The reality of the currently hotel climate is that Starwood is going away as they get absorbed by the Marriott behemoth. The days of the SPG program being the best loyalty program out there are certainly numbered. Exact time frames are a little up in the air at the moment, what we do know is that SPG is safe through the end of 2017. After that point, I have to look at the reality of what Marriott offers versus other companies.
The problem with Marriott is one that you'll find at any really large hotel chain, their loyalty levels are much harder to hit than smaller chains like Starwood and Hyatt. Despite them being much harder to achieve in the way of nights stayed, they don't offer much over their competitors with lower thresholds. Once Starwood goes the way of the dinosaurs, Hyatt is most likely where I'll go.
Hyatt like Starwood, is a smaller chain. They are harder to stay with, but easier to hit those high level elite thresholds if you do stay with them regularly. Marriott promises upgrades to suites and better rooms for high level elites, but this is completely arbitrary and dependent on the hotel you go to, you may go an entire year without a single upgrade if you choose the wrong hotels. Then there are the hotels in Marriott that don't allow certain perks like the free breakfast, or some other excuse to not give you what is promised by the company for your loyalty.
On the flip side, Hyatt has a system of suite upgrades in place for Diamond members, their highest status level. Hyatt gives 4 suite upgrades a year to Diamond members, that allows you to pay for a lower tier room, and bump yourself up to a suite. This is a great perk, and you get to choose where to apply it. If you're gone for a week to a hotel, that would be a great upgrade instead of a single night layover. This may not seem on paper to be as good as upgrades available at any Marriott at any time, but in real world situations, you may get more upgrades out of Hyatt than Marriott, since it is at the discretion of each hotel in the Marriott chain.
Hyatt is a smaller chain, I like the idea of a smaller chain that isn't a dime a dozen. The bigger chains just seem to value their customers less and that means I move on to where they treat customers better.