This is an optimal time of year to use a trick that will get you status for all of next year with very little effort on your part. I am also going to go over some synergies that are out there to maximize your elite statuses (stati?).
In general, a rival airline or hotel will try to lure your business away by offering to give you an equivalent status with their airline or hotel. The advantage of doing it this time of year is that if you request this earlier in the year, they match your status for that year only. However, if you try it in October or November, they give you status for the rest of this year and all of next year so 14-15 months of benefits.
Now here’s the real beauty of doing it this time of year. Let’s say that you have status with an airline/ hotel and know you aren’t going to re-qualify for that level this year. Take that higher status and send it in to another program and ask for a status match. They don’t know you aren’t going to re-qualify and assume you will so offer you a matching status. I have done this, for instance, by sending my United 1K statement to Alaska and ended up with Alaska MVP Gold 75 k. I dropped to United Gold for the next year, but at least had the consolation of top status on Alaska.
Similarly, I used my Marriott Platinum statement to get Hilton Diamond for this year. Marriott didn’t drop me to Gold for some strange reason (could be my 767 lifetime nights) so I ended up with top status for two hotel programs.
How to get a match? Typically, you send in a request to their FF customer service along with a statement showing your status in a rival program. Rival meaning not an airline they typically give benefits to. So you can’t take your status from another Star Alliance airline and ask United to match. You can’t even ask for Alaska to match status from Delta or American since they give benefits for members of these airlines. So give it a try, they worst they can do is say no. Do keep in mind that they will tell you that this is a once in a lifetime match, so don’t do it if you have no intention of using that airline or hotel chain.
Synergies noun, plural synergies. The interaction of elements that when combined produce a total effect that is greater than the sum of the individual elements, contributions, etc.; synergism.
I love when I can get something for essentially no effort. I just call this being smart, but you do have to know what to do to make it happen. A great one I used this year is with the pseudo-alliances between airlines and hotels. In case you hadn’t hear, United and Marriott will match status benefits and so will Delta and Starwood. Of course, what makes that really interesting this year is that Marriott bought Starwood and now you can link Marriott Rewards and Starwood SPG to match elite status.
In my particular case, I matched my Marriott Platinum status to SPG, making me an SPG Platinum. I then turned around and applied to match that new Platinum status to Delta (where I have no status) and Delta now gives me the following:
You can work it in reverse and get SPG benefits if you already have status with Delta.
Not bad for getting something for free. And for those of you in a different situation, you can do this in reverse and end up with benefits on United that are very similar. If you are Marriot Rewards Gold or Platinum, you get United Gold. If you are United Gold, you’ll get the benefits shown below. Don’t forget that is you are United Gold, then you are Star Alliance Gold, which means free lounge access to all Star Alliance lunges when traveling internationally.
So lot’s of free ways to earn status if you know what you are doing. Anyone have any other examples out there?