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Having elite status with hotel loyalty programmes can get you some fantastic perks and generally just makes your stays a little bit nicer. What’s better than elite status? – free elite status!
What does ‘elite status’ actually get you?
Upgrades, free breakfast, club lounge access, welcome treats, late check-out, bonus Points etc, are just some of the benefits you can get (bear in mind that every programme is different, and the higher your status the better the perks).
The problem is that ordinarily you need to stay quite a lot (sometime, A LOT) with the same chain in order to earn status – top tier ‘Platinum’ status with Marriott, for instance, requires you to spend 75+ nights per year at their hotels.
For most people (even those who travel frequently), getting mid or high level elite status is therefore normally only possible with one or two chains, if that.
What is status matching?
Hotel loyalty programmes don’t just want to reward existing frequent guests – they also want to encourage new guests to become regulars. In particular, they would like to poach people who stay a lot with their competitors.
They know that these potential frequent guests have got used to enjoying status benefits, and will be even more resistant to switching brands than they otherwise might be, if it means losing the status perks they are accustomed to.
Some hotel loyalty programmes therefore offer to match the status a potential guest has with a competitor to their own equivalent status – which means free elite status for us!
Sounds great, so how do I do this?
Hilton has an extremely generous policy at the moment which we have covered in detail here.
The upshot is that they will match all the way up to their top tier Diamond level, and you should get to keep the status until 31st March 2018.
All you have to do is go to this page and send them proof of your status with another hotel loyalty programme (and that you have stayed at least one night with that competitor in the last 12 months).
Again, we wrote about this in detail a few weeks ago, but to request a Club Carlson status match, all you need to do is simply email [email protected] (put “Status Match” in the subject line) with the following information:
- Full name
- Club Carlson membership number
- Name of other frequent guest program
- Membership number and tier level of the other frequent guest program
- Copy of your membership card from the other frequent guest program (PDF or JPG files only)
Club Carlson match up to Gold status (you can’t match to top-tier ‘Concierge’ level).
They match up to ‘Diamond’ level (possibly up to Diamond Select now?). Best Western Rewards may not be the most exciting loyalty programme in the world, but Diamond status still gets you an upgrade and a welcome gift, as well as bonus points – not bad!
Choice Privileges (Ascend Collection, Cambria Hotels, Comfort Inn, Quality Inn etc)
Choice match up to Platinum. The benefits aren’t great to be honest, but I’d still always rather have status than not.
Simply email [email protected] with the following information:
- Full Name
- Choice Privileges Member Number
- Proof of Elite status in other hotel program:
- Screenshot or copy of your other program’s loyalty card (with expiration date)
- Or, screenshot or copy of other program’s current statement or account status page
Technically, Choice only match members in the United States – I’m sure you can work out out to get around that should you wish…
Send an email to [email protected] with a scan of your membership card and a screenshot of the account you would like to match from.
In case you were wondering, “VOILÀ is a truly unique hotel loyalty program that unites a variety of properties—including four- and five-star independent hotels and resorts—from around the world. VOILÀ rewards you with exclusive membership privileges and points toward free hotel rooms for every dollar you spend at any participating VOILÀ hotel worldwide. The VOILÀ network includes many different brands and includes eclectic independent properties”.
Status match with smaller chains
Having free elite status with big global chains is great, but sometimes you want to stay somewhere a little bit different, or are in a part of the world where the major chains are thin on the ground.
If I’m staying with a smaller or more regional chain I usually check to see if they have a loyalty programme, and if they do, I ask for a status match.
For example, I was contemplating a trip to Boston recently and had some loyalty points (from a now defunct refer a friend promotion) with Sonesta, who run the decent looking Royal Sonesta Boston.
I sent off a quick email with a screenshot of my Hilton status and they got back to me straight away agreeing to upgrade my account to their top level ‘Elite’ status. The perks include an upgrade, free breakfast (or lounge access if the hotel has one), late checkout, welcome amenity etc – not bad for a 30 second email!
But what if I don’t have any status to match from in the first place?
In Part Two of this mini-series on how to get free elite status, I am going to show you how you can get similar perks with three other hotel loyalty programmes just for signing up the right way. I will explain how you can leverage that to get free elite status with each of the six programmes listed above too – after staying just one night!
In other words, I will show you how to get free elite status (or similar perks) in nine different hotel loyalty programmes after just one £50.00 night at a hotel. Earning status in all those programmes the traditional way (by actually staying) would require an astonishing 120+ stays or 160+ nights!