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.
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?