Two unexpected twists may make 2020 a different year of pursuing status than in years past.
Let’s start with hotels and then move to airlines.
2020 Hotel Status
I hold elite status in three hotel programs:
- Hyatt Globalist (through stays)
- Hilton Gold (via American Express Platinum)
- Marriott Gold (via United MileagePlus)
With exceptions that I can count on one hand, all my hotel stays in 2019 were at Hyatt or Hyatt-affiliated properties. This will not change in 2020. There is some concern that I won’t be traveling as much in 2020 and therefore may struggle to reach the 60 nights required to re-qualify for Globalist status, but the World of Hyatt credit card from Chase will help me make up the difference. It offers five qualifying night credits towards tier status every year plus two additional qualifying night credits every time you spend $5,000 on your card.
I realize Hyatt’s global footprint is limited, despite many new partnerships that have grown in the last year. For example, there is not a single property in Israel. Nevertheless, the great service and room upgrades I routinely receive at Hyatts keeps me loyal and most places I visit for work or pleasure have a Hyatt.
Will Hilton or Marriott be secondary programs? Not really. Airbnb will be, especially when traveling with my three-year-old son.
2020 Airline Status
I hold elite status in two airline programs:
- United Airlines 1K
- American Airlines Executive Platinum
Here are the two twists I mentioned in my opening sentence. First, I was not expecting comped Exectuive Platinum status from American via World of Hyatt.
> Read More: Hyatt Gifted Me Executive Platinum Status On American Airlines!
Second, I was not expecting United to no longer consider distance in earning elite status. As I’ve detailed here, you can only earn status on United flights or United-issued tickets by segments and dollars spent. There’s a loophole with partner flights that I will be more carefully exploring in the days ahead. That may lead to less flying on United in 2020, which would be an upside in terms of variety of content for this blog.
> Read More: Fundamental Changes To United MileagePlus In 2020
I will not let my American Airlines Executive Platinum and oneworld emerald status go to waste. This year presents a unique opportunity, unless I decide to fully divert to the “dAArkside”, to sample many oneworld lounges and more flights on American Airlines. I can virtually guarantee at least a detailed review of AA’s longhaul business and first class, which I have not reviewed in years. At least for now, I also find Advantage a more compelling award program than United MileagePlus or Delta SkyMiles. United’s Star Alliance network is more valuable, but I have access to that via Aeroplan.
And speaking of Aeroplan, that is a third twist. Over the last several years, I earn a lot of American Express membership Rewards points, transfer them to Aeroplan, and spend those miles for both work and personal travel on Star Alliance. It may not be the cheapest program (Asiana and ANA have better deals to many regions), but it is the easiest…and that convenience is quite valuable. Air Canada and Aeroplan will be unveiling a new program and new redemption chart (or perhaps no chart at all) later this year. That may totally turn my redemption world upside down and “force” me to earn more United miles or concentrate more spending on Chase.
It’s too early to tell where my airline focus will be in 2020. With plenty of PlusPoints and an emotional attachment to United, I expect to be in the “Friendly Skies” quite a bit. But American Airlines will see more of my business this year than last year and I also hope to explore a lot more partner airlines this year.
What are your airline and hotel status goals for 2020?
I dont know… I have tried Hyatt this year and ended up one night short of an Explorist. 29 that is. The Regencies are okay, the Grand and Park Hyatts are a delight. But the Houses and Places, where one would necessarily need to have the bulk of the stays are all very meh. Often times tired, very much hit and miss and openly speaking behind even random Hampton Inns or such in my sampling. Heck, I feel Hyatt might be overrated even though I like WoH (mostly)
I’d be interested to see an article comparing the status levels of DL, AA, and UA. I will likely status match/challenge from UA to DL or AA with UA’s new elite qualifying structure. An in depth review could help make the choice between AA and DL easier. Currently I’m a UA Plat would like to keep 75k status with a legacy carrier but I’m not sure what the best choice is in my case.
Matthew, perhaps you should consider the American Express Hilton Aspire card. Between Airline Fee credit and Resort credit, both of which are automatic and easily attained, they PAY you $50 (over the $450 AF) each year to have the card. Add the Free Weekend night and they paid me over $350 this year. Diamond status, 14 points per $ and large footprint as well. (Often multiple acceptable properties in locations where Hyatt has just one – so more options which could result in lower costs.) Now that churning is essentially gone, I think it’s a no-brainer to have and hold for all Hilton spending and not worry about qualifying for status. (You DO occasionally have to book a pet fee, maybe traveling with a friend’s small dog, even if it ends up getting cancelled, don’t you?)
I frankly don’t understand why everyone is always comparing American to United or Delta’s frequent flyer program. Instead of AA why not consider BA (much better program in my opinion). Instead of Delta consider KLM/AF. BA and KLM are transfer partners from Chase. KLM/AF even from Amex and Citi should you need to top off points. Domestic 1st class in the US with their snack baskets is a joke where the “upgrade” is minimal in experience.
Am a United 1K and MM but with their most recent changes United has created a Frankenstein like program where I simply don’t care to read through it in detail or to give them more than the occasional short hop flight. I’ll be crediting soon to another Star Alliance carrier. SAS, TK, SQ, even Lufthansa’s program are better now for the kind of flying and redemptions I do.
So why not credit to foreign carriers and rack up status faster with a program outside of the US?
@Endlosluft – If the majority of my travel was international I would very much look into another *A carrier where I could much more easily earn *Gold. Having said that I do quite a bit of domestic flying as well so the benefits of having elite status with a domestic carrier has a lot of value to me as well. Now I suppose if I wanted to change all of my domestic travel to JetBlue I might be able to get status with them as well as *Gold with another carrier but I really don’t think that I am going to spend ~$5k on Jetblue tickets.
Hyatt does not match my travel needs. I can’t find enough Hyatt properties during business trips to reach their top status. As for airlines, I cannot understand that you don’t fly Delta. You could ask for a status match. You now hold status with the worst US airlines.
I appreciate that Hyatt is your favorite chain especially/mostly due to your top-tier status. Unfortunately, that’s what makes your hotel posts so Hyatt-centric and not so useful to some of us “plebes”. Eight of ten of your recent “fav hotels list” were Hyatt. I’m sure that’s true and they look super. If you’re top status. But understand this dims the value of reviews for the rest of us who don’t qualify for the perks and upgrades that make your stays so enjoyable. Not envy, but pragmatism: it ain’t gonna be “this review experience” for us.
I think it’s intractable; if I were you I’d be doing the same thing. But it becomes a spiral of us joining you on your annual journey to Hyatt requalification while unable to use your information.
But make no mistake, I really enjoy following your posts and wish you a great 2020.