⚔️ Elite status showdown

Let's mix it up a bit today, shall we? I'll pit each of my personal hotel elite statuses against each other to see which one is the best.

Estimated read time: 5 minutes and 23 seconds

🏨 It’s official! The new Hyatt Bonus Journeys promo I told you about recently is open for registration. Check it out and enjoy those sweet, sweet bonus points.

Good morning and welcome back to Daily Drop, the travel newsletter like chili oil—we add a little extra flavor to everything!

Today is going to be a little different than most days…

Rather than share a few deals and hacks with you, I’m going to host a Battle Royale, where various hotel elite statuses will face off to determine one final winner.

Without further ado, let’s get started.

⚔️ Elite status showdown: Hotel edition

I have a lot of elite statuses… Between my credit cards, the years of traveling, the thousands of nights at hotels, and hundreds of flights, it’s not hard to see why.

But… Which elite status is best? And which one should YOU be aiming for if you aren’t a crazy person like me and only want to pursue one status instead of 500?

Well, today, I’m going to break down which hotel elite status I think is best.

A black background with purple hotel graphics and a large white "VS" symbol

I currently hold the following statuses with the major hotel programs:

I do have a few others (like Best Western Diamond), but I’ll stick to the major players for now.

I’m going to break down each status into the following categories and choose a winner for each:

  • Earning points

  • On-property benefits

  • Ease of earning status

  • Other benefits

And without further ado, let’s go 😎

1. Earning points

One of the most prominent perks of having hotel elite status is the fact that as an elite member, you earn bonus points on top of the base points you normally earn for being a member.

Here is a chart of each program I’m discussing today. It shows the normal member earning rates, the elite bonuses (for my statuses), and the total points earned per dollar.


Earning Rates

Elite Bonus

Total Earned


10x per dollar


16x per dollar


10x per dollar


20x per dollar


10x per dollar


17.5x per dollar


5x per dollar


6.5x per dollar

As you can see, Hilton stands out with a whopping 100% bonus for being a Diamond member, with Marriott close behind at 75%.

But here’s the thing: Not all points are created equal In fact, I’d value that 75% bonus from Marriott more than the Hilton 100% bonus.

Here’s why:

Let’s say we spend $1,000 at Hilton and Marriott. You’d earn 20,000 Hilton points and 17,500 Marriott points.

You’ll be hard-pressed to find a Hilton property in most of the world for under 20,000 points. Meanwhile, MOST Marriotts I stay at cost less than 17,500 points per night.

Examples of three different Marriott properties under 17,000 points

I know these are all Alofts, but you get my point…

Honestly, this is the category where Hyatt, which is generally our favorite program, really lacks… Earning 6.5 points per dollar for having top-tier status is just abysmal, even if the points are generally more valuable 😒

So, for this category… I’m going to give it to Marriott.

2. On-property benefits

If you’re someone who pursues elite status, it’s likely because of this category… On-property benefits include things like:

  • Suite upgrades

  • Late checkout

  • Free breakfast

  • Lounge access

Here is another chart showing the various on-property benefits (for my current elite statuses only):






Free Breakfast


Late checkout

2 pm

4 pm

4 pm

Suite upgrades

Welcome amenity

As you can see, there is a lot of overlap here… But in the end, Marriott, Hilton, and Hyatt are pretty darn close…

Each of these programs comes with the “big boy” perks like lounge access, suite upgrades, and free breakfast.

Yet, the clear winner is Hyatt. And here’s why:

With Hilton and Marriott, the “free breakfast” is not necessarily a given… For example, in the U.S., Hilton Diamond will simply give you a $10 food and beverage voucher rather than free breakfast.

An image with text detailing the daily food and beverage voucher from Hilton

Meanwhile, Marriott’s policies are SO COMPLICATED and differ by brand and region of the world. Even for me as a Marriott fanboy, I find it impossible to wrap my head around…

Hyatt, on the other hand, is simple. Earn Globalist, you’ll always get free breakfast. Period. 🤗

3. Ease of earning status

This is something that a lot of people don’t think about when pursuing airline or hotel status…

The idea here is that elite status needs to have a balance between being reasonable enough to earn and being just difficult enough so that not too many people have it.

