Which Is the Best Mid-Tier Hotel Status?

Hyatt Regency Cincinatti Room

There are a number of ways to get a mid-tier status at hotel chains. Of course, the most obvious is the possibility that one is simply loyal to a chain and sleeps there a lot.

The following article is about comparing the statuses and seeing where you get the most benefits. We included the statuses of Hilton Honors, Marriott Bonvoy, IHG One Rewards, World of Hyatt and Accor Live Limitless in this comparison.

Comparable Mid-Tier Status Levels

Which status levels of the individual programs are actually comparable? For this, we should take a closer look at the qualification hurdles. One of the following criteria must be met for status. So either enough stays, enough nights, or enough spend.

StatusStaysNightsSpend
Hilton Gold¹2040US$7,500 (~€7,314)
Marriott Gold25
IHG Platinum Elite40US$4,300 (~€4,194)–US$12,000 (~€11,703)
Hyatt Explorist30US$9,550 (~€9,314)
Accor Gold30US$2,800 (~€2,731)
Qualification criteria

¹ Hilton lowered qualifying barriers by 30% for 2022. Gold status now requires 14 stays, 28 nights or US$5,250 (~€5,120).

Hilton Honors Gold Status

The status can be reached as described above. You can also get the status relatively easily via a status match challenge.

What advantages does the status offer? We have already discussed this in detail in our article about the Hilton Honors Gold status:

Breakfast

With the Gold status, you and one additional guest get free continental breakfast at every hotel you stay at. Unless the hotel offers free breakfast anyway (Hampton). Even at the luxury brands like Conrad and Waldorf Astoria, you get the otherwise relatively expensive breakfast for free.

But it really depends on your travel habits. If you like to travel in Europe or to the east, then Hilton offers you a lot of value for money at breakfast (e.g. at the Hilton Garden Inn Bali Ngurah Rai Airport, you get your omelette individually prepared and have a large selection at the buffet). If you prefer to travel west, then Hilton doesn’t offer you as much value for money at breakfast (e.g. just a sandwich and orange juice for breakfast at the Hilton Garden Inn in New York).

In general, you only get a Food & Beverage credit for breakfast or other meals in the USA in 2022. The daily credit ranges in value from US$10 (~€10) to US$25 (~€24) depending on the hotel and city you are staying in. Unfortunately, it is often not enough to pay for a full breakfast. Whether the credit will still exist beyond 2022 remains to be seen. But it is not unlikely. Anyone who spends the night in the USA hardly has any advantage as a gold member. Instead of breakfast, you can also get 1,000 extra Hilton Honors points (worth almost €5).

Upgrades

You are entitled to an upgrade to the next room category. However, there is the addition “upon availability”. So if the hotel is fully booked, you will have to do without an upgrade.

You can even get an upgrade to an executive room. To increase the chance to a maximum, simply book the room category below the executive room. If you’re lucky, you can sometimes get an upgrade from the cheapest room category to an executive room.

Late Check-Out & Early Check-In

Gold status holders theoretically get a late check-out. Unfortunately, this is only given “according to availability”. Accordingly, it can happen that you are not allowed to check out a minute later if the hotel is fully booked. Early check-in isn’t an official benefit, but I think the chances of early check-in are better if you’re a Gold status holder.

Extras

Some extras mentioned below are already available for Blue and Silver status holders. A great perk is that you can get the fifth night for free with award bookings. So for five nights, you only pay the points for four nights. You also get 80% more points per USD spent (amount converted from other currencies).

Hilton New Orleans St. Charles Avenue

Marriott Bonvoy Gold Status

Gold Elite status in the Marriott Bonvoy program can be attained in several ways, in addition to the usual status qualification, e.g. through a status match.

Upgrades

At Marriott, you also only get upgrades “subject to availability” with the Gold status. Suites are explicitly excluded, but upgrades to the executive floor are possible. The Ritz-Carlton excludes Club Access rooms.

Late Check-Out & Early Check-In

A late check-out until 14:00 is theoretically possible, but in practice, it again depends on availability. According to the conditions, the late check-out can even only be granted on the day of check-out (in the morning). However, this may look quite different in reality.

Extras

Some other benefits are 25% bonus points, welcome points (500 or 250 points depending on the brand) and free premium internet. Unfortunately, there is no free breakfast with the status. As with Hilton, the fifth night is free for award stays.

