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Most hotel elite status levels are no longer the same as they were before.

Thanks to numerous hotel credit cards that offer it as a perk, and the fact that many hotel brands slashed qualification requirements during the Pandemic, it's easy to get elite status in the hotel industry.

Benefits such as free breakfast and guaranteed suite upgrades are hit or miss, while many hotel programs have changed their redemption charts recently.

It makes us wonder if hotel elites are worth it anymore.

Some of the reasons you might still want to aim for it, even if you only travel from time to time, can be found here.

Hotel elite status perks

Depending on status level, program and brand, what hotel elite status does is vastly different.

A full room-service breakfast included for the whole family, a massive suite upgrade, free parking and more are all perks of hotel status.

Is airline elite status still worth it?

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Included room service breakfast. SUMMER HULL/THE POINTS GUY

The juice has been worth some level of squeeze when staying with brands that are more generous. The last few years have brought a lot of changes to the world of hotel loyalty programs.

Qualification has become (too) easy


The main way to get hotel elite status was through paid stays, the more nights you stayed, the higher your status was. True road warriors had a chance at top status. It doesn't feel like you have to do much to become an elite member.

Thanks to hotel credit cards, status is automatic. It's due to a lot of status extensions, earning promotions and expiration waivers that spawned a lot of hotel elite members just waiting in the wings.

Credit cards that jump start elite status are related.

Last year there was a unique way of earning status that was quicker than usual. The qualification criteria for the World of Hyatt program were slashed in half.

Marriott made it easy to get Marriott Bonvoy Platinum status by making it an automatic perk of the Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant American Express Card. You can get top-tier Diamond status if you hold theHiltonHonors American ExpressAspire Card.

It's easier to argue a status level is worth it if you can earn it with a small number of nights and hold a credit card.

The information for the card has been collected by a third party. The card issuer did not review or provide the card details on this page.

If everyone is elite is no one elite?

While easy access to hotel elite status is a good thing for travelers looking to level up, it does mean there are more elite members, especially here in the U.S., than there are upgrade perks to go around.

It's easy to gauge this when you're in Europe or Asia. It is more common to be treated as a pseudo-royalty due to your hotel status because it is more difficult for travelers in those areas to earn status without the credit card boost available here in the U.S.


When traveling in an area with a lot of elite members, the limited availability of benefits such as suite upgrades means many elite members will miss out on perks they feel entitled to.

Some properties that receive lots of loyalty program visitors institute longer minimum-night-stay requirements for folks hoping to use points, which makes it harder to redeem for stays, and others try to skirt around offering an elite breakfast benefit.

It is possible that easier status qualification has caused hotels to devalue their elite status offerings.

Benefit reductions

In addition to a large pool of elite members, hotel loyalty programs lessened the quality and quantity of some perks they offered to elite members; this came on top of a reduction in the general offerings we have come to expect during stays.

Room service was reduced, restaurants were closed, and housekeeping was no longer a standard feature. Loyalty programs were changing before the Pandemic.

Marriott encouraged guests to opt for bonus points instead of cleaning at check-in. Ritz-Carlton doesn't offer a lot of elite perks.


Cruises blow hotels out of the water.

The welcome amenities have been removed from many hotels. The breakfast benefit that came standard for Gold and Diamond elite members within the U.S. was slashed by Hilton due to capacity limitations.

Hotel elite status hasn't gone down completely.

When hotel elite status is still worth it

There are many reasons why you might want to pursue hotel elite status for yourself, despite the diminution of some perks. There are a lot of people who still keep an eye on their hotel elite status.

It is easy to achieve these days and there is no reason to not do so. There are other benefits if you become or remain a hotel elite member.

Pick up the easy status

If you can get your hotel status by using a credit card already in your wallet, why not?

If you enroll in The Platinum Card from American Express, you can get status automatically, but the status won't land you a suite upgrade. If you get some extra points and food and beverage credit, you should use it on your stays at the hotel.

Double down if you're already loyal to one hotel brand

If you stay at one or two hotel chains frequently enough to earn some status, it makes sense to keep doing so rather than spreading your stays around and not earning any status at all. It's a good idea to know at least some perks during your travels. If you can make it to the next level with just a little more effort, it can be worth it to get free breakfast or upgrade to a suite.

There is a world of difference between Hyatt Explorist and Hyatt Globalist status that might make it worthwhile to push for a few more nights to get the perks. If you make the leap from Marriott Gold to Platinum, you can choose from annual Choice Benefits that may include extra elite night credits or five Suite Night Awards, which can be worth hundreds of dollars.

There are still exciting perks to be had

There are perks that make chasing status still worth it. Things like that are included.

  • Space-available room upgrades, and even suite upgrades at the higher echelons.
  • Club lounge access at certain premium properties.
  • Welcome amenities of extra points, on-property credits or free food and beverages.
  • Early check-in.
  • Late checkout.
  • Dedicated customer service phone lines and desks at hotels.
  • Priority and guaranteed reservations.


You could get better treatment with your hotel chain of choice if you aim high. If you can take advantage of free hotel breakfast many times a year, it can be enough to convince you to work harder to get to a higher tier.

Due to uncertainty surrounding the Pandemic, hotel amenities and elite perks are likely to remain limited. Plot your status strategy with an eye to the benefits you value over those that are just nice to have.

How to replicate hotel elite status

Credit card perks

The Platinum Card from American Express and the Visa Signature or Infinite Collection cards give access to hotel collections with elite-like perks standard with every reservation. You can expect all or some of the following amenities when you book an American Express Fine Hotels + Resorts property or through the Visa Luxury Hotel Collection.

  • Space-available upgrade at check-in.
  • Breakfast for two each day of your stay.
  • Resort credit worth $50 or more per room.
  • Late checkout.
  • Complimentary in-room Wi-Fi.

Capital One just announced its premier collection of luxury hotels, some of which are only available to reserve through Capital One Travel and for Capital One Venture X cards.

48 hours with Chase reserve.

Book directly with the hotel

You can always book directly with the hotel if you're still unsure about booking hotels through third-party platforms after what happened to some travelers at the start of the Pandemic. Booking directly instead of using your credit card's booking platform is the best way to replicate elite perks.

You can take advantage of lounge rooms that give you the perk of lounge access if you book directly. It's possible to reserve your room for a package that includes breakfast, parking, and more. You can redeem your loyalty points for award nights if you book directly.

Book with a travel agent

Travel agents can help you get elite-like perks on your vacation, and they do all of the planning for you. Travel agents and agencies with exclusive relationships with top hotels and resorts around the world can give perks to their clients when they book through them. You don't have to have a credit card to get perks like complimentary breakfast and resort credit.

When should you use a travel agent?

Bottom line

It might not make sense to chase hotel elite status anymore given how easy it is to earn and how few perks are left. It is possible that it is not worth chasing status levels for random hotel chains where you don't stay often. It is worth taking status into account.

Having status is still better than not having it. Late checkout, complimentary wi-fi, and food and beverage credits can still make having and earning status worth it. There are ways to get elite perks without being affiliated with a hotel chain.

Booking your hotel through your credit card's hotel program, booking directly with the hotel or booking with a travel agent are all great ways to get the comforts and perks you love. You pay for the perks you want, not the ones you've earned, so to speak. Yes, hotel elite status is worth it, but it may also be worth it to book your hotels in such a way that you get those coveted perks, no matter what option you choose.

Eric Rosen reports additional information.