Earning Hotel Elite Status Through Meetings, Part 2

Mar 8, 2012

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TPG Contributor Max Bloom explains how planning meetings can earn you points and elite status at the major hotel chains. In his previous posts he gave introductions on planning meetings and how the major chains award elite status for meetings.

Last week I talked about deciding which program will give you the highest status the fastest by considering the amount of money you spend per meeting and the number of meetings you hold per year. Today, I’d like to talk about making the same comparison but based on whether or not your meeting includes a contracted block of sleeping rooms. This is an important consideration because some programs will not count your meeting as “qualifying” (and thus not awarding you elite status) unless it does include sleeping rooms.

Meeting Qualification by Chain

I’ve put together this comparison table showing the criteria for a “qualifying” meeting.

Starwood Hyatt Marriott Hilton IntercontinentalCrowne Plaza Holiday InnHotel Indigo
Meeting room rental OR Any contracted room block Contracted room block consisting of “10 or more actualized guest rooms”

Meeting room rental


Any contracted room block

$1000 minimum spend At least 10 guest rooms on at least one night AND Any catering At least 10 guest rooms on at least one night

Starwood and Marriott have the lowest bars for meeting qualification, and pretty much anything goes. You can qualify by reserving a meeting room of any value or by contracting a block of rooms. Hilton also doesn’t specify whether or not you need a room block, but they do require a minimum of $1000 spent.

Hyatt and Priority Club have more specific rules for qualification, and both involve room blocks. Hyatt requires a room block consisting of “10 or more actualized guest rooms.” As I’ve mentioned in a previous post, it’s unclear whether or not all 10 have to be on the same night, and this is subject to interpretation by a sales manager. In my experience, Hyatt will still award points for meetings that don’t qualify, but they are unlikely to award elite status.

Priority Club is very specific with their requirements, and they vary a great deal by hotel chain. In the table I’ve only covered Intercontinental/Crowne Plaza, and Holiday Inn/Hotel Indigo, and these requirements only apply to properties in North America. To see their confusing and arcane rules about other chains and other parts of the world, you can visit the T&C here.

Priority Club meetings require at least 10 rooms on at least one night, and IC/Crowne Plaza requires catering in addition to this, and they do not seem to be at all flexible about these requirements. You could probably spend a million dollars renting event space and catering and they would not award you elite status if you didn’t reserve any sleeping rooms.

As you can see, there are a lot of factors to weigh in deciding where to hold your meetings and some programs seem deceptively easy. For example, while it’s easier under the T&C for an event to qualify as a meeting at Starwood (and thus earn points and status for the meeting planner), you’d have to spend $50k just to get Gold status. And while you could hit platinum in Priority Club after only 2 meetings, you’re out of luck without a room block. These are essential rules that generally apply to earning both elite status and points, and we’ll start talking about how to maximize your points with meetings next week.

Editorial Disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airlines or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

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