Earning Hotel Elite Status as a Meeting Planner Rather than on Stays/Nights

Several programs will award status based on meeting activity, not just points.

Starwood offers their meeting planners Platinum status after $100,000 in spend. That’s a lot for someone to just ‘game’ the system, since it’s based on actual spend, but it’s not very much for a real meeting planner. We can easily swing a few of those in my office.

Of course, since that’s Platinum status on meeting spend rather than nights, it doesn’t come with the incremental benefits (read: confirmed in advance suite upgrades) that have been awarded to 50 night platinums since March. That makes their meeting planner incentive less valuable than it used to be since meeting planner platinums are behind plenty of other platinums in the upgrade queue for a given stay. I suspect this is an unintended consequence of this year’s benefit improvements at Starwood.

Marriott awards status nights. Three years ago I wrote about using Marriott’s meeting planner program to earn top tier Platinum status for a few hundred bucks.

Priority Club awards status based on points earned in a year, not just nights or stays, so meeting planner points will generate Priority Club Platinum (for what that’s worth).

It’s 60,000 points for Platinum and they currently have a 50,000 point bonus for San Francisco, Chicago, New York City or Washington, D.C. meetings booked by February 28, 2013 and held between January 1 and March 30.

Hyatt‘s program is pretty generous. Whereas Starwood offers one point per 3 dollars spent, Hyatt offers one point per dollar – albeit capped at 50,000 points per event. And they offer the opportunity to earn status as well, based on number of meetings, Diamond is earned after 10 meetings. Marriott has no minimum threshold to qualify as a meeting, while Hyatt says it requires 10 room nights which makes it not really game-able for status.

This isn’t something that’s useful all the time unless you get to sign hotel contracts for work. Though family reunions, weddings, and other such functions can earn points. But the Marriott offer in particular is one that folks have figured out can be used to earn status cheaply — book a conference room and they generally credit the elite nights, that can be done cheaply and in succession.

About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community InsideFlyer.com, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

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  1. I am a professional meeting planner and I’ve definitely had a lot of luck building up points and status through planning events. In fact, I was able to pay for all but one of my hotel room nights in Hawaii for my honeymoon through points accrued from a previous job (a savings of $400/night!). A word of caution for meeting planners though – remember to check with your employer before collecting on behalf of your organization, as some organizations have ethics rules prohibiting or limiting this.

    Finally – I would add that I’ve often found that points and status are negotiable, not always, but it doesn’t hurt to ask. Since they usually need to be written into a contract, it’s another bargaining chip for the hotel which usually doesn’t cost them as much as lowering the room rate or offering a menu discount.

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