Stephen’s elite status plans for 2024

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Greg recently shared his plans for earning elite status with airline and hotel loyalty programs in 2024, while Nick did the same this morning. Tim and I are both going to share our plans too, so here’s what I’m working on this year.

Could I be earning any more statuses
Could I be earning any more statuses? Well, actually, I could.

Hotel programs

Hyatt

Back on January 1, 2018, Hyatt made a massive change to their loyalty program when they allowed award stays to count as elite night credits. That was perfect timing for me as that was the same date that my wife and I set off on what was meant to be a 5 year, 50 state road trip, but which has been extended to 7 years.

We try to stretch our points as much as possible which has meant we’ve stayed at dozens of category 1 and 2 Hyatt properties on our road trip. That’s meant I’ve been in the incredibly fortunate position to earn Globalist status every year for the past six years by default without ever having to mattress run.

We’re now in the final year of our road trip and should – in theory – easily earn Globalist status. We have much of our accommodation booked through mid-August and currently have 12 elite night credits for the year with 7 upcoming stays contributing another 36 nights. That’ll put me at 48 nights, meaning only 12 more are needed to lock in Globalist status for another year.

Executive Suite at the Hyatt Regency Boston
Executive Suite at the Hyatt Regency Boston

This is where things could get a little tricky though. From mid-August, our remaining states are Montana, North Dakota, Wyoming, Nevada and Hawaii. That gives us limited options for places we could stay, especially now that Hyatt’s partnership with MGM Resorts in Vegas has ended.

I have a couple of backup plans though. One is to spend $15,000 on my World of Hyatt credit card. That’ll get me a category 1-4 free night certificate and, more importantly when it comes to status, six elite night credits (you get two for every $5,000 you spend on the personal card).

Another backup plan is that we’re visiting Washington State in a few months and will likely stay at one of the Hyatt properties in Seattle. It’s looking like we’ll spend 6-7 nights at one of those, so that stay combined with the nights from credit card spend would get me to the 60 nights needed for Globalist status.

Marriott

I’m going to make a concerted effort to earn at least Platinum status this year. That’s because I’m currently at nine years with Platinum status and 700+ elite night credits. To earn lifetime Platinum status with Marriott you need to have ten years of Platinum status and 600+ elite nights. That means earning Platinum this year will lock in Platinum status for life.

It shouldn’t be too hard to get this locked down. I have both a personal and business Marriott credit card, each of which give me 15 elite night credits. I have 16 nights across four separate stays already booked which will put me at 46 nights, with only 50 needed for Platinum. Earning those four extra nights therefore shouldn’t take too much effort.

My bigger decision will be whether to go for Titanium status which requires 75 nights, or 29 nights more than we currently have planned. That could be a push, but potentially doable depending on what pricing is like at Marriott properties in our remaining states. I also have a $500 Marriott gift card I bought for $300 courtesy of this now-expired Amex Offer, so that can help cut the cost for at least one stay.

IHG

For the last couple of years I’ve managed to earn Diamond status organically. I currently have 27 nights booked with IHG across six stays and will no doubt book further IHG stays before the end of the year. It’s unlikely that I’ll earn the extra 43 nights needed for Diamond status though, so I might just have to fall back on Platinum status next year from my IHG Premier card.

Hilton

We don’t tend to stay with Hilton very frequently, but I have the Hilton Aspire card and so have Diamond status as a result of that.

Living room at the Homewood Suites Grand Rapids Downtown, MI
Living room at the Homewood Suites Grand Rapids Downtown, MI

Choice

Choice status has never been a priority and I currently have their base Member level status. There’s a good chance we’ll stay at least 10 nights with them this year (I already have a week-long stay booked), so that’ll get me Gold status which is about as useful as my current Member status.

Wyndham

I have the Wyndham Rewards Earner Business credit card which automatically comes with Diamond status.

Airline programs

American Airlines

The American Airlines AAdvantage program is a little unusual in that it runs from March 1-February 28/29 each year. I’ve earned Platinum status already which will be valid through early 2025, but I’m not bothering to push for Platinum Pro as that would require more than 45,000 additional Loyalty Points by the end of February.

American Airlines status

Once the next status-earning year begins on March 1, I’m not sure I’ll make the effort to earn some form of AA status again. That’s because two things have made it harder.

The first is that last year American Airlines increased the number of Loyalty Points needed to earn Gold status to 40,000. While that’s not a huge increase, it does set the bar a little higher.

What makes earning status even trickier is that I got shut down by Citi a few months back and I got declined for the Barclays Aviator card a couple of months ago too. That means I don’t have a way to easily rack up Loyalty Points other than through other outlets like the American Airlines shopping portal, SimplyMiles, etc. Earning 40,000 Loyalty Points through those is doable, but likely not worth the effort.

