2023 Elite Status: What I Kept, What I Dropped
I enjoy taking stock of whether or not I met my travel goals each year. Generally, I like to take 2-3 international trips and several domestic ones over the year. This year was a mixed bag, with a solid amount of domestic travel. But I fell short on the international end of things, making it only to Mexico. More on my travels later. Right now I want to discuss my approach for earning 2023 elite status, what I attained, and where I fell short.
My 2023 Elite Status Roundup
Here’s which 2023 elite status tiers I qualified for, and how:
- World of Hyatt Globalist (stays + credit card elite nights)
- Marriott Bonvoy Platinum (stays + credit card elite nights)
- Radisson Rewards Americas Platinum (through an easy promo)
- Wyndham Diamond (through credit card)
- IHG Platinum (through credit card)
- Delta Gold/Platinum (MQD waiver + tons of rollover miles + a few trips)
- Southwest Companion Pass (credit card bonus + spend)
Here are those that I will be losing:
- Hilton Gold (closed all my Hilton cards – whoops)
- Alaska MVP (didn’t requalify)
- IHG Diamond (didn’t requalify)
What I may still consider:
- American AAdvantage Gold (through credit card spend) or Platinum Pro through the World of Hyatt Promotion
Digging into the Details
Earning World of Hyatt Globalist status is my primary goal each year. I’ve gotten so much value out of it over the past few years. Free breakfast, free parking, waived resort fees, 4:00 PM checkout, and excellent upgrades are the benefits I appreciate the most. Spending a little out of pocket to earn it is entirely worth it.
Although I’m not crazy about the Marriott Bonvoy program, holding both a business and personal Marriott card makes it fairly easy to earn each year. A handful of stays plus a handful of elite nights earned through spend on the Bonvoy Boundless card brought me to the finish line. I’m out of points, though, after our Hawaii trip. So I’m not sure how much mileage I’ll get out of it this year. But it’s often been my “backup” hotel status.
The Companion Pass has saved me points only twice in 2022. But I’m hopeful I’ll get savings on one more domestic round-trip next year. It’s nice, but I don’t think I’ll go out of my way to earn it again (and the Southwest winter meltdown has me spooked). The opportunity cost was low after taking an elevated credit cards offer.
Delta status was an easy choice with so many rollover miles from 2020. I only needed to hit the MQD waiver. Planned travel may get me to Platinum, although I’m worried winter weather may scuttle the trip at the end of the week. Delta Gold isn’t worth much at all. Platinum would be nicer to attain, but I won’t lose any sleep if I don’t make it through the goalposts.
Why You Should You Prioritize Hotel Status
In my opinion, you should always focus on earning hotel status over earning airline status, if you have to choose between the two. It’s both easier to earn and worth more if used well. Airline status can be great, but it’s best earned using “other people’s money” (i.e. from reimbursed work travel).
Hyatt has been my chain of choice for the past few years. Once the ability to earn elite nights was added to the World of Hyatt Visa, I have used this feature to achieve Globalist status. By focusing spending on the card and spending approximately $350 per year out of pocket, I can earn 80,000 Hyatt points and all the elite nights needed. The points alone are worth this cost, but the two free nights, suite upgrade awards, $100 voucher (or 5,000 Hyatt points), and all the Globalist perks make it worth it. You might think that this is silly when I only rack up 20-25 nights of actual stays each year. But being able to enjoy the benefits (not to mention earning the points to make many of these stays free) is completely worth it to me.
If you don’t want to work at anything, or spend much out of pocket, Hilton is the way to go. For $95 per year you can hold mid-tier Hilton Gold status through the Hilton Surpass American Express card. This is the easy way to a reasonably valuable hotel status.
I’m more than satisfied with where I ended up in terms of 2023 elite status. Losing Hilton is a bummer, but I can remedy this at any time by picking up the Surpass card, which I’ll likely do at some point, even if it comes without a welcome offer.
What I really need to do is figure out how to earn United status. It would be useful flying out of Arcata-Eureka and connecting through San Francisco so often. Even finding a way to easily earn Star Alliance Gold would be fantastic. One of these days an opportunity will present itself.
Where did you land in terms of 2023 elite status? Do you find yourself on the annual elite status hamster wheel?
Opinions, reviews, analyses & recommendations are the author’s alone, and have not been reviewed, endorsed or approved by any of these entities.