Hotel elite status match and challenge offers for 2022
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Editor’s note: This is a recurring post, regularly updated with new information
Hotel elite status carries benefits that can make every stay more comfortable, more rewarding and more affordable. Hopefully, you already have a plan in place regarding elite status qualification (or requalification) for your favorite hotel chains.
If you’re still piecing your plan together, it’s important to remember that you can leverage your existing airline, rental car and hotel status to unlock the benefits of new hotel status through elite status matches. This is when a hotel awards complimentary elite status due to your existing status with another program.
We’ve covered the various status match and challenge options currently offered by the major U.S. airlines, so let’s shift our attention to hotel programs to see if one of them makes sense for you.
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Things to know about status matches and challenges
Before exploring the specifics, though, there are a few points to be made aware of.
First, hotels may try to verify that your request is legitimate (one TPG reader discovered this in 2016 when status matching to Alaska). A status that’s been granted or obtained through hotel credit cards, rather than earned, may not be enough to enroll in a status match or status challenge. Also, the falsification of hotel status credentials is not only dishonest, but it’s unlikely to work.
Second, you should make sure that you understand the requirements of the match or challenge. With some programs, you don’t need to have status with another hotel chain, while others require proof. Some programs will give you temporary status as you work toward qualifying for more permanent status by completing a certain number of stays. Even the most legitimate requests for status can be waylaid by misinterpretation or misunderstanding of the rules.
In addition, take your time to consider the options and the timing before jumping in. Having the most status with the maximum number of programs is not the best approach to take, even though it may seem that way at first glance. Just about all programs restrict how frequently you can utilize a match or challenge. For some, it’s every five years, while others only allow it once per lifetime of the account.
The timing of your status match or challenge is critical as well. You may be able to extend your status even longer by requesting it or earning it at the right time. You also want to make sure to put in the request before your current status or the status match promotion expires.
Finally, remember that there are many ways to earn status without actually staying at hotels or going through a status match or challenge. For example, many hotel credit cards offer complimentary elite status so long as your account is open and in good standing. I’ll list available credit cards that include automatic status throughout the article.
So, where do the major hotel programs currently stand on status matches and challenges? Unfortunately, only a few make this information publicly available, and many will grant a match or challenge on a case-by-case basis. A great site with user-submitted data is StatusMatcher, which will give you an idea of your options. You can also check specific hotel chain forums on FlyerTalk.
Here’s a rundown of what you’ll currently find (but remember that there are always exceptions):
Best Western Rewards
Best Western Rewards has a rather well-known “Status Match…No Catch” program where you fill out a form with your contact information and competitor elite tier. After you submit your request, Best Western will generally match you to a requisite status without hesitation.
The program doesn’t have any high-end properties for award redemptions, but if you’re thinking about a trip to places off the beaten path (like the Best Western Pioneer Inn in Lahaina, Maui), Best Western elite status comes in handy.
There are two ways to status match with Choice Hotels.
With the Diamond Elite status jump, Choice continues to offer the incredibly generous promotion of one stay at a Cambria-brand hotel to earn top-tier Diamond status. I took advantage of the promotion in October 2019, genuinely enjoyed my stay at Cambria and was granted Diamond Elite status through 2020.
To take advantage of this promotion, complete a stay at a Cambria property and forward your folio, proof of elite status with another program and Choice Privileges number to Status_Match@choicehotels.com.
The other way to do a status match with Choice is through its standard status match, which is easy to follow. Best of all, you can complete a status match before staying in a Choice Hotel. This is a phenomenal way to get benefits starting from day one.
While Hilton is no longer matching status, there is a new status challenge program, which is a great way to get benefits at Hilton properties.
Related: What is Hilton elite status worth?
Immediately after requesting the status challenge on this landing page, your Hilton Honors account will be upgraded to Gold status. Within 90 days of requesting the status challenge, your Gold status will be extended until March 31, 2024, if you stay seven nights. And if you stay 12 nights within 90 days, your account will be upgraded to Diamond status through March 31, 2024.
If you don’t stay seven or 12 nights in the 90-day trial period, your status will be removed, returning your account to general member status.
If you’ve previously participated in a status challenge with Hilton, there’s no harm in checking on the landing page if this offer is available to you.
