The easy paths many airways and accommodations laid down in the course of the top of the COVID-19 pandemic at the moment are lengthy gone. In truth, Delta Air Traces is making it even tougher than it was pre-pandemic to realize its coveted Delta Diamond status with large spending necessities.
I now not have expedited methods to get to top-tier Alaska Airways, American Airways, Delta or Hyatt standing, however that does not imply I am giving up on elite standing. It is simply gotten trickier this 12 months.
My elite standing journey has been erratic, to say the least, over the previous a number of years. I’ve finished a number of standing challenges, gotten some huge wins and been compelled to chop my losses in a number of packages.
Hopefully, you’ll create your personal path ahead, and possibly my journey can train you a number of issues too.
Alaska Airways Mileage Plan: Dropped to Gold and giving up for subsequent 12 months
Alaska Mileage Plan has been my go-to elite standing for the previous a number of years, however that is coming to an finish.
Once I first began at The Factors Man in 2019, I signed up for a status challenge that obtained me to MVP Gold 75K and that stored me on the standing hamster wheel with Alaska for the previous a number of years. I moved to Montana in the course of the pandemic, and that Alaska standing obtained fairly a exercise, together with touring to a brand new nation when Alaska launched service to Belize.
I even earned Alaska’s new top-tier MVP Gold 100K when it was unveiled in 2021.
MVP Gold 100K members are given two worldwide one-way improve certificates to make use of on American Airways, and I used to be ready to make use of considered one of mine to improve an American Airways flight from Paris to New York. These upgrades are just like American’s well-liked systemwide upgrades.
Join our every day e-newsletter
Alaska has as many as 5 every day flights to its hub in Seattle from my then-home airport in Bozeman, Montana, which actually ramped up my Alaska flying.
However all good issues should come to an finish. A transfer again to New York Metropolis final 12 months made flying Alaska more durable than after I was in Massive Sky Nation.
I’ve additionally been fairly dissatisfied with current modifications to this system. It is tougher and tougher to seek out business-class seats for worldwide journey on Alaska companions, which makes spending my greater than 400,000 Alaska miles irritating. Alaska instituted dynamic pricing on some awards, and they’re now typically more expensive than reserving with different packages.
Associated: Big changes coming to Alaska credit cards
My ardour for the Alaska program has cooled since 2019, so I am saying goodbye to pursuing elite standing with Alaska this 12 months.
American Airways AAdvantage: Platinum Professional standing problem activated
I held AAdvantage Government Platinum standing for a few years, however in 2018, American began making it tougher (and costly) to realize top-tier standing.
That is after I determined to strive a number of new packages. I did status challenges for both Delta and Alaska, and I largely stopped flying with American. Nonetheless, I managed to hit Platinum Professional in 2019 and that standing was then prolonged for a number of years throughout COVID-19. My Platinum Professional standing lastly expired on the finish of January 2022, although, and I dropped to the dreaded “member” standing.
However one thing attention-grabbing occurred throughout that interval. Alaska and American turned Oneworld companions, and since I had top-tier Alaska Mileage Plan MVP Gold 100K, I ended up with standing when flying American. I even wrote about how I might been upgraded a ton as an Alaska elite member flying on American Airlines.
So, flying Alaska despatched me again into the arms of American AAdvantage.
Associated: What is American Airlines elite status worth?
Quick ahead to 2022 and I wasn’t in a position to requalify for Alaska MVP Gold 100K, dropping down two ranges to MVP Gold. However then, American did one thing to lure me again into the Oneworld fold.
American unveiled a brand new “Instant Status Pass” which granted me Platinum Professional standing till the top of March with the chance to increase it by July 28 if I earn 42,000 Loyalty Factors by March 28. To date, I’ve already earned 23,471 Loyalty Factors. I ought to be capable of maintain the standing with a number of extra journeys I’ve booked earlier than the top of March. If I earn a complete of 67,000 Loyalty Factors by then, I may even get boosted to Government Platinum.
One factor American obtained proper — a minimum of for this shopper — is luring me again to the AAdvantage program! I am already booked on American Airways flights to Georgetown, Guyana; Los Angeles; Miami; Paris; and San Andres Island in Colombia.
