I can’t remember when I started on my first hotel membership program.
I kind of used to think hotel memberships are a hassle to sign up for, for something that you possibly won’t end up using anyway. But then again, that was a time when I perhaps just started out in the working life and didn’t travel that much.
- I track and hoard my points like crazy.
- I have an excel sheet to track the multiple memberhips I have, complete with membership numbers, benefits, and the brands of properties included.
- I constantly log into my more active accounts and sometimes look back at my previous stays and points activity – this gives me a nice kind of nostalgic rush. Don’t ask me why.
- I have a note in my phone tracking the expiry of my more active programmes.
- I feel sad when I get downgraded due to not accumulating enough stays in a qualifying period. Platinum to Gold, then Silver??! God forbids!
- I excitedly check out my new benefits when I am upgraded to the next tier and hallucinate about when my next stay is.
- I subscribe to sites like Loyalty Lobby which enables me to get almost first-hand info about all things hotels and memberships.
Do the above make me obsessive? I don’t mind admitting BUT I’m quite sure I am not alone!
I think I’m addicted to the acknowledgements being a hotel member gives you (some hotels don’t do enough of it though). And of course the higher likelihood that an upgrade is in place when you are an esteemed member (although ‘esteemed’ is subjective).
Some hotels chose to not have any loyalty programmes in place despite having multiple properties in Singapore and the regions too – this baffles me as a chronic hotel member like myself as they are always more likely to get my business than not.
I’ve mentally categorised the memberships into a few categories:
The Stubborn Ones (who have no program at all): Far East Hospitality, Park Hotel Group, Regent Hotels, Meritus Hotels, Thistle (okay, for this one, not that it matters).
The Collectives (bundle of some big brands and / or boutique selected hotels who don’t have their own membership platforms): iPrefer, iPrestige, Leader’s Club, Small Luxury Hotels, World Hotels, Global Hotel Alliance (GHA). *Not particularly creative with names these ones.
The Really Random Ones (3rd party platforms who consolidate selected and mostly boutique properties together for reasons not attractive to me yet): Design Hotels, Jetsetter, Kiwi Collection, Tablet, The Luxe Nomad, Vacationist.
The Stagnant Sign Ups (which I have not used at all but signed up anyway so I get on their mailing list): Ascott (not an apartment person most times), Fairmont President’s Club (never got around to staying for some reason), MAS Rewards (not enough presence in where I was going most times), Stay Well Rewards (again, not enough presence), Ritz Carlton Rewards (too expensive).
The One-Offs (which I’ve managed to use just once for some compelling reasons): Hilton Honours, My Milllennium (previously known as M&C), Marriot Rewards.
The Obsessions (which I CONSTANTLY track and use): Starwood Preferred Guest (SPG), Le Club Accor Hotels, Golden Circle, Intercontinental Hotel Group Rewards Club (IHG), Hyatt Gold Passport.
So what makes me a more active member for one instead of the other?
- IF the program allows me to earn points for dining. I don’t have a deep enough pocket to keep paying for vacations / staycations throughout the year. And not enough annual leave too. I get to keep my points by having a SGD10 coffee at the lounge – yay.
- IF the program constantly / currently has double or triple points promotion or any sort of acceleration.
- IF I know that one more stay will entitle me to an upgrade to the next tier.
It doesnt really matter to me sometimes if the location of the property is abit off the central area, especially if taxis are cheap eg. Guangzhou. I rather be able to get back to a luxurious room but have to cab 10mins, versus being able to walk back to a middling room.
Yes, my preferences for a place to stay on holidays are admittedly a little unique.
I’ve since learnt to change my earning preferences to miles for those one-offs (I still am beat up about my one-stay expired Marriot Rewards points). I’ve also since learnt to stick to the selected few programs to to focus on my efforts (and monies) on, instead of being a jack of all trades. Not worth it.
And the ones I actually zero in on offers quite a variety of options already: from Sofitel to Ibis, from St Regis to Four Points, from Holiday Inn Express to Intercontinental. Certainly good enough choices for me.
Sometimes, things do get changed up abit. Currently awaitng the announcement of Accor’s plan on how the Raffles Hotels portfolio will be included after their buyover. And meanwhile celebrating my newly minted Marriot Gold (Members’ Lounge!) matched with my SPG gold status in line with the new big family.
Ritz Carlton, are you listening too?