How to Earn Elite Status from a Major Hotel Chain in 2021

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For those readers who value elite status with major hotel chains, 2020 was actually a pretty straightforward year. Recognising that very few people were able to travel, all of the major hotel chains automatically extended elite status for a year and some chains also made it easier to reach a higher level of elite status.

With a vaccine on the horizon for 2021, and the financial need to tempt guests back into their hotels, the major chains appear unwilling to extend their generosity for an additional year. Instead they have made it easier to achieve and/or renew elite status by relaxing the requirements or running attractive promotions.

As many readers will be aware, each hotel chain offers several tiers of elite status. Some of these tiers offer very little and, in order to keep things simpler, I will only mention those tiers of elite status that I consider to be worth aiming for… And, as always, hotel nights booked via Online Travel Agencies do NOT qualify for elite status purposes, but award nights DO qualify (although not necessarily for promotions).

 

Hilton Honors

If you achieve or renew elite status during 2021, your status will be valid until 31 March 2023. For a full review of Hilton Honors and the perks of elite status, click here to re-read a summary I wrote awhile back.

The requirements for 2021 have been halved. As a result, you require:

  • Gold status – 10 stays, 20 nights or 37,500 base points
  • Diamond status – 15 stays, 30 nights or 60,000 base points

Hilton Honors has also given members a head start, rolling over ALL nights from 2020. To be clear, ONLY nights have rolled over, not stays or base points.

The Bright Side… Stays or Nights?

Hilton has yet to process the rollover nights from 2020. But if you spent 20 nights in a Hilton hotel last year, you have already (re)qualified for Gold status due to those 20 nights rolling over. If you spent 30+ nights, you will eventually (re)qualify for Diamond status. Even if you will only rollover a handful of elite nights, you will still enjoy a head start on meeting the requirements for 2021.

If, like me, you didn’t manage to stay at Hilton hotels at all during 2020, you won’t have many nights to rollover. In that case, 10 one-night stays would be the easiest way to earn yourself Gold status and 15 one-night stays will earn you Diamond status. I haven’t been a Hilton Diamond in recent years, but 15 one-night stays sure seems achievable enough to tempt me back…

 

World of Hyatt

If you achieve or renew elite status during 2021, your status will be valid until 28 February 2023. For a full review of World of Hyatt and the perks of elite status, click here to re-read a summary I wrote previously.

The requirements for 2021 have also been halved. As a result, you require:

  • Globalist status – 30 nights or 50,000 base points

It is worth noting that many of Hyatt’s best perks aren’t linked to your elite status, but instead to the “Milestone Rewards” that you can earn based on total nights spent during a calendar year. Hyatt has NOT changed the requirements for Milestone Rewards. As a result, you will still need to stay 50+ nights in 2021, to earn the suite upgrade certificates that allow you to confirm, in advance, your complimentary suite upgrades.

The Bright Side… Bonus Journeys

World of Hyatt has been running a promotion since October 2020. This promotion is scheduled to run until 28 February, 2021.

For those nights spent at a Hyatt between 1 January – 28 February 2021, you will earn double credit. In simple terms… 15 nights before the end of February → 30 elite nights → Globalist status.

If you managed 6 nights, for example, at a Hyatt between October – December 2020, you will also receive a 6 night bonus credit for 2021.

 

Marriott Bonvoy

If you achieve or renew elite status during 2021, your status will be valid until 28 February 2023. For a full review of Marriott Bonvoy and the perks of elite status, click here to re-read an older summary post.

Marriott has NOT changed the requirements for earning elite status in 2021, except for an adjustment to the spend needed to achieve Ambassador status.

  • Platinum status – 50 nights
  • Titanium status – 75 nights
  • Ambassador status – 100 nights + $14,000 of pre-tax spend

What Marriott is doing (as it did in 2020) is adding complimentary elite nights to members’ accounts, based on their status earned in the previous year. Since Marriott extended everybody’s elite status in 2020, this is probably based on the status you earned during 2019, unless of course you managed to upgrade a level of status during 2020. As a result:

  • Silver members will receive 5 complimentary elite nights
  • Gold members will receive 13 complimentary elite nights
  • Platinum members will receive 25 complimentary elite nights
  • Titanium members will receive 38 complimentary elite nights
  • Ambassador members will receive 50 complimentary elite nights

The Bright Side… An Upcoming Double Elite Night Credit Promotion

Rather than giving everybody an opportunity to more easily earn elite status – by simply relaxing the requirements for all members – Marriott has chosen to focus on its current elite status members, making it easier them to renew or upgrade their status.

