Complete guide to hotel elite status requirements in 2021

Feb 11, 2021

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Editor’s note: This is a recurring post, regularly updated with new information.

As we continue to move through the coronavirus pandemic, several hotel loyalty programs have announced modifications to their elite status requirements. Many of these offers provide peace of mind to travelers who suddenly saw a drop-off in their travel and thus struggle to maintain any status levels they had earned.

The good news is that many hotel programs are offering status extensions, while others have offered to waive points expiration. Many programs have also reduced 2021 elite status qualification requirements to make it easier for members to earn, requalify or upgrade their elite status tiers.

Here’s a roundup of all the hotel elite status extensions and COVID-related status changes you need to know about.

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Hotel elite status extensions and 2021 qualification requirements

(Photo courtesy of Hilton)

Almost all major hotel chains have both extended elite status at least a year and reduced 2021 qualification requirements, though different programs are approaching this year in their own ways. This gives both existing and new elites a leg up this year. If you’re not traveling, you can be sure your hotel elite status is still safe and sound. If you are, you can more easily earn or upgrade your elite status tier.

Here’s a chart that outlines all extensions and reduced qualification requirements for the major hotel groups. We’ll dive deeper into each in the following sections.

Hotel group Elite status extension Reduced qualification requirements in 2021 Are 2020 nights rolling over? Other changes to know
Accor Live Limitless Status extended through Dec. 31, 2021. Not currently Elite qualifying nights earned between Jul. 1 and Dec. 31, 2020, roll over to 2021. Suite nights expiring by Dec. 31, 2020, extended to Dec. 31, 2021.
Best Western Rewards Status extended through Jan. 31, 2022. Reduced by 50% for all tiers. No No
Choice Privileges Status extended through Dec. 31, 2021. Reduced by up to 37.5% depending on status tier. Standard rollover nights apply. No
Hilton Honors Status extended through March 31, 2022. Reduced by 50% for all tiers. Milestone bonus requirements also reduced by 50%. Elite qualifying nights earned in 2020 roll over to 2021 status qualification. Paused points expiration through Dec. 31, 2021.
IHG Rewards Status extended through Jan. 31, 2022. Reduced by up to 30% depending on status tier. Elite qualifying nights earned in 2020 roll over to 2021 status qualification. Credit card free nights set to expire in 2020 extended to Aug. 31, 2021.
Marriott Bonvoy Status extended through Feb. 1, 2022. Existing elites received bonus elite nights equal to half the number of qualifying nights for their status tier in 2021. No Earn double points and elite nights on stays of two or more nights between Feb. 16 and April 27, 2021, with this promotion.
Preferred Hotels & Resorts I Prefer Status extended through June 30, 2022. Not currently No Paused points expiration through June 30, 2021.
Radisson Rewards Status extended through Feb. 28, 2022. Not currently Elite qualifying nights earned in 2020 roll over to 2021 status qualification. Paused points expiration through Dec. 31, 2021.
Shangri-La Golden Circle Status extended through Dec. 31, 2021. Not currently No Paused points expiration through Dec. 31, 2021.
World of Hyatt Status extended through Feb. 28, 2022. Reduced by 50% for all tiers. Some late-2020 nights do also count towards 2021 if they were made under the Bonus Journeys promo. Paused points expiration through June 30, 2021. Extended free night, suite upgrade and club lounge access validity to Dec. 31, 2021.
Wyndham Rewards Status extended through Dec. 31, 2021. Reduced by 40% for all tiers. No Paused points expiration through June 30, 2021.

 

Related: What your hotel stay will look like in a world after coronavirus

Accor Live Limitless

Accor has extended all Accor Live Limitless status tiers — Silver, Gold, Platinum and Diamond — by an additional year. Status now expires on Dec. 31, 2021, regardless of how many eligible nights a member completes in 2020. Likewise, it’s rolled over all qualifying nights earned between July and December of 2020 to the 2021 status qualifying year. For elite members, point expiration has been suspended until Dec. 15, 2021.

Best Western Rewards

Best Western Paradise Inn sign
(Photo by melissamn/Shutterstock)

Best Western Rewards is extending elite status through Jan. 31, 2022, regardless of future stays. This change will be automatically reflected in all eligible Best Western accounts. Even better, Best Western members who were downgraded to a lower status tier at the end of 2019 will have their previous status reinstated through this date.

Best Western also lowered 2021 elite requirements — here’s a look:

  • Gold status: Earned after staying five nights as opposed to 10
  • Platinum status: Earned after staying seven nights as opposed to 15
  • Diamond status: Earned after staying 15 nights as opposed to 30
  • Diamond Select status: Earned after staying 25 nights as opposed to 50

The hotel group is also offering a status match through 2021. You can submit your existing hotel elite status credentials for a match to an equivalent tier with Best Western Rewards. This can be especially useful on road trips and other times you find yourself at a Best Western property.

