Why you should pay attention to your elite status progress — even if you aren’t chasing status

Dec 10, 2021

This post contains references to products from one or more of our advertisers. We may receive compensation when you click on links to those products. Terms apply to the offers listed on this page. For an explanation of our Advertising Policy, visit this page.

I’ve never been one to chase elite status. I’m a budget traveler, and my flight and hotel decisions are almost always made with price in mind, not brand. Because of that, I’ve never paid much attention to the elite status trackers in any of my apps … and that cost me elite status for next year.

Want more travel news and advice from TPG? Sign up for our daily newsletter. 

After a recent flight on American Airlines, I realized that I’ll end up missing gold elite status by under 3,000 Elite Qualifying Miles (EQMs). I hit the Elite Qualifying Dollars (EQD) threshold needed through work travel, and I am pretty close to hitting the EQM requirement.

screenshot of the elite status tracker in the American Airlines app
(Screenshot courtesy of the American Airlines app)

While I don’t find gold elite status worth a last-minute mileage run before the holidays, knowing I was so close to hitting status may have shifted my strategy on my most recent work flights.

Just last week, I flew Delta from New York City to Phoenix, Arizona, for a work retreat. I could have just as easily flown American Airlines (in fact, many coworkers did). That round-trip flight alone could have been enough to get me over the EQM threshold for gold elite status.

Now, losing out on gold elite status for 2022 isn’t the end of the world. While TPG values AAdvantage gold elite status at $855, I wouldn’t use the benefits frequently enough to get that much value out of it. I almost never check a bag, I get priority boarding regardless on work trips and flying out of New York, I’d rarely (if ever) get upgraded in favor of higher-tier elites.

The only benefits I would likely use regularly are complimentary access to preferred and Main Cabin Extra seats.

But still, it would have taken one otherwise inconsequential flight change on my part to hit status for next year if only I had paid any attention to the elite status tracker on my American Airlines app earlier on in the year.

And this situation could have easily applied to elite status with other brands — say, Explorist status with Hyatt.

I was surprised to find that I’d hit Discoverist status with Hyatt earlier this year because I never paid attention, and I’m not too far off from Explorist. I definitely would have made more of a concerted effort to stay at Hyatts during my last couple of trips had I realized I could hit that next tier of status (which comes with a 20% point bonus on stays and room upgrades) without a mattress run.

We’re coming up on the end of the year, which means the clocks will soon restart on elite status for 2022 and beyond. Even if you aren’t someone who strives for elite status, make sure you’re checking in on your loyalty apps throughout the year. You may find yourself closer to hitting status than you would otherwise think, and a couple of minor changes in which airlines or hotel brands you book throughout the year could help you score status for 2023.

Featured photo by Zach Griff/The Points Guy. 

Delta SkyMiles® Platinum American Express Card

Earn 90,000 bonus miles after you spend $3,000 in purchases on your new Card in your first 3 months. Offer ends 8/3/2022.

With Status Boost™, earn 10,000 Medallion Qualification Miles (MQMs) after you spend $25,000 in purchases on your Card in a calendar year, up to two times per year getting you closer to Medallion Status. Earn 3X Miles on Delta purchases and purchases made directly with hotels, 2X Miles at restaurants and at U.S. supermarkets and earn 1X Mile on all other eligible purchases. Terms Apply.

Apply Now
More Things to Know
  • Limited Time Offer: Earn 90,000 bonus miles after you spend $3,000 in purchases on your new Card in your first 3 months. Offer ends 8/3/2022.
  • Earn up to 20,000 Medallion® Qualification Miles (MQMs) with Status Boost® per year. After you spend $25,000 in purchases on your Card in a calendar year, you can earn 10,000 MQMs up to two times per year, getting you closer to Medallion® Status. MQMs are used to determine Medallion® Status and are different than miles you earn toward flights.
  • Earn 3X Miles on Delta purchases and purchases made directly with hotels.
  • Earn 2X Miles at restaurants worldwide including takeout and delivery in the U.S., and at U.S. supermarkets.
  • Earn 1X Miles on all other eligible purchases.
  • Receive a Domestic Main Cabin round-trip companion certificate each year upon renewal of your Card. Payment of the government imposed taxes and fees of no more than $80 for roundtrip domestic flights (for itineraries with up to four flight segments) is required. Baggage charges and other restrictions apply. See terms and conditions for details.
  • Enjoy your first checked bag free on Delta flights.
  • Fee Credit for Global Entry or TSA PreCheck® after you apply through any Authorized Enrollment Provider. If approved for Global Entry, at no additional charge, you will receive access to TSA PreCheck.
  • Enjoy an exclusive rate of $39 per person per visit to enter the Delta Sky Club® for you and up to two guests when traveling on a Delta flight.
  • No Foreign Transaction Fees.
  • $250 Annual Fee.
  • Terms Apply.
  • See Rates & Fees
Regular APR
17.24%-26.24% Variable
Annual Fee
$250
Balance Transfer Fee
N/A
Recommended Credit
Excellent/Good
Terms and restrictions apply. See rates & fees.

Editorial Disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airlines or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

Disclaimer: The responses below are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser’s responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.