Midyear Elite Status Check: How to Make Sure You’re on Track

While only you can decide how much time to devote to your points
and miles hobby, the travelers who reap the most success are almost
always the ones who do the most planning. As we have just passed
the midway point of 2019, it’s time to check in and see how
you’re doing in your quest to earn — or requalify for — those
coveted perks that come along with being an elite member of a given
program.

Whether you’ve been diligently following a plan since January
1 or are just starting to think about this now, today we’ll share
a few tips to help you earn the elite status you want.

If you want to check out how TPG staffers are doing in our
elite-qualification goals, check out the following posts:

In This Post Know Where You Stand

Before you start to plan your next six months of travel, it’s
critical to look back at your previous six months. Take some time
to stop and check in with your preferred airline(s) or hotel
program(s) and see how many elite credits you’ve already
accumulated in 2019. Unfortunately, we’ve seen a number of tech
problems this year — many still stemming from the Marriott/SPG
integration — so now is a good time to
audit your accounts
and make sure all your travel from this
year has posted correctly.

Many loyalty programs make it easy to see how many flights or
nights you need to move up to the next rung of elite status. For
example, every time you log in to the Marriott website, you’re
reminded of how many more nights — or qualified spending — you
need for the subsequent tier in 2020.

Another great tool is the AAdvantage app, which will readjust
your elite trackers depending on which level of status you’re
aiming to earn. It defaults to showing the tier above the one you
currently have, which is a nice way to keep you motivated.

Leverage the Power of Credit Cards

Picking the right cobranded credit card can go a long way
towards
helping you qualify for elite status
. With airline credit cards
— specifically those offered by Delta and United — you can earn
a waiver on elite spending requirements by putting a certain amount
of purchases on your cobranded credit card each year.

  • Delta: Spending $25,000 on a card like the

    Gold Delta SkyMiles® Credit Card from American Express
    waives
    the Medallion Qualification Dollar (MQD) requirement for all status
    tiers up to Platinum, while you’d need to spend $250,000 for a
    waiver for Diamond Medallion.
  • United: Spending $25,000 on a card like the

    United Explorer Card
    gets you a Premier Qualifying Dollar (PQD)
    waiver for Silver, Gold and Platinum, while Premier 1K doesn’t
    offer a waiver.

In addition, a handful of cards will offer elite-qualifying
miles to help you close the gap — either as part of a welcome
offer or by spending. Here’s a breakdown of some of these
options:

Credit Card Welcome Bonus Calendar Year Spending Bonus

Citi / AAdvantage Executive World Elite Mastercard
N/A 10,000 Elite Qualifying Miles (EQMs) after spending
$40,000

Platinum Delta SkyMiles® Credit Card from American
Express
5,000 Medallion Qualification Miles (MQMs) and 35,000 bonus
miles after you spend $1,000 in purchases on your new card in your
first three months.
10,000 bonus miles and 10,000 MQMs after spending $25,000;
another 10,000 miles and 10,000 MQMs after spending $50,000

Delta Reserve® Credit Card from American Express
10,000 MQMs and 40,000 bonus miles after you spend $3,000 in
purchases on your new card in your first three months.
15,000 miles and 15,000 MQMs after spending $30,000; another
15,000 miles and 15,000 MQMs after spending $60,000

Southwest Rapid Rewards Priority Credit Card


Southwest Rapid Rewards Premier Credit Card


Southwest Rapid Rewards Performance Business Credit Card

N/A 1,500 Tier Qualifying Points (TQPs) for every $10,000 in
purchases (up to a maximum of 15,000 TQPs after $100,000 in annual
spending)

These are some hefty spending thresholds but can still help
close the gap.

Note that if you’re after
JetBlue Mosaic status
, you can earn that simply by spending
$50,000 in a calendar year on the JetBlue
Plus Card
.

RELATED: The
Best Airline Credit Cards of 2019

Hotel credit cards are a slightly different story. For example,
if you hold any of the
Marriott Bonvoy credit cards
, you’ll get 15 elite night
credits each year (limited to
one per Bonvoy account
, not one per credit card). This is
enough to qualify you for
Silver Elite status
and jump start you towards a higher tier.
It also effectively drops the requirement for earning Platinum
Elite status from 50 nights down to 35, while Titanium’s
threshold falls from 75 nights to 60.

Several credit cards also let you spend your way to a higher
status, such as the
Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant™ American Express® Card
which gives you Platinum status
after spending $75,000 in a year or the
Marriott Bonvoy Business™ American Express® Card
which gives you Gold status
after spending $35,000 in a year. Meanwhile,
The World of Hyatt Credit Card
offers cardholders five elite
night credits plus another two for every $5,000 they spend.

If you map out your travel for the rest of the year and realize
you’re still going to come up short, it’s also possible to earn
status outright just by opening the right credit card(s) and paying
any applicable annual fees. Here are a few of your best options for
doing so:

For more information, check out our guide to
credit cards that offer hotel elite status
.

Status Matching, Deal Hunting & Other Tips

One of the dangers of elite status is the impulse to keep
chasing it year after year, even if it doesn’t make sense for
you. If you’ve recently moved or find your travel patterns
changing, it might be time to consider a status challenge or match
to a new airline/hotel instead of staying blindly loyal. Make sure
to check out TPG‘s complete guides to
airline status matches and challenges
and
hotel status matches and challenges
.

While it’s not as easy to take a true “mileage run” these
days, you can also get a whole lot closer to elite status by
jumping on the right deals. For airline elite status, the sweet —
and comfortable — spot is cheap, international, business-class
tickets that cover a long distance without costing too much. You
can even utilize a pay-with-points
bonus
on a card like the
Chase Sapphire Reserve
or
The Business Platinum® Card from American Express
, since these
tickets are generally treated as normal revenue tickets and thus
eligible to help with your elite qualification. When you factor in
the value of the elite status you’re earning and the bonus miles
you’ll get from flying in a premium cabin, you may actually

get much more value from these tickets
than the card issuer
would lead you to believe.

With hotels, you can take the same approach and look for
inexpensive rates in smaller markets to boost your count. The good
news is that if you’re trying to hit a certain number of stays or
elite nights, it doesn’t matter whether you spend them in a
Ritz-Carlton
or a Residence Inn. Finally, note that most programs — including
Hilton Honors, Marriott Bonvoy and World of Hyatt — also count
award stays toward elite status, so redeeming your points for trips
later this year could help put you closer to qualification.

Bottom Line

While 2019 is already halfway over, it’s not too late to get
serious about earning elite status for this year and next — since
most airline
and hotel
programs
award status for the rest of the year and the
following year. The first step is to look at how much traveling
you’ve already done and how much you have planned for the rest of
the year, and be honest with yourself about what you can actually
achieve. Next you should look at how a credit card might be able to
speed up your goal, and always keep your eyes open for deals with
your preferred airline or hotel. A spontaneous trip is so much
easier to justify when it also gets you closer to earning valuable
elite status.

Featured photo by Shutterstock.com

Source: FS – All-Travel destinations-News2
Midyear Elite Status Check: How to Make Sure You’re on Track