Delta Air Traces SkyMiles: Going for Diamond
My timing was nice. I’ve managed to carry on to that standing stage since Delta made it simpler to maintain standing and to requalify in the course of the pandemic.
I ended 2022 with a whopping 191,152 Medallion Qualification Miles, because of rollovers. That might have been sufficient to get me Delta Diamond standing earlier than it added an onerous spending requirement of $15,000 again in 2020 and raised it again this year.
My complete spending for 2022 was $6,816. That is not even near sufficient to get Platinum, not to mention Diamond.
The one purpose I made it to Platinum is that I spent a ton on my Delta SkyMiles® Reserve American Express Card which supplies a Medallion Qualification Greenback waiver as much as Platinum standing should you spend greater than $25,000 on the cardboard in a calendar 12 months. The $550 annual payment is steep (see rates and fees), however typically price it for these chasing standing.
The excellent news about not qualifying for Diamond is that I rolled over a lot of my MQMs into 2023. Delta robotically rolls over MQMs you earn above your earned standing tier. So should you finish the 12 months with 100,000 MQMs and qualify for Platinum (which requires 75,000 MQMs), you may begin the subsequent 12 months with 25,000 MQMs.
I ended up getting greater than 116,000 Delta rollover MQMs. Which means if I spend $25,000 on my Reserve card once more, I will get Platinum outright. The required variety of MQMs for Diamond is 125,000, so I will simply get the MQMs I want (simply 9,000 as of now).
After all, the issue is the whopping 20,000 MQDs required to earn standing. And to make issues worse, the MQD waiver for Diamond requires an enormous $250,000 in spending on a Delta card! That is a “no” for me.
I might strive to determine a solution to fly sufficient to realize that MQD requirement by tickets bought on associate airways. In truth, I am about to board a KLM flight in enterprise class to Bangkok. I’ll credit score that flight to Delta for elevated MQDs.
Nonetheless, I am undecided I will be capable of make it to Delta Diamond even with associate MQD runs. Regardless, it will likely be enjoyable looking for out!
World of Hyatt: Dropping to Explorist
I have been loving Globalist standing after an unbelievable provide on the finish of 2020 to get World of Hyatt Globalist standing by 2023, however sadly, simple road is now closed.
There have been no huge shortcuts to Globalist over the previous 12 months, and I could not get to 60 nights at Hyatt accommodations.
I used to be in a position to earn my solution to Explorist, which is nice, however I’ll now not get these candy suite upgrade certificates that I used to be ready to make use of for a set on the Park Hyatt Paris-Vendome. I’ll miss the assured 4 p.m. late checkout, free breakfast and higher improve odds, too.
Since points transfer from Chase Ultimate Rewards, although, I can simply get extra Hyatt factors though I will not be incomes fairly as many as I might if I have been nonetheless Globalist.
Associated: What is World of Hyatt elite status worth?
And I am nonetheless having fun with Hyatt Globalist standing for a number of extra weeks. In truth, I used to be simply upgraded to a set on the Hyatt Regency Toronto final week. I wager these upgrades are fewer and farther between later this 12 months, however I nonetheless will discover plenty of worth in being Hyatt Explorist. Who is aware of, possibly it is going to provide one other quick observe to standing in some unspecified time in the future sooner or later.
Hilton Honors: Diamond endlessly
That is the simplest of my top-tier standing achievements. Whereas I solely stayed at Hiltons 4 occasions final 12 months, I nonetheless have this system’s highest standing stage — Diamond. So how did I handle that? Easy: It is a perk of holding the Hilton Honors American Express Aspire Card.
Associated: What is Hilton elite status worth?
The cardboard comes with Hilton Diamond status for as long as you have the card. Whereas the cardboard has a hefty annual payment of $450 (see rates and fees), there are other valuable inclusions resembling a $250 annual Hilton resort credit score, a $250 airline credit score yearly and a free weekend evening while you open the account and every year in your card anniversary.
