Since I travel so much I like to try to focus on specific hotel chains to build up status. This way I can book the cheapest room and get the best available room when I get there. With Starwood, I am less than a week away from Platinum status (50 nights) for this year. Whats annoying though is the huge variability in quality of hotels in the Starwood family. In some towns, the Westins are amazing and the Sheratons are crap. Other towns have the opposite. And price seems to have nothing to do with it.
Take the Sheraton and Westin in Bellevue, Washington for instance. The Sheraton was 40 dollars more per night and I got something akin to a Days Inn. The Westin at a lower cost is incredible with a much better location across from Bellevue Square (versus have the 405 as a very noisy neighbor), and far more comfy rooms. Here in Calgary, the Westin has nice rooms, but has a crappy overall feel to it. Hopefully its current renovation will have good results. The Sheraton a couple blocks away looks incredible. The Westin in Melbourne is ranked way up there for favorite hotels I have stayed in (up there with the Davenport in Spokane, the Magnolia in Dallas, and the Four Seasons in Vancouver, BC), but I am told the Zagreb Sheraton is far nicer the the Zagreb Westin I was in. The Westin Bangkok was incredible, but the Sheraton Sydney should be a case study in wasted opportunity with an enviable location, but very awkward access to everything.
I wish Starwood would just decide on a standard for quality and stick with it.