Related: Why I’m taking advantage of the Best Western Rewards status match

Choice Privileges

On May 21, Choice Hotels extended all members’ current elite status through Dec. 31, 2021, regardless of the number of nights you stay this year. The chain also announced reduced thresholds for elite status qualification in 2020 and has extended these lower thresholds through 2021.

  • Gold status: Earned after staying seven nights as opposed to 10
  • Platinum status: Earned after staying 15 nights as opposed to 20
  • Diamond status: Earned after staying 25 nights as opposed to 40

Like Best Western, Choice is offering an elite status match. You can even jump all the way to Choice Diamond status if you spend one night at a Cambria hotel, regardless of your existing status level.

Related: Choice Privileges extends elite status for all, offers elite upgrades and bonus points

Hilton Honors

LXR Biltmore Mayfair
(Photo courtesy of Hilton)

On March 25, 2020, Hilton became the first of the major hotel loyalty programs to announce elite status extensions for all elite members. According to Hilton’s coronavirus page, the hotel group has extended elite status validity for members with status expiring in 2020 or 2021 to March 31, 2022.

Hilton has made a handful of other changes to Hilton Honors elite status too. All elite qualifying nights earned in 2020 have already rolled over to 2021, giving members a head start toward elite status. Hilton also halved elite status requirements in 2021 — here’s how many nights each tier requires:

  • Diamond: 15 stays, 30 nights or 60,000 base points as opposed to 30 stays, 60 nights or 120,000 base points
  • Gold: 10 stays, 30 nights or 37,500 base points as opposed to 20 stays, 40 nights or 75,000 base points
  • Silver: Two stays, five nights or 12,500 base points as opposed to four stays, 10 nights or 12,500 base points

Hilton has also reduced requirements for Milestone bonuses in 2021. You’ll now earn 10,000 bonus points for every 10 nights you stay, starting at 20 nights. You’ll earn an additional 40,000 points after 60 nights. In normal travel years, you start earning Milestone bonuses at 40 nights.

Additionally, Diamond members who stay 30 or 60 nights in 2021 will be able to gift Gold or Diamond status, respectively, to a friend or family member.

Finally, Hilton Honors points expiration is paused through Dec. 31, 2021, and unused weekend night reward certificates earned with Hilton American Express cards will be extended. All weekend night rewards issued before May 1, 2020, are now valid through Aug. 31, 2021, and can be used any day of the week. All certificates issued after May 1, 2020, are valid for 24 months and can be used any day of the week.

Not a Hilton elite? You can request a status match from another hotel loyalty program.

Related: Hilton is waiving all cancellation fees in response to coronavirus concerns

IHG Rewards

On April 22, 2020, IHG announced that it would automatically extend all elite statuses through January 2022.

IHG is also reducing elite status qualification requirements for 2021. The new qualification requirements reduce the required points or nights by 25% or more through the end of the year — here’s a look:

  • Gold Elite: 7,000 qualifying points or seven qualifying nights as opposed to 10,000 qualifying points or 10 qualifying nights
  • Platinum Elite: 30,000 qualifying points or 30 qualifying nights as opposed to 40,000 qualifying points or 40 qualifying nights
  • Spire Elite: 55,000 qualifying points or 55 qualifying nights as opposed to 75,000 qualifying points or 75 qualifying nights

IHG has extended point expiry through June 30, 2021, for members with expiring points. The company also extended free night certificates with an expiration date of Dec. 31, 2020, to Aug. 31, 2021. These free night certificates are earned with a cobranded IHG credit card.

Related: IHG waives cancellation fees; lowers elite status requirements

Marriott

Marriott in Toronto
(Photo by JHVEPhoto/Shutterstock)

On April 8, 2020, Marriott announced that it was extending Marriott Bonvoy elite status for members who earned elite status in 2019. These members have had have their status extended to February 2022, a move similar to Hilton and World of Hyatt.

Additionally, Marriott paused point expiration until August 2021. At that time, points will expire in accounts that have been inactive for 24 months or longer. Thankfully, there are many ways to keep your points active, like using a Marriott credit card or dining with the Marriott dining program.

Many popular certificates have been extended too:

Marriott didn’t lower elite qualification requirements for 2021, but it’s making it easier for existing elites to extend or upgrade status. Those who held elite status in 2020 received half the number of qualifying nights required to retain their status tier as a bonus in early February. This is how many elite night credits each tier received:

  • Silver Elite: Five elite night credits
  • Gold Elite: 13 elite night credits
  • Platinum Elite: 25 elite night credits
  • Titanium Elite: 38 elite night credits
  • Ambassador Elite: 50 elite night credits

The only status tier that’s seeing lower elite status requirements is Ambassador Elite. You can earn this status tier by staying 100 nights at Marriott properties in 2021 and spending at least $14,000 on those stays. This is down from $20,000 in spend in a normal year. Marriott has said this will return to $20,000 in 2022. There’s also an upcoming promo that will double your elite nights earned on eligible Marriott stays of two-nights or more as long as you register.

