I have the SPG and Hyatt as my AF hotel cards. Hilton is my preferred brand out of those. However, the other 2 cards do come with a free night that can easily offset the AF. I would have no issue using the free night but I fear that they would likely get used for airport hotels.
My question is do you all feel that these cards are still keepers despite them not being your preferred brand? I have AFs approaching for these 2 cards and I wanted to get some insight on others handle these type of cards.
my preferred brand is microtel, and no, i dont have any hotel card,
but yeah, as long as you can see yourself using it, why not.
When did you get each of the cards?
In my opinion the SPG cards are the least valuable of the three brands. Someone who stays at SPG/Marriott regularly would get good value out of an SPG card, but if not otherwise going there, I am not sure one night a year is enticing.
Hyatt is a good brand, but you have to want to go to their locations and if it is only one night, that wouldn’t be enough for me.
Full disclosure have a card from each brand, but am also working on using points caches and stays for work, so currently using all three brands. If you don’t go to the brand, the hotel card makes no sense.
I got SPG last March and Hyatt last April. Only downside about Hyatt is that they have very limited hotels compared to the others. However, I am locked into the 75$ Hyatt card which is an added plus. You make an interesting point regarding the Marriott brand. I’ve never thought of it that way.
But yeah since I’ve gotten the SPG card, I’ve only stayed at one Marriott. I do have an upcoming stay with points at the Fairfield Inn and Suites next month. The only reason I chose Marriott was because I didn’t have enough points for Hilton to stay 6 nights. I have also stayed at a couple Hyatt’s since obtaining the card.
I believe it comes down to how much travel do you do, do you travel mostly for personal or business, your ability to afford certain hotels, and your preference.
I'll give you a breakdown of my story to help you make a decision.
My work has the potential to have me travel weekly, but I'm local for the most part, which means most of my travel is for personal reasons for now. I tend to take 2-4 trips a year, mostly international (Asia). As much as I used to and still do like staying at luxury hotels and resorts, my first trip to Vietnam changed my perspective. One of their main developing cities, Ho Chi Minh aka Saigon, is a place where you'd have a huge modern building on one block, and then 3rd world DIY metal shack homes on the next block, another modern building on the next, and so on. I found that when I only stayed at luxury hotels, I felt disconnected from really feeling the full experience of staying there. I like to have a balance living the good life (staying in nice places, eating at nice restaurants, and splurging on certain activities), but also knowing what it's like to live/eat/sleep like the average local.
This is where AirBNB comes in. It has such a large variety of homes, and has allowed me to stay in common apts/houses to some very luxurious condos/high-rise skyscraper apartments. Best of all, it's generally cheaper and offers more space than hotels.
Back to luxury hotels: through my limited travels, I've found that there are a lot of luxury hotels that do not fall under the umbrella of hotel cards. My favorite hotel of all time so far has to be the Pullman hotel in Bangkok, Thailand. It is a Japanese design-inspired hotel chain that is just grand and beautiful. The attention to detail and design of everything is just really special. If I loaded up on hotel cards, I'd feel obliged to use them to maximize their value, but I'd also miss out on staying at hotels I'd otherwise never have heard of.
My 2 cents.
My example OP: I primarily utilize Hilton, and travel quite often and sometimes weeks on hand for business. With that said, it's a no brainer to have a hotel card in my wallet which is currently the Aspire card. It gets me the perks and points earning from Hilton since I'm there anyway. Even if I did not have a free night in the equation, it's still worth it to me personally for the card, free breakfasts, Diamond status, etc. As long as you stay in the hotel/brand a few times a year... then in my mind it's worth it most likely.