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New Year, New Luck – How Close Was Your Last Re-Qualification For Loyalty Elite Status?

by Staff

Every January 1st, most programs reset the dreaded status qualification counters, and the rat race begins anew.  But how close did you cut it during the 2023 membership year to requalify for status in 2024?

Those of us who are lifetime members of a few loyalty programs are spared the dreaded hamster wheel each year, but that’s obviously not possible for all programs unless you’ve been a really high-volume traveler for decades.

I decided early on in 2023 that I’d look primarily at hotels rather than airlines and keep Hyatt as my primary program, while Marriott, where I already have Lifetime Platinum, would be something I’d only entertain if nights fall my way or there is a lucrative double night promotion.

Even though Marriott Bonvoy indeed gave me a double night promotion it only affected like 12 nights I had in the spring. I only ended up with Titanium because I selected the 5 Elite nights as Elite Choice on the 50-Night marker and because a friend visited where I checked into a Marriott property and he stayed as “second guest”. I filled in the remaining three nights during my Christmas stay in Hong Kong, which was credited on the 28th, and completed my Titanium.

With Hyatt, it was even closer. I checked out of my hotel in Tokyo on the 30th, and the stay hit my account yesterday morning (December 31st):

This was cutting it way too close for my taste, and if I can avoid it, I won’t do this again. On top of it all, it created a huge inconvenience for me because I could have just as well stayed the entire three days at the Centric, but then the stay would have counted entirely towards 2024, and I’d have missed Globalist by one night despite checking in on the 29th.

So now I had one night at the Hyatt Regency, checked out, and changed to Centric Ginza instead. A major pain just because of Hyatt’s overlapping system and their refusal to manually adjust the stay. Had I known about this calamity well in advance I’d have just checked in at the Hyatt Place Bangkok for a night to create a cheap credit.

The hotel programs I didn’t requalify for:

  • Hilton Diamond – I can always get status via American Express and had four Hilton nights in 2023
  • IHG Diamond – I had three IHG nights in 2023 and only got the status via Ambassador purchase that I didn’t utilize either during the entire last year. It was a waste of $200 to even buy it in the first place.
  • ShangriLa Jade expired naturally and I had zero Shangri-La stays in 2023.

I’m also sad to report that I have let every single one of my airline status accounts lapse.

  • Lufthansa Miles&More Senator will drop to FTL status this year unless I decide to pay 2000 Euro for an extension through their paid extension program.
  • British Airways Gold (oneWorld Emerald) will drop to Silver after 12 years of being Gold with them. I credited 475 tier points during the last year and didn’t see the financial benefit of doing a mileage run
  • United Silver will remain silver via their partnership with Marriott Bonvoy. I missed the upgrade to Gold because of the segment requirement United has in place, and despite a significant amount of spend and flight volume, I was unable to upgrade this account with my ONE United flight. Likewise, I had no interest in a mileage run when I was in the U.S., where flying isn’t exactly a pleasure.

Whatever happens, I’m still lifetime Gold (OW Ruby) with American AAdvantage for what it’s worth. That’s, at the very least, Business Class check-in with oneWorld airlines for the time being.

It’s easier to just book a premium cabin ticket and get status benefits that way. Especially being based out of Bangkok where they don’t even have a Fast Track privilege anymore unless you’re ticketed in Business Class.

Rather than investing money in a mileage run, I rather use it to pay a supplement for Business Class tickets or buy miles to ticket them that way.

Conclusion

It’s always good to review status-relevant investments and behavior patterns during the past year. In 2023 I cut it really close with Hyatt and Marriott where I managed to requalify for Globalist and Titanium respectively.

I will test this new strategy with less airline elite status in 2024, and if it works for me, then I’ll keep it for the coming years or adjust as I see necessary. There is also the new partnership with Marriott and Singapore Airlines, so I’ll likely be Star Alliance Gold soon enough, even if I don’t extend the Lufthansa tier against payment.

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