Instead of completing a status match or challenge, you can open a card that includes elite status outright. The Hilton Honors American Express Aspire Card ($450 annual fee; see rates and fees) provides automatic, top-tier Hilton Diamond status, while holders of The Platinum Card® from American Express ($695 annual fee; see rates and fees) and the Hilton Honors American Express Surpass® Card ($95 annual fee; see rates and fees) enjoy automatic Gold status. Enrollment is required for select benefits.
Surpass cardholders can upgrade to Diamond status by spending $40,000 a calendar year on their card.
The information for the Hilton Aspire Amex card has been collected independently by The Points Guy. The card details on this page have not been reviewed or provided by the card issuer.
IHG Rewards Club
IHG occasionally offers a limited-quantity status match all the way up to its top-tier Spire elite status— though it’s not currently promoting one. When available, this is a great way to snag top-tier Spire Elite status, as the program has typically held Spire fairly tight since its inception. However, there are a handful of other ways to snag status with IHG (or some of its brands).
That said, you can earn Platinum Elite status if you register for IHG’s “Reach Platinum Elite Status Faster” promotion by March 12. You can earn Platinum Elite status through this promotion if you stay five nights at IHG properties within 90 days of registration. Your Platinum Elite status will be valid through December 2023.
Additionally, you can buy InterContinental Ambassador status for $200 and be matched to Platinum Elite. Or, you can apply for an IHG Rewards Premier Credit Card that includes automatic Platinum status.
Earlier this year, IHG launched a promotion allowing cardholders of the United Club Infinite Card to receive a status match to IHG Platinum. Furthermore, after enrolling on this landing page, you will receive a $75 credit for charging an IHG stay to your United Club Infinite Card.
In March, IHG will be completely overhauling its elite status program, so it will be interesting to see if a status match or challenge opportunity comes with the new program.
Related: What is IHG elite status worth?
Langham is home to some of the finest five-star properties around the world. Although the Langham 1865 program does not use a points currency like other major hotel loyalty programs, it has three different membership tiers based on how many nights you spend at their hotels.
Our findings indicate that Langham will not match status to competing hotel loyalty programs; however, it matches a few airline statuses. Specifically, you can match Air China, China Eastern and Cathay Pacific elite status to Langham 1865.
If you have one of these statuses, you can initiate a match by emailing email@example.com. In your email, you should provide a copy of your frequent flyer membership card and 1865 membership number.
Marriott Bonvoy once had a generous status challenge for those looking to earn Gold Elite or Platinum Elite status, which has unfortunately been discontinued.
However, you may have luck calling Marriott Bonvoy to see if your account is eligible for a targeted status challenge. For example, some Marriott Bonvoy members have reported receiving a challenge of staying 16 nights in 90 days for Marriott Bonvoy Platinum. If you call Marriott, make sure to mention if you have competing hotel elite status with another major program.
On the cards front, you can get automatic Gold status with the Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant™ American Express® Card ($450 annual fee; see rates and fees) and The Platinum Card from American Express (enrollment required). You’ll get automatic Silver status with the Marriott Bonvoy Boundless Credit Card. If you spend $75,000 in a calendar year on the Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant American Express Card, your status is upgraded to Platinum Elite.
All Marriott cobranded cards award 15 elite qualifying nights to cardholders each year, though they can’t be combined across personal cards. You can, however, combine elite qualifying nights earned from personal Marriott cards with those from the business card, giving you a total of 30 elite nights.
It’s also worth noting that United Premier Gold, Platinum and 1K receive complimentary Marriott Bonvoy Gold Elite status. Likewise, Marriott Bonvoy Titanium and Ambassador Elite members receive a status match to low-tier United Premier Silver status.
Omni Hotels & Resorts
While Omni does not status match, FoundersCard members are eligible for Omni Select Guest Platinum elite status for one year.
Those who hold JetBlue’s newest Mosaic+ status are eligible for a complimentary FoundersCard Elite membership, which can be used to status match to Omni Select Guest Platinum elite status. This is a textbook example of how airline status can get you hotel status, even when an intermediary like the FoundersCard is involved.
The Radisson Rewards program allows current elite members from other programs to request a status match by emailing proof of existing status to firstname.lastname@example.org. Unfortunately, the program’s top tier (Platinum) isn’t applicable and must be earned the hard way.
