Anyone can get hotel elite status

Photo courtesy of OilBac

 

I’ve mentioned hotel elite status and its perks. It’s pretty great.

But don’t take my word for it. You can get it too.

Hotel loyalty 101

Every major hotel chain has a loyalty program. They usually reward you with “points” on every stay, and if you accrue enough points, you can redeem them for a free night (or other goodies). This is designed to ensure that you continue to spend money at that chain, so as to pool your points at one place.

Eventually, usually a certain number of stays or nights at a hotel, the chains will reward you with “status.” These are additional tiers within the context of the loyalty program that offer certain extra benefits, such as free upgrades to nicer rooms, or free breakfast or internet. This status usually lasts for about two years. (Here, for example, is Club Carlson’s elite status details.)

But who stays at a hotel 15 times in one year? What if you are like me and travel a few times a year? Are these perks out of reach?

Not at all.

Free elite status for me

A while back, I got in on a promotion that was offering free Gold status with Hilton’s loyalty program. No joke. I happen to love Hampton Inn properties (which is under the Hilton umbrella) but I don’t stay there very often. What good would status with Hilton do me?

Here I present to you: the status match.

Whereas hotel chain #1 wants to keep your business, hotel chain #2 wants to take your business away from hotel chain #1. And so they offer what is known as a status match. Basically, if you contact chain #2 and let them know that you have status with chain #1, they will often “match” you to similar status in their program. For free.

I did this with Club Carlson, as I’m much more likely to stay at their properties.

I contacted Club Carlson and told them that I had Gold status with Hilton, and would they match it. After providing some verification, they offered me Silver status! Free upgrades, free breakfast, and sometimes goodies when you check in. (On one stay, I was given some chocolates and an actual glass of milk. It was kind of adorable.) I’ve definitely made more use of this perk than I have with Hilton, even though I technically have a higher status with Hilton.

Free elite status for you

Have you heard of Accor hotels? I hadn’t either, but they frequently run specials where they will offer you instant top-tier status with their loyalty program. I don’t know why, but they do.

This deal is actually going on right now at the time of writing, though it comes and goes.

So you sign up for an account with Accor, then you go to your desired hotel chain, and let them know that you have status with Accor and would they match it. Some hotel chains will want proof of your stay history, but some will just outright grant you status. No stays required. Crazy but it works.

Qs and As

Q: Is this ethical?

A: I feel like it is, or at least I can’t see why it wouldn’t be. This isn’t going against any terms or conditions that I can find. This isn’t being sneaky. You’re not claiming anything false.

Q: Why doesn’t everyone do this?

A; That’s a good question. Because more people don’t know about it? Because some people are more intentional with their travel plans than others?

Q: But if everyone gets status, won’t status be meaningless?

A: Sure. This is the type of situation where the more people who get in on a deal, the less of a deal there is to get on. I’m kind of okay with this to be honest. But I don’t think it will happen, as I think that some people will just care more than others, and those who care more will do the work required and will benefit more.

And if you do the work and you get nothing? Then you’ve lost nothing. I routinely don’t get upgrades when I stay at hotels, even with my various statuses. I still love hotels just as much.

But to me, why wouldn’t I try for some fun extra perks? What’s the harm? And why shouldn’t you do the same?

But enough about me. What do you like best about hotel elite status?

Mike Pumphrey

Mike Pumphrey

I'm the founder and author of Unlikely Radical, a site to help people succeed with money, achieve their goals, and live intentionally.

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Mike Pumphrey
Posted on July 25, 2013