Airlines

Update on 2014 Elite Status Strategy

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Last year I foolishly was going for status on three airlines. Since none of my travel is for work, this year I focused on keeping status with companies I fly/stay the most:

US Airways: Requalified for Chairman, going for 125K
I hit Chairman status with US Airways early this fall, thanks largely to my In N Out Burger run, Dublin, western Ireland, and Vienna trips in the first 3 months of the year. I wasn’t planning on any more mileage runs, but when I realized that I would come 4,000 miles short of 125,000 miles which would get me free US Airways Club Lounge Membership and the ability to gift someone Gold Status, I decided to make one last trip later this month.Keri US Airways special dividend progress

Hyatt: A few nights shy of Diamond Status (but I’ll get there!)
Whether to keep Hyatt Diamond status is always a careful consideration each year. Hyatt Regency DFW Dallas Airport Diamond AmenityBecause all my trips are for leisure and because there are fewer options than other hotel chains it’s always a bit of a push to hit the necessary 25 stays or 50 nights. But doing the calculations on how much status saves me throughout the year, usually justifies having to make mattress runs for 5-6 of the necessary stays.

Starwood: Downgrading from 50 night Platinum to regular Platinum
Last year I did a bunch of award nights at Category 1 (2,000 points a night) properties to hit 50 nights and earn 10 free Suite Nights. For various reasons (including winning the Starwood auction which got me a suite), I’ve only been able to use 4 of those nights. Since I’m only a few stays away from the 25 stay requirement to keep Platinum, but barely halfway there to hit 50 nights, I’ll be content with basic Platinum status.

National Car Rental: Downgrading from Executive Elite to Executive — I snagged top status with a match from my expiring Avis President’s Club, but haven’t rented enough from them to requalify for Executive Elite. Fortunately my American Express Platinum Card comes with Executive status and I honestly haven’t noticed much difference among the offerings.

Easy to Keep

Giving Up

  • United Airlines Silver Status — I only flew them once this year and without business travel will find it hard to meet any spend requirements for status.
  • American Airlines Gold Status — I’m already getting reciprocal benefits from my US Airways status and by the second quarter the two programs will merge anyway.
  •  Marriott Silver Status — I got Gold status two years ago from my United 1K status and got a soft landing this year to Silver. I’ve stayed at 2 Marriotts in the past year, so not worth pursuing.
  • IHG Gold Elite Status — 3 years ago I was an Intercontinental Royal Ambassador and have been getting soft landings through this year when I hit their lowest elite tier. If I wind up booking a bunch of Intercontinental/IHG stays for the coming year, I can always pay the $200 for Ambassador status and immediately have Platinum Elite status as well.

How did you fare this year for elite status and what is your strategy for 2015?

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Living for the little (and big things) that make life so fun, especially mistake deals and crazy last minute weekend mileage runs across the world. www.twitter.com/klatravel

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