Best hotel program for extended business stay

A reader recently asked me the following question:

Hi, I am traveling to Miami for business and will be staying about a Month.  I am a member of most of the major hotel brand loyalty programs, and I was wondering if you had any suggestions for the best reward deals for an extended stay hotel (like Residence Inn Marriott).  I also plan on requesting some sort of status challenge if the hotel offers it.  Any advice would be great!

My advice:

I thought this was a nice problem to have and would make an interesting post.  Here is how I answered (slightly edited for clarity):

If your main interest is in earning lots of points, Club Carlson tends to deliver the best point earnings even without promotions going on.  If you go that way, make sure to get their credit card first.  That will give you Gold status so you’ll earn more points for your stay, plus if you pay for the stay with that card you’ll earn 10 points per dollar with the credit card (that’s in addition to points earned for the stay).  Of course, also sign up for any Club Carlson promotions that might come up before or during your stay.

If your main interest is elite status I’d recommend considering either Hyatt or SPG.  The top tier statuses in both chains are very well regarded. Of the two, I only have experience with top tier Hyatt and it truly is great.  One big downside: far fewer properties.  Also, SPG status is easier to maintain once you get it since, unlike Hyatt, SPG award stays count towards status.  SPG does have a status challenge (details here) so you would definitely want to sign up for that.  18 nights will get you Platinum status.  You also might benefit from an SPG credit card in order to earn more points for your stay (if you pay with the card).  If you go with Hyatt, ask the hotel manager if they can enroll you in the Hyatt Diamond Trial.  That way you’ll earn Diamond status after only 12 paid nights (which you’ll meet easily).

Marriott is an OK middle ground: you’ll earn many more points than SPG (but the points are less valuable), but less than Club Carlson.  Marriott Platinum status is good, but not great.  One really nice perk of Platinum status is that you can sign up for United Silver status for free.  Also, Marriott makes it very easy to maintain status year after year: they often offer it for free even if you didn’t reach the requirements and, if not, they let you buy back status by exchanging points (40K points for Platinum; 25K for Gold).  The best thing about going with Marriott is that their Residence Inn chain is very nice (in my opinion) and they have hotels everywhere. 

Reader additions?

What do you think of the advice I gave? Did I miss anything important?  Please comment below.

About Greg The Frequent Miler

Greg is the owner, founder, and primary author of the Frequent Miler. He earns millions of points and miles each year, mostly without flying, and dedicates this blog to teaching others how to do the same.

More articles by Greg The Frequent Miler »

Comments

  1. First, a point of note: I didn’t see where you said who is paying for those nights, but make sure to check w/ the state, b/c in many I’ve been in, if you stay > 30 days, it constitutes a policy whereby you will NOT be charged the hotel taxes b/c of the long-term status…but you can’t “check out” for a day to pay if the amt. is too great or the hotel wants you to…so be careful there.

    Also, as is the internet, I disagree w/ your assumptions/thought process

    Also, I thought I read in another post (another site) that Diamond challenge was no longer offered?

    Also, while Marriott’s individual points are less valuable than SPG, w/ the current Marriott MegaBonus going on, that’s another 40-45k points ON TOP of your stays, and would assume you use the Marriott card. You’d be very hard pressed to beat that. Plus, Marriott has a ton more properties as well. Marriott offers the Plat. challenge, though seem to recall they no longer offer immed. Plat. until you achieve it, like they used to.

  2. The 30 day mark is important for another reason. I’m pretty sure that if you have a single stay for 30 days or more, you won’t earn any points – so be careful. You might want to check out and stay elsewhere for a night in the middle to make sure.

    • @monster. I’ve stayed in a Residence Inn for 6 ish straight months. I got the points. The hotel “closed” a stay every 3 weeks to ensure I was getting points as well so they could have an invoice and be paid. Yes it was under 30 days…but however it was done I was not charges the hotels fees or taxes.

  3. FM, you’re right about Residence Inn being a real positive for the Marriott chain. I don’t think I’ve ever stayed in one I didn’t like. I remember the one in downtown Denver being especially nice.
    In the original question the person specifically mentions extended stay hotels. I wonder if that means she/he has to stay in one or just that it makes the most sense for such a long trip. There seem to be two Hyatt House locations in the area, one near the miami airport and the other near the ft lauderdale airport.
    Hyatt diamond status truly is wonderful. They definitely all act like diamond members are important to them, and you get lots of great perks. I’ve just lost mine (we don’t really travel often enough to maintain it easily), and I’m feeling a bit wistful. The diamond challenge does still exist, but it needs to be sponsored/recommended by someone from Hyatt, usually at a particular hotel that you spend a lot of time at or will be spending a lot of time at.
    People say it all the time, but the Hyatt footprint is so small that it’s tough to stay at Hyatt’s sometimes. Many cities don’t even have a Hyatt at all.. Munich, for example.
    Good luck to the questioner. Sounds like fun!

  4. As someone that travelled a lot of work where I stayed in a location for a minimum of two weeks in a one location. In terms of comfort, you’re going to get sick of eating out all the time, my recommendation is to find a hotel property with a kitchenette such as a residence inn, Hyatt House, or Candlewood suites. Of the choices, the Hyatt properties is the most valuable. When I stayed for work, we were forced to used Marriott properties so I didn’t have a choice and always stayed at Residence Inn. Also will you be working weekends? I ask this because when I traveled for work, we had the weekends to ourselves and sometimes(with the company’s permission and I would be responsible for the difference for any higher rate hotel) check out of the currently hotel and check in another hotel near a tourist attraction of site of interest. This did two things, it created more stays for your work trip to Miami and allows an opportunity to vary your environment especially if you’re staying in a regular hotel room versus one with a kitchenette. It can be cumbersome to pack up and move your stuff, bur more reason to pack light and do laundry. There’s a difference in staying in a hotel for a few days and staying a month. It’s nice to maximize the points, but there’s an aspect of comfort that needs to be factored in.

  5. Fair points..
    One more point I would like to add is that you have to keep an eye on promotions running when you are staying: ex Double/ Triple points @ Hilton, or the Stay more Play more @ Hyatt (20 nights= 50k points) and the SPG one (double points for stays >5 nights and 1k points for every 5 nights stay).
    You need to weigh all the options before planning the stay. Chopping and changing may not help you with the status, but you may end up with more points in the bank!

    • This is the point I was thinking about when I read this. Residence Inns are the best places to use your Marriott points in an everyday setting but because they earn less it could really hurt your total earning.

  6. If you are a member of most major chains loyalty program you must have points accrued. You can focus on points, status, or comfort. With 30 days you could do a status challenge and still change hotels. Changing weekly would break up the routine a bit, and offer a change of scenery.
    Hilton may not be popular for points or status, but I do like their Homewood suites for extended stays. They offer a good hot breakfast buffet, and an evening meal included with the room. It beats having to go out to grab fast food and the one in Boulder CO even included beer and wine in the evening. It was more than most clubs offer elites in the other chains.

  7. Re: RI, yes they only earn 1/2 points..so if the guy can stay at Courtyard for full points, awesome. For me, I had a set amt. of $$ / month to spend and personally negotiated the rate for the month-to-month rate. CY wouldn’t come close to the rate

  8. Frick. I never noticed I was getting jipped on Marriott points at Residence Inn. Anyways, I’ve done a couple of two-week stays at a Residence Inn two or three times a year for two years now. They aren’t bad. The kitchen is especially nice, in my opinion. I enjoy having the ability to cook my own food. Most have pretty decent gyms, too.

    Club Carlson points are great if you ever want to visit Europe. They gave some good properties in London right by Big Ben as well as the Nordic countries.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *