02/11/2011 06:56 pm ET Updated May 25, 2011

The Best Hotel Loyalty Programs for Elite Status

The major hotels reward their most loyal guests with some fantastic perks, but how do these programs compare? Which ones offer the best rewards, suite upgrades, and most importantly, the best value given what it will cost to obtain top-tier status?

TravelSort business travel expert Ben Schlappig analyzes the big 5: Hilton HHonors, Hyatt Gold Passport, Intercontinental Priority Club and Royal Ambassador, Marriott Rewards and Starwood Preferred Guest. and gives his recommendations, along with a summary of the pros and cons. TravelSort sales are also an option, if you opt against hotel chains or don't stay frequently enough to join a program, yet still want a chance at upgrades at a fraction of the cost.