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Our favorite hotel loyalty plans at a glance | 2009

"Hilton: The only program that counts award stays toward elite status; allows hotel-stay credit to be used for both HHonors points and airline miles (more than 60 participating carriers); no blackout dates for award bookings.
Hyatt: No blackout dates for award bookings; gives Elite Diamond members four upgrades a year on paid suites; allows you to convert points into miles on 30 airlines.
Intercontinental: Points never expire; no blackout dates for award bookings; special promotions let you redeem as few as 5,000 points for some rooms.
Marriott: Use 33 percent fewer points for hotels on PointSavers list; no blackout dates for award bookings; lets you pay for an upgrade in cash when you book a room with points.
Starwood: Cash-and-points program lets you make up with cash when you’re short on points; no blackout dates for award bookings; you can get a room for as few as 2,000 points."

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