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Which hotel scheme requires the least spend for top tier status?

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When we compare the major hotel loyalty schemes on Head for Points, we generally look at them in terms of the number of nights you need to stay.

For most people, this is the correct approach. Whilst most of the hotel programmes let you qualify by either spend or nights, the majority of people earn status by qualifying nights because the spend target is disproportionately high.

If you like to stay in luxury hotels, however, you may be able to qualify for top tier status on spend even if you don’t do many nights. This is especially true if you tend to book larger rooms or suites.

Let’s take a look at how much spending each programme needs for top tier status.

For clarity, not all top tiers are created equal. IHG doesn’t give breakfast, lounge access or guaranteed upgrades to its top tier members – you would get more as a mid-tier Hilton Honors member than as top-tier IHG Rewards Spire Elite. That said, the analysis below provides a basis for discussion.

You should also note that different chains have different rules over how multiple rooms are treated. Accor will count spend from TWO rooms per night towards status, which is unusual. Most chains will give redeemable points on 2nd rooms but not status points.

Here are the headline numbers, which exclude any covid changes for 2021:

Easiest chain to earn top-tier status by nights:

  • Accor Live Limitless – 60 nights (for Platinum)
  • Hilton Honors – 60 nights
  • World of Hyatt – 60 nights
  • IHG Rewards – 75 nights
  • Marriott Bonvoy – 75 nights (for Titanium)

Easiest chain to earn top-tier status by spend:

  • Accor Live Limitess – $6,700 (for Platinum)
  • IHG Rewards – $7,500
  • Hilton Honors – $12,000
  • Accor Live Limitless – $12,500 (for Diamond)
  • World of Hyatt – $20,000

Here is a breakdown by chain which also includes covid changes for 2021:

Accor Live Limitless

Top-tier Diamond status requires €10,400 of qualifying spend. There is no ‘nights’ equivalent.

If we drop down to Platinum, it requires 60 nights or €5,600 ($6,700) of pre-tax hotel spending.

The benefits of Platinum and Diamond status are shown on accorhotels.com here.

Hilton Gatwick South

Hilton Honors

Top-tier Diamond status requires 60 nights or 120,000 base points.

At 10 base points per $1, you would earn Diamond with $12,000 of pre-tax hotel spending.

During 2021, as a covid measure, this is reduced to 60,000 elite qualifying points which requires $6,000 of spending.

The benefits of Diamond status are shown on hilton.com here.

IHG Rewards

Top-tier Spire Elite status requires 75 nights or 75,000 elite qualifying points.

At 10 base points per $1, you would earn Spire Elite with $7,500 of pre-tax hotel spending.

During 2021, as a covid measure, this is reduced to 55,000 elite qualifying points which requires $5,500 of spending.

The benefits of Spire Elite status are shown on ihg.com here.

Marriott Bonvoy

Top-tier Titanium Elite status requires 75 nights. There is no cash equivalent.

The ‘concierge’ level, Ambassador Elite, requires 100 nights AND $20,000 of annual spending.

The benefits of Titanium Elite status are shown on marriott.com here.

Radisson Heathrow Hotel entrance (2)

Radisson Rewards

Top-tier Platinum status requires 60 nights. There is no cash equivalent.

The benefits of Platinum status are shown on radissonhotels.com here.

World of Hyatt

Top-tier Globalist status requires 60 nights or 100,000 base points.

At 5 base points per $1, you would earn Globalist with $20,000 of pre-tax hotel spending.

During 2021, as a covid measure, this is reduced to 50,000 base points which requires $10,000 of spending.

The benefits of Globalist status are shown on hyatt.com here.

Conclusion

If you are a big spender at hotels, Accor Live Limitless may have more to offer than you originally thought.

Both Platinum and Diamond, which is ‘spend only’, are easy to achieve compared to the competition. Accor also has a lot of high quality brands, including Fairmont, Raffles, Sofitel and Swissotel. You can also have spend from two rooms per night count towards status.

At the other end of the scale, World of Hyatt has less to offer, requiring $20,000 of spend for Globalist. 60 nights is easy in comparison. Marriott Bonvoy, despite having St Regis and The Ritz Carlton in its portfolio, doesn’t offer any route for high spenders to gain status on just a few luxury stays.

As for Radisson Rewards, big spenders should give it a miss. 29 stays in a £1,000 per night won’t get you Platinum, but 30 stays in a £50 Park Inn will.


Hotel offers update – August 2021:

Want to earn more hotel points?  Click here to see our complete list of promotions from the major hotel chains or use the ‘Hotel Offers’ link in the menu bar at the top of the page.

