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Losing elite status? Here are 5 ways to still get the perks you want

Nov. 09, 2022
11 min read
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Many loyalty programs returned to their pre-pandemic requirements this year. So, if you didn't travel as much this year as you usually do, you may be facing the unpleasant fact that you won't requalify for one or more of your desired elite status tiers.

We've written many guides with last-minute tips and strategies for earning elite status this year, including the following:

But in this guide, we're going to assume you simply aren't going to requalify for the status you want. So we'll discuss how you might still be able to get the perks you want even once you lose elite status.

Book hotel stays through specific channels

The easiest way to get elite-like perks at hotels without having elite status is to book through specific channels. For example, having certain credit cards can unlock some booking channels that may give you extra perks.

ProgramHow to get accessGuaranteed perksOther notes
American Express Fine Hotels + ResortsSign up for The Platinum Card® from American Express or The Business Platinum Card® from American Express.Daily breakfast for two, experience credit valued at $100 or more per stay, Wi-Fi and 4 p.m. late checkout.You must pay using an American Express card; back-to-back stays aren't allowed.
American Express Hotel CollectionSign up for the Amex Platinum, Amex Business Platinum, American Express® Gold Card or American Express® Business Gold Card.Experience credit valued at $100 or more.You must pay using an American Express card; back-to-back stays aren't allowed.
Capital One Premier CollectionSign up for the Capital One Venture X Rewards Credit Card.$100 experience credit per stay, daily breakfast for two and Wi-Fi.This program is coming soon.
Chase Luxury Hotel & Resort CollectionSign up for an eligible Chase card, such as the Chase Sapphire Reserve® or the United Club Infinite Card.Daily breakfast for two, a special benefit worth up to $100 per stay and Wi-Fi.
Visa Signature Hotel CollectionSign up for a Visa Signature or Visa Infinite card.Daily continental breakfast for two, VIP guest status at the hotel and $25 food and beverage credit per stay.

Or, you can get extra guaranteed perks through the following programs when you book with an eligible travel adviser:

  • Hilton Impresario: Get daily breakfast for two and a $100 property credit per stay at most Conrad, LXR and Waldorf Astoria properties.
  • Hyatt Prive: Benefits vary by brand but typically include a property credit per stay, daily breakfast for two and a one-category upgrade (based on availability at booking) at Andaz, Miraval and Park Hyatt properties (and some other properties that participate in World of Hyatt).
  • IHG Lifestyle Collection: Get $50 property credit per stay, Wi-Fi, a VIP note in your profile and fresh fruit or snacks in your room upon arrival at select Hotel Indigo and Kimpton (inside the U.S.) properties.
  • IHG Luxury Collection: Get daily breakfast for two, $100 property credit per stay, Wi-Fi, 2 p.m. late checkout, a VIP note in your profile and fresh fruit or snacks in your room upon arrival at select InterContinental, Regent and Kimpton (outside the U.S.) properties.
  • Marriott Luminous: Get daily breakfast for two, a welcome amenity and Wi-Fi at participating Autograph Collection, JW Marriott, Le Meridien, Marriott, Renaissance, Tribute Portfolio, W Hotels and Westin properties. Some properties also offer a $100 property credit.
  • Marriott Stars: Get daily breakfast for two, $100 property credit per stay, a welcome amenity and Wi-Fi at Bulgari, Edition, Luxury Collection, Ritz-Carlton, Ritz-Carlton Reserve and St. Regis properties.
  • Virtuoso: Get daily breakfast for two and a special amenity at various luxury hotels.

Travel advisers can also access rates that give you extra elite-like perks at other hotel brands, such as Four Seasons, Mandarin Oriental and Rosewood. You'll usually need to pay at least the best available rate, and there can be minimum stay requirements.

Related: 4 scenarios when you should use a travel agent

Get a credit card that provides perks

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In the previous section, we discussed how booking through select credit card programs or travel advisers can unlock some extra perks. But in this section, we'll discuss the elite-like perks you can get with select cards.

