(Video) Sunday Reader Question: Pulling Rank With Elite Status Lines

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TPG reader Brad writes:

“I just checked into the Hyatt Regency O’Hare for my company’s annual training week. Obviously check-in was a nightmare with all of the people coming in. I have Hyatt elite status so I walked right up to the Platinum/Diamond line and waited behind the guy being checked in. Everyone else was annoyed and one guy even came up and reminded me that there was a line. I showed him my Platinum card and explained that this was the preferred desk, which was enough to defuse him. But given the casual traveler’s ignorance of these lines even existing, and the general frustration of seeing someone skip in front of a huge line, is it considered a faux pas or poor taste to ‘pull rank’ and take advantage of these lines? Or is it a well-deserved and somewhat thankless perk for slaving your life away on the road?”

In short: Definitely a well-deserved perk for participating in the loyalty program, so don’t feel bad about taking advantage of it! That being said, I’d still exercise common sense when utilizing elite lines, whether in an airport or hotel.

Five Don’ts of Elite Lines

1) Don’t unnecessarily queue. This pertains mostly to airline boarding – you should respect the gate area and that most are tight spaces, so stand off to the side and then board as your zone is called. It’s really aggravating when passengers (even elites who are chomping at the bit to use their priority boarding perk) crowd the area and mess up the normal flow of boarding. Most airlines allow pre-boarding of families and passengers with disabilities, so clogging the area is annoying and these people are often called gate lice.

2) Don’t try to pull rank within the elite line. I once saw someone cut into the front of the elite lane at a hotel because they had top tier status. Who cares?! The line is usually for all hotel elite members and there is no extra priority for those with higher status. Even though you think you should be treated better than the rest, come down from your high horse and wait like everyone else.

3) Don’t use an expedited line for the sake of using it. I once saw an elite passenger make the sole gate agent who was boarding a regional jet, move over to the elite ticketing machine to scan his pass – when there was no line in the regular boarding lane! If the line is short or non-existent just queue like everyone else. The lines are there for convenience when needed – not to stroke egos.

4) Don’t be a DYKWIA (Don’t You Know Who I Am?). In general these people think they are better humans because of their elite status. Honestly, elite status is a cool perk, but don’t let it define you. It’s great for saving time and getting better service, but it doesn’t make you better than someone else. Don’t let it go to your head!

With all of these things in mind…

5) Don’t be afraid to enforce the benefits provided to you through your elite status. Often front-line employees like hotel check-in desks and gate agents ignore standard procedure to make their lives easier – even if it’s against company policy. Always be polite, but never feel bad for using an elite lane, because they were created to be used! Frequent travelers make up a disproportionate amount of revenue and profit for travel companies, so don’t think they make these rules out of kindness – you are a good customer and should be rewarded for it!

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