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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!