As we enter the new year, the great reset has occurred: my elite qualifying balances have been zeroed out at various airline and hotel programs and with a clean slate, I have the chance to re-evaluate how I think about loyalty in 2022.
My Loyalty Roadmap For 2022
There’s still so much uncertainty in the world around us, specifically concerning travel. While it seems increasingly unlikely that lockdowns will return, burdensome travel restrictions remain in effect, which make international and even some domestic travel difficult.
I’m not really changing the way I approach airline or hotel loyalty in 2022, which marks a half-hearted approach to airline loyalty and full allegiance to one hotel chain.
Airline Loyalty 2022
By the absolute thinnest of margins ($1), I re-qualified for 1K status on United “outright” in order to receive a fresh allotment of PlusPoints (United’s upgrade currency) for 2022 (United had already extended my status earlier on a complimentary basis).
I will continue to fly United as my preferred carrier this year. I appreciate that United has restored much of the domestic soft product (though the international product is still severely lacking) and the network, schedule, and pricing continue to work best for me.
In terms of the redemption side of the loyalty program, I find Air Canada’s Aeroplan a far more lucrative program, with more partners and better pricing on most routes I fly. For that reason, my status on United is less directed toward Star Alliance redemptions (as it historically has been) and more about ensuring more upgrades when I travel on United metal and the superior customer services that 1K members enjoy.
I also matched to Air Canada 75K status and the program is really growing on me. While the e-upgrade system is more convoluted than PlusPoints at United (I’ll write about this next week), I love Air Canada itself and love that my Star Gold card on Air Canada gives me United Club access whenever I travel on United, something I value more than most since I fly so much on United.
The sad news is that I will shortly be losing my American Airlines Executive Platinum status (thanks to my aborted Hong Kong trip) and more importantly, my oneworld emerald status. That said, I was not able to enjoy it much the last two years, with the pandemic leading to shutdowns of lounges around the world, including the Qantas First Class lounge at LAX and AA’s own network of Flagship Lounges.
While I could match to Alaska Airlines, I’m not sure now is the time. Perhaps in the second half of the year if it becomes clear I am not flying as much.
As for re-qualifying for 1K status, I will state now that unless life changes in a way that I cannot imagine, I will not be able to spend enough to re-qualify once again for 1K status: the bar is too high. However, if United offers quarterly promotions as it did this year, there is hope that I can qualify.
If buying a premium ticket, I will continue to buy based upon the product and flight time I like, which translates to JetBlue and Alaska most often.
Hotel Loyalty 2022
There’s no question I will continue to be loyal to Hyatt…it is by far the best program and really the only hotel program I care about it.
Since I am no longer a Chase – Hyatt co-branded credit card holder, I’ll have to earn nights by actually spending them in hotels…60 nights is a lot of nights and a lot of money, but I cannot imagine living without Hyatt Globalist status…Hyatt still take care of its elite members and its latest World of Hyatt devaluation still leaves it a very valuable program.
I’ll still be Hilton Gold (thanks to status extension) and Marriott Gold (thanks to United Airlines partnership), but I don’t plan to use either chain, if it can be avoided, this year.
Much more so than United, I really don’t even want to look elsewhere when it comes to hotels…Hyatt has earned my loyalty and that’s a powerful expression of how well it treats its frequent guests.
Although there are so many unknowns, this year will likely resemble prior year, with most flying on United and most hotel stays at Hyatt.
But worry not, dear readers: all sorts of exotic trips are planned that I cannot wait to share with you thanks to miles and points.
What is your loyalty plan for 2022? More of the same or something new?