What’s more likely is that I’d try to earn Gold status for my wife. That’s because she was approved for a Barclays Aviator card, plus she’s still alive with Citi and so could potentially get additional American Airlines cards with them too. We mostly travel together when needing to fly, so status benefits like seat assignments would be extended to me too.

United

I’ve had Silver status with United for the last few years courtesy of Marriott’s partnership which gives that status to those with Titanium status. I earned Titanium status again last year which means I once again have United Silver status for 2024.

As mentioned earlier though, I’m not certain as to whether I’ll be shooting for Titanium status or not. If I don’t, I’ll lose that Silver status which would be a shame as I have quite a bit of TravelBank credit stashed away from Amex airline fee credits, so getting things like upgraded seat selection has been nice for the last few years.

Other Airlines

I don’t currently have any plans to earn status with other airlines, but I’ll have to see how that goes later this year. With my American Airlines Platinum status likely ending next year, it might be worth me doing some kind of status match at the end of the year which might then be parlayable into a different airline status.

My wife and I are also planning on settling down for at least 1-3 years after our road trip is over. Depending on where that ends up being, it might make sense for one of us to try to earn a Southwest Companion Pass. If it’s looking like we’ll settle somewhere that has good Southwest service, applying for a couple of Southwest cards at the end of this year will also be on the cards.

If I could choose any airline status to have, it would be Frontier Platinum status. Stop laughing back there. While I’ve had zero desire to fly with Frontier in the past, one of the benefits of Platinum status is a waived pet fee which can save a substantial amount of money if you want to travel with your pup seeing as most airlines charge ~$125 each way.

Truffles loves to travel - this is her at Niagara Falls
As you can see, Truffles loves to travel – this is her at Niagara Falls

With Platinum status also offering a free carry-on, free checked bag, free standard seat assignment when booking and premium seating at check-in, it could make flying Frontier far more worthwhile if we end up somewhere with somewhat decent Frontier service. Frontier offered a generous status match promotion last fall, so fingers crossed that they offer something similar in late 2024 too.

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24 Comments
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Neelie

Stephen, when you stay at the Cat 1 or 2 Hyatt hotels, what kind of benefits do you get as a Globalist? Do the perks from Globalist enhance your stay?

When I stay at Cat 1 or 2 Hyatt, parking is usually free, so is breakfast (low quality). I am not sure about the upgrade in Cat 1 or 2 hotels. Will you please share your experience?

Biggie F

4pm checkout, guaranteed.

Kevin

Considering most of your Hyatt stays are cat 1 and 2 that likely have either free breakfast or kitchenettes, I’m curious to know how much value you put on Globalist status.

Last edited 4 months ago by Kevin
Sco

Thanks for this answer, Stephen, as I was about to ask the same question. I got Globalist through the Bilt offer last year, but I find myself mostly staying at Hyatt Places or Hyatt Houses and am debating whether it’s worth it to push to requalify for next year.

I used to use hotels(dot)com for all my hotel stays. Between the 10% rewards, the easy availability of gift cards for 15-20% off, and the fact that I could usually find independent hotels that were somewhat cheaper than the chain places, I figured it was my best bet. But with the gutting of their rewards program last year and the gift card discounts becoming harder to find, I’m trying to figure out a new strategy.

Grant

Hey Stephen, what’s the story behind wearing all the layers of clothes in your first image? Are you trying to avoid a carry on bag fee by wearing all your clothes? 😉

Grant

Ahh, gotcha, thanks for explaining.

I think a fun FM challenge would be to each find 1-2 crazy photos and then have the FM think of the funniest story behind the photo 🙂

C J

Too funny grant ….I was thinking the same …save on baggage fees

Nate

Can you elaborate on what you think caused the Citi shutdown?

mushu_pork

Did you ever try talking with Citi’s ERU (Executive Response Unit)?

Josh

How do you file for arbitration?

Justmeha

Would you be willing to share an update on this

LSP

What do you mean by payment method? I wasn’t aware there were any frowned-upon ways to pay your credit card (seems like Citi is happy as long as the card gets paid).

Hombre

Can you not gift your Hyatt GoH to get additional qualifing nights? I plan on sharing GoH with family/friends to get 5 additional nights throughout the year. Just need to make sure they get used.

Dave Hanson

Stephen, with 10 nights already at Choice, have you looked that the WF Choice Select CC?

Easy SUB, no AF first year, instant Platinum status, and anniversary points worth more than the AF. Seems like a no-brainer for one of you.

Any reason you didn’t grab the Frontier status match last month?

The Hyatt properties in Seattle are generally excellent, and the HR Seattle and Bellevue are good uses of the 1-4 night cert. FWIW would seem a no-brainer for you to re-up for Globalist. Remember that giving globalist benefits will earn 1 night per used gift too. And Nick already said something about getting globalist benefits from a friend. 🙂