Right now is a great time to earn multiple hotel and airline status’s. Because of the merger with SPG (Starwood) and Marriott International, there are unique ways to leverage and gain multiple status’s by earning just one.
In this post, I will show you how to get status with at least 3 major hotel chains, including my favorite, SPG, as well as status with at least 2 US airlines. The hotel chains are SPG, Marriott and Hilton. The airlines are United and Delta.
To start this, you have 2 paths. The preferred and cheapest path would be to do the Tatse of Platinum challenge with Marriott, which requires 9 nights in 90 days. The alternative would be to do a platiunum challenge with SPG which requires 18 nights in 90 days. I will explain later why there is even a question as to which one to use. Once you have one of the 2 Platiunum status’s, you will match it with the other and have platinum with both.
After you have Marriott Platinum , you can then get complimentary United Silver, just for being Platinum. Also, once you are platinum with SPG, you will have Crossover Rewards with Delta, which is like silver status and in some cases better.
You will then take either your SPG, or Marriott Platinum status, and request a match with Hilton Honors to diamond level. You will get automatic Diamond for 3 months, but if you want to keep it until 2019, YES 2019, you just need to stay 8 stays.
Either way you go it will cost you some money, but I assure you the value you gain is by far worth it! Hotel and airline status is very valuable if you travel any amount at all and you won’t want to go without once you have it!
Step One: Marriott or SPG Platinum
The first step is to sign up for both SPG and Marriott Rewards if you haven’t already. Do this here for SPG or here for Marriott. They are still separate programs but that will change soon so do it now.
Option 1: Marriott
As is mentioned before, the easiest path would be the 9 night requirement for Marriott Taste of Platinum. The only issue with that is its not guaranteed. What I mean by this is Marriott is a bit selective with who they allow to participate and they may ask you to participate instead in a challenge which will just give you one step above what you had, which wont do for this plan. To request send an email to Customer service here , or call them asking very nicely that you want to participate in the Taste of Platinum program. Its very simple, if they allow you into the taste of Platinum, you will have 90 days to stay 9 stays. Depending where you live or travel , this can cost from $500 to $2000 or more. Some hotels are $60 a night others are several hundred. Trust me its worth it!
Option 2: SPG
The guaranteed method would be with SPG. They offer a published Platinum challenge that requires 18 paid nights in a 90 day period. This will obviously cost you more, as its 18 nights versus 9, and SPG hotels are usually more expensive than most Marriott’s. With that said , if you can find a deal like I did in December is can end up being cheap. In December I stayed at the Sheraton Sharm El Sheik resort for around $30 a night. A deal like that is rare, but possible, and would cost you less than $600. More realistically will cost you over $1000. To request the SPG platinum challenge you need to email your request to email@example.com or call SPG and request it.
SPG Platinum is my absolute favorite, and the basic level of platinum which requires normally 25 nights , or what you’ll get from 18 nights include the following benefits:
Once you have status with either of these programs, immediately match it to the other here, that way you will have Platinum with both programs, which is necessary for this to work. They are matching for free and its almost automatic and immediate. The programs may combine next year or later this years so this plan only works like this now.
Step Two: Delta Crossover Rewards and United Silver
Once you have successfully gained Platinum status with both SPG and Marriott Rewards, the next step is to sign up for the 2 airline status’s that come as a perk from being platinum. Here are a benefits, and there is no challenge involved you just have to request them.
The first step is to sign up for United MileagePlus if you haven’t already. Do that here.
Right now because of an agreement and partnership between United Airlines and Marriott, you can get free United Silver status just for being Platinum with Marriott. Althouth silver level is right above the beginner level, its still elite and comes with substantial benefits. The Points Guy (TPG) values United silver at around $920. United Silver premier status include these benefits. Here are a few:
- Complimentary access to Economy Plus seats.
- Complimentary Premier upgrades
- Mileage Bonus
- Priority Check-in, Security and baggage handling
- Priority phone line
- Waved check bag fee
- Enhanced award ticket wait listing
- Fee waiver / discounts
- Star Alliance Silver status
Delta Crossover Rewards
Delta Crossover Rewards is also a free perk of being platinum, but this time its with SPG. Crossover rewards actually works both ways. Its a partnership where if you are elite with one or both you get benefits. You earn Delta miles by staying at SPG properties (if you are Medallion with Delta), and you earn SPG Starpoints by flying on Delta (SPG Gold and Platinum). Depending on the program and your elite level, you also get perks when flying or staying.
As a SPG platinum you receive the following benefits when flying Delta:
- Priority Check-in
- Priority Boarding
- Unlimited Complimentary Upgrades
- First checked bag free
As you can see, its very similar to United Silver status. I was chatting with a fellow blogger the other day and he mentioned he only has crossover rewards with Delta and about 80% of the time gets upgraded, so its a great deal! Its not the same as having status with Delta but if all your looking for is a few benefits, its awesome! Its Free too so, even more awesome!
With these steps done, you not only have platinum status with 2 major hotel companies (now biggest in the world post merger), you also have elite status with 2 major US airlines.
Step Three: Hilton
If you haven’t already signed up for Hilton Honors, do it here first.
Hilton is a great program, and they have many hotels. I have been a tad disappointed with them more and more lately, but they are my fall back loyalty / hotel program. Its unfortunate because Hilton used to be much better, but something over the last year or so has changed, I am hoping it reverses and gets back like it was!
Hilton is offering a status match to their Diamond level from other hotels top tier levels, which platinum with SPG and Marriot qualify. Hilton will match you to Diamond for 90 days just for being platinum with SPG or Marriott. You do not have to do any challenge or required stays to use it for those 90 days. The awesome thing is , right now they will let you keep it until March 31, 2019 if you stay 8 stays in the 90 days. A stay is a check-in and check-out, so you cant check-in for 9 nights to qualify. With this offer you have to stay 9 separate times. That’s almost 2 years of Hiltons TOP status for 9 stays, an awesome deal. The Points Guy (TPG) values Hilton Diamond at over $2,000.
Hilton Diamond benefits are very similar to SPG and Marriott, but it really depends on what brand you stay in within the Hilton portfolio. Here are the benefits.
To request a status match and challenge to keep the status for 2 years go here.
Step Four: Extras
If you want to keep going, you can certainly leverage these newly gained status’s and match them to other programs. I would be very careful for a few reason. Some programs allow one match a lifetime to any level, and you don’t want to waste it. Only match or challenge if you plan to use it. What I do sometimes is wait until the status is about to expire and if I didn’t requalify I will match or challenge to another program. This way I always have a status from a status. To find out about status matches just do a google of the program name and the words status match or status challenge.
In this post I have shown you how to get Platinum status with both SPG and Marriott Rewards. I have also shown you how to gain airline elite status with both Delta and United. And finally I have shown you how to gain Hilton Diamond status for almost 2 years. In a few months you can literally go from no status to at least 4. If you are looking to start traveling, this is a great way to kick-start your status.
The value of all these status’s combined is well over $10,000 USD. So if it cost you $1,000 to originally gain SPG platinum status, you are getting 10 times the value! In many cases the value is worth much more, it all depends on how much you use it and leverage it!
As I mentioned before, right now because of the Merger with SPG and Marriott, its a unique time for these opportunities. Once the merger is fully complete and the programs become one, I doubt they will partner with both airlines. Furthermore, I doubt Hilton will so easily offer status matched (they are trying to get SPG and Marriott people). So my recommendation is get in when the getting is good!
If you have any questions, Please ask in the comments below or send me and email!
Thanks for reading!