December 31 and January 1 are big days when it comes to elite status qualification. On December 31 all your accounts look as good as they’ll ever look, as all the activity from the past year has posted. Meanwhile come January 1, it’s time to start all over. That feeling of waking up on January 1 with no elite qualifying miles or nights is one I both love and hate. On one hand, I hate starting from scratch, though on the other hand I look forward to all the new and memorable travel experiences I’ll have due to my quest to requalify.
With that in mind, I figured I’d reflect on the status I earned in 2017. I’ll cover both airline and hotel status, and will cover programs in the order of how many total miles or nights I spent with each group:
American AAdvantage Executive Platinum status — 100,000+ EQMs
American is still my primary airline loyalty program, even though I’m not as enchanted by them as I used to be. Truth be told, requalifying for status was quite easy, especially with the discounted business class flights I took on Qatar Airways, etc. I also earned 6,000 EQDs using my Aviator Silver Mastercard, which helped me meet the spend requirement.
Alaska Mileage Plan MVP Gold status — 60,000+ EQMs
Alaska Mileage Plan has long been my back-up airline loyalty program, given all the great partners they have. Between crediting some American and LATAM flights to Alaska, I was able to requalify for MVP Gold status. Unfortunately as of 2018, Alaska and American are scaling back their partnership. On the surface that will make it tougher to requalify, but then again I have quite a bit of travel booked in Emirates first class, which I plan to credit to Alaska Mileage Plan.
Delta SkyMiles Platinum Medallion status — status challenge
I started a Delta status challenge this year, whereby I had to earn 18,750 MQMs in a period of 90 days. This was easy enough to do thanks to a Xiamen Air business class ticket I had booked. I haven’t fully decided what my plan is with Delta next year. I suspect I’ll requalify for Platinum status, though am still deciding whether or not it makes sense to go for Diamond status. Unfortunately they made it harder to earn Diamond status through credit card spend, so it would be tougher than I thought it would be when I first planned to switch my loyalty to Delta.
Starwood Platinum Ambassador status — 100+ nights
Starwood is my primary hotel chain, and I earn 100+ elite qualifying nights per year with them (including 10 elite qualifying nights through the Starwood Preferred Guest® Credit Card from American Express and Starwood Preferred Guest® Business Card from American Express). While Platinum status only requires 50 nights, there are incremental perks at 75 and 100 nights. I have an awesome Ambassador who takes great care of me, so I find it worthwhile to requalify for that.
World of Hyatt Globalist status — 60+ nights
I reluctantly requalified for top tier status with Hyatt this year, despite the program changes. Next year I’ll “only” need 55 nights to requalify, and best of all, award nights will finally count towards that total. With the changes that World of Hyatt announced a few days ago, I’m feeling much better about the program than before.
Marriott Platinum status — SPG status match
Since Marriott took over Starwood, it’s possible to match Starwood status to Marriott. While I haven’t been going out of my way to stay at Marriotts, the reality is that they have a significantly larger global footprint than Hyatt or Starwood, so I’ve been staying with them quite a bit. It’s nice to have top tier status without having ever been loyal to them.
Hilton Honors Gold status — credit card status
Hilton is another useful backup hotel chain for me, and just for having The Platinum Card® from American Express or The Business Platinum® Card from American Express you receive Honors Gold status. That does the trick for me, given that it comes with free breakfast and typically lounge access. Early next year American Express will introduce a credit card that comes with Diamond status, so you can bet I’ll be applying for that, given how rewarding the card will be.
IHG Platinum status — credit card status
The IHG® Rewards Club Premier Credit Card is one of my favorite hotel credit cards, given that it offers Platinum status for as long as you have the card, plus an annual free night certificate (capped at 40,000 points per night). Platinum status isn’t that amazing, but it comes in handy for my occasional IHG stay.
Club Carlson Gold status — credit card status
The Club Carlson Premier Rewards Visa Signature Card has a low $75 annual fee, and offers both 40,000 bonus points and Gold status on your account anniversary each year. I find that to be worthwhile for the points alone, and Gold status comes in handy for the occasional stay I make at Club Carlson properties, though I didn’t actually make any stays with Club Carlson in 2017.
This year I logged fewer elite qualifying miles across programs than in previous years. That’s because I’ve flown more flights using award tickets, and have also taken more flights on airlines that don’t partner with any major useful loyalty programs (Kuwait Airways, Somon Air, Uzbekistan Airways, etc.).
While I’m (obviously) not completely giving up on loyalty programs, I’m certainly less engaged when it comes to the elite status hamster wheel than before. I’m still playing along, just not as passionately as before.
I’d love to hear how you guys did on your elite status quest for 2017!