The knowledge for the Hilton Aspire Amex Card has been collected independently by The Factors Man. The cardboard particulars on this web page haven’t been reviewed or supplied by the cardboard issuer.
I’ve now had Hilton Diamond standing since 2020.
I’ve been ready to make use of the airline payment credit, however I did not get to make use of the $250 resort credit score final 12 months. D’oh!
I have never gotten many upgrades at Hilton properties, and it is not as rewarding as Hyatt Globalist, however I’ll maintain the Aspire card and my Diamond standing for 2023 though I’ve no Hilton stays at present on the calendar.
Marriott Bonvoy: Platinum through bank cards
I might been very content material with Marriott Bonvoy Gold for the previous a number of years courtesy of The Platinum Card® from American Express, which supplies standing in a number of lodge packages, together with Marriott.
Then got here 2022, and the shock from American Categorical that holders of the Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant® American Express® Card would get Platinum status for so long as they maintain the cardboard. I applied for the card, and I am now Platinum. That was an surprising deal with.
I solely stayed at a number of Marriott accommodations in 2022, however the Westin Ebook Cadillac in Detroit and the Sheraton in Tel Aviv have been beautiful.
I will not exit of my solution to keep at Marriott properties this 12 months, however I’ve a number of journeys booked, together with an enormous redemption in Guyana. Having Platinum standing will make these stays higher with advantages like assured late checkout, lounge entry and complimentary breakfast at many Marriott brands.
Although a lot of our favourite Marriott Bonvoy properties now cost more points due to dynamic pricing, I nonetheless discover that Bonvoy factors come in useful.
There isn’t any method I will be capable of do the extra 25 nights with Marriott to unlock Titanium in 2023. In truth, I do not assume I am going to have the ability to even get to 50 nights, although the concept of opening the Marriott Bonvoy Business® American Express® Card is intriguing.
For now, I will maintain the Good card open and revel in Platinum standing with out worrying about what number of nights I want to remain.
IHG One Rewards: Platinum through bank card
I ended up with an enormous quantity of stays at InterContinental properties in 2022, together with the gorgeous Six Senses Shaharut, the InterContinental David Tel Aviv and a keep on the Lodge Indigo Detroit Downtown utilizing a free evening certificates.
That wasn’t sufficient to qualify for Platinum standing with IHG One Rewards, however that is OK … I maintain it just by advantage of holding the IHG Rewards Membership Choose card (now not open to new candidates).
The cardboard features a handful of good perks (resembling a fourth night free on award stays and higher bonus classes), however better of all it offers you Platinum standing and a free evening award to make use of at lower-category properties.
I used mine the primary 12 months I had the cardboard in Singapore, and I had an unbelievable keep at the Kimpton Armory Hotel in Bozeman again in 2021.
The knowledge for the IHG Rewards Membership Choose card has been collected independently by The Factors Man. The cardboard particulars on this web page haven’t been reviewed or supplied by the cardboard issuer.
The brand new model of the cardboard is the IHG Rewards Premier Credit Card, which additionally will get you Platinum standing — however take into account the annual free evening award is capped at properties costing 40,000 points or less a night. The annual payment is $99.
I will not be going for Diamond Elite standing, which will get you free breakfast and early check-in, as a result of I might want to remain 70 nights to make that occur.
As an alternative, I will maintain my IHG card for standing (and a free evening) this 12 months. I am additionally sitting on a pleasant stash of factors. Let’s have a look at what unfolds this 12 months, however I do not plan on any IHG stays to date.
I used to be fairly unhappy on the finish of 2022 after I realized I used to be going to lose my top-tier standing with Alaska and would drop all the way down to Explorist with World of Hyatt, however a standing problem with American that can maintain me a Platinum Professional, automated Diamond standing with Hilton and the distant chance of top-tier Delta Diamond standing this 12 months have me extra excited than I assumed I might be in January 2023.
I will have enjoyable making an attempt to maintain up with Delta and American, and I’ll perform a little extra exploration of Hilton and Marriott since I have been centered fairly completely on Hyatt prior to now few years.
I am trying ahead to being extra of a free agent in 2023 — and you may be certain I will be reporting again with what I discover out.