Want to buy hotel points? There is currently a special offer running with IHG Rewards (75% bonus to 13th August) and World of Hyatt (25% discount to 25th August).

Comments (39)

  • josh says:

    Informative article but I think misleading because you are comparing totally different animals.
    It would be like comparing the cost of a top end Mercedes to a top end Fiat.
    IHG or Accor are the Fiat obviously as their top tiers get almost nothing while Hyatt top tier , for example, get tremendous benefits .

    • Chrisasaurus says:

      That point is made early on in the article.

      It also doesn’t factor in how the the hotels are to where you stay, since that’s impossible but is also a massive factor

    • Ian says:

      On the contrary, I believe Accor benefits are worthwhile but not necessarily for just the top tier. I wouldn’t gain much by getting Diamond/Platinum rather than Gold status.

    • TGLoyalty says:

      There are many considerations to this than just How many nights and how much spend.

      what do you get back for that spend in points value
      what are the real benefits.

      The thing is none of this matters because status is only worthwhile if they have properties you want/need to stay at in places you want/need to visit

  • Chris Jones says:

    What about best Western rewards. I did there status match to top level and have not even been challenged or asked for proof. (not stayed in a best Western yet😉)

  • Alan says:

    Of course the other (positive) big difference with IHG is that credit card spend counts. With Hilton this only works for Gold (£10k on cc), but they also have the stay route if you have lots of short stays.

    • TGLoyalty says:

      Agree I don’t get the moaning about IHG because the status is literally free.

      • Chrisasaurus says:

        Well, the reason the status has next to no value is precisely because it has next to no cost

        • TGLoyalty says:

          I can get get more value out of two cocktail vouchers at a nice IC / indigo / Kimpton than a crappy breakfast on a one night stay 🙂

  • memesweeper says:

    @Rob — typo : “Accor Live Limitless – $12,500 (for Diamond)“
    should read
    “Hilton Honors – $12,500 (for Diamond)“

    • Mark says:

      It’s showing the two top tiers for Accor, Platinum and Diamond. HH is the row above ALL Diamond.

      • Rob says:

        Accor is there twice because Diamond is only available via spend, so I wanted to put Platinum in too for comparison.

  • Oh! Matron! says:

    Depending on your circumstances, it’s easier to get status with Hilton with the number of stays not nights…. How many of the other schemes do stays too?

  • BP says:

    Used to use Accor a lot when I had free platinum status via Amex. Haven’t done a single stay with them since they stopped offering it. I really like the MGallery by Sofitel brand.

    • Alan says:

      Agree. It shows how offering status like that can drive a lot of extra business.

  • John says:

    I love this blog but frankly, I don’t see the value of this exercise.

    For instance, I bet the majority of Hyatt elites reach status via nights, as the spend requirements are so high.

    With IHG, the spend requirement is basically meaningless, as bonus-point packages count as spend.

    With Radisson, it’s pretty obvious that qualifying via stays is easier than via nights. (The typical business traveler stays less than 2 days on average, making 30 stays easier to hit than 60 nights. The mattress runner will also do better by doing one-night stays, switching back-and-forth between two cheap properties if need be.)

    With Hilton, the “easiest” way to earn Diamond is certainly not via spend or nights, but via an appropriate credit card.

    • Harry T says:

      Don’t think Diamond can be obtained with a UK credit card though!

      • John says:

        True, only Gold via Amex, as far as I know. But in the US, you can get Diamond via a CC. In some other countries it’s possible, too (e.g., in Germany via a CC plus EUR 20k annual spend).

    • Phatbear says:

      Actually the easiest way to get diamond is to get someone who did 100nights in a year to gift it to you.

      • Rob says:

        It came about because a reader got in touch asking the very question in the article, since he always booked suites or multiple rooms for his family and didn’t feel he was getting adequately rewarded.

  • Phatbear says:

    Im finding hilton diamond pointless at the mo, apart from the extra points for staying of course.

    Ive stayed in 5 different hiltons this year, 6th on sunday in Belfast, and to date i havent had a single upgrade, when asked its usually because they are taking the down turn in trade to update rooms etc, exec lounges are closed with the alternative being either non-exsistant or poor, although belfast hilton has a decent alternative although no food, and the free breakfasts which come with being a diamond are now laughable, tiny pastries, pots of porridge and milk to make your own porridge but no microwave etc etc.

    • TGLoyalty says:

      Have to say the only experience I’ve had during lockdowns the breakfast was a hot bacon or sausage roll and hash browns plus continental, I think weekend was just continental.

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