I searched and couldn't find a good comparison thread. I'm trying to determine how to best optimize my limited hotel stays. Due to limited stays, most of my points will be earned via credit card spending. My wife and I are planning a British Isles trip and would like the most bang for our buck on the hotel. I also participate in Ultimate Rewards, so I can shift points to Hyatt or Marriott (but mostly use it for miles on UA).
I recently got a UA Club card which gives me Hyatt Gold Passport Platinum. If I were to get a Hyatt card, I would wait until my status kicked in to get better sign-up rewards.
Most people feel that Starwood points are the best value. However, given limited stays, I am not likely to reach Gold level. It also appears that the current SPG Amex does not guarantee a higher level, but only offers a 20% reduction in the stays or nights to reach Gold level.
Lastly, I have been a Marriott Rewards member in the past when I did a lot more business traveling. (Lost my Elite status 2 years ago.) The Chase Marriott CC offer seems appealing for up to 6 free nights and the minimum Silver Elite level.
So, the question I am posing is this: on which hotel rewards program should I focus my spending and stays? Is the value of Hyatt Platinum or Marriott Silver Elite worth more than the Starwood base-level points?
One more detailed question: I have some business travel coming up to San Antonio for a conference. The conference hotel choices are 2 Hyatt's and 2 Marriott's. There is a Four Points (cheaper) nearby as well as a Westin (similar price to conference hotels). What would you pick?
Thanks in advance.