Related: The award traveler’s guide to Marriott Bonvoy

Preferred Hotels & Resorts I Prefer

Preferred Hotels & Resorts’ I Prefer rewards program — covering over 700 global resorts across 85 countries — extended elite status for all members. The company’s most recent update states that members with existing elite status have had status extended through June 30, 2022. Additionally, the program has paused points expiration through at least June 2021.

Related: 18 boutique hotels join Preferred Hotels & Resorts

Radisson Rewards

Radisson Blu Sign in Minnesota
(Photo by Ken Wolter/Shutterstock)

Radisson Rewards has extended elite status through February 2022 for members who would have lost it in February 2021. The program hasn’t lowered qualification requirements but has rolled over all elite nights earned in 2020 to the 2021 qualifying year. This gives you a nice head start toward requalifying for Radisson status if you had stayed at a Radisson property last year.

In addition, all points set to expire between Mar. 1 and Dec. 31, 2020, have been extended through Dec. 31, 2021. Likewise, members who had e-Certs set to expire by June 30, 2020, had validity extended to June 30, 2021. These certificates are generally earned with a Radisson cobranded credit card.

Related: Why I’m applying for travel credit cards during a pandemic

Shangri-La Golden Circle

Though it’s a smaller program, Shangri-La Golden Circle is being especially generous. The company extended all Golden Circle tier status (Diamond and Jade) worldwide through Dec. 31, 2021. Points expiration has also been paused through this date.

Related: How to choose a hotel loyalty program

World of Hyatt

Park Hyatt Chicago Exterior
(Photo by EQRoy/Shutterstock)

On April 3, 2020, Hyatt announced it would be extending World of Hyatt elite status for all members that held valid elite status as of March 31, 2020. All members had their elite status expiration extended through Feb. 28, 2022, regardless of how many nights they accrued in 2020.

Additionally, the hotel group announced that all rewards set to expire between March 1 and Dec. 31, 2020, will have validity extended through Dec. 31, 2021. These rewards include suite upgrades, free night certificates and club lounge access certificates. Likewise, suite upgrade and club lounge access certificates set to expire by Feb. 28, 2021, will be extended to Dec. 31, 2021.

Hyatt also paused the expiration of World of Hyatt points through June 30, 2021, for all members regardless of their elite status tier. You can further extend points by staying at a Hyatt property, spending on a Hyatt credit card or otherwise earning or redeeming points.

The company also slashed the number of nights needed to qualify for elite status in half for the 2021 status year. This means you can now earn top-tier Globalist status after earning just 30 elite nights. Some making late 2020 stays under a Bonus Journeys promotion also had those stays count toward 2021 status. Here’s the breakdown for all status tiers for 2021:

  • Discoverist: Stay five tier qualifying nights or earn 12,500 base points ($2,500 in spending)
  • Explorist: Stay 15 tier qualifying nights or earn 25,000 base points ($5,000 in spending)
  • Globalist: Stay 30 tier qualifying nights or earn 50,000 base points ($10,000 in spending)

Finally, Hyatt postponed the previously announced changes to its award chart, including peak and off-peak pricing, until later in 2021.

Related: World of Hyatt expands free cancellations, suspends award chart changes until next year

Wyndham Hotels & Resorts

On April 14, 2020, Wyndham announced elite status extension for all current Wyndham Rewards elite members through Dec. 31, 2021. The hotel group also extended points expiration through June 30, 2021.

In addition, Wyndham cut elite status requirements in 2021. Here’s how many qualifying nights you’ll need for each status tier:

  • Gold: Three qualifying nights as opposed to five qualifying nights
  • Platinum: Nine qualifying nights as opposed to 15 qualifying nights
  • Diamond: 24 qualifying nights as opposed to 40 qualifying nights

Finally, the hotel group is gifting Gold elite status to essential workers, including health care workers, delivery drivers and others who help “keep everyday life moving” while we’re locked down. Eligible essential workers can enroll on Wyndham’s #EverydayHeroes webpage; the complimentary status is valid through Dec. 31, 2021.

Related: Best top-tier hotel elite status for families

Bottom line

Throughout the pandemic, we’ve seen a massive impact on the travel industry — with travel bans, canceled flights and plunging hotel occupancy. Thankfully, some demand has started to recover in some sectors — and with the recent vaccine rollout, our industry outlook is brighter. Regardless, it’s great to see that hotels are working to make travelers’ lives easier during this time of uncertainty.

If you’re wondering what will happen with your hotel elite status for the rest of the year, bookmark this page and check back regularly. We’re hopeful that hotels will add more extensions, reduced requirements and other perks as the months go on.

For the latest news around the COVID-19 virus, check out our dedicated coronavirus news page.

Featured photo by Jasper Cole/Getty Images.

Additional reporting by Benji Stawski, Victoria Walker and Jasmin Baron.

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