Elite status can make your travels more enjoyable and rewarding — especially when things go wrong. Our team of frequent travelers has scored upgrades, enjoyed lounge access and saved countless hours on the phone when things go wrong, thanks to elite-specific phone lines.
Across our four points and miles staffers, we have earned a variety of statuses across the major hotel and airline loyalty programs. Today, we’ll give you an insider look into which statuses our team is keeping, upgrading or downgrading for 2023, and why they’re doing so.
Use this as inspiration for your own elite status goals for 2023 and beyond.
Katie Genter, senior writer
I plan to requalify for multiple hotel and airline statuses by the end of the year (or by the end of February 2023 for AAdvantage status).
I’m not discussing all of the elite statuses I’m earning this year in this story. However, here’s a look at why I earned IHG One Rewards Diamond Elite status for the first time, and why I’m requalifying for World of Hyatt Globalist, American Airlines Executive Platinum and Marriott Bonvoy Titanium Elite.
IHG One Rewards Diamond Elite
However, after IHG launched its new IHG One Rewards program this year, I used IHG’s status challenge to earn Diamond Elite status after just 15 qualifying nights. Typically, it takes 70 qualifying nights or 120,000 qualifying points within a calendar year to earn Diamond Elite status with IHG.
IHG’s refreshed loyalty program offers its members a collection of useful benefits. For example, members earn milestone rewards every 10 elite-qualifying nights, beginning at 20 nights and continuing through 100 nights.
You can select various perks through these milestone rewards, including a confirmable suite upgrade after 20, 40 and 70 nights and an annual lounge membership after 40 or 70 nights.
Additionally, Diamond Elite status is more appealing now that IHG lets Diamond Elite members select breakfast as a welcome amenity at full-service and select-service brands. I’ve had better luck with upgrades since the rollout of the new IHG One Rewards program. I also continue to get excellent value when redeeming IHG points, which makes it easy to use my Diamond Elite perks.
World of Hyatt Globalist
I first earned World of Hyatt Globalist status in 2021 when the elite night requirements were decreased. However, it was a priority for me to requalify for Globalist status this year as I’ve enjoyed my Globalist benefits and booking off-peak Category 1 award nights for just 3,500 points per night.
I’m just four nights away from requalifying for Globalist and I’ll easily get these nights by the end of 2022. My favorite perks of World of Hyatt Globalist status so far have been:
- Waived parking fees on award stays.
- Waived resort fees on all stays.
- Generous upgrades (that were visible in my account before check in) on many stays.
- Guaranteed 4 p.m. late check-out when I need it.
- Complimentary breakfast.
American Airlines Executive Platinum
I’ve held American Airlines Executive Platinum status since 2016 and plan to requalify during the current qualification period.
American Airlines shifted its elite qualification period when it introduced Loyalty Points as the new qualification scheme. So, I have until the end of February 2023 to earn 200,000 Loyalty Points (the current requirement for Executive Platinum status).
I have earned 134,477 of the 200,000 Loyalty Points I need for Executive Platinum. Even so, I should hit the required threshold by the end of February 2023 with flights, SimplyMiles, AAdvantage eShopping and spending on American Airlines credit cards.
I’m eager to requalify for American Airlines Executive Platinum instead of stopping at Platinum Pro (which I’ve already qualified for based on Loyalty Points) for:
- Higher complimentary upgrade priority on American marketed and operated flights within the U.S. and between the U.S. and Canada, Mexico, the Bahamas, the Caribbean, Bermuda and Central America.
- Complimentary upgrades on AAdvantage award tickets for travel within North America on American.
- Another loyalty choice reward.
- 120% mileage bonus on top of base miles when flying with American and participating Oneworld airlines.
I also put a good bit of value in having Oneworld Emerald status — which is offered to both AAdvantage Platinum Pro and Executive Platinum elites — due to the first-class lounge access and first-class priority check-in lines this status provides.
Marriott Bonvoy Titanium Elite
Finally, I’ll also requalify for Marriott Bonvoy Titanium Elite status, a status I first earned in 2021. Since I have both the Marriott Bonvoy Boundless® Credit Card and Marriott Bonvoy Business® American Express® Card — each giving me 15 elite night credits each year — I only need 45 more elite night credits each year to earn Titanium Elite status.
Even though we focused on getting my husband to the 75 elite night threshold first this year with Marriott, I should end 2022 with 78 elite nights, three more than I need to requalify for Titanium Elite. We both wanted to requalify for Titanium Elite status this year instead of stopping at Platinum Elite for the following incremental perks:
- 75-night annual Choice Benefit.
- Complimentary United MileagePlus Premier Silver elite status.
- Increased earnings on stays.
- Better upgrade chances.
