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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.

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

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. Hyatt is the exception here as milestone rewards are also triggered via base point earning.

Here are the headline numbers – these are based on pre-tax spend:

Easiest chain to earn top-tier status by nights:

  • Radisson Rewards – 30 nights or 20 stays
  • 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 and Radisson make it easier for anyone doing one night stays to earn top tier status due to the option of also qualifying on stays, however short.

Easiest chain to earn top-tier status by spend:

  • Accor Live Limitless – $5,950 (for Platinum)
  • Accor Live Limitless – $11,060 (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 ($11,060) 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 ($5,950) 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.

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

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.

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

Marriott Bonvoy

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

The ‘concierge’ level, Ambassador Elite, requires 100 nights AND $23,000 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 VIP status requires 30 nights or 20 stays. There is no cash equivalent.

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

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

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. As I notes above, Hyatt WILL give you all the milestone rewards if you earn status via spend, which includes ‘guaranteed when booking’ suite upgrade vouchers.

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 moderately high spenders, requiring $20,000 of spend for Globalist, but it does let you pick up valuable milestone rewards along the way.

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. You can only qualify by nights.


Hotel offers update – May 2024:

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 an 80% bonus when you buy points by 8th June 2024. Click here.
  • Marriott Bonvoy is offering a 25% to 50% mystery bonus when you buy points by 24th July 2024. Click here.
  • World of Hyatt is offering a 20% bonus when you buy points by 1st July 2024. Click here.

Comments (40)

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

  • BJ says:

    It seems Hyatt are status matching Hilton, IHG and Marriott at the moment.

  • Timothy Firmager says:

    With IHG One Rewards there are a couple of cheaper ways to earn status – a couple of my suggestions below. It would be really interesting to read some follow up articles about tips/tricks to reduce the cost/make faster earning top tier status across all of the loyalty schemes.

    (1) Having Intercontinental Ambassador status (paid for) gives you Platinum IHG status.
    (2) on most paid stays, when making the booking on their website/app, IHG offer bonus point purchases up to a max number per night (usually around £5 for 1,000 chunks), which are qualifying points for status. If you consistently buy the maximum allowed per night (3,000 to 5,000 depending on brand), this significantly reduces the overall cos to get to Diamond.

    • John says:

      Many Hotel Indigos are doing £19 for 5000

      While it reduces the cost of status it also significantly increases the cost of the stays as you have to use flexible rates, and often you can convert to prepaid 2-3 days before and still take £20 off the price, so the 5000 points actually cost £39

      • TGLoyalty says:

        As you’re trying to hit a spend based loyalty renewal target does it really matter? Especially if it’s your own personal business spend

        Plus prepaid and flexible aren’t the same, not everyone is certain they will stay. I prefer to book flex unless it’s in the next few days but in most case it’s mostly just flex by then anyway.

  • Peter Boylan says:

    In the last few years I have started staying at Barcelo Group hotels and have managed to reach their top tier status, I presume on spend. However, i don’t know how their status tiers work in terms of requirements, especially on spend. Can you help?

  • Tom says:

    This rubbish about Hyatt not being for high spenders again….

    I qualified for Globalist last year by spending over $20K, Globalist status is about 10x better than Marriott Ambassador (which I have given up caring about) which requires 100 ‘nights’ plus equivalent spend. Really not clear how Hyatt is not for me, Hyatt is also overwhelmingly luxury skewed so I think you’ll find a lot of people who otherwise stay at MO / FS type properties choose Hyatt as their ‘big corporate chain’ of choice (replacing SPG).

    You haven’t even got the milestone reward bit correct – you earn all the milestone rewards up to the 60 nights / $20K one…

    • Pete says:

      Can you please qualify “Globalist status is about 10x better than Marriott Ambassador” – how and why do you hold that opinion?

      • Tom says:

        I get better upgrades as Hyatt Globalist than I ever did as Marriott Ambassador (held it for about four years). The basic issue is Marriott is obliged to give an upgrade to everyone who is Platinum, Titanium and Ambassador, which is now 20%+ of guests at most 4.5 star hotels or above these days (probably much higher than this in US). Yes, technically hotels should probably prioritise Ambassadors for suites but many don’t and just give it to the first Platinum with a credit card who kicks off because they didn’t get a suite upgrade. It helps that the Hyatt properties are more my taste also.

        Maybe 10x better is difficult to quantify, but I definitely value Globalist at more than Ambassador.

    • Rob says:

      Do you? Will have a dig. Didn’t know that.

      • Stu_N says:

        Yes – the milestone rewards are nights/ base points. e.g. first one is 20 nights or 35K base points.

        Hyatt is very much working for me too – am Explorist but have a 100% success rate this year on upgrades and have been given various unpublished benefits like 50% off breakfast at Park Hyatt, club access at a regency and welcome amenity (bottle of wine/ very nice chocolates).

        • Gordon says:

          I am a leisure traveler, and Hyatt is my preferred brand, I don’t have any status to talk of, but have 100k points that I have put to good use for redemption bookings this year on Hyatt regency NBO at 9,500 points for standard room or 13,500 points for a club room. The A.I Ziva and Zilara properties are good in the respect that the whole spend is allocated points.

          • TGLoyalty says:

            Isn’t the whole nightly rate spend at all properties allocated points?

          • Gordon says:

            What I meant, is that an AI is inclusive of F&B so the rate is higher than just a room only, at most Hyatt properties, so it’s easier to get the points in one hit.

