The bulk of my travel is for business, which makes me fortunate to not have to pay out-of-pocket very often. I’m done with business trips for the year, and easily requalified for American Airlines Executive Platinum status again this year. In fact, I credited over 150,000 EQM to AAdvantage. Ouch.
My travel patterns changed in 2017 to some extent, in that I did more long haul travel, but less total trips compared to past years. That’s mostly a good thing, but for the first time in recent memory, I’m short of hotel nights to requalify for the status I planned on this year. That and the fact that I traveled to some places (here and here) where there aren’t properties in my preferred chains.
I’m not typically a mileage runner, especially since the mileage run is dead (right James?) But as always, there are exceptions to every rule. This year, I’m justifying some extra hotels stays for a couple of reasons.
Starwood Preferred Guest
I’m currently hold Lifetime Gold, and am within easy reach of Lifetime Platinum status with Starwood Preferred Guest. I have the required nights (500), but lifetime status also requires 10 years as SPG Platinum, and I have 9 so far. Despite being swallowed up by Marriott Rewards, apparently, the SPG program lives for another year. With this information, presumably I could skip this year and so long as I earn Platinum next year, I’ll still have Lifetime Platinum status, or whatever Marriott turns that into once programs do merge.
As of now, I’m only a few nights away from 50 nights for the year. That will requalify me for Platinum status, 10 Suite Night Awards and then (hopefully) give me Platinum status for life. To get these nights, I’m booking a few nights local Sheraton which at less than $80/night, and with an Amex promotion, It ends up under $70 per night including taxes. I doubt I’ll even stay there overnight, but I do plan to use the indoor pool to swim with my daughter. I also booked one night at a new downtown Westin to check it out. Based on the low rate, mid-December isn’t prime travel season in wintry Milwaukee.
Not a bad deal, and the out-of-pocket expense well worth it for me. Plus, with Lifetime Platinum status, I won’t have to worry about qualification again. At least until Marriott changes the requirements…
World of Hyatt
Not surprisingly, I’m also short on the 60 nights required for Globalist status in the World of Hyatt program. The World of Hyatt name hasn’t grown on me, but I enjoy the benefits I receive. As a long time Diamond and now Globalist, the 60 night threshold is just too many for a program with such a small footprint globally. My logic is that next year I won’t be spreading out my nights so much striving for status in 2 programs. So if my travel keeps up a similar pace, the 55 nights I need for Hyatt next year to requalify hopefully will be easier.
In Milwaukee where I live, there are several Hyatt options, both a somewhat dated Hyatt Regency downtown, and several Hyatt Place properties in some interior suburbs. This time of year all of the properties are available for $80 or less per night. I have a few nights booked locally to get me over the 60 night threshold for Globalist status this year.
I am not visiting exciting destinations to reach hotel status, but that’s not big deal. My 2018 travel is doesn’t appear to be slowing down, so I’m optimistic this extra work and expense is worthwhile.