With 2018 now behind us, I thought it would be interesting to reflect on what status I’ve earned in the past year with both airlines and hotels.
My overall elite status “theme” of 2018
I love miles and points every bit as much as I did a decade ago. What has changed for me over the years is how much I care about earning status.
No doubt airlines and hotels are still different when it comes to this:
- Airlines have made it more difficult to earn status while also reducing the benefits you receive for status greatly
- Hotels have been fairly consistent when it comes to the status benefits they offer, and they’ve made it easier to earn status as well
Overall I’d say that in 2018 my airline and hotel decisions were much less motivated by elite status and loyalty, but rather motivated by what flight I wanted to take, what hotel I wanted to stay at, and where I could redeem points.
Frankly that has been really liberating. For example, this year less than half of my US travel has been on American, in spite of them being the airline that I credited the most flights to.
In 2019 I expect this trend to continue. My plan is to focus even less on earning status, and even more on just traveling the way I want to, while still maximizing miles and points.
That’s the thing I’m starting to finally separate out in my mind. Going for elite status and maximizing the points you earn and redeem are two very different things. I’m ready to jump off the status hamster wheel. Airline loyalty programs have largely reached a tipping point, in my opinion, and they’ve shot themselves in the foot.
So, with that out of the way, let me share the status I earned this year.
Airline status I earned in 2018
American AAdvantage Executive Platinum
I just barely requalified for Executive Platinum status with American. A majority of these miles were actually earned through travel on partner airlines:
- I credited a roundtrip Qatar Airways business class fare from New York to Doha Yerevan to American AAdvantage
- I credited a roundtrip British Airways business class fare from Nairobi to London to New York to American AAdvantage (I was going to credit this to Alaska Mileage Plan, but that didn’t end up happening… long story)
I credited my Qsuites flights to AAdvantage
Alaska Mileage Plan MVP Gold
I earned Alaska Mileage Plan MVP Gold status in spite of having flown under 5,000 miles on Alaska this year (which is about all I want to fly on that airline, as much as I love their frequent flyer program).
I earned this status almost entirely by crediting partner flights to them, including:
- An Emirates one-way first class ticket from Colombo to Dubai to Brussels
- An Emirates roundtrip first class ticket from Los Angeles to Dubai to Milan and back
- A Condor one-way business class ticket from Frankfurt to Whitehorse
- A Singapore Airlines one-way business class ticket from Ahmedabad to Singapore to Newark
A comfortable way to earn Alaska status
Initially I was going to go for MVP Gold 75K status, but my British Airways Nairobi ticket ended up crediting to American AAdvantage, so that’s not happening, and I’m fine with that.
Hotel status I earned in 2018
Marriott Platinum Premier Ambassador
Starwood was long my preferred hotel chain, and I’ve had SPG Platinum Ambassador status for years. While I’m far from happy with how Marriott’s takeover of Starwood has been handled, I did still requalify for Platinum Premier this year… well, maybe.
I’m still waiting on some stays to post, including my stay at the St. Regis Bora Bora, where the points posted incorrectly. Hopefully everything posts correctly, or else I may not requalify.
World of Hyatt Globalist
I put in exactly the number of nights needed to requalify for Globalist status with Hyatt, and that includes the five elite nights from The World Of Hyatt Credit Card.
I’m actually generally quite happy with Hyatt all around right now, so I look forward to requalifying this coming year. Not only will I get five elite nights just for having Hyatt’s card, but I’ll also earn two elite nights for every $5,000 spent, which should help me further.
Hilton Honors Diamond
If you’re in the US and eligible for credit cards, there’s absolutely no reason to not have top tier status with Hilton, given that you get Diamond status for as long as you have the Hilton Honors American Express Aspire Card. I love this credit card.
IHG Rewards Club Platinum
This is status I get just for having a credit card, as the IHG® Rewards Club Premier Credit Card. I find it ever so slightly useful for my random IHG stays, but this is otherwise the hotel status I care second least about.
Radisson Rewards Gold
I have the Radisson Rewards Premier Signature Visa Card, and just for having that $75 annual fee card I receive a 40,000 point renewal bonus every year, plus Radisson Rewards Gold status. That’s not hugely valuable, but better than nothing for my random Radisson stays in Europe.
As you can see, I still earned a fair bit of status. However, unlike in past years, I didn’t do a single end of the year mattress run or mileage run in order to achieve any of that status.
In 2019 my goal is to become even less loyal to airlines and hotel groups, and rather focus on traveling the way I want to travel, while maximizing miles and points. I’ll save my general plans for 2019 for a separate post.
How did your status quests in 2018 go, and what’s your plan for 2019?