Elite status can be a very helpful tool in our travels. But, sometimes we do not travel enough/keep the right cards to let that status stay with us. If you check, you may find that you have elite status that just doesn’t go away – even when you no longer have qualified for it!
Find Elite Status That Just Doesn’t Go Away
First things first – I am not going to name the elite status accounts that I have found that do not go away. I do not want to ruin things by naming names and having them shut down accounts, but I do want to point out to you how to find them and how to get them in the first place.
Airline Elite Status
I hold various elite levels across all the alliances and with some non-alliance airlines. It helps me when making decisions on which airlines to fly to know what benefits I will be able to enjoy (things like priority access, extra luggage, etc).
There are some airline elite status levels I have that have continued at the elite level that I received them at – even though it has been couple/few years since I actually earned/qualified for the status. The common denominator with these statuses is that they were ones that I received via status matches and are typically with foreign airline programs.
In addition, there are other elite levels that I hold that I no longer qualified for, but I have received soft landings. This is where the program drops you just one level instead of bumping you all the way back to a general member. This way, the status still hangs around for a couple years but just with diminished benefits (but still better than nothing!).
Hotel Elite Status
Again, I have elite status in just about every major hotel chain. Some of it is via actually staying at hotels while other status levels come via matches/credit card benefits.
Hotel status is something that it really does not hurt the chain much to allow people to hang on to a bit. If there are not upgrade instruments being given out, hotels can let the status hang since the person has (presumably) not stayed that much over the previous year. Allowing the status to still exist may prompt the customer to book with the hotel on the next trip and be reminded (and thankful for) the status they have held.
The hotel status that I have found just does not go away is status that is picked up via credit card benefits (after the credit card is gone). But, it is not the co-branded cards but rather the (premium) card(s) that give hotel status as a perk in addition to many other benefits. Since it is not as easy to identify if one is still a cardholder, the status can just live on for a looonnng time!
Car Rental Elite Status
Car rental elite status does have its benefits, even if it just getting to cut the line at a busy airport. My personal favorite is National as I can pick almost any car in the lot by just selecting an intermediate or above during the reservation.
But, I hold status in the other programs as well and those status levels were received by virtue of credit card benefits. In (almost) every case, I continue to enjoy the status long after the card I used to get it has disappeared. This can help quite a bit depending on the program and perks!
Finding If You Still Hold The Status
The easiest way (besides checking each program) is if you have your award accounts plugged into AwardWallet. This will show you your mileage/point total and show you your elite status. In this way, you can take a single look and see what level you currently have in each of your programs.
It is how I found out about elite status levels that I had previously thought I had lost – and it helped me when picking different companies for reservations. If you do not yet have your award programs in AwardWallet, add them in now and you may be surprised about the elite status you hold – that you forgot you even had in the first place!
You may wonder why it matters to find elite status in programs you did not even qualify in. But, it can help you when you are booking travel to make sure you are getting the best value and benefits along the way. Booking with a carrier that you have status with may give you bonus miles as well as premium access and boarding privileges, as well as extra luggage. Depending on the region you are traveling, that can help make the difference in whether or not you are able to get your carryon onboard!
With hotel and car status, it can make family travel easier as well to identify which programs you still have status with. It can help to give you upgrades that you otherwise would not have so it can be a good idea to check your AwardWallet account before booking travel.
As you can see, the answer to getting such status appears to be through matches and credit card benefits. So, make sure take advantage of each of these opportunities when they come up – the elite status may last a lot longer than the original expiration date of your offer!
Editorial Note - Opinions expressed here are author's alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, hotel, airline, or other entity. This content has not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of the entities included within the post.
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