          • kpworldtravels says:

            Hyatt Regency NBO is vey good by the way. Good value for money (or points)

          • Gordon says:

            Yes, I was impressed by the redemption value there, it’s a brand new property with the indoor pool which looks nice.bar opened in may, I believe.
            I have around 6 nights there over my 3 week safari tour as a kind of base in Nairobi, I was going to book one night at each the other two in the same westlands area, “Hyatt house” and “Hyatt place” see what they were like, but they do not open until end of 2024, and I’m there in August/September for the great migration, The Hemingway in the Karen district looks exquisite, but expensive.

            Were you happy with your stay?

          • TGLoyalty says:

            @Gordon so Hyatt exclude F&B spend in the hotel for status base spend if it’s not AI?

          • Gordon says:

            @TGLoyalty, I’m not saying that, as I know that is not the case! What I did say is that I prefer the A.I properties, as I can pay one price and get one bill for everything, (I’ve had issues previously getting points credited for F&B which I purchased separately which is not worth the hassle tbh) which in my case I prefer, i would also add the staff and customer service at these properties is on point, not hit and miss at some Hyatt properties!

            That’s my preference, not everybody’s.

          • TGLoyalty says:

            Get you. Genuine question can count my Hyatt stays on one hand and those I spent any actual F&B with on a single digit.

          • Kpworldtravels says:

            @Gordon – I grew up in Nairobi and live in London now. As Im a travel agent Ive had clients stay at various properties. I wouldnt recommend moving around for 1 night stays in Nairobi as you will spend a lot of time in traffic. Hemingways is great but an older property. Sankara in westlands is good and so is the brand new JW Marriott which opened last month. If you have any questions about Nairobi or Kenya feel free to message me. I’m sure Rob can provide my contact.

          • Gordon says:

            @Kpworldtravels – Thank you for your reply, I am only using the Hyatt Regency as a stop when we fly into Nairobi and In between our flight to MBA And EBB as we need to fly to these destinations from NBO, and a couple of nights before we fly home, so basically just a rest stop. I will also look at your recommendations,
            Thank you for your offer of travel tips, I will approach Rob, as I just have a couple of questions.

  • BSI1978 says:

    Find Hyatt works well for me also, currently Globalist and currently in Malta where I’ve been upgraded without fuss/issue (couple of recent London based stays wasn’t quite as smooth).

    Lounge access and breakfast both go a long way, and like Tom above, find the majority of Hyatt’s much more to my liking but appreciate this is all personal. Just wish they’d improve/increase their UK/regional footprint. Not one in Scotland aside from Schloss!

    • Stu_N says:

      There is a Hyatt Centric being built in Edinburgh; part of the Haymarket development.

      • TGLoyalty says:

        The only pipeline hotel in the U.K. according to https://www.hyatt.com/development/explore-hotels/

        • Rob says:

          That’s nonsense as Leeds x2 opens this year and I’ve got a hard hat tour of PH London booked in.

          • Gordon says:

            The below sentence, as soon as you open the link gives that away. So not a clear indicator!

            “Hotels marked as pipeline do not reflect all hotels in Hyatt’s pipeline”.

          • TGLoyalty says:

            We all know that just funny how off it is for the U.K. … there’s that Hyatt Place in Paddington too so Atleast 4 more meant to be opening this year.

        • Gordon says:

          If I am looking for a Hyatt in a certain location, I tend to use the link below, I find it useful as a world search option, this should show all the Hyatt properties worldwide, It shows the one in Paddington and the two in Leeds also,

          Hyatt have invested heavily in Mexico and the Caribbean, after their purchase of the Apple leisure group in 2021, taking on the likes of secrets, Zoetry, Breathless, Dreams etc, within the AMR group.

          Hope this helps!

          https://www.hyatt.com/explore-hotels

    • Rob says:

      Article tweaked, thanks for feedback.

      No-one disagrees that WoH is great. This article is more about where someone spending relatively large sums in one go could direct that spend to earn status – and it is clearly harder with Hyatt.

  • BBbetter says:

    Which chain would people recommend for more chances of late checkout?

    • TGLoyalty says:

      Pretty sure only Marriott and Hyatt are the only two that guarantee late checkout.

      Personally great success rate with Marriott 4pm check out.

      IHG “subject to availability” is hit and miss and Hilton’s is non existent

    • Gordon says:

      You could always try booking through Emyr Thomas, for early check in or late check out, no guarantee though.

      • Rob says:

        Hyatt Globalist and Marriott Platinum and above guarantee 4pm check-out (Marriott excludes ‘resorts’ and ‘convention hotels’.)

        Any hotel booked via Amex Fine Hotels & Resorts – if you have a Platinum card – comes with guaranteed 4pm.

        InterContinental Ambassador gets you guaranteed 4pm at InterCon’s if you pay $200 to join.

  • John says:

    Of course the cheapest way by far to get Hilton Diamond status, if you qualify for it, is the $550 annual fee on a Hilton Hhonors Aspire Amex card.

    You do not have to charge anything to the card nor spend anything on stays either. Just having the card suffices.

    Need a US address, SSN and credit rating of course. But it serves to show how easy getting status is for Americans compared to here.

  • Victor Charlie Ten says:

    Good article but no mention of Wyndham Rewards? This often promotes itself as the most generous programme so would be good to see how it stacks up against the others.

    • Rob says:

      When they get more than a handful of hotels (mainly all rubbish) in Europe we might bother!

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