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8 elite status benefits you're not using but should

Nov. 10, 2022
7 min read
American Airlines Airbus A321T business class
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TPG staffers are big fans of their airline and hotel statuses. If you hold status, too, chances are there are perks that stand out as personal favorites, such as first-class upgrades, lounge access and free breakfasts.

However, there's more to elite status than receiving these well-known benefits. Across most major programs, there are also some lesser-known perks that you may have access to without even knowing it.

To help you make the most of your elite status, here are several under-the-radar benefits to take advantage of, according to TPG staffers.

Preferred seats

Preferred seats are closer to the front of the plane. UNITED

All three main U.S. carriers — American Airlines, Delta Air Lines and United Airlines — offer preferred seating. Preferred seats generally have the same legroom as standard economy seats but are closer to the front of the cabin.

Scott Mayerowitz, TPG's executive editor, has access to the Main Cabin Preferred section when he travels on Delta. As a Diamond Medallion, Scott has preferred seating for himself and up to eight companions on all Delta flights — that's great for family vacations.

Meanwhile, TPG credit cards writer Ryan Smith – who can access complimentary preferred seating thanks to having United Premier Silver status — likes preferred seats for their location. Because you'll find these seats at the front of the plane, you can get off the plane sooner. This can prove extremely valuable for tight connections or scoring an Uber, Lyft or taxi faster when traveling during peak seasons, Ryan added.

Related: 7 tips for picking the perfect airplane seat every time

Recipriocal elite status

United has a partnership with Marriott. ZACH GRIFF/THE POINTS GUY

Katie Genter, TPG's senior points and miles reporter, enjoys receiving complimentary United Premier Silver elite status as a perk of her Marriott Bonvoy Titanium Elite status.

In addition to preferred seating, Premier Silver members (and one companion on the same reservation) can travel on United with a free checked bag weighing up to 70 pounds. Additionally, Premier Silver members board in group two, earn a 40% mileage bonus and are eligible for same-day, first-class upgrades on select flights.

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Katie also participates in a hotel status match. As a World of Hyatt Globalist, she enjoys MGM Rewards Gold status. Along with other benefits, MGM Gold gives her waived resort fees and complimentary self-parking, which can save her hundreds of dollars when she visits Las Vegas.

There are other complimentary elite status matches out there, too. If you have United MileagePlus Premier Gold status or higher, you're eligible for a status match to Marriott Bonvoy Gold Elite. Plus, Wyndham Rewards members can match their status to Caesars Rewards and vice versa.

Related: Hotel elite status match and challenge offers for 2022

Free parking for Globalists on award stays

Overnight parking at the Park Hyatt Chicago costs $78 per night. CAMERON SPERANCE/THE POINTS GUY

With Scott's Hyatt Globalist status, he can park his car for free on Hyatt award stays. That can save you a considerable amount of money, particularly when staying in cities like Chicago or Boston, where parking charges can be north of $50 per night.

Related: Parking fees in Vegas are back: Here's how to avoid them

Priority assistance

Ryan likes using the preferred line for check-in at hotels and airports. In his experience, it's typically shorter, and he finds that the employees working priority lines are often more experienced and knowledgeable.

I fully agree with Ryan. Priority service can go a long way when it comes to snagging the last seat on the next flight after yours has been canceled. With widespread flight cancellations last summer, the United Airlines Premier 1K line made a world of difference in outsmarting long hold times.

Related: Here's how the TPG staff is beating long hold times and getting airline support quickly

Alaska MVP benefits on American Airlines

Our managing editor for news, Clint Henderson, has received the royal treatment as an Alaska Airlines MVP Gold 100K when traveling on American Airlines. He's routinely received upgrades on long-haul transcontinental flights, including American's premium A321T. He also used his systemwide upgrades to travel back from Paris-Charles de Gaulle Airport (CDG) in business class on American.

Additionally, Clint has enjoyed a generous three checked baggage allowance on American flights.

Related: Last-minute strategies for Alaska Mileage Plan elite status

AAdvantage elite benefits on Alaska and JetBlue

Members with AAdvantage Platinum status and higher are eligible for benefits on Alaska, as well as benefits on JetBlue Airways.

AAdvantage Platinum members receive access to Alaska's premium and JetBlue's Even More Space seating at check-in, plus priority boarding, free checked bags and more on both airlines.

It's also worth noting that AAdvantage Platinum Pro, Executive Platinum and Concierge Key members are eligible for waitlisted first-class upgrades on all Alaska flights.

Related: What is American Airlines elite status worth in 2022?

Oneworld lounges

Katie, an Executive Platinum member with American, and Clint, an MVP Gold 100K with Alaska, both have Oneworld Emerald status, which allows them to access most Oneworld business- and first-class lounges on international itineraries (excluding flights that travel between the U.S. and Canada or Mexico). Many of these lounges offer sit-down dining.

Oneworld Emerald includes complimentary access to some of the best first-class lounges in the business, such as the Japan Airlines first-class lounge at Tokyo's Narita International Airport (NRT), the Cathay Pacific first-class lounge at London's Heathrow Airport (LHR) and the Malaysia Airlines first-class lounge at Kuala Lumpur International Airport (KUL).

Related: Something for everyone: The Oneworld Los Angeles Lounge at Tom Bradley International Terminal

A complimentary Timeshifter subscription

We all want to avoid jet lag. ROXROSITA/GETTY IMAGES

United Premier 1K members receive a complimentary subscription to Timeshifter, an app that suggests adjustments to your sleep pattern to minimize jet lag.

I've used Timeshifter for most of my long-haul travels since 2019, and it has helped me adjust to the correct time zones.

