Money Or Status? I’ll Take the Latter


The question of the day is which would you rather have,  if you could choose one,  money or status?  The reason I pose this question is because I just checked into the Marriott Grand Cayman.  I had 80,000 points to burn and figured that the Cayman was as good a place as any to use them.  Like Vegas,  the Cayman impose a resort fee for no other reason but to be jerks. (They say it’s for water sports and wifi)

As a devout member of SPG and lover of all things Hyatt,  I have grown accustom to the sweet words,  ‘we’ ve upgraded your room.’ With Marriott,  I have no status and deem myself to be more of a trespasser. That is why I wasn’t surprised when I walked into my room to find a view of the courtyard.  If I wanted to see the pristine 7 Mile Beach,  I would have to leave the comfort of my standard room.

To be clear,  I am not complaining as the room is (mostly)  free and there aren’t many points options in this tax shelter paradise.  The point of this post (written on the beach via my ThinkPad BT Keyboard)  is to demonstrate how great status can be. I’m sure Marriott loyalists would be upgraded to an ocean facing suite much like I was at the St. Regis Mauritius.  The cost of coming out-of-pocket would be almost double.  Factor in free breakfast and it seems to make no sense to stay at hotels without status.

Another issue from staying at resorts as a points mercenary is the fact that they take away from stay credits with your usual brands.  This year I have to stay 21 times at SPG properties and 25 at Hyatt to requalify for Platinum and Diamond respectively. If I want ten suite upgrades with SPG,  I have to stay 50 times.  That’s hard enough to do without detour stays at Marriotts,  Hiltons,  IHGs, and Club Carlsons.

So while I am happy with my points redemption,  I am looking forward to checking out of here in a couple of days for the hospitality of my home away from home,  the SPG Westin. There,  I’ll get a view of more than the parking lot and at no extra cost.



  1. an infrequent traveler, i had no hotel status until i was made Hilton & SPG Gold during owing to my new Amex Plat earlier this year. i’ve loved the few opportunities i’ve had to make use of the Hilton Gold in particular. what a sweet feeling it is to get a room upgrade and a free breakfast that would otherwise cost $25 with tax+tip (no matter how mediocre it is). combine that with the widely available MVP rates, and you’re really living large. now, status OVER money? probably not…i’m right on the fence about whether its worth net $150/year to carry the Ritz card for Marriott Gold.

    • If I had the money, I would still never pay for the upgraded room when I know it could be given for ‘free’. Obviously, cash is king!

  2. Hilton Gold is like 0 stays with the right credit card, 4 without. Boom. Instant status.

    For most anything else, I’m a points mercenary. Why? Because arbitrary travel and bouncing between hotels just to get status is stupid for me, and frankly, I don’t value crappy American continental breakfast at all. Getting out of the country is a once a year thing for me, twice if I’m lucky.

    And Hyatt+SPG’s footprint is still “LOL, really? That’s the best you can do?” for me compared to Hilton and Marriott.

  3. I’m a Lifetime Marriott Platinum member and currently a Platinum Premier (Marriott’s weak invite only tier). Even with this status I wouldn’t expect an upgrade (unless it was low season and I outright asked). Also, Marriott “resort” properties are exempt from having a concierge lounge or providing complementary breakfast for elites. The grass ain’t always greener on the other side .

    • I would say, come over to the SPG side where you are usually upgraded without asking but Marriott already got their hands on us. Well, I’m glad I burned these points then. Probably the end of my Marathon stays.

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