Here we are in April and my travel year is shaping up to be so different than I could have ever imagined. The bad news: I just lost my Executive Platinum elite status with American Airlines and dropped three tiers. Furthermore, I’m not sure I will re-qualify for status with either United Airlines or Hyatt. The good news: it has been fun being a free agent lately.
Elite Status Lost: Loyalty Proves Elusive For Me
On April 1st, I dropped from Executive Platinum to Gold status on American Airlines, all because my Hong Kong trip was cancelled last autumn. It’s dangerous to stake your elite status re-qualifcation on one trip and I fell on my sword when American Airlines did not extend status another year, like Delta.
No more Qantas First Lounge in Los Angeles, just as it prepares to reopen. No more Platinum Wing in Helsinki. My trip to Australia this year (fingers crossed) will not include access to the lovely Qantas First lounges in Sydney or Melbourne. Sadly, my status AA status was largely worthless during the pandemic, with the exception of a handful of domestic upgrades.
But I just could not justify the time and money required to re-qualify, even at reduced thresholds.
Keeping top-tier status on two airlines is difficult, but certainly I can keep my 1K status with United, right?
I’m not so sure. I’m about 1/3 of the way there, but that’s only because of a generous starter bonus United deposited in my account. Flights have been full lately, I really don’t think Untied needs to help out elite travelers any longer…travel is back.
And I’ve been traveling prolifically lately…details of which will be forthcoming and I cannot wait to share. But even Hyatt, which I’ve been unflinchingly loyal to for the better part of a decade, has been out of the picture lately. Over the last month, I’ve stayed at more Four Seasons, Accor, Kempinski, and Marriott properties than Hyatt.
It has been great and when your use Virtuoso or the American Express Fine Hotels & Resorts program, you essentially enjoy “elite” status without having to be elite.
Hyatt will always be my first love, but as I prepare for a long season at home in Los Angeles, even justifying the push for 60 nights is difficult. I’m currently only at nine nights for the year…
The good news is that being a free agent is fun…I’ve flown some amazing products, enjoyed some amazing hotels, but it does cost money. I far prefer to be upgraded for free versus paying out-of-pocket for it with miles or dollars.
Then again, my Platinum status with Marriott has been worthless in terms of upgrades and readers are reporting such full flights domestically that upgrades are not even clearing with instrument support or miles.
That too makes me wonder whether I will just embrace life as a free agent and make the most of it, even if it means paying for upgrades and breakfast, which I have traditionally shied away from.
We’re now more than a quarter of the way through the year and my elite status progress is stalled in terms of both airlines and hotels. Not only am I unsure whether I will be able to pass the finish line, but I’m really questioning whether it is even worthwhile.