Especially if you enjoy getting earlier boarding on flights, a carry-on bag and a checked baggage allowance through airline elite status, you may be able to replace these perks by having an airline credit card. For example, here's a look at some cards that provide a checked baggage allowance:

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Related: These 27 credit cards can get you free checked bags

Some airline credit cards may even give you more perks when flying than your status. For example, even top-tier elite status with most U.S. carriers won't net you lounge access when flying economy domestically. But the following cards give you airline lounge access as a perk:

Cardholders of The Platinum Card from American Express and The Business Platinum Card from American Express also get Delta Air Lines lounge access up to three hours before departure when flying on a same-day Delta-marketed or Delta-operated flight.

On the hotel side, cards tend to give status instead of perks as a cardholder benefit. That's right, some credit cards provide elite status as an automatic perk as long as you're a cardholder. For example, here are a few cards that provide automatic hotel elite status:

With these cards, you're effectively buying elite status — and other perks, like an annual free night — each time you pay the annual fee.

Related: Why I’m happy to pay the annual fee on the IHG Rewards Premier Credit Card

Pay for what you want

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When I first heard someone argue they weren't going for elite status anymore and were instead booking what they wanted, I thought they were missing out. But, as some travelers struggle to use perks like Marriott's Suite Night Awards and AAdvantage's systemwide upgrades, the idea started to make more sense.

Especially if you don't travel all that frequently — or travel often but only care about upgrades and most other elite perks on a few trips — paying for what you want can be a good substitute for elite status.

After all, if you book the room or suite you want, you won't need to worry about upgrades clearing or asking for an upgrade your status should avail when you reach the front desk and know the hotel is still selling upgraded rooms.

And if you pay more to fly in business class domestically, you won't need to worry about where you are on the upgrade list.

Of course, at least to me, part of the fun of elite status is getting perks I wouldn't pay market rate for as a benefit of status.

Related: So, what exactly is elite status in travel — and how can I get it?

Look for a way to buy status

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Just because you're not requalifying for your current elite status doesn't mean you can't have status. After all, some programs offer a way to buy elite status. Your current program may even offer you an option to buy up to requalify for status once you lose your status.

Or, you might find a partner program that lets you earn status much more quickly or cheaply than your current program. For example, earlier this year, you could earn Oneworld Emerald status for under $3,000. And some programs may be much better than United for earning Star Alliance status.

Sometimes you can also buy hotel or airline status indirectly. For example, you can get IHG One Rewards Platinum Elite status as a perk of InterContinental Ambassador membership. An InterContinental Ambassador membership costs 40,000 IHG points or $200 per year, but there are often enrollment and renewal promotions.

Related: 5 of the easiest elite statuses to earn, and why you want them

Use a status match or challenge

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Finally, before you lose your current status, you should consider whether it makes sense to match your status to another program. We have an entire guide about current airline elite status match and challenge options. But there are also periodically lucrative status match opportunities that appear. For example, Royal Air Maroc, LATAM Pass and ANA Mileage Club have all offered valuable status matches this year.

Even if you don't find an appropriate status match, some programs may be willing to give you a status challenge. For example, American has a new Instant Status Pass elite challenge. Through this challenge, you can get an offer tailored to you and your current status, historical flying patterns with American and other undisclosed factors.

Related: How I earned elite status with all 3 major alliances — without taking any flights

Bottom line

Think of what you value most about the status you are losing. Then, consider whether any of the above methods could let you still get the perks you value.

From credit cards to travel advisers, you may still be able to get many of the perks of elite status you value even if you don't requalify for your desired status level.

Featured image by SIMON2579/GETTY IMAGES
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 Editor‘s Rating
Card Rating is based on the opinion of TPG‘s editors and is not influenced by the card issuer.
4 / 5
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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

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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.

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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.

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  • Excellent welcome offer worth 75,000 miles after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first three months.
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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
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  • 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