Previously, Gold status was earned after accumulating 20,000 points in a calendar year and Platinum status earned after accumulating 60,000 points in a year.
The new system will distinguish between status points and non-status points.
So purchased points, transferred points, and ‘promotional’ points will no longer count towards status. It is not clear, however, how ‘promotional’ points differ from “partner points from qualifying activities” which will continue to count towards status. One possibility is that all of the stackable promotions that can be earned for a single stay may not count towards status (I’ve earned as many as 40,000 points in one rather inexpensive stay before).
This may thin the ranks of elites in the Priority Club program. Which can be seen as a devalation — plenty of people who would have previously earned platinum no longer will. Or it could be seen as a positive for folks who earn status the hard way (maybe there will be more rooms available for upgrade or the status will be seen as more valuable when not everyone has it).
Or perhaps they will even begin to make the status worth having. Currently most Priority Club hotels offer free internet, but internet is not a benefit of top tier status. Neither is breakfast. Neither is late checkout.
And while Platinum status affords a 50% bonus on points earned from in-hotel spend, and an upgrade benefit, the upgrade benefit is perhaps the most limiting of any major hotel chain (emphasis mine):
Hotel Room Upgrades for Platinum Members: Platinum level members will be offered a complimentary upgrade, as determined by the hotel, which might include rooms on higher floors, corner rooms, newly renovated rooms, or rooms with preferred views. The upgrade will be offered at time of check-in, based on availability, and will only apply to the member’s personal guest room. The hotel is not required to upgrade members to suites or specialty rooms. Upgrade benefit will not apply to rooms booked as a Reward Night reservation.
The upgrade benefit is entirely at the discretion of the hotel, does not apply on reward nights, and it would entirely be within the terms of the program to call a higher floor the Platinum upgrade.
As easy as it’s been to earn status that’s understandable. Now that they’re apparently going to limit the points that actually count towards status, I think it’s more than reasonable to expect them to get serious about the benefits the program offers to elite members.