Airline and Hotel Elite Status Soft Landing Reports?

by on March 2, 2012 · 36 comments

in Elite Status

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So yesterday was judgement day for most loyalty programs – March 1, when those who didn’t retain elite status either get dropped to non-status all together or sometimes you get lucky and only get bumped down a level, which is otherwise known as a soft landing.

Soft landing programs are usually informal and not publicized. So I’m curious to find out – did any loyalty programs offer soft landings this year? Was anyone granted status even though they didn’t technically earn it?

I dropped from Delta Diamond to Platinum yesterday, but retained my American Airlines Executive Platinum, Hyatt Diamond, Intercontinental Royal Ambassador (which doesn’t run on the calendar year) and Starwood Platinum. The difference between Diamond and Platinum isn’t all that great, so I didn’t think much about it. Curious to hear everyone else’s experience! Have a great weekend, wherever your travels may take you. I’ll see many of you Sunday at the New York Times Travel Show!

Disclaimer: The responses below are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser's responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.

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  • Rich

    I’m not a big flyer but with the various 2x and other bonuses US Airways had, along with a few domestic MRs I made it to Chairman Preferred with just over 100K miles (although I only flew ~48K) in 2010. In 2011 due to a medical situation and a job relocation I believe my final number was 41K but instead of Silver I was given Gold. That will come in handy on any Star Alliance international flights.

  • Billiken

    I was AA PLT and did not fly any miles with them in 2011 and got a soft landing to GLD.

  • SFGuest

    On US Airways, made Chairman’s Preferred through H/S/J in 2010, and with 35K flown miles in 2011, requalified as Silver — no soft landing for me.

  • Sarah Cool

    I was Platinum from 2005-2009, Diamond from 2009-2011… and yesterday I got dropped to Delta Silver. No soft landing for me!

  • Rob

    Marriott gave me Platinum even though I only requalified for Gold.
    Delta didn’t give me a soft landing — I dropped from Platinum to general member with 21 segments/13K miles. However, it was an “unearned” Platinum matched from UA 1K and I had only 14K miles the year prior, so they were probably right to drop me.

  • kimpossibble

    Ouch. That’s a hard landing, indeed.

  • Maury

    I was gold with AA, but not anymore. I signed up for Kingfisher several weeks ago and I am silver with them. Any idea when they will join One World so I can then be a Ruby?

  • Amrx03

    Dropped from Marriott Silver to commoner that was earned back in July 2010. Lasted longer than I had thought.

  • Frank

    I got dropped from Delta Silver to Delta regular member. Ouch

  • Deals We Like

    Marriott has kept me at Platinum for the past few years although I am not sure I even qualified for Gold – maybe it has to do with the fact that I had about 300 nights one year!? Hyatt got dropped down to Platinum from Diamond (although didn’t qualify for Platinum) and Hilton they kept me at Diamond although I was not close to re-qualifying.

  • Caldwell4az

    I am platinum with SPG but stayed even though we didnt quite meet the night stays required in 2011.
    I anxiously logged on to SPG hoping not to see “gold status but there it was…STILL PLATINUM! I did book a bunch of European hotel stays for our trip this summer so maybe that helped!

  • Jim

    Marriott dropped me from Platinum to Gold (only earned Silver). Delta dropped me from Silver to commoner mid-reservation. I was upgraded on 2/29 for a 3/1 flight. They tried to take my seat away, but the GA showed mercy.

  • theblakefish

    I had a drop on Hilton from Diamond to Gold, but it was because of an increase in Hyatt from Platinum to Diamond…I think it was a good tradeoff!

  • Jamie

    Very soft landing – I was United GS in 2011 but only flew 26k EQM (work slacked off). I was dropped to 1K.

  • AK

    I believe the Hilton status stays until end of March and then re-set’s to the status earned. Hilton is not known for soft landing even though I have heard of a few people getting it.

  • BostonFlyer

    Is SPG elite status through February or through March? Last year I was gifted Gold Status via a Chase United promo. My status still shows GOLD. Will find out soon if I will have any status with continental. Was Platinum last year but should drop to a no body. My last flight flight as Platinum tonight and got upgraded:).

  • Caldwell4az

    my spg platinum card says “valid thru feb 28, 2012″…anyone else know?

