(How ever the fastest way is to get SPG's Gold status and matches to Marriott.I know this is unfair to Marriott elite)
I have seriously thought about this. I love travel, I love stay at nice hotel. I care about details. But I seldom travel for business, which means all of my nights with Marriott is paid by my self for pleasure.
From what I know, those hotel member program is mainly designed for business customers, who goes on a business trip very often, so they can meet the qualification of higher member status, yet most of the time, they don't to spend a money for their nights!
So executive lounges, board room, is all mainly designed for the business customer rather than travel for leisure.
Many of the Marriott or other hotel chains properties in the States don't even have a real executive lounge. And in many cities , you only need to paid a little to enjoy the perks of Gold member like executive lounge, free buffet breakfast, even 4 pm late check out.
So I starts to wondering, is it really worth to pursue the higher member status, if I travel, but not that often, and probably all paid by myself, no business trip. For example, 10~15 nights a year.
Probably I should just paid for the perks, if I really need to , instead of pursuing staying nights ?
Beside, even if I become a Gold Elite, what really helps me is 4 pm check out and upgrades( of course and the service level for Elite guests). I don't think you will really comeback to the hotel to enjoy afternoon tea and dinner at executive lounge, if you visited Bangkok, Tokyo and New York City, where there are so many things to explore outside the hotel?
Yes, it's worth it. Upgrades to better rooms, access to the Lounge, etc. are all important perks. Yes, in some cities you can pay a little to get access to the lounge. With status you pay nothing. Plus, the cities with the best lounges you usually cannot buy access.
The lounge at the JW Marriott in Bangkok is one of the best. You'll enjoy it.
50centakagansta, if you can get gold status with Marriott, it's definitely worth it. Silver is not too great. Platinum is good but really not that much better than gold. The really good benefits kick in at the gold level. If you can get the Chase Marriott Visa, you'll get 15 nights toward status, and that really helps if you're trying to get to gold elite which requires 50 nights a year. Plus you get one elite night credit for each $3000 spent on the Marriott Visa, which helps if you charge a lot.
Thanks for the reply. But I don't live in the US, so I am not be able to Chase Marriott Visa, other wise, if I could, I would done it already.
As far as the upgrading concern, I know that in SPG, Gold member can usually only upgrade to the same room with better view or higher floor, they seldom giving you upgrade to a junior suite for Gold member. Is that the same in Marriott Gold?
To me the concierge privilege is what motivated me to get at least gold. Without the benefit of Visa card it maybe difficult for you to get to 50 . But I do agree if possible pick one chain that makes the most sense based on your destinations . It can't hurt and at some point your condition might change. Also at times Marriott offers challenges that over a short period of time say you stay so many nights you get gold . Worth watching to see if a deal works for you .
50centakagansta, since becoming gold or even platinum, I haven't gotten many really good upgrades. Most of the upgrades I get are a room in the concierge level floor (gold and platinum get CL access even if their room is not on the CL floor), a high floor, or perhaps a slightly larger room or one with a better view. I have only gotten an upgrade to a big suite a few times over the years: once at JW Marriott in Chicago where they gave me the LaSalle Suite which was pure heaven (one of my favorite Marriott-branded properties); once at RC Chicago where my suite was bigger than most peoples' apartments, once at the Renaissance at the Depot Minneapolis where they gave me the St. Cloud Suite which was wonderful, and once at FFI Temecula CA where we got a big suite. I have gotten quite a few upgrades where the room was bit larger but not a suite: Courtyard Waikiki, Hotel Minneapolis, Marriott Minneapolis West, etc. I get quite a few where I book the cheapest room with no balcony and get upgraded to a room with a balcony: RC Naples, RC Ft. Lauderdale, The Cosmopolitan, Marriott Tampa Waterside, etc. Sometimes the upgrade is from a garden view to a water view: Renaissance Harbour View Hong Kong, San Diego Marriott Marquis, or Marriott Marquis Times Square (no water there but I got a street view instead of alley view, but still not a very good view), etc. There are some Insiders who claim to get an upgrade to a suite every time, so I'm not sure what their secret it. I never ask for an upgrade. I just take them if offered.
50centakagansta, I agree with the logic that our fellow Insiders have shared above. Yes, I think the perks are worth pursuing. For now, you can earn Gold easily with SPG, and status match to Gold at Marriott which has a much richer set of benefits in terms of concierge lounge access, upgrades, better points earnings rates etc. As troytraveler and jerryl aptly point out, you are going to spend your travel nights somewhere. You might as well invest those nights in the program that gives you the most hotel choices on the planet, and begin the process of accruing benefits that will increase over the course of a "lifetime." You have to start somewhere, and you want each stay to matter over time. With that as your baseline assumption, there is no other program that can hold a candle to the versatility of Marriott Rewards. Happy travels!!!
50centakagansta I'm a retiree who, during my career, did not travel much on business. I travel about 40 nights each year and get Platinum status with Marriott by making substantial use of the Marriott Rewards credit card from Chase. I enjoy many perks from Marriott and recommend that you pick a hotel company and stick with them as much as possible. The Marriott program is the one I chose and it works for me.
Even before I qualified for Gold or Platinum, I found the points to be very valuable. If you choose when and where to redeem points they can be the equivalent of a 10% to 15% discount. As you travel more, you may qualify for gold or Platinum and receive additional perks. The credit card makes Gold attainable without that much travel. You get 15 nights credit just for having the card and if you charge $3,000 each month you get another 12 nights credit each year. That leaves only 23 nights of stays required each year in order to get Gold and the CL.
Think of all the things that you can charge each month, such as your phone/cable bill, etc. If you don't make gold one year, you can use the roll over nights to make it easier the following year.
If you enjoy nice rooms the upgrades are a real benefit. I've gotten a suite about half the tie when I stay at a Full Service Marriott property. Upgrades are usually available if you travelat slow times. They are not that available when a hotel is busy.
Silver membership has one real benefit and that's the 20% extra points over basic. That's 12 points per $ spent. Redeemed carefully that can represent a 10-15% rebate. But of course loyalty brings inconvenience, Marriott hotels are seldom thebceru closest to where I need to be, and not always the cheapest either in their class either. Far easier is simply Searching via the comparison sites where you can choose from a much bigger selection of chains and independent hotels and booking via the cheapest online travel agent.
If however you can make 50 nights each year you'll attain Gold membership which sees Upgrades, lounge access, free breakfast and of course Marriott's thrice yearly megabonus offers can be very rewarding at that level. However Gold membership requires a big commitment from a leisure traveller, but add that to a linked credit card and all three constituents makes loyalty a very worthwhile proposition at Marriott.