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Hotel elite status can be pretty awesome! It feels really good when you check-in and the agent thanks you for your “loyalty,” being an elite, and then rewards you with some pretty nice perks including discounts, free meals, extra rewards, bonus points, room upgrades, and the list goes on.
Unfortunately, the more valuable benefits that come with higher status usually require lots of stays and/or spend but there are some shortcuts and I think these are the 3 easiest ways to get hotel status without much effort.
Option #1: STATUS MATCH / CHALLENGE
One of the coolest tricks of having elite status is to parlay that into elite status with another loyalty program (…or two…or three). A status match is when a loyalty program gives you elite status of a similar level because of your elite status in a different program.
For example, you may remember a few weeks ago I rented a Cadillac Escalade for $18 because I had top-tier status with Hertz despite having never rented a car from Hertz ever in my life.
By having a credit card that awarded hotel elite status just for possessing the card, I have been able to rent very nice cars for cheap.
Status matches essentially waive the usual requirements, while status challenges provide a shortcut by lessening the usual elite status requirements. One of my favorite tools is Statusmatcher.com because it is a site which gives data points for matches and challenges offered by loyalty programs.
Option #2: BUY STATUS
Some hotel loyalty programs allow you to simply buy status. For example, IHG allows anyone to purchase Intercontinental Ambassador status for $200/year. The perks include:
- Guaranteed one category room upgrade
- Extended 4pm check-out
- Complimentary weekend night
- Platinum Elite status in IHG® Rewards Club
- Restaurant & bar credit of up to USD20 for every stay
- And more perks to enhance your travels
The free weekend night certificate alone could easily justify the cost of membership for anyone who needs status and can make use of the free night.
Additionally, IHG Platinum Status qualifies as top-tier (or, at minimum, second tier) status by most match and challenge opportunities as well as IHG hotels as a whole.
Option #3: CREDIT CARDS
I advise everyone to understand the perks that come with your specific credit card(s) because you may have hotel elite status and not even be aware that you have it.
There are two ways to use credit cards to earn hotel status.
- Card Benefits: Some credit cards offer elite status as a benefit of being a card member. For example, the Amex Platinum Cards [READ MORE] award you with both Hilton and Marriott status…JUST FOR HAVING THE CARD. Similarly, the IHG Rewards Club Premier Credit Card also awards Platinum status for as long as you have the card, and offers bonus points, room upgrades, and more.
- Spending requirements: Another way to use credit cards to earn elite status is to meet spending thresholds on co-branded cards. For example, if you spend $40K a year on the Hilton Honors Surpass Card [READ MORE], you’ll be upgraded to Diamond Status. Granted, that is a lot of money but it’s nonetheless an option for those that have the budget.
Again, hotel elite status can be pretty awesome! Often at check-in, the agent will confirm your rewards and depending on city, it can make your experience a lot easier.
Free meals at a hotel restaurant are an undervalued perk until you stay in an expensive city. Similarly, room upgrades are undervalued until you receive an upgrade to the “Three Bedroom Penthouse Suite” and begin strategizing how you can spend the most amount of time in your room while also getting the most out of your stay.
Do you have hotel elite status? Were you aware there were different ways to obtain elite status?