We are well into April… and many readers might have spent all of 2021 stuck at home. If you currently have elite status with a hotel chain, you will know how valuable it is; you won’t want to lose it! But with the United States bouncing back – at least in terms of domestic travel – it is sensible to fear that the US-centric major hotel chains will NOT extend everybody’s status for another year.
So what can be done? In Part One, I’ll explain some tricks and shortcuts you might not be aware of…
First of all, here’s a reminder of the published hurdles for earning / renewing status in 2021. To keep it brief, I only mention statuses that I consider to be worth making an effort to earn/retain.
Elite Status Requirements for 2021
- 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.
World of Hyatt
- Globalist status – 30 nights or 50,000 base points
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. You will have already received:
- Silver members received 5 complimentary elite nights
- Gold members received 13 complimentary elite nights
- Platinum members received 25 complimentary elite nights
- Titanium members received 38 complimentary elite nights
- Ambassador members received 50 complimentary elite nights
- Platinum status – 30 nights or 30,000 elite qualifying points
- Spire status – 55 nights or 55,000 elite qualifying points
Accor Live Limitless
- 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…
Tricks to Extend Status WITHOUT Staying in Hotels…
If you are currently a Diamond member, you might qualify for Hilton’s Diamond extension policy. You wouldn’t need to do anything until February / March 2022 if you are due to be downgraded, but it’s good to know the criteria, which are:
- Having been 3 or more years as a Diamond (it isn’t necessary that those years be consecutive)
- At least 3 of those years need to have been “real Diamond” – i.e. 30 stays or 60 nights. Status matched years do NOT count, nor do years where you are Diamond based on your previous year’s activity (but you don’t ultimately requalify)
- Having stayed more than 250 nights (paid or reward) or earned 500,000+ base points since joining Hilton Honors
You can also choose to wait until April 2022. If you successfully complete an MVP Fast Track (4 stays for Gold) or a status match (criteria may change) in April or beyond, your status would return to Gold / Diamond for the rest of 2022, all of 2023 and the first three months of 2024.
The Bright Side…
The Diamond extension is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity so you should take care to not waste it unnecessarily. In Part 2 I’ll explain how you can reach 15 stays (the standard method for 2021) quite easily and cost-effectively.
I mention April above because most Hilton fast tracks or status challenges require you to have Silver status or worse. It takes some courage, but you would have to become a Silver in order to motor back up to Gold or Diamond via one of Hilton’s many short cuts.
But Hilton generally likes its elite members to remain so. So relax…
Although the current promotion might be enticing, you might want to wait until December 2021. If you are currently a Spire member, an unpublished benefit / travel hack is that spending $200 (or 40,000 points) to sign up for Ambassador will extend your Spire status for as long as you remain an Ambassador.
The published benefit of Ambassador status is Platinum status with IHG Rewards. Spending 40,000 points makes far more sense than worrying about staying 30 nights to maintain your Platinum status.
If you are currently a Platinum member, you have already received 25 complimentary elite nights. If you sign up for the Marriott Bonvoy American Express card – £75 annual fee – then you will receive a 15 elite night credit.
The combination of these two factors will get you to 40 nights, almost there… Even if you haven’t had the chance to pick up double elite night credit from the current promotion.
World of Hyatt
The Bright Side…
I don’t have any data points (yet) supporting my view, but Hyatt were generous about extending my Globalist status in early March 2020, well before it became obvious to all that Covid would become a global pandemic. At the time, only Asia was affected, but since I travelled there frequently, my Concierge was more than willing to extend my Globalist status, weeks before the general policies were announced.
Will the same flexibility be possible in 2021, based on the fact that most Europeans cannot realistically travel? In fact, many European Hyatt hotels are simply closed so my case for a reprieve appears strong.
Even though many of us have been unable to make regular progress towards renewing our elite status, it might not matter much if one or more of the above opportunities is open to you.
But if not, in Part 2 I’ll write about strategies to pick up cheap elite night credits that don’t require international travel…