4 reasons why I’m not mattress running right now

Feb 18, 2021

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We’re nearly two months into the new year, and many points and miles enthusiasts are already “mattress running.”

In pre-pandemic times, mattress running, or staying at a hotel simply to earn or boost elite status, was something to consider in November or December, right at the end of the annual qualification period.

Yet, some travelers are checking in to week-long stays now, 10 months before the end of the year, to maximize the lucrative limited-time promotions offered by Hyatt and Marriott. Both chains are awarding double elite-qualifying nights for stays from Jan. 1 through Feb. 28 and from Feb. 16 through April 27, respectively.

Combined with Hyatt’s reduced elite thresholds, it takes just 15 paid or award nights to qualify for top-tier Globalist status right now.

After multiple years as a World of Hyatt Globalist, I’m tempted by the idea of mattress running. But, here are four reasons why I’m not.

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Hotel chains may extend current promotions

Throughout the pandemic, we’ve seen countless limited-time hotel promotions offering bonus points, elite-status fast-track offers and more. Instead of letting the promos expire, many chains have extended these bonuses for months at a time.

Case in point: Hyatt’s Bonus Journeys offer. The Chicago-based chain launched the promo on Oct. 1, 2020 for stays through Jan. 4, 2021. At the end of November, Hyatt unveiled reduced elite-status thresholds for 2021 and extended the Bonus Journeys promotion through Feb. 28, 2021.

With just about ten days left in February — and travel still down significantly compared to pre-pandemic highs — it stands to reason that Hyatt will either extend the promo or launch a new one.

And with the competitive pressure of Marriott offering double elite nights through April, my money’s on Hyatt extending. There’s no guarantee, of course. But if it indeed gets extended, then why mattress run now — the odds are that I’ll be traveling much more later in the year.

Related: 19 promotions that will make your next hotel stay more rewarding

Travel could restart in the second half of the year

As the vaccine rollout ramps up, travel industry executives are predicting that the recovery will begin in the second half of 2021.

Since I plan to travel once vaccinated, I’m patiently waiting to build my immunity, instead of spending hundreds of dollars at my local Hyatt House right now.

After all, mattress running in February implies that you don’t expect to organically hit the (reduced) elite qualifying criteria later in the year.

Some travelers are heading to Hyatt Places to boost elite status (Photo courtesy of Hyatt)

Elite status might be extended again

If the vaccine rollout doesn’t go as planned, then travel will likely remain depressed through the end of the year. Hotel chains might then consider extending elite status another year, making a mid-February mattress run worthless.

If status isn’t extended, I’d prefer to splurge on a suite or other elite-like perks (many of which are included with premium credit cards) on a stay-by-stay basis, instead of gunning for status now.

Related: Marriott Bonvoy makes it easier to earn elite status and redeem points in 2021

The promotions could get even better

No one can predict the future. But the odds of travel returning to pre-pandemic highs in the coming months are minimal.

To get heads in beds, I’m confident hotels will continue doubling down on promotions.

Marriott’s final global promotion of 2020 ended on Nov. 10 and offered bonus points on stays. The chain welcomed 2021 with a much more lucrative offer — double points and elite nights on all stays of two nights or longer.

While it might be tempting to mattress run now, recent history has shown that the promos are only getting better – and I’m hedging my bets it will happen again.

Bottom line

Despite the appeal, I’m not mattress running right now.

Without a better sense of what the future of travel holds, I’m saving the cash and waiting to see how many nights I hit organically in the coming months. Plus, I could always boost my elite status later in the year using the World of Hyatt Credit Card (a great way to rack up qualifying nights).

I’ll still maximize the available promotions on upcoming trips, like United’s New York-JFK inaugural, but I’m not going out of my way to stay at a hotel simply to boost my elite status.

Featured photo by Summer Hull/The Points Guy

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