- Extra on-site perks at some hotels.
Andrew Kunesh, senior points and miles editor
I focused on three elite statuses this year: two hotel statuses and one airline elite status. I downgraded one of my hotel statuses, upgraded another and maintained top-tier elite status with my airline of choice. I will also “accidentally” earn status with another airline by the end of 2022.
American Airlines Gold
I’m currently 3,500 Loyalty Points away from earning American’s entry-level elite status, Gold. That said, I haven’t actually flown on an American flight this year.
So, how will I earn American Gold? Simple: I do the American shopping portal, credit car rentals to American and leverage SimplyMiles when they align with my shopping needs. This is largely because I highly value American miles for booking partner tickets like Etihad business class.
I recently opened a new AAdvantage credit card with a $2,000 minimum spend. Once I meet this and complete the three Avis rentals I have planned before the end of the year, I will qualify for American Gold status. I’m not sure how often I’ll actually use it, but it will be nice to have on the off-chance I need to fly American or a Oneworld partner next year.
Delta Diamond Medallion
Delta has been my airline of choice since I started at TPG in 2020. I earned Diamond Medallion for the first time last year and I’m on track to keep it with the travel I have planned over the next two-and-a-half months. This includes a ticket from New York to Johannesburg on partner Virgin Atlantic, which will earn over $5,000 Medallion qualifying dollars (MQD) despite the ticket costing just over $2,000 in premium economy.
I have enjoyed a roughly 60% upgrade rate on Delta domestic flights this year, and have been able to redeem three of my four Global Upgrade Certificates (GUC). That plus the Sky Club companion pass, bonus mileage earning and dedicated Diamond support line have made Diamond well worth it as I travel worldwide.
Earning Diamond Medallion for 2024 will be more difficult, though. The airline recently announced it would raise the MQD requirement for Diamond from $15,000 to $20,000, so I will have to fly more and book long-haul flights on partner airlines to earn MQD based on miles flown, not cost.
World of Hyatt Explorist
I tried to make it to Hyatt Globalist this year, but it’s looking like I will settle on Explorist unless I book an extended staycation.
My account currently has 27 elite nights with four more booked by the end of 2022. This will land me with Explorist status in the near future, which is an upgrade from the Discoverist status I’ve held since 2020.
Next year, I plan to try harder for Globalist by opening a Hyatt cobranded credit card once I’m under 5/24 in January.
Marriott Platinum Elite
I will end the year with 62 Marriott elite nights, which won’t qualify me for the Titanium Elite status I earned last year.
But that’s OK with me. I haven’t gotten much value from my Marriott status this year, as most of my stays are lower-end properties like Courtyards and TownePlace Suites.
I’ll miss the higher bonus points earning, but I will get many of the same benefits when staying at higher-end properties like free breakfast and lounge access (when applicable). At lower-end properties, I doubt I’ll know the difference.
Ehsan Haque, points and miles reporter
Marriott Bonvoy Titanium Elite
I first earned Marriott Bonvoy Titanium status this year, and it has been incredibly beneficial for me.
Since I have both the Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant™ American Express® Card and the Marriott Bonvoy Boundless® Credit Card in my wallet, I’m already halfway to Titanium Elite status. Between the two cards, I have 40 elite night credits. I only need 35 more nights to attain Titanium Elite every year.
The most useful benefits for me have been the Suite Night Awards and the 4 p.m. late checkout. I applied Suite Night Awards on my last four one-night stays at Marriott and, fortunately, all of them were approved. I was quite happy with the suites I was given at each of those properties. I also take advantage of 4 p.m. checkouts when flying home on late-night flights.
Air Canada Aeroplan 25K
I also plan to requalify for Aeroplan 25K status.
Aeroplan 25K has also been really nice for me this past year. In 2021, I opened the Chase Aeroplan credit card which gave me Aeroplan 25K status. The card provides automatic Aeroplan 25K Status for the remainder of the calendar year in which you apply, plus the following calendar year.
You can keep your Aeroplan 25K Status with $15,000 in account spend during a calendar year, which I plan to do. Aeroplan 25K does provide some nice benefits such as:
- Free checked bags.
- 50% discount on Preferred seats.
- Priority airport services: faster service at check-in.
- 20 eUpgrade credits.
- Star Alliance Silver status.
As someone who travels to Toronto on a regular basis, one of the most useful perks of Aeroplan 25K is that members receive priority phone access and are ranked above non-elite passengers on the standby waitlist. This was beneficial for me a few weeks ago when one of my Air Canada flights was canceled. I quickly got on the phone and was rebooked on a later flight within five minutes.