Even if you hold top-tier status with another chain, the best you can hope for is Radisson Rewards Gold. Generally speaking, top-tier elites will be matched to Gold, while mid-tier elites will be matched to Silver. Most of these requests appear to be processed within a day or even a few hours. However, this isn’t always the case.
Reports on StatusMatcher indicate even airline status can be submitted for a match. Just note that Radisson Rewards will only match your status once per lifetime of the account, and reports indicate that this rule is strictly enforced. Alternatively, the Radisson Rewards Premier Visa Signature Card comes with automatic Gold elite status.
Remember, Radisson Rewards was recently split into two programs: Radisson Rewards and Radisson Rewards Americas. If you have status with one of the Radisson programs, you can status match to the other by calling member services.
The information for the Radisson Rewards Premier Visa has been collected independently by The Points Guy. The card details on this page have not been reviewed or provided by the card issuer.
In the past, you could go in person to a Caesars Rewards desk at one of their properties and match a competitor’s status to the Diamond tier.
Now, however, it appears that Caesars is only matching those with Wyndham Rewards status. Interestingly, it looks like this can be done both ways:
- Those with Wyndham status can match to Caesars status.
- Those with Caesars status can match to Wyndham status.
You can request a status match by visiting this landing page.
World of Hyatt
Hyatt has always been rather conservative about status matches and challenges, and has no publicly available offers at this time. However, that doesn’t mean there isn’t a shortcut to status.
First, employees of certain companies have been offered challenges for immediate Explorist status or even Globalist status with 10 stays in 90 days. Check with your company’s travel office to see if your company qualifies.
If you aren’t lucky enough to work for one of those companies, the World of Hyatt Credit Card offers Discoverist status as long as your account is open. Cardholders also earn five elite qualifying nights per year.
Cardholders also earn two additional elite qualifying nights for every $5,000 spent on the card. This can be a great option to spend your way to status outright or combine credit card spending with semifrequent hotel stays to boost your status accordingly.
That being said, it still may be worth submitting a request for a status match or challenge, especially if you have a significant amount of travel coming up at Hyatt properties.
To initiate the request, send an email to email@example.com with proof of your current status and politely inquire about any status match or challenge options. Don’t forget that once you have Hyatt status, you can match it to MGM Gold or Pearl status for benefits at any MGM property.
Additionally, American Airlines elite members should link their World of Hyatt and AAdvantage accounts. Not only does this let American elite members earn 1 bonus mile for every eligible dollar spent on qualifying Hyatt stays, but they may be targeted for Hyatt elite status challenges.
Unfortunately, Wyndham suspended its general status match program back in April 2020, likely as a response to the coronavirus pandemic. We’ll update this page as soon as the status match returns, and you can also follow status match updates on Wyndham’s website.
In their previous status matches and challenges, we saw the following:
- If matched to Gold, you’d have status until the end of the following year.
- If matched to Platinum, you’d have 90 days to stay seven qualifying nights to extend the status for a year.
- If matched to Diamond, you’d have 90 days to stay 14 qualifying nights to extend the status for a year.
Once you have Wyndham Rewards status, you can also instantly match to Caesars Rewards status. Wyndham Diamond status equates to Caesars Rewards Diamond status, which waives resort fees at all Caesars properties. The inverse is also the case, where if you have Caesars status, you are eligible for a status match to Wyndham elite status.
A status match or challenge can be a great way to leverage current status with a hotel chain and turn it into status with another. This gives you a great opportunity to “test drive” another program before fully committing, and it can also unlock valuable rewards like suite upgrade certificates. Just remember that these programs all do come with various restrictions, so be sure to do your homework before initiating the request.
Kyle Olsen, Benji Stawski and Carissa Rawson contributed to this post.
Featured photo of the Pine Cliffs, a Luxury Collection Resort by Kyle Olsen/The Points Guy.
For the rates and fees of the Amex Platinum card, please click here.
For the rates and fees of the Amex Hilton Aspire card, please click here.
For the rates and fees of the Amex Hilton Surpass card, please click here.
For the rates and fees of the Amex Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant card, please click here.
This is The Points Guy’s permanent page about hotel elite status match and challenge offers, so you can bookmark it and check back regularly for the latest information. Keep in mind you may see some reader comments referring to older offers below.
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