  • whendoublewidesfly

    Dropped from DL Plat to Gold, missed Plat by 1400 miles

  • Stacey

    Marriott kept me at Gold, even though I only qualified for Platinum. Missed gold by 35 nights…so i was happy to see they didn’t drop me.

  • Raj B

    Wow! That was close. Good news is you carried over ~23,600 MQMs so you may be able to get Plat back soon.

  • Consultant415

    Surprisingly enough AA dropped me to Gold from Plat. I never earned the Plat to begin with — it was a complimentary upgrade last year from our corporate travel department. I think I only flew about 10K with AA last year.

    CO/UA – losing it all. Had a comp match to CO Plat/UA PE and I maybe flew a handful of short-hop flights. DL is my main airline so not too torn up about losing this one

    Marriott dropped me down to Silver from Gold after 8 or 9 nights with them. I earned Plat for 2010, didn’t earn anything for 2011 (hence the soft landing to gold), and didn’t earn anything for 2012 (a 2nd soft-landing).

    DL I missed PM requalification by about 20K (ended 2011 with about 55K) so I was able to at least keep Gold

    Starwood requalified for Plat w/ 69 nights and 30ish stays.

  • Skyskers248

    SPG kept me at Gold even though I only had 9 stays and 12 (or so) nights last year. It was a nice surprise and may steer more stays their way as a result

  • AKold

    I purposefully did this last year. Stopped at 70K, stayed at GM, rolled-over 20K. Next week is my 2nd and 3rd DL flights of the year and I’ll requalify Silver (useless). Now thinking I should have just gone for PM.

  • AKold

    So … pretty much the same :). Get an AmEx Gold for $99/year, you’ll get the majority of your benefits back.

  • MB

    I’m still showing Hilton Diamond even though I only stayed with them like 8 times last year. Maybe they haven’t updated for the year yet?

  • Phil

    Same for me, and I flew very few miles with AA last year (I believe not even 10K) due to my corporation policy changes.


    Just dropped to Hyatt Platinum from Diamond. I was fortunate to have been given Platinum through my participation in the OW MegaDO, and boy did I like the four confirmed upgrades, which translated to suites for a total of nine nights over four stays.

    I’m top-tier in PC, Hilton, and Starwood, and my plan in 2012 is to retain top-tier status in Starwood (via stays), mid-tier in Hyatt (via nights), and probably top tier in PC (through points accrual).

  • Brad

    I got Plat via the US H/S/J promo and dropped to nothing. I feel your pain on dropping three levels.

  • whendoublewidesfly

    yes but the thing is I just found out I’m probably relocating to Qatar for work, so my DL points air basically useless now :) KLM flies there and so does MEA (soon to be a member of a skyteam) however otherwise I”m SOL on DL points and any status I earned. Will be there for 2 years for work. So time to start over with a new airline.

  • whendoublewidesfly

    Think if it this way, this year you only need to fly 55K to qualify for PLT vs 75, and you’ll get the benefits of GOLD all year until then. Much better then hitting 75K, rolling none over and having to work your way up to nothing. now even if you stop flying, at least till 2014 you’ll at least have silver status after these 2 flights

  • AKold

    I’d rather have a year of PLAT + a year of nothing than a year of Gold + a year of the new Silver.

  • Travisair

    Not looking good for Kingfisher joining One World. Kingfisher’s financial situation is what kept them from joining and it has not improved.

  • Raj B

    Wow! That’s a major change. Good luck, and make sure you don’t pronounce Qatar as ‘cutter’ like they did in the military briefings.

    At least you’ll have Skyteam status for another year. Maybe you can fly DL-coded KL flights if available this year so you can build on your carryover MQMs.

  • Alison

    I was supposed to drop from CO Platinum to United Platinum from 1K, but upon confirming my new combined CO/United account profile, I was retained in 1K for the 2012 year. Which is pretty cool, IMO because I was really only a handful of miles away from 1K last year. Soft landing, indeed!

  • Bob

    No soft landing on Delta. I dropped from Gold to general member…but there is now a TSA Pre Check sign next to the Sky Priority security entrance at the airport. I just say I am on the Pre Check list (which I still am) and still use the short line. Who would have guessed the government would treat a person better than the airline! :-)

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