I am an aviation enthusiast, aka AvGeek (Aviation Geek). I started flying at a very young age and became obsessed with commercial aviation. I have a top tier airline status for years. It’s not a hobby; it’s an obsession. On average, I fly around 100,000 – 150,000 miles a year, exclusively for pleasure to earn miles and elite status – Go big or go home!
Easy Status Through Credit Card
Hotel status is expensive — for example, Marriott Bonvoy. The top tier status, Ambassador Elite, requires at least 100 nights, and $20,000 qualifying spend a year. That’s a lot of money.
There are more accessible and cheaper ways to earn hotel status — for example, Hilton Honors American Express Aspire Card. With an annual fee of $450, you can enjoy complimentary Diamond status without any spending requirement.
Suite Room is Marginally More Expensive
One of the perks of having a hotel status is getting a room upgrade. My valuation of this benefit is marginal. Unlike airlines where the economy class ticket may cost $400, while the first-class ticket of the same flight may cost $20,000. As an example, below is the nightly rate at W Istanbul sometime in November.
The cheapest (Wonderful, 1 King) guest room costs 93 EUR/night, while the (Studio, 1 King) suite costs 123 EUR/night. If I wanted to stay in a suite room, I’d be willing to spend an extra 30 EUR/night without relying on a complimentary room upgrade benefit. Sometimes these upgrades are not even guaranteed until you check-in.
You can see the difference why airline status is much more compelling than hotel status.
Breakfast is Relatively Affordable
One nice benefit to have is complimentary breakfast. Admittedly, This is one of my favorite benefits through my Hilton Gold status. I have this benefit through my American Express Platinum card. While it’s a nice perk to have, is it worth spending $20,000 a year for the status while you can pay ~$20-$50 for breakfast?
Being loyal to a specific hotel program means your options are sometimes limited. Sometimes a particular hotel brand doesn’t have any footprint in that region. That’s why I love staying at boutique hotels because they are unique, charming, full of character, and sometimes quirky.
Citi Prestige 4th Night Free
One of the benefits of having a Citi Prestige Credit Card is the 4th-night free hotel benefit. Citi devaluated their Citi Prestige benefits overtime. A few years ago, this benefit was not capped, meaning you could get the 4th night free as long as you paid three consecutive nights, virtually at any hotel, as often as you like! Now the benefit is capped to twice a year. But It still represents excellent value. Hypothetically speaking, If you stayed at a hotel for four nights total at a nightly rate of $400, you’d save $400 each stay. If you max it out twice a year, you save $800. Of course, those savings depend on the nightly rates.
There is no doubt having a hotel status has many benefits. I love taking advantage of these benefits when I travel with Kevy because he reserves the room under his name, and we both enjoy the benefits. But I personally wouldn’t pursue a hotel status. It needs a lot of money to maintain. If I wanted to stay in a suite room and have a nice breakfast, I would spend a little more and enjoy it without having any commitment to maintaining the status.