Stop Saying Hotels Are Good Because Of Elite Benefits

by joeheg

I bet you’ve read a hotel review that sounded like this.

We checked in at the elite line and the agent advised us that we had been upgraded to a premium suite. We had a marble bathroom and an extra large bedroom with a wonderful bed.

The next morning we were treated to an amazing breakfast as part of our megalonium status.

On the day we were leaving, the hotel allowed us to stay until 4 PM before we flew home in First Class sipping champagne with our caviar.

I’d fully recommend this hotel to anyone visiting the area.

Repeat after me:
If the only reason a hotel is great is because of the treatment it gives top tier members, then it’s not a great hotel.

Don’t get me wrong. A great hotel can be amazing when it goes over and beyond for elites. However, most people who stay at a hotel don’t have top tier loyalty status. They’re either like me and have status through other means (co-brand cards) or more likely they don’t have any status whatsoever.

If a hotel is poorly located and has small base-level rooms, it’s not going to matter to the average guest how amazing the pancakes are at the free breakfast.

To be fair, some reviews try to give a sense of how good a hotel is for the masses but it’s hard to review a room when you’re not staying in it.

When looking at a hotel, I look at it through the lens of an everyday guest, because for most of the trips we take, that’s exactly who we are. We don’t get room upgrades and I can’t even get a Courtyard by Marriott to let me stay an extra 30 minutes.

Sure, there have been times where we’ve received a better room either by chance or using an upgrade we finagled by working the systems to our advantage. When I want a nicer room, I use my 100% guaranteed trick to score an upgrade. I’ll always say when we’ve paid for a better room, used an upgrade or got a better room totally by chance.

The next time you’re reading (or watching) a hotel review, make sure you’re being told about the service an everyday guest will receive. Not the experience of someone who travels around for a living and has top-tier status with every hotel chain.

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This post first appeared on Your Mileage May Vary


Douglas August 2, 2022 - 4:54 pm

About as thoughtful as most of the dreck on here.

derek August 2, 2022 - 5:59 pm

I agree. Because of the pandemic and temporary end of business travel, I am cattle level in all hotels and will be cattle level in all airlines at the end of the year. The hotel room will be just a bed or two with probably shampoo on the wall, no early check in or late check out, breakfast at McDonald’s or a package of instant oatmeal that I packed. Seating on the flight will be seat 31B with maybe no room for a carry on bag.

Island Miler August 2, 2022 - 6:57 pm

Are you discussing certain bloggers here? Like ones that now review tons of properties that most can’t afford regardless? lol jk. But I hear ya. Which is why most of my hotel reviews are quire dull, as they’re often very “normal.”

joeheg August 2, 2022 - 11:02 pm

To your point, I wasn’t going after any blogger in particular. In fact, I occasionally like to read about fancy hotel stays since every once in a while we splurge, as we did on Kauai. But reviews about places that are otherwise mediocre except for elite benefits are borderline untruthful.

Island Miler August 3, 2022 - 4:46 pm

Haha yea, I figured as much! I enjoy them as well to a point. I do concede that for some bloggers, there does appear to be a growing disconnect. Maybe it’s just me!

JohnB August 6, 2022 - 1:09 am

Nope, it isn’t you. Most of the bloggers are so disconnected with their audiences, that it is surprising many still have large followings. The vast majority of followers are not going to stay at Park Hyatts, not take Antarctica cruises, or fly first class. Yet that is what the majority of reviews are for….

Alice Waters August 3, 2022 - 1:09 am

I beg to disagree. I think they should include the elite benefits in reviews so it’s apples to apples. Quite often those benefits are “standard” at non-chain hotels around he world. Seems like most of the big chain/points hotels simply cut the benefits out and then add them back for “elites” so they are back to standard. Free breakfast? Everybody ives you a free breakfast outside of the chain hotels, etc.

Christian August 3, 2022 - 1:42 am

There’s some truth to your assertion. Any poorly located hotel with crappy basic rooms is gonna suck for most customers and top tier status is likely not going to fix that circumstance.

That said, there is a fair argument in favor of elite status (except maybe with Bonvoy) since the perqs can be worthwhile without staying at a $400 a night hotel. Or so I assume since I’ve never actually stayed at a $400 a night hotel, but with decent status at Marriott and Hilton and good status with Hyatt I’ve found that status can – and should – be an enhancement (no quotes on this one) to your stay. This is particularly true in Asia. Hopefully you’ll see this firsthand on your Cambodia trip and perhaps slightly revise your opinion.

Jimmy August 3, 2022 - 1:49 am

Given my lived experience as a Hyatt Globalist… 🙂
I do think you’re right that if you don’t have status at a hotel then reading a review from someone with high-level status isn’t very helpful.


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