The app, which normally costs $25 per year, alerts you when you should be going to bed, avoiding bright lights and more. Users can enter their normal sleep patterns and flight numbers for a personalized plan.

Related: Tips on how to avoid jet lag for your next trip

Bottom line

We all love upgrades and free food, but you may have access to even more perks thanks to your elite status. While it can be daunting to sift through all the fine print for each program, doing so can help you get the most out of your loyalty program memberships so you're not leaving valuable benefits on the table.

Featured image by CLINT HENDERSON/THE POINTS GUY
Editorial disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airline or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

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TPG featured card

Best card for premium perks while traveling
TPG Editor‘s Rating
Card Rating is based on the opinion of TPG‘s editors and is not influenced by the card issuer.
4 / 5
Go to review

Rewards

2 - 10X points
10XEarn unlimited 10X miles on hotels and rental cars booked through Capital One Travel
5X5X miles on flights booked through Capital One Travel.
2X2 Miles per dollar on every purchase, every day

Intro offer

75,000 bonus miles
Earn 75,000 bonus miles when you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening, equal to $750 in travel

Annual Fee

$395

Recommended Credit

740-850
Excellent
Credit ranges are a variation of FICO© Score 8, one of many types of credit scores lenders may use when considering your credit card application.

Why We Chose It

The Capital One Venture X card is one of the best all-round travel credit cards ever launched. Not only is it offering a tremendous welcome bonus, but cardholders can earn tons of miles on everyday spending and receive a 10,000-mile anniversary bonus to boot. Its annual fee is $395, but cardholders can count on up to $300 in statement credits toward travel booked through Capital One Travel each year and other valuable benefits like access to Priority Pass lounges and Capital One’s own growing family of airport lounges.

Pros

  • Excellent welcome offer worth 75,000 miles after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first three months.
  • Up to $300 in annual travel statement credits toward bookings make through Capital One Travel.
  • 10,000 bonus miles (worth $100 toward travel) each account anniversary.

Cons

  • The $395 annual fee might be expensive for some, but this card’s benefits provide much more value than that.
  • If you don’t travel frequently, this might not be the best card for you.
  • Earn 75,000 bonus miles when you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening, equal to $750 in travel
  • Receive up to $300 back annually as statement credits for bookings through Capital One Travel, where you'll get Capital One's best prices on thousands of options
  • Get 10,000 bonus miles (equal to $100 towards travel) every year, starting on your first anniversary
  • Earn unlimited 10X miles on hotels and rental cars booked through Capital One Travel and 5X miles on flights booked through Capital One Travel
  • Earn unlimited 2X miles on all other purchases
  • Unlimited complimentary access for you and two guests to 1,400+ lounges, including Capital One Lounges and our Partner Lounge Network
  • Receive up to a $100 credit for Global Entry or TSA PreCheck®
  • Use your Venture X miles to easily cover travel expenses, including flights, hotels, rental cars and more—you can even transfer your miles to your choice of 15+ travel loyalty programs
  • Named editors' choice for "Best New Credit Card of 2021" by The Points Guy
  • Earn 10 miles per dollar when you book on Turo, the world's largest car sharing marketplace, through May 16, 2023
Best card for premium perks while traveling
TPG Editor‘s Rating
Card Rating is based on the opinion of TPG‘s editors and is not influenced by the card issuer.
4 / 5
Go to review

Rewards Rate

10XEarn unlimited 10X miles on hotels and rental cars booked through Capital One Travel
5X5X miles on flights booked through Capital One Travel.
2X2 Miles per dollar on every purchase, every day
  • Intro Offer
    Earn 75,000 bonus miles when you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening, equal to $750 in travel

    75,000 bonus miles
  • Annual Fee

    $395
  • Recommended Credit
    Credit ranges are a variation of FICO© Score 8, one of many types of credit scores lenders may use when considering your credit card application.

    740-850
    Excellent

Why We Chose It

The Capital One Venture X card is one of the best all-round travel credit cards ever launched. Not only is it offering a tremendous welcome bonus, but cardholders can earn tons of miles on everyday spending and receive a 10,000-mile anniversary bonus to boot. Its annual fee is $395, but cardholders can count on up to $300 in statement credits toward travel booked through Capital One Travel each year and other valuable benefits like access to Priority Pass lounges and Capital One’s own growing family of airport lounges.

Pros

  • Excellent welcome offer worth 75,000 miles after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first three months.
  • Up to $300 in annual travel statement credits toward bookings make through Capital One Travel.
  • 10,000 bonus miles (worth $100 toward travel) each account anniversary.

Cons

  • The $395 annual fee might be expensive for some, but this card’s benefits provide much more value than that.
  • If you don’t travel frequently, this might not be the best card for you.
  • Earn 75,000 bonus miles when you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening, equal to $750 in travel
  • Receive up to $300 back annually as statement credits for bookings through Capital One Travel, where you'll get Capital One's best prices on thousands of options
  • Get 10,000 bonus miles (equal to $100 towards travel) every year, starting on your first anniversary
  • Earn unlimited 10X miles on hotels and rental cars booked through Capital One Travel and 5X miles on flights booked through Capital One Travel
  • Earn unlimited 2X miles on all other purchases
  • Unlimited complimentary access for you and two guests to 1,400+ lounges, including Capital One Lounges and our Partner Lounge Network
  • Receive up to a $100 credit for Global Entry or TSA PreCheck®
  • Use your Venture X miles to easily cover travel expenses, including flights, hotels, rental cars and more—you can even transfer your miles to your choice of 15+ travel loyalty programs
  • Named editors' choice for "Best New Credit Card of 2021" by The Points Guy
  • Earn 10 miles per dollar when you book on Turo, the world's largest car sharing marketplace, through May 16, 2023