Marriott Bonn Logo

IHG One Rewards Platinum Elite Status

IHG has completely transformed its own loyalty program in 2022 – and added some new benefits. Normally, however, it is rather difficult to attain a status. At least, you can benefit from a status challenge to Platinum or Diamond Elite status until July 31, 2022. Otherwise, you have to sleep 40 nights regularly.

Upgrades

Unfortunately, even with IHG, upgrades are subject to availability only. These will be assigned at the time of check-in. Suite upgrades are not out of the question, but unlikely. Unlike other programs, an upgrade to an executive room does not automatically grant you lounge access.

Late Check-Out & Early Check-In

All IHG One Rewards members receive a theoretical late check-out until 14:00. This is assigned according to availability, and it can be assumed that higher status members have priority. Early check-in is also theoretically possible. The time and decision are entirely up to the hotel.

Extras

Platinum Elite members receive a welcome gift. This can either be points or a drink/snack. The exact number of welcome points is not communicated in the conditions, but recently I received 600 points as a welcome gift at the InterContinental Bali.

Furthermore, as a Platinum Elite member, you get 60% bonus points on top of the base points. If you actually earn the status by sleeping 40 nights, you can also benefit from a confirmable suite upgrade voucher (for up to 5 nights) after 20 nights and even from an annual lounge membership after 40 nights in a year. While other programs also have milestone rewards, IHG One Rewards stands out strongly from the competition.

World of Hyatt Explorist Status

Currently, the World of Hyatt Explorist status is only available through a regular qualification. There is currently no status match.

Upgrades

An upgrade can be granted at check-in. Rooms with Club Lounge Access and suites are explicitly excluded.

Late Check-Out & Early Check-In

A late check-out until 14:00 is generally possible. However, some hotels are excluded, and the late check-out is only granted according to availability.

Extras

The Hyatt Explorist status gives you an additional 20% bonus points on base points, free premium internet and free water.

Hyatt Düsseldorf

Accor Live Limitless Gold

In addition to the qualifying nights, ALL Gold status can also be attained with an Ibis Business Card or an Accor Live Limitless share.

Upgrades

Upgrades to the next room category are possible subject to availability. Villas, One-of-a-Kind Suites, Specialty Suites and Presidential Suites are excluded. If no room in the next category is available, then the hotel will look for other better rooms in the same category (e.g. higher floor, better view, better facilities).

Late Check-Out & Early Check-In

Accor Live Limitless offers its Gold status holders either early check-in or late check-out (not both). An exact time is not mentioned in the conditions.

Extras

You get a welcome drink and a welcome gift. In various hotels, you will receive a 10% to 20% discount on spa treatments.

Welcome Gift - Sofitel Budapest
Welcome gift at the Sofitel Budapest

Conclusion

If you now look at all the statuses, you will find that only one status offers free breakfast. And that’s the Hilton Honors Gold status! However, it must also be acknowledged that Hilton has introduced some negative changes regarding breakfast. In the US in particular, breakfast doesn’t really make any sense based on status, and you can see it more as a snack.

There are hardly any differences in the other criteria.

BenefitHilton GoldMarriott GoldIHG Platinum EliteHyatt ExploristALL Gold
Breakfast
Lounge access✔¹
Late check-out
(based on availability)


14:00

14:00

14:00

Premium internet
Upgrade
1 category higher
up to executive

up to executive

up to Suite

no suites
no lounge

1 category higher
some excluded
Statusvorteile im Vergleich
  • ¹ Milestone Reward after 40 nights (annual lounge membership)

So we have a winner in this comparison: The Hilton Honors Gold status! Not only is the status very easy to get, it’s also the only mid-tier status to offer free breakfast. Depending on the destination, this can mean enormous value.

However, the Platinum Elite status of IHG One Rewards has also gained a lot of appeal and could be a good alternative for you, especially if you love to travel to the US. As already mentioned several times, the Hilton Gold status does not have that many advantages there.

Cover Picture: Ditmar Lange

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Comment (1)

  1. Antti says:

    Imo Hiltons are often quite expensive when All Accor hotels can be found much cheaper. There a welcome drink + welcome gift + upgrade could be a better deal than a much more expensive Hilton, even though you get a breakfast at Hilton.

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