That said, however, between 17 February and 27 April, 2021 Marriott is planning to offer all members a double points / double elite credit promotion for paid stays of 2+ nights in length. If you should already have Platinum status, with a 25-night bonus credit, you would only need 13 paid nights during the late winter / early spring (26 once doubled) to guarantee your renewal of Platinum status.

If you don’t currently have any status with Marriott, you could still take advantage of the promotion to reach Platinum status with 25 nights. (50 once doubled)

 

IHG Rewards Club

If you achieve or renew elite status during 2021, your status will be valid until 31 December 2022. (or shortly thereafter) For a full review of IHG Rewards Club and the perks of elite status, click here to re-read what I have written previously.

IHG Rewards Club is relaxing its requirements by approximately 25%. As a result, you will need:

  • Platinum status – 30 nights or 30,000 elite qualifying points
  • Spire status – 55 nights or 55,000 elite qualifying points

The Bright Side… 2,000 Bonus Elite Qualifying Points for Every Two Nights

IHG’s chain-wide promotion for early 2021 works out as 1,000 bonus points per paid night. The promotion will run between 20 January and 31 March, 2021.

You can stay one night at a time, but you will only earn bonus points every second paid night. For example, if you stay 10 nights during the period of the promotion, you will earn 10,000 bonus points. If you stay a 11th night, you won’t earn any bonus points. But then if you stay a 12th night, you will earn another 2,000 bonus points, bringing you to a total of 12,000 bonus points. For the avoidance of doubt, your stays do NOT need to be 2 nights in length – one stay of 1 night and another stay of 3 nights would earn you 4,000 bonus points.

This promotion will therefore guide members in the direction of (re)qualifying for status via the Elite Qualifying Points method. Even though a night-based system of qualification is more familiar and standard, I suspect that any IHG Spire members reading this will probably know a trick or two to reach 55,000 Elite Qualifying Points without spending $5,500+ at IHG hotels.

 

Accor Live Limitless

Although I am less familiar with Accor Live Limitless, you require the following for the two levels of valuable elite status:

  • Platinum status – 60 nights or 14,000 status points (approx. 5,600 euros)
  • Diamond status – 26,000 status points (approx. 10,400 euros)

Rather than relax the requirements, ALL is going to:

  • Rollover all status points and status nights that you achieved between 1 July and 31 December, 2020
  • Double the number of status points and status nights that you earn during 2021

The net effect is to halve the requirements for elite status, with some of your 2020 activity helping you as well…

Conclusion

If you are stuck in lockdown somewhere, you might not be optimistic about your chances of acquiring elite status with a major hotel chain in 2021. But with the requirements significantly reduced and lucrative promotions available, you might want to think again. In a future post, I’ll share my thoughts about whether it might be time to try something new…

4 Comments on "How to Earn Elite Status from a Major Hotel Chain in 2021"

  1. Go on then. What Spire tricks can you suggest? Am platinum from my card. Almost got there last year through card spend but this has been reset.

    • Mr Brightside | 31 January 2021 at 10:42 am |

      I wasn’t being deliberately secretive. I simply didn’t fancy suggesting methods only to be told that they’ve stopped working.

      The obvious ones that I know still work are credit card spend and the bonus point packages for IHG stays.

  2. Not forgetting Status Match too?

    • Mr Brightside | 31 January 2021 at 10:34 am |

      In my opinion, it’s a waste to burn a once-in-a-lifetime status match opportunity when you don’t know if/where you can travel or if the hotels will even be open. I’ve seen far too many reports of how people were planning to meet the requirements with a specific holiday, and then life / COVID / the government got in the way – and the hotel chain wouldn’t be flexible.

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