For example, if you can earn elite status by simply opening a credit card, TONS of people are going to have it.

Therefore, using your benefits will be more difficult. If everybody staying at a hotel has top-tier status, the chances of you getting a suite upgrade are slim to none.

Here is how I earn each of my statuses:

  • Marriott Titanium - staying 75 nights every year

  • IHG Platinum - holding this credit card

  • Hilton Diamond - holding this credit card

  • Hyatt Globalist - staying 60 nights every year

In this category, Hyatt takes the cake again… The reason I stopped caring about Hilton is that their highest level of status is accessible by opening a credit card.

I started to notice that I was rarely able to get benefits like suite upgrades and late checkout since, as a Diamond member, I was not that special.

On the other hand, Hyatt Globalist is quite difficult to earn.

Screenshot showing how to earn Hyatt Globalist status

The only boost you can get toward those 60 nights is five elite nights from holding this card.

Even Marriott makes it easy to get a 15, 25, or 40-night head start every year from holding one or two of their cards.

As a result, I find that Hyatt almost always honors all of the benefits like room upgrades, late checkout, and early check-in.

Since there are so few Globalists (relative to the other programs), I also find that I receive more special treatment in general. 😇

4. Other benefits

Many of these hotel programs also have intangible benefits that play a role in being an elite member.

The one that comes to mind is customer service. As an elite member, you generally get access to priority phone, chat, or email services.

For example, one of the perks of having Hyatt Globalist is the “My Hyatt Concierge.”

Showing different perks including the My Hyatt Concierge

Essentially, this is a (real!) human being who you can contact, day or night, to get assistance with anything from canceling or changing a reservation to contacting a property ahead of time to make requests and all kinds of other stuff.

But here’s the issue…

It kind of stinks. I was REALLY excited to get a concierge when I earned Globalist.

But since then, my concierge has been fairly useless. Every time I’ve made a request, they’ve taken WEEKS to respond to me. By the time they finally do, I’ve already taken care of the issue myself…

Meanwhile, Hilton’s has actually been amazing for me as a Diamond member.

Image showing different tiles with Hilton's elite statuses

For example… A couple of years ago, I was staying at a Hilton property in Panama City, Panama.

At just 10,000 points per night, I thought I was getting away with murder by booking a 5-night stay there for just 40,000 points.

Example booking of a Hilton property

The price has increased to 20,000 points since I stayed here, FYI

Unfortunately, the hotel was absolutely disgusting and really sketchy-feeling. After just one night, I decided to bail.

So while I was still at the hotel, I called the Hilton Diamond Desk. They called the hotel for me, arranged for a free mid-stay cancellation, refunded my points, AND gave me 5,000 bonus points for the trouble. 🤯

To be clear, I did not make a big stink about it… I simply said I preferred to leave and find a nicer place, but the representative went above and beyond to help me avoid an awkward interaction with the hotel. It was amazing.

And as for Marriott? Well, go read my newsletter about how they ruined my birthday if you want a taste of how they treat their elites… 😒

Anyway, this one has to go to Hilton.


Although Hyatt Globalist won’t earn you a ton of points from your stays, you’ll enjoy easy-to-use benefits, a reasonable threshold for earning it, and world-class service, all of which make up for that tiny downside.

I still get plenty of value from Marriott, and occasional value from IHG and Hilton... But none of them really stack up to the tangible and intangible benefits of Hyatt. 🎉

We LOVE sharing wins that our community of travelers share with us. Check out this post from our Facebook group, the Daily Drop Lounge 👇

5.3 cents per point is an AWESOME valuation no matter what, but to get that for a lie-flat business class seat? Heck yeah!

If you want to learn from others, share your own travel wins, or just vibe with other like-minded peeps, come join us in the Lounge 😎

I hope you found today’s newsletter interesting and useful as you consider your elite status goals for 2024. But just so I have an idea of where y’all are at, tell me:

Which program(s) do you have status with?

Login or Subscribe to participate in polls.

Have a great day, and I’ll see you tomorrow ❤️

Mike Dodge
Head Writer, Daily Drop

8.5069° S, 115.2625° E