Do you have one hotel that stays with you no matter where you go? One stay that you’re sure you’ve colored rose in your memory because it couldn’t have been that amazing? For me that hotel is the Centara Grand Beach resort in Hua Hin, Thailand. A place most of you will never stay because you’re caught in the status trap.
This post throws my friend Tim under the bus. He innocently asked for advice about the Hyatt in Hua Hin. When I shared my feelings about the Centara he mentioned that he wanted to keep his Globalist status up so other hotels weren’t on the table.
I’m sure the Hyatt is lovely. But I guarantee you the Hyatt isn’t built with Colonial architecture, it doesn’t have a topiary garden, and you can’t get a villa with a private pool there for $200/night. Tim is stuck in the status trap.
What’s the status trap?
Simply put, you’re caught in a status trap when possession of elite status (or the pursuit of elite status) clouds your judgement. I just gnawed out of a Hyatt status trap that many of my friends fell into (ironically, with my help).
I’m not gonna claim holy ground here. I’m even typing this post from a Marriott mattress run for the platinum challenge. But there is a difference between 9 stays Marriott requires in 90 days (and the 4 programs’ benefits I’ll receive) and the 25 Hyatt stays needed in two months for benefit in just one program. Benefits that IMHO are nebulously defined and easily gamed by individual properties.
Is status always a trap?
No, of course not. But when that label on your account clouds your thinking about how to spend your money on future purchases you’re at risk of falling into the trap. It’s another example of the sunk cost fallacy: “I spent all of this money to get XXX status, so I had better use it.”
Well, maybe. It’s still a good idea to test each individual trip to see if defaulting to your elite gets the best value. Yes, you get free breakfast. But if you’re in France wouldn’t you rather have a croissant and coffee at a cafe for 3 Euro? Or is it the same price as your suite “upgrade” to rent an entire apartment through Endless Vacation Rentals or Skyauction? What about the entire swaths of the globe you aren’t considering because your elite doesn’t serve that destination?
I’m asking you to keep an open mind. Failing to do so sets you up to get caught in the status trap.
And you might never climb out.
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