What Airline & Hotel Status Did I Earn In 2017?

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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:

Airline status

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.


Qatar Airways A350 business class

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.


LATAM 787 at Easter Island

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.


Xiamen Air 787 business class

Hotel status

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.


Le Meridien Dhaka

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.


Hyatt Regency Dushanbe

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.


Hi-Lo Portland

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 OPEN 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.


Waldorf Astoria Jerusalem

IHG Platinum status — credit card status

The IHG® Rewards Club Select 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, all for the low annual fee of $49 (waived the first year). Platinum status isn’t that amazing, but it comes in handy for my occasional IHG stay.


InterContinental Hong Kong

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.

Bottom line

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!

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Comments

  1. As an FYI, the BA Executive Club does not use calendar year as the qualifying year, but rather it is based on the start date of your membership. So there isn’t this silly obsession with year-end and thereby confers more flexibility in terms of when you qualify.

    Also, if you were affected by BA’s computer outage this past summer, BA is automatically extending your status for two extra years. So the BA Gold (One World Emerald, AA Exp Plat) I earned in October 2017 is good until November 2020 even if I never fly BA again.

  2. Wish Europe was like the United States when it comes to credit cards. This year I earned Hilton Honor Gold Status, however staying 40 nights or 20 stays is quite difficult when your job doesn’t require you to travel. Fortunately, I quit my job this year and took a long holiday so I was able to get that precious gold status 😀

  3. @debit I WISH!! you get silver UAL /w Marriot Plat. I’m a very big fan of Marriott. Nice hotels, good elite recognition. Only the invited level of Marriott Platinum connects to UAL gold. I’m not sure what you need to get invited. Would be great to know where to aim for 😉

  4. All the needling aside, I find Star Alliance Gold to be super useful and am surprised you don’t have it via Turkish or something.

  5. * SPG Platinum (challenge in mid-2016) with matched Marriott Platinum, dropping to Gold in Feb, but will remain Gold thanks to Platinum Amex

    * Hilton Diamond (status match from SPG in 2016) to Gold in Feb, but will remain Gold, again thanks to Platinum Amex

    * AA Platinum (challenge in 2014, renewed once) expired in Feb last year *sigh*

    * Star Gold with Avianca Brasil (status matched from AA) expired last year

    * SkyTeam Elite with Alitalia (status matched also from AA) expired last year

    * Current Qantas Club membership as elite status is WAY too hard for me to achieve with them and Virgin Australia lounge access thanks to our Platinum Amex

  6. * American Airlines; re-qualified for EXP and got my CK status renewed for the 3rd year. It was touch and go on CK but super happy

    * Re-qualified for Starwood platinum; had to do 5 stays in the Sheraton next to my house in Dallas to meet the threshold – again touch and go but got it done

    * Marriott matched through Starwood

    * Gave up on Hyatt – sucks because it used to be my favorite

    * I need to start sending some of my AA miles to Alaska because I am doing more and more award tickets by buying AS miles

    * To all the haters hating on Ben, go suck it!

  7. why do heavy traveller’s applaud Hyatt for making free stays count.

    * We want no dilution of benefits
    AND
    *Easier to obtain status

    We cannot have both… thats just not in the cards. So if you are a road warrior .. why on Earth would you be happy with Hyatt making it easier for all to obtain Globalist… that just means LESS upgrades and LESS benefits to come.

    I think hotel/airline top tier should be exclusive and provide consistent benefits that do not get diluted. It is when they just give in and make status too easy that we see the benefits become less meaningful.

  8. The Amex Hilton Honors Surpass card also provides a complimentary Hilton Honors Gold status, plus a free weekend night after the first year of the card membership. I got Marriott Gold status because of my UA gold status. Don’t know if Marriott gold status needs to be renewed or not. Anyone can shed some light?

  9. Giving HH Diamond away with cracker jacks (or a credit card) ruins it for me. Every Tom Dick and Harry in the US will get Diamond for the measly price of a card ($500?) while the rest of us have to cough up real money – at least $6000 for 30 stays at local Hamptons – to earn it.
    All it does is dilute the status and bring in MOBS of 2-nighters looking for their ‘deserved perks’.
    DUMB move Hilton!

  10. I chose the suite upgrades for my Platinum SPG gift and have yet to be able to use a single one…what’s the deal? No matter how far in advance I request it, I’m always told the hotel doesn’t have inventory. Seems like a trick.

  11. Did you not take on the status match offer on Royal Jordanian for you’re AA Exp OWE Emerald ?

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