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A couple weeks ago news leaked that Starwood would begin counting award stays towards elite status. For the casual traveler who struggles to maintain elite status, this was a huge enhancement to the program. To the road warriors who have no issue qualifying and don’t want more competition for suite upgrades, it was negative news.
Indeed, Starwood has officially announced that all award stays (including my favorite Cash &Points) will count towards elite qualification.
And this past weekend I hung out with a lot of frequent travelers and on more than one occasion I heard that Hyatt will soon announce a similar benefit. This is by no means an official inside scoop, but I take these people’s word on pretty good authority. I personally would look forward to this because I have so many points and I always feel guilty using them because I really value top tier hotel elite status and I don’t stay enough times to maintain it in all three of my top-tier programs: Starwood, Hyatt and Intercontinental.
Hyatt elite status from awards would be nice, but I’d rather see Hyatt roll out a really competitive cash & points style program with more availability than its competitors. Starwood, Marriott and Hilton all have cash & points programs, but they are generally very strictly capacity controlled. I’d love to see Hyatt be a leader and offer cash & points at all hotels who have standard rooms available for awards. A boy can dream!
Even after the introduction of the Chase Sapphire Reserve, the Chase Sapphire Preferred is still a fantastic choice if you want to avoid the Reserve’s $450 annual fee, earn 2x on all travel & dining and earn a 50,000 point sign up bonus.
- Earn 50,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $625 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®
- Named Best Credit Card for Flexible Travel Redemption - Kiplinger's Personal Finance, July 2016
- 2X points on travel and dining at restaurants worldwide & 1 point per dollar spent on all other purchases.
- Earn 5,000 bonus points after you add the first authorized user and make a purchase in the first 3 months from account opening
- No foreign transaction fees
- 1:1 point transfer to leading airline and hotel loyalty programs
- Get 25% more value when you redeem for airfare, hotels, car rentals and cruises through Chase Ultimate Rewards. For example, 50,000 points are worth $625 toward travel
- No blackout dates or travel restrictions - as long as there's a seat on the flight, you can book it through Chase Ultimate Rewards