In this post I wanted to address a situation that I think just about anyone who has hotel elite status has found themselves in…
Having hotel elite status & traveling with others
There are different trips for different occasions — sometimes I travel alone, sometimes I travel with Ford, and sometimes our parents are in tow as well. When we’re traveling with family we typically book multiple rooms, and that can complicate things when it comes to taking advantage of hotel elite status perks:
Look, I totally get it, elite perks are generally only for the member and one other guest staying in their room, and that’s not unreasonable. But I also find myself conflicted in these situations:
- Do I just use the executive lounge and have breakfast without my family? I don’t really want to do that…
- Do I pay for breakfast and club access for the second room so they can enjoy these amenities with me? That’s a better option than not having them join me, but sometimes it’s just not worth the money…
- Do I just forgo the perks that I’m usually entitled to, in solidarity?
Fortunately over the years I’ve found that there are better ways to go about things, and in this post I wanted to share my general strategy for getting elite perks when booking multiple hotel rooms.
Best options when booking multiple rooms
Over the past few years I’ve almost always used one of five strategies when booking multiple hotel rooms while trying to maximize the benefits that I get. Here they are, roughly in the order of the frequency with which I use them:
Booking a World of Hyatt Guest of Honor reservation
World of Hyatt Globalist members have a Guest of Honor perk, whereby they can extend their elite perks to other rooms when redeeming their own points.
The person you redeem points for gets all the same Globalist perks you usually would, ranging from free breakfast, to club lounge access, to room upgrades, to late check-out. You can use this regardless of whether or not you’re staying with that other person.
To me this is probably the single best perk offered by any hotel loyalty program. I’m happiest when my family is happy, so when a loyalty program recognizes the value in that, I’m thrilled. It’s one of the many reasons that I love World of Hyatt, and I’ve had nothing but good experiences with this perk.
Using double Hilton Honors Diamond status
Elite recognition for multiple rooms isn’t an issue if multiple people have status, and that’s where Hilton Honors becomes useful:
- Hilton Honors makes it really easy to earn Gold status or Diamond status
- Both of these levels offer perks that people may find valuable, like complimentary breakfast, lounge access, and/or food & beverage credits
Both Ford and I have the incredible Hilton Honors American Express Aspire Card (review), which offers Hilton Honors Diamond status and all kinds of other great perks. If we’re in a situation where we need two rooms, I simply book one room in my name and one room in Ford’s name, and then both rooms get Hilton Honors Diamond perks.
Even if you don’t have Diamond status, there are so many easy pathways to Hilton Honors Gold status, so this should be easy enough for most people to do. For example, the Hilton Honors American Express Surpass® Card (review) and Hilton Honors American Express Business Card (review) both offer Gold status for as long as you’re a cardmember.
Booking through Hyatt Privé
When booking multiple rooms at a Hyatt I usually take advantage of the Guest of Honor benefit, but not always. That’s because sometimes paying cash is a better value than redeeming points, based on my valuation of 1.5 cents per Hyatt point.
If you don’t want to redeem points, one can instead get elite-like benefits through the Hyatt Privé program. For booking through the program, you receive benefits like complimentary breakfast, a room upgrade, a property credit, and late check-out subject to availability (exact inclusions vary by brand).
While this doesn’t match up perfectly with Globalist benefits, I’ve found this to be a great solution in many situations.
Booking through Virtuoso
If one of the above options doesn’t work, my next move is typically to just book through Virtuoso. With Virtuoso, select travel agents can offer extra perks at 1,300+ luxury properties around the world, with benefits like complimentary breakfast, room upgrades, property credits, and more.
In many cases these are independent hotels, so at this point I give up on loyalty programs and instead focus on just having as nice of an experience as possible for my family.
There are other programs similar to Virtuoso that are brand-specific, like Four Seasons Preferred Partner, Mandarin Oriental Fan Club, Rosewood Elite, Shangri-La Luxury Circle, and more.
Using a World of Hyatt Club Upgrade Award
There’s a third option available to World of Hyatt members, beyond Guest of Honor bookings and the Hyatt Privé program. As part of the Milestone Rewards program, members receive two Club Access Awards when passing 20 elite nights, and another two when passing 30 elite nights.
If you’re a Globalist member you won’t actually ever need to use these, since you automatically get club access on all stays. These can be great when traveling with others, though, since you can use them to get club access for a second room as well.
These are valid on both paid stays and award stays, so this can be a great option. However, I don’t actually end up using this very often, since I typically find that booking through Guest of Honor is the better value (and those booked through Guest of Honor get club access anyway).
Often the stays that we value most are those where we’re traveling with family and booking multiple rooms. Those are also the stays where it can be toughest to take advantage of elite perks.
Fortunately there are some tricks to create a great experience for everyone in these situations:
- Hyatt is my go-to hotel group in these situations, thanks to the value of Guest of Honor on award stays, the value of Hyatt Privé on revenue stays, and also the potential to use Club Access Awards
- Hilton Honors can also be great, given how easy it is for multiple people to earn status with the program
- Then there’s Virtuoso, which is often what I end up booking through when I’m happy to just forgo points to have a great experience
While the above is by no means comprehensive, personally most of my family bookings in the past few years have been booked through one of the above methods.
What’s your strategy for maximizing elite perks when traveling with family and/or booking multiple rooms?