Accor platinum is regularly given away free. I got it recently via a web link.
Hilton gold, was free via Amex platinum in the uk, but no more. However there is a way to get it totally free, no stays required,
Starwoods gold and club Carlson gold are free with Amex platinum.
Intercontinental platinum is free in the uk with their £99 a year credit card.
Royal ambassador can be bought for £550.
Given the above, is it surprising that the benefits of the major hotel loyalty programmes are diminishing ?