How to buy a Hotel Group Status

Similar to frequent flying, there is a straightforward option to become a status member in all major hotel chains: frequent sleeping. Very often, the requirements are comparably high to reach that target. However, there are much more (and convenient) shortcuts to become a targeted (and pampered) customer, compared to airlines. In this article, I present three ways how to gain status in different hotel chains. The offers are majorly focussed on the German market, but I will try to give you a hint how it may work out in other countries.

Buying in into Hotel Status – is it worth it?

Of course, this question has a very individual answer. It is strongly based on your preferences. For example, I feel that becoming Intercontintal Ambassador does not offer me sufficient amenities, but it may be the right thing for you.
Whatever your travel profile is (I guess you travel somehow – otherwise you would not read, it is worth to read on. In some cases, your investment may already pay back after two or three nights a year only!

On the other hand, I also see that these upgrades and special pampers do what they shall do. Since I am a Hilton Gold member, I just became more and more fan of the brand and their hotels and have an increased number of stays there. My wife, who is Accor Gold, stays in ibis & Co quite frequently.

Becoming Le Club Accor Gold-  ibis Business Card

Accor Gold is the second-highest status of the French hotel franchise. Accor is quite strong in the budget travelling segment, offering brands like F1, ibis budget or ibis. However, they also have a range of luxury brands like Sofitel, Raffles or Fairmont. The easy way to Accor Gold is taken via the cheaper brands, though. The ibis Business Card is mainly offering you lower member rates (-10%) and guaranteed availability for all ibis branches. You get a 10% discount on breakfast, restaurant and breakfast, even if you are not staying in the hotel. While the key profit is thus on ibis, ibis styles and ibis budget, the goodie is that you are granted Le Club Accor Gold status. This offer is available in many countries with similar pricing. In Germany, you pay 90 EUR for a one-year Business Card membership and 159 EUR for a two-year one. The membership automatically expires.

Le Club Accor Gold Amenities

In contrast to an “ordinary” Le Club Membership (which is for free), being a Gold member in the hotel group allows you to

  • Priority Welcome
  • Late Check-In or Late Check-Out
  • Welcome drink
  • Turndown service, where applicable
  • Guranteed room up to three days before arrival
  • Upgrade to next room category, subject to availability
  • More rewards points (roughly 50%)

Some of the amenities above are already open to SIlver members. I in general enjoy the welcome drink at the hotel. Most of the more budget brands do not have too many room categories, so that the upgrade just has a very limited impact.


My View on Le Club Accor Gold Status

After my wife’s Gold Status expired, i have really been struggling with taking the ibis Business Card or not. Due to its limited price, I finally went for the two-year package. Accor is quite strong in the European market and for example in the UAE also. The investment will definitely not pay back as easy as the Hilton Honors Credit Card. On the other hand, I already got an upgrade and a really nice overnight price after purchasing the ibis Business Card – so it is definitely not a waste of money.


Hilton Honors Gold is just a Credit Card away

Worldwide, there are numerous options to become Hilton Gold member buy applying for credit cards. You may even reach the top, Hilton Diamond, in the USA by going for this offer. In Germany, the Hilton Credit Card, issued by DKB, is “just” giving you Gold Benefits. There are two versions of the credit card. The basic option is 49 EUR, while you can add on an insurance package and then pay an annual fee of 25 EUR. It also includes a rental car CDW insurance waiver, which might be quite interesting for some of you.
One of the additional nice features of the Hilton DKB is that you can withdrawal cash without fees worldwide. You also collect Hilton Honors bonus points with your credit card turnover.

Hilton Honors Gold Amenities

Most of the upgrades you receive with the Hilton Honors Gold status are part of the My Way programme. Some of them, like the free breakfast, you may either take or get additional bonus points. This is for example very nice if you stay at an airport hotel and an early departure does not allow you to take breakfast. The advantages are in detail:

  • If you book on points, every 5th night is free
  • Two bottles of mineral water
  • Complimentary room upgrade, if available
  • Free breakfast


My View on Hilton Gold Status

If you travel and somehow like Hilton hotels (not the brands which include breakfast anyway), you have to take that option. I bought in into Hilton Gold status just some time this year – and I absolutely enjoy it. Several complimentary upgrades, free breakfast, it pays back really quick. Yes, it does change my booking behavior and I am looking for Hilton hotels first now when I plan my travel – but finally, the payback I get is just too attractive.

In case you are interested in purchasing the DKB Hilton Card, let me know.


Intercontinental Ambassador and IHG Elite

The maybe most well-known IHG brand is Holiday Inn and its budget outlet Holiday Inn Express. Other hotel groups are Crown Plaza or IndigoIntercontinental is one of the best IHG brands. Thereby, the Ambassador Club is working similar like the ibis Business Card: the membership is majorly aiming to improve your stay in a certain brand of the IHG franchise. The Ambassador Club membership comes with the IHG Gold Elite Status. At the Intercontinental Hotels, you receive the following upgrades:

  • Separate Check-In
  • Late Check-Out
  • Voucher for second night for free, if you pay the first night on a weekend.
  • Guaranteed Room Upgrade

This package costs you 200 USD per year. It is a global deal, i.e. it is independent from your country of residence.

IHG Gold Elite Status

The Gold Elite Status is only the lowest elite tier of IHG. Thus, the advantages are comparably limited:

  • Later check-out
  • Priority check-in
  • Your award points never expire

Free WiFi is already guaranteed with any IHG member status.

My View on IHG Elite Status

Despite the concept looks similar, I feel that Accor offers a significantly more attractive program than IHG. I am personally not staying in Intercontinental Hotels too often – but the key reason why I do not like this option is simply that the IHG status you receive does not lead to really interesting upgrades of your trip. If you are a die-hard Intercontinental fan, it may however pay off after two or three stays already, especially due to the weekend voucher.


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