We’re now past the first quarter of 2015, and well into the second quarter. For many of us, it’s the start of another elite year as we work toward the requirements of either attaining or renewing our membership cards.
One of the focuses of my blog is open disclosure about how I fund trips, why I travel the way I do, what tools I use to travel (credit cards and the like) and where my loyalty is. Passing the first quarter, I wanted to update you on where I am with elite status, and check-in with you to see where you’re at.
American Airlines Executive Platinum
By far my favorite airline status, I enjoy domestic complimentary upgrades (which clear a majority of the time), systemwide upgrades, and free redepositing of awards, among other valuable perks.
As you can see, I’ll most likely qualify on miles, of which I am over the halfway mark for this year. Not having passed this mark until mid-summer last year, I much prefer qualifying sooner rather than later, since it leaves some buffer room for possible travel changes later in the year. With upcoming paid trips to Dallas, Los Angeles, Miami, Minneapolis and more, I expect to hit the 100,000 mile mark probably sometime early in the fall.
Kimpton Inner Circle
Kimpton Inner Circle is perhaps my favorite hotel loyalty status, mainly due to the easiness of getting free nights, and the almost limitless upgrades to suites, as well as fantastic welcome amenities.
Admittedly, with the announced buy-out of Kimpton by IHG, I haven’t completed any paid Kimpton stays this year (I’ve used up a few free nights, though). At only 14 stays needed to re-qualify, this is something I can fairly easily accomplish in the Fall, though my reasoning for not completing them now is not knowing what the future of the Kimpton Karma rewards program will hold. It may end up completely merging into the IHG loyalty program, whereby I can earn top tier Platinum status simply by holding their credit card. Because of all of these “unknowns,” I’ll continue to take advantage of the perks I have for now, but only on free nights, until we have a better picture about what the future will hold.
Of the major hotel chains, I consider Hyatt Diamond to be the most valuable. Enjoying confirmed suite upgrades, points and cash awards, as well as guaranteed complimentary breakfast or club access, Hyatt Diamond is tough to beat. Further, I enjoy Hyatt’s properties, though understand that they’re limited footprint can be a hindrance to some.
Emerald Club Executive Membership – Provided through my American Express Platinum card, I can skip the lines, receive point bonuses, and also receive car-category upgrades. I have not rented any Emerald cars this year.
Hertz #1 Club Gold – Provided through my American Express Platinum card, I can skip the lines, receive point bonuses, and also receive car-category upgrades. I usually rent cars through Hertz, and while I’ve rented a few this year, I am not focussed on earning or attaining elite status since this is provided complimentary through my American Express Platinum card.
Starwood Preferred Guest Gold – Provided through my American Express Platinum card, I receive welcome point bonuses, complimentary internet, room upgrades, and sometimes even club access. I have not stayed in Starwood properties to-date this year, and only have one planned for this summer for a conference I will be at in Phoenix.
Hilton Gold – Provided through my American Express Platinum card, I receive select room upgrades, complimentary breakfast and wifi. I have not stayed at any Hilton properties so-far, and do not have any current reservations planned, either.
Club Carlson Gold – Provided through my Club Carlson Premier Rewards Visa Signature card, I receive room upgrades, 2 for 1 point redemption offers, welcome amenities and point bonuses. As you know, the 2 for 1 point redemption offer will soon be going away, but I’ll be keeping this card due to the anniversary bonus points, and status for holding the card. I have one Club Carlson stay planned over Labor Day Weekend in Dublin, and will be using points for the room, though will enjoy the benefits of status, too.
While we’re at it, let’s talk about lounge access, too:
Delta SkyClub – Accessible through my American Express Platinum card. I’ve since canceled by Delta Reserve card, but still enjoy access through my Amex. I don’t normally fly Delta, so this benefit is of little use to me, but included with the card.
American Airlines AAdmiral’s Club – Accessible through my Citi Executive AAdvantage card. I also receive access to oneworld lounges when traveling on an international itinerary thanks to my oneworld Emerald status. I’ll keep the Citi Executive AAdvantage card due to full lounge membership.
Priority Pass Select – Provides lounge access to a number of third-part and mainline airline lounges through my American Express Platinum card. No argument here! 🙂
American Express Centurion Lounges – Accessible via the American Express Platinum card, these lounges are located in select airports and feature full premium bar service, complimentary buffet-style food, high-speed internet, complimentary spa services, kid-specific play rooms, and more. I’ll never cancel this card… 🙂
So, that about sums it up for me of where I’m at for elite status, and, with that, what lounges I have access to, too. So, where are you with elite status? Have you already re-qualified, or are you spreading out your nights, stays, miles and segments throughout the year? What’s your strategy?
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