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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 in order to earn elite status.

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. Accor only gives free breakfast to top tier members on weekends, for example.

For schemes which offer them, you also need to separate ‘milestone’ benefits, which are based on qualifying nights, from status benefits. Lounge access, for example, is only given to IHG One Rewards members who choose it as a milestone benefit for doing 40 nights. Even if you earn top tier Diamond Elite status by spending $12,000 for a fortnight at a top InterContinental resort, it won’t trigger this.

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 – these are based on pre-tax spend:

Easiest chain to earn top-tier status by nights:

  • Accor Live Limitless – 60 nights (for Platinum, as Diamond is not possible via nights)
  • Hilton Honors – 60 nights or 30 stays
  • World of Hyatt – 60 nights
  • IHG One Rewards – 70 nights
  • Marriott Bonvoy – 75 nights (for Titanium)

The Marriott Bonvoy figure is reduced to 60 nights for holders of the Marriott Bonvoy American Express card, which comes with an annnual benefit of 15 elite night credits.

Hilton is the easiest scheme for top tier status if your stays average under two nights, due to the option of also qualifying on stays.

Easiest chain to earn top-tier status by spend:

  • Accor Live Limitless – $5,400 (for Platinum)
  • Accor Live Limitless – $10,060 (for Diamond, not available via nights)
  • IHG One Rewards – $12,000
  • Hilton Honors – $12,000
  • World of Hyatt – $20,000

Marriott Bonvoy and Radisson Rewards do not let you earn status via spending, only by nights stayed.

Here is a breakdown by chain:

Accor Live Limitless

Top-tier Diamond status requires €10,400 ($10,060) of qualifying spend. There is no ‘nights’ equivalent.

If we drop down to Platinum, where the key benefits – including lounge access – are very similar, it requires 60 nights or €5,600 ($5,400) of pre-tax hotel spending.

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

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

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.

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

IHG One Rewards

Top-tier Diamond Elite status requires 70 nights or 120,000 elite qualifying points.

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

The benefits of Diamond Elite status are shown on ihg.com here. You will not receive the ‘milestone’ benefits listed at the bottom of that page unless you complete the required number of nights, irrespective of spending.

St Regis New York

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.

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

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.

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 – this is how I earned Accor Diamond status myself last year.

At the other end of the scale, World of Hyatt has the least to offer high spenders, requiring $20,000 of spend for Globalist.

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


Hotel offers update – December 2022:

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?

  • IHG One Rewards is offering a 100% bonus when you buy points by 29th December 2022. Click here to buy.
  • Marriott Bonvoy is offering a 25% discount when you buy points by 20th December 2022. Click here to buy.

Comments (24)

This article is closed to new comments. Feel free to ask your question in the HfP forums.

  • Ajay says:

    If I get Marriott Gold Elite through Amex Plat card, would I still need 50 nights to reach Platinum Elite? Or would I get Platinum Elite by staying only 25 nights (which is the difference in nights between Platinum and Gold)?

    • Rob says:

      Still need 50 – that’s the snag with these deals.

      If you get the Bonvoy Amex, however, you get 15 elite night credits which means you only need 35 for Platinum.

  • tw33ty says:

    You can get ihg diamond for a lot less, around 3k of hotel spend.

    • G says:

      Yes but there’s little point with IHG rewards; the value is derived from nights rather than qualifying spend.

  • John says:

    I am posting this everytime HfP is running the thread.

    The cost of top-tier elite with IHG is much lower than claimed. There are two well-known routes. One is for requali (requalify for a fixed $200 by buying Amb), one is for initial quali (hit the 125k points requirement by purchasing 5k/3k bonus-point packages).

    With Hyatt, there have been promos to reduce the night requirement through double elite night credit promos and the like (these were not limited to US-based credit-card holders, but there were promos for those in the UK and mainland Europe as well, including 2022).

    Marriott is a bit unfair for us 😉 Americans are much better off and can collect a bunch of elite-qualifying nights each year through credit cards.

This article is closed to new comments. Feel free to ask your question in the HfP forums.

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