Which Hotel Loyalty Programs Offer Airline Elite Status?
Update: Some offers mentioned below are no longer available. View the current offers here.
TPG reader Mark sent me a message on Facebook to ask about reciprocal elite benefits:
“Does Marriott Platinum status get you any status with United Airlines? If so, where do I sign up?”
One perk of elite status is that you can leverage it to earn even more elite status elsewhere. Status matches and challenges are a common example, but you can also score reciprocal status or benefits thanks to partnerships between loyalty programs.
Marriott Rewards and United MileagePlus offer one such partnership known as the RewardsPlus program. Through RewardsPlus, Marriott Platinum Elite members receive complimentary United Premier Silver status, which offers benefits like a free checked bag, mileage bonuses and complimentary access to Economy Plus seats. Likewise, MileagePlus members with Gold status and above receive complimentary Marriott Gold status, which offers breakfast benefits, upgrades and more.
Signing up is easy, though the steps are slightly different depending on which program you're starting from. If you already have Marriott status, go through Marriott's RewardsPlus landing page, where you can verify your eligibility and link your accounts. If you already have United status and are matching to Marriott, then go through the MileagePlus landing page. Note that in either case it may take up to 10 days before your new status is updated.
RewardsPlus isn't the only airline/hotel partnership that offers elite benefits. Since 2013, Starwood Preferred Guest and Delta Air Lines have offered the Crossover Rewards program. You won't receive reciprocal status through Crossover Rewards, but you will get bonus points and select benefits like upgrades and free checked bags (for SPG Platinum elites on Delta flights) or late check-out (for Delta Platinum and Diamond Medallions).
Starwood has similar partnerships with other carriers, including Emirates and, more recently, China Eastern Airlines. Hilton and American Airlines got in on the game back in 2014 with a targeted status challenge for Hilton HHonors elites, but that program hasn't been offered again since.
For more tips on earning elite status, check out these posts:
- Shortcuts to Earning Elite Status with Airline Credit Cards
- How to Get Airline Status Quickly
- Shortcuts to Hotel Elite Status: Cards, Spending and More