Can I Book Rooms Separately to Earn Double Elite Credits?
TPG reader Oren sent me a message on Facebook to ask about earning hotel elite credits:
"If I need two hotel rooms, can I make two separate bookings and get credit for two stays instead of one?"
Between upgrades, bonuses and other amenities, hotel status can be highly valuable, and I get a lot of questions from readers looking for ways to meet the qualification requirements. The "normal" path to becoming elite is to complete a certain number of eligible nights or stays over the year, so some shortcuts to hotel status revolve around boosting the number of elite credits that get banked to your account.
Oren wants to know if he can essentially book two simultaneous stays at one hotel. Hotel loyalty programs generally define a "stay" as consecutive nights at one property regardless of whether you check in and out multiple times. By that definition, a second room won't qualify you for a second stay. Many programs (including Hilton, Hyatt, Starwood and Marriott) allow you to earn points for more than one room, but most of them limit your elite credits to one room per stay.
You could always try booking two rooms separately and see what happens, but I think it's unlikely to work. The main obstacle is that your name and loyalty account number have to be on the reservation in order for you to receive elite credits. Reservation systems are sophisticated enough that two rooms booked by the same person will typically be merged into one folio. If it doesn't happen automatically, a hotel representative will often do it manually.
What might work is to alternate single night reservations for two rooms with your travel companions. For example, you could book two rooms for Thursday and Saturday nights, and the other party could book two rooms for Friday and Sunday nights. This wouldn't technically qualify as separate stays (since you'd still be at the hotel on consecutive nights), but you could get credited twice if management didn't notice. On the other hand, there's a decent chance you'd have to switch rooms each night, and hotels don't take kindly to such blatant attempts to circumvent program rules. There are easier and safer ways to boost your elite credits.
One option is to stay in a Starwood property, since Starwood Preferred Guest actually does allow you to earn elite night and stay credits for up to three rooms on a single reservation. You could also split your time between multiple properties if there are several convenient hotels in the area. Changing locations might sound like a hassle, but it can actually be a nice way to see different neighborhoods and get a better feel for a city.
For more ideas about how to earn hotel elite status, check out these posts:
- Hotel Elite Status Match and Challenge Plans for 2016
- 6 Hotel Programs Where Credit Cards Get You Elite Status
- Using Hotel Mattress Runs to Earn Points and Elite Status