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.