What is Elite Status Worth?

Discussion in 'Bengali Miles Guru' started by tahsir21, Aug 29, 2012.  |  Print Topic

  1. tahsir21

    tahsir21 Z Representative

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    Many people email me and ask whether elite status is worth it. I almost always respond with a “maybe.”
    Elite status is basically a way to receive preferential service with different Airlines, Hotels, and Car Rental companies. Elite status in general is sometimes hard to come by. For airlines, Elite status is gained by flying with the airline. Many people think that Elite status can be gained by earning points through credit cards. Most of the time, that is untrue. I say most of the time because there are only a few airline credit cards that offer Elite status. The Delta American Express card is one of the few cards that offers Elite status. Although, you need to spend about $110,000 on the credit card, you can gain Elite status.​

    Cards like the American Express Platinum do not affiliate themselves with a certain airline and because of that, they do not offer programs that give Elite status after certain spending. However, The platinum card does give you instant Gold Status with Starwood Preferred Guest. This can prove to be beneficial for many reasons. Some of them are listed here:
    • 3 Starpoints per dollar (5 if you have an spg card)
    • Welcome gift upon arrival
    • 4 PM Late Checkout
    • Room Upgrades

    Hotel loyalty programs are often easier to come by than airline programs. The reason for this is because it is easier to obtain. It only takes about 10 stays or 25 nights to gain Elite status with Starwood whereas it takes about 25,000 flown miles to gain status on United Airlines. In my recent post, I talked about how to gain Elite status for free with most major hotel brands.

    Recently, I took advantage of getting Elite status with 4 different Hotel chains, 1 Car Rental company, and 1 Airline. I was able to buy a membership to Milepoint for $59 and with it, I received a plethora of benefits. A Few Benefits included platinum status at a hotel chain and Executive Elite status with a car rental company.

    Here’s My Elite Count & How I Got It:
    Hyatt Gold Passport Platinum Till 2014- Included with $59 Milepoint Membership
    Starwood Gold Till 2014- Included with American Express Platinum
    Accor Platinum till 2014- Found THIS link that gives you free platinum after signing up
    Marriott Platinum Status till November 30th- Emailed Marriott and got Platinum for 90 days.
    National Car Rental Executive Platinum- Included with $59 Milepoint Membership
    United Silver Premier Status- Obtained after flying 25,000 miles.

    As you can see, it is sometimes very easy to gain Elite status with some hotels. This could prove to be immensely beneficial because in the case of Hyatt, you can apply for their credit card and receive two free nights and 2 suite upgrades. If you were not platinum, you would only get 2 free nights.

    If you’re going on a trip soon, I urge you to go the extra mile and try to get Elite status. With hotels, it is very helpful. Often times, hotels will value your status so much, that they will upgrade you to amazing suites.

    When I had Marriott Silver, we traveled to Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. When we got there, they upgraded us to a Junior Suite. After about 5 minutes, they acknowledged our status and went further by upgrading us to their Executive Suite! I believe that if it’s easy to gain Elite status, it’s very much worth it.

    In the case of airline loyalty, it’s a little bit different. If you can fly the required amount of miles on certain airlines, the benefits can be amazing. The main benefit of gaining Elite status with airlines is that you gain upgrades into the next cabin. Being herded into coach is something no one really likes. The other day, my silver status with United allowed me to be upgraded from Los Angeles to Denver and Denver to Hawaii. United airlines usually doesn’t allow upgrades on popular routes like Los Angeles-New York or Hawaii, but they recently changed this policy because certain routes into Hawaii weren’t “Premium” enough. This meant that I was upgrade eligible. At the airport, I checked in and was told I was upgraded to first class, but I already knew this because I had been checking first class availability profusely in the weeks leading up to the flight. Either way, it was nice to have a decent meal at 7AM.

    I am a stern believer in getting the best deal for my money and I do believe that Elite status gets you there. Although some programs have lackluster Elite offerings, I believe that something is better than nothing!

    In the case of National Executive Elite, I can choose from any car thats in the executive aisle. In some cases, i’ve heard of pretty ridiculous cars (Corvette, Camaro, Mustang, Escalades, Mercedes) being in this aisle. The benefit would be that I would only pay the midsize rate! I’ll write more on the value of that after I finish my trip in Arizona this week! I’m hoping I dont get upgraded on my flight because then i’d have to leave my parents in the back!

    Till next time…

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