This five-part series is part of an analysis written by Atas Accountant in the beginning of 2020 (pre-COVID) in partnership with a hospitality brand. This article series has since been adapted to exclude sensitive information and edited for reading consumption for followers of Atas Accountant.
Arrivederci 2019, welcome 2020! This year, will you be travelling better?
It was a great European holiday with the family the past month! As 2020 approaches, I have been framing new content and to start, I thought it would be best to answer an age-old question that has surfaced quite often ever since I started the Atas Accountant: does a hotel loyalty programme pay off?
Some backstory to start..
I remember asking this question to myself before I embarked on this journey. I naturally talked to my dad who was an expatriate more than a decade ago and he shared about his nights spent in Starwood hotels (now absorbed by Marriott), and the value he obtained from his elite status; Late checkouts, a dedicated business center, complimentary evening meals, breakfast, complimentary parking, and the list went on. All these were benefits that contributed to a better work stay, so it was worth picking a loyalty programme for expatriates. What about a traveller in 2020?
Heading into 2020, I hold Diamond elite status with Hilton, and have held it since September 2019. I was first granted Gold status after tapping onto a generous offer from VISA which I have written about here, which gave you Gold status after 2 stays from the traditional 20 stays required. I was then elevated to Diamond Status when I completed a status challenge of 10 stays within 90 days, which I did so with ease after visiting friends in America in September and fulfilling a teenage dream of catching the US Open in New York.
In short, I’ve obtained Diamond status within 12 stays, something I’d give myself a pat on the shoulder on for, considering that one normally needs 30 stays before achieving Diamond status. This has helped me plan a wonderful trip in Europe the past month with my family, where we stayed in over 10 different Hilton properties, and obtained 3 suite upgrades in the different properties we stayed in. A special mention to the Hilton Paris Opera, where I was upgraded to the amazing Executive Suite for 2 nights! A night spent at an Executive Suite would cost almost $1,000, and with me paying about $200 for my original room right in the heart of Paris, that’s a sweet deal!
Of course, Hilton’s not the only international chain around, there’s Marriott Bonvoy, Hyatt, Intercontinental, and just so many more. But Hilton has simply won me over with its global footprint and generous point offers. And that’s why in 2020, with my frequent travel habits for work and leisure, I will still be siding with Hilton as my loyalty programme of choice.
The foundations of a good loyalty programme differentiates it apart from other loyalty programmes. While I was looking at a loyalty programme, I narrowed it down to a few components, and I would like to share 3 of the main components that ultimately swayed my decision to Hilton:
1) Qualification/Perks of Elite Status
2) Geographical Footprint
3) Point Offerings/Redemptions
Allow me to elaborate more using 3 hotel loyalty programmes: Marriott Bonvoy, Hilton Honours, World of Hyatt, and you can decide whether a hotel loyalty programme suits you! These will be discussed further in the next few articles, so be sure to keep a lookout for them!
A hotel loyalty programme may be your next best friend when you are off to your travels. Being a proponent and active participant in a loyalty programme, I can’t emphasise enough how much value I have obtained. I’ll share more in the next article where we will look more at what elite status entails 🙂