With some upcoming hotel stays planned(to include spring break, travel conference, and summer) I had to decide to give some business to IHG as I have their card now or try and up the game with Marriott. I’ve enjoyed Marriott gold status but it don’t give you much unless you travel internationally. I get free upgrades internet, more points, and a chance at upgrades(which I haven’t seen).
Platinum with Marriott would be even better especially with some international travel in my sights. I’ve heard great things about the upgrades. In addition I have a one week certificate to use, plus my annual night. Getting upgrades on free stays could increase the value. In addition getting upgraded when you have the kids means larger rooms potentially which is a bonus.
I had silver through the credit card, then challenged my way to Gold. And now after a year of that, I took a platinum challenge. Simply stay 9 times by July 31 and get Platinum until January 2020. Spring/Summer not the greatest time price wise, but I’ll make it work. 9 stays might seem like a lot, but I already had 2 nights planned and potential to switch a stay which could be 2 more nights. Another potential trip would get me a night. and that’s before I make any summer plans with the kids. I’ll also be on the lookout for friends in town. I simply book and add them to the reservation and check in for them. Between those 2 things, I’ll get the 4 or 5 I need, especially with just under 4 months to do it. A stay counts as paid and even if its multiple nights so the key is to have nine-1 night stays essentially.
Whenever I do a challenge I do it before I have upcoming travel plans. Plus I spend a decent amount of time planning out some potential nights that provide value. One way to do this is to stay near airports instead of the city. For example I'm taking the kids to the ocean but we like to stop for the night and just hang out on the way. Gives us another night out of the house, plus I landed a Marriott brand hotel near the airport for $98 plus tax. It has a pool and free breakfast which is just what the kids love.
Once I earn Platinum, I can then status match to other programs, which honestly is how I have most of my status.
I only had Marriott Gold and I had my Diamond from Total Rewards in Las Vegas. I have turned that in Hilton Gold, Wyndham Diamond, and Best western Diamond. Not that I foresee a bunch of stays necessarily, but you never know when you night need a hotel at another brand. For example going to the ocean doesn't provide all the name brand hotels always so I have used my Best Western Status to my advantage. In addition, Marriott is part of SPG which covers a whole other brand of hotels I will have status with now.
Wish me luck!
UPDATE: As of 4/16/18 and right after I posted this, Marriott outlined their plan for the new merger of programs in August. Having Gold Status looks to be a possible upgrade, but that being said, getting Platinum will help me even more and last longer. So my plan is still on.