I also love the eUpgrade credits. As the name suggests, these let you upgrade to better cabins on Air Canada flights. The number of credits is determined by a few metrics such as the cabin you wish to upgrade to, the distance you travel and the fare you purchase. I have been able to use these on flights between Chicago and Toronto, giving me a bit more comfort on the short jaunt.
Kyle Olsen, points and miles reporter
During the early days of the pandemic, I created business partnerships with Marriott, Hilton and Hyatt hotels to house students in empty hotels. I earned 5 million Marriott points, 4 million Hilton points, and 1 million Hyatt points from that business venture.
With many points still in my accounts, I’ve prioritized requalifying for top-tier status with each of my favorite hotel brands while also earning status on United and American.
United Airlines Premier 1K
I’ve been a Premier 1K member since 2016, so United has long been my preferred carrier. By leveraging some of the hidden gems in the MileagePlus program, I’ve routinely been able to redeem my United miles for 5 cents apiece.
Some of my favorite Premier 1K benefits include:
- 320 PlusPoints for long-haul upgrades to Polaris business class.
- The Premier 1K line that’s never has kept me waiting for longer than 10 minutes for an agent.
- Economy Plus seating on all United flights for myself and up to eight companions.
- A complimentary Clear membership.
Through United’s Star Alliance partners, I’ve been able to requalify for Premier 1K status for a fraction of the normal price.
Marriott Bonvoy Ambassador Elite
While Marriott has a tremendous portfolio of hotels, I haven’t been thrilled with the Ambassador Elite program. With the recent changes to the Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant™ American Express® Card, more Marriott Bonvoy members will have Platinum Elite status. That means that a sudden influx of new Platinum Elite members could devalue high-end benefits like suite upgrades and breakfast.
Still, for many of the reasons that Katie and Ehsan have already mentioned, I’ve found myself requalifying for Ambassador Elite status for:
- 17.5 points per dollar on most Marriott stays.
- Complimentary suites upgrades on most stays.
- Complimentary breakfast for two people at most brands.
- Property-specific welcome gifts like complimentary massages and in-room amenities.
American Airlines Platinum
After being intrigued by American’s new Loyalty Points system, I participated in a corporate status match to AAdvantage Platinum using my United status. As with my United status, by flying with American’s partners on long-haul, inexpensive, premium cabin flights, I’ve been able to earn Loyalty Points for less expensive than what it would cost by flying American flights.
Here are some of the benefits of AAdvantage Platinum that I’m glad to have locked in:
- Oneworld Sapphire status for advanced seat assignments and business class lounge access on most flights.
- Main Cabin Extra seating at the time of booking.
- 1 World of Hyatt point per dollar spent on American flights.
- Upgrades to premium-class on Alaska flights and Even More Space on JetBlue.
World of Hyatt Globalist
Like Katie, I first qualified for Globalist status with Hyatt in 2021 when status requirements were reduced and some nights from 2020 rolled over. Although I haven’t received as many suite upgrades from Globalist status as from Marriott Ambassador Elite, here are some of my favorite Hyatt Globalist benefits:
- Breakfast for up to four registered guests (and Hyatt’s breakfasts are notorious for offering a full buffet rather than limited continental options).
- Waived resort or destination fees.
- Waived parking fees on award stays.
- Valuable redeemable hotel points.
- 1 American mile (and Loyalty Point) per dollar on Hyatt stays.
I also have the World of Hyatt Credit Card, which earns 4 bonus points per dollar on Hyatt purchases and has a Category 1-4 certificate. The card also gives me five elite nights per year toward my Hyatt status and an extra two elite nights per year for every $5,000 spent on the card.
National Executive Elite
Although it might seem strange to include a car rental status in this article, my National Car Rental status has gone above and beyond this year. After doing a status match to Executive Elite status from United Airlines Premier 1K, National has routinely provided upgrades to German luxury cars on my rentals.
National Executive Elite status provides various other benefits like no second driver fees, private airport delivery and the ability to earn a free day after just five rental credits (you earn one rental credit per rental under seven days).
As you can see, each of our staffers has our preferred elite status and reasons for pursuing them. Across the board, Marriott and Hyatt statuses are popular primarily due to the generous upgrades, breakfasts and points. However, with recent Marriott devaluations, it’s a good idea to redeem your points sooner than later.
Meanwhile, the points and miles team is indifferent on airlines. We have top-tier American, Delta and United elites, and even an entry-level Air Canada elite on the team. Each of us has our own reasons for our airline loyalty, but we all enjoy the upgrades and priority support that come with our desired status tier.
Now is a good time for you to take stock of your 2023 elite status qualification, too. Audit your accounts and ensure that you’re on track to earn your desired elite tier before it’s too late. If you need a few more miles, qualifying dollars or elite nights to hit your desired tier, start thinking through the best ways to attain them before the end of December.