Hotel Status Hopscotch – Wanna Play?

A year ago ago, I barely knew what hotel status was. I knew that some people had status, but I didn’t really care enough to find out what it meant, and certainly didn’t care enough to go for it myself. Mere months later, I’ve got high-level status in seven different programs, and often lull myself to sleep at night by imagining the upgrades and/or amenities I will get at future hotel stays courtesy of my status. (I’m mostly kidding here, but there is a thread of truth to this admission).

Why do I care?

Well, as I’ve said before, I would make a great rock star. I love the VIP treatment. Spectacular rooms, customized refreshments, welcome amenities, showers of extra points – bring it on. I am a very appreciative guest.

Also, it’s amazing just how much nicer an upgraded room can be. It really makes a difference (to me) to have tons of extra space, a soaking tub, or a wall of windows. It enhances my experience to the point where I have a better trip because of it.

Some people assert that it doesn’t matter what your hotel room is like because the point of traveling is to get out of the room and explore. I couldn’t agree more. However, because I have two kids, when we travel as a family, we do actually spend time in our hotel room: the kids need occasional downtime; they go to sleep relatively early; and sometimes we just move a little more slowly because we need to stop to discuss important topics such as: which is cuter – a puppy or a kitten?

And when I travel by myself, well, I love pretending that I am a Kardashian. (Really just kidding here. Although I am addicted to that show).

Anyway, the point is that I love me some status. And honestly, it wasn’t hard to achieve. Especially if you know how to play hopscotch.

What is hotel status hopscotch?

Here’s how to play:

  1. Start by obtaining Hilton Gold status. You can do this for free with no hotel stay or spend requirements with a virtual move to Australia (learn how here from MilesQuest).
  2. If this crosses your ethical boundaries, you can also choose to wait, then pounce the next time Club Accor offers instant Platinum status.
  3. In any case, you should definitely pounce on the Club Accor offer the next time it happens.
  4. Leverage your new status by doing a status match. For example, Club Carlson has recently been matching Hilton Gold to their Gold Elite level; they’ve also matched Club Accor Platinum to Gold Elite. This is an easy way to obtain some pretty nice benefits.
  5. What to do: simply write a polite email to the loyalty program you’re eyeing. For example, you could write to clubcarlson@carlson.com, noting that while you really enjoy staying at their properties, you have status with another hotel.  You would love to have a status match so that you could easily justify staying at Club Carlson properties more frequently.  Include a screen shot that displays your current level of status.
  6. Play hopscotch! There is a very informative site called StatusMatcher.com where people share their recent status match successes – check it out for inspiration.

What does status do for you?

Aside from (ahem) making you feel like a rock star, status can actually be valuable. A few recent examples:

  • On our trip to NYC, Bird and I stayed at the Andaz Fifth Avenue, where we enjoyed an upgraded room and $75 worth of room service breakfast each day. We even went soaring over $75 one day and it was still comped.
  • I enjoyed the heck out of my Radisson suite on my LA Girlfriend Getaway weekend. Plus they gave me a little gift.
  • Kimpton surprised us with a suite and goodies, but totally wowed us with their service.

What do you do for status?

Personally, I will now go out of my way to stay at properties where I have status and I know that I am going to get an upgraded room and great amenities. In fact, I am planning an entire trip based on where I can find a Kimpton property. I am also going out of my way to stay at Hyatt properties. And you all know how I feel about Club Carlson: love them!

So, whether you are brand new to the points and miles community and have no status at all, or you have been doing this for years and have a status list a mile long, it’s always worth taking stock of where you are with various programs. You might find that you are just a jump away from enjoying the next level. And then you can play hopscotch.

Comments

  1. Okay, have been flying around the world free for a couple of years now, but am totally still in Hicksville on the hotel game. We always saved in that area by staying wherever it was cheapest and boy do we have some stories on THAT score.

    But now we’re older and wanting to burn through all that retirement money we saved so a nicer hotel is more appealing. We do have Silver status with Marriott because of their credit card, but so far as I can tell we haven’t even been given a stale bagel because of that.

    Sooooooo I’m a willing, shall I say even anxious pupil when it comes to getting nice things for free. So please let us newbies know if you see the Club Accor status thingy come up again.

    P.S. Laughed out loud of your image of soothing yourself to sleep with great travel deals. Am so there.

  2. Points Pixie says:

    Anne – Yes! I will definitely share when I hear news about the next Club Accor instant Platinum offer. It seems to happen several times a year. Also, you could leverage your Marriott Silver status. Try it with Hilton (hhonors@hilton.com), Club Carlson (clubcarlson@carlson.com), or IHG (priorityclub@ihg.com) and you will likely have some measure of success.

    Good luck!

    P.S. – Nice to know I’m not the only nut dozing off while dreaming of fantasy trips 😉

  3. I’ve just started to play around with this, but I’m worried that if I status match everywhere around the same time, I’ll have no status after one year and won’t be able to match again. Is it true that you can only match once in a lifetime with each program?

  4. Points Pixie says:

    Schmerj – It depends on the program and also if you are doing a “status challenge” versus a “status match.” For example, the Hyatt Diamond challenge is supposedly once per lifetime. (However, it is worth noting that this could be interpreted as the lifetime of the account, not your lifetime). If you do a simple status match, the requirements may be different. Check out this post on Loyalty Lobby for details: http://loyaltylobby.com/2013/03/14/club-carlson-back-to-back-status-matches-after-status-downgrade/

  5. So this is an area I could do much better in. I don’t always have choice of hotel w/work travel, so I think/hope I’m enrolled in all the right programs. I think I was missing out on Marriott for awhile but added them to my travel profile now. Do you happen to know, in general, how far back you can request retroactive credit to a hotel program? I rarely even check these accounts though there must be points in them I would think, considering all the travel.

    • Points Pixie says:

      Rebecca – One suggestion is to use Award Wallet to manage your points balances. That way you can see at a glance how many points you have in each program – AND when they expire. Another suggestion is to give Marriott a call. Plead your case. If you have a along history of stays with them, you have planned meetings at their properties, or you have heavy travel plans in the future, you could mention all of that. I’m not sure exactly how far back they can manage, but it is absolutely worth a call or two. (If the first person you speak to does not help you, hang up and call back – works more often than you would think). Good luck! Let us know how it turns out.

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