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Free flights and stays and earn status?

Free flights and stays and earn status?

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Old Sep 29, 13, 5:41 pm
  #1  
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Free flights and stays and earn status?

Sorry if this is a silly question. I'm working on learning the game and appreciate all the info on this forum. A lot of the info on here is about flying for free and staying in hotels on points, but it also seems like a great many people here have status in airline and hotel programs. As far as I can tell things like reward flights don't count toward status milestones. Am I missing something here or do many people with status earn it through paid work travel instead of the award travel and credit card bonuses?
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Old Sep 29, 13, 6:03 pm
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Free flights and stays and earn status?

Status is normally earned by paid stays or flights , some credit cards (delta Amex , visa Marriott , old continental club) will allow you to get status if you charge a lot on the credit card .
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Old Sep 29, 13, 6:16 pm
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SPG grants status credit for award stays. Some credit cards bestow instant status, like HH.

Otherwise you need to fly/stay with cash to earn status.
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Old Sep 29, 13, 11:07 pm
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I'm going to guess that most of us get upper echelon status via work travel. I augment my work travel with mileage runs at the end of the year if I'm within a reasonable outlay of cash for the miles I need to hit the status level I want to hit. I used to do at most one a year to somewhere simple. I still can't believe I let FT members convince me to visit Saigon and Bahrain, so what can I say?
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Old Sep 30, 13, 3:50 am
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There are two kinds of miles/points: "status-qualifying" ones and redeemable ones. They are very different. Award travel in general doesn't count for travel (it does for SPG, as mentioned above). You're right that a big part of FT is about credit card churning and other tactics to getting redeemable miles for "free" travel, but a larger part (I think) is about the ins and outs of each airline and hotel program.

Getting status and simply getting "free" travel using miles are very different things, but they are related. There are people who just care about the redeemable miles and not status, but people with status tend to be able to earn redeemable miles/points more quickly. For example, as an AA Platinum member, I get double redeemable miles on all my flights. A trip from NYC-PVG nets me more than 30K miles, more than enough for a domestic round trip. But finding award availability is too much hassle for me nowadays, so I just use my miles to upgrade my personal travel. So I don't bother much with the "free travel" aspect, but many do.

I'd say the majority of people with status gain it though employer-paid work travel, but some people (like me) do it solely on personal travel.
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Old Sep 30, 13, 3:19 pm
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You can amass lots of hotel points and meaningful elite statuses without a single paid hotel stay. That side is rather easy.

Airlines have far fewer shortcuts. You can easily pick up preboarding privileges, a single checked bag per flight, discounts in redemptions, etc. just by signing up for credit cards, but airlines typically carve off the "real" elite status to people who fly paid tickets. Even the credit cards that generate elite-qualifying miles/points at certain spending thresholds would require a *lot* of spending to fully achieve a meaningful elite tier that way. The thresholds are mainly designed to nudge someone along a little faster while they are also flying regularly.
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Old Sep 30, 13, 3:53 pm
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I have 5 hotel statuses, and have only stayed on free nights in chains.
Its very possible to have hotel status by just having the right (often free) credit card.

Its very possible to get many airline benefits that status would give you with the right credit card as well.
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Old Sep 30, 13, 4:00 pm
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Lots of great responses here. Thanks everyone. So what I am hearing is that possibly phase two after amassing enough points for a couple tickets in a few different programs might be to research some cards with nice benefits even if they don't have the big sign up bonuses. I appreciate the thoughtful feedback.
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Old Sep 30, 13, 4:53 pm
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Originally Posted by rankourabu View Post
I have 5 hotel statuses, and have only stayed on free nights in chains.
Its very possible to have hotel status by just having the right (often free) credit card.

Its very possible to get many airline benefits that status would give you with the right credit card as well.
Ok yes well, I have Hilton Silver from the AmEx card, IHG Platinum from the Chase IHG card, and SPG Gold from the AmEx Platinum card. SPG Gold may be a somewhat legitimate status, but the AmEx Platinum, with a $450 annual fee, is no ordinary credit card. The others I'd say are pretty useless. Not completely useless, but I'm sure lots of people wouldn't consider it "real" status.

I am an IC Royal Ambassador, which is from actual paid stays, and is the actual top tier at IHG. I get lots of benefits like guaranteed suite/exec room upgrade, complimentary minibar, etc. You can't get that kind of status with just a credit card.
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Old Sep 30, 13, 5:33 pm
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Originally Posted by Apieinthesky View Post

I am an IC Royal Ambassador, which is from actual paid stays, and is the actual top tier at IHG. I get lots of benefits like guaranteed suite/exec room upgrade, complimentary minibar, etc. You can't get that kind of status with just a credit card.
No you cant.
If I was staying in hotels on my employer's dime, I am sure I'd have 75 nights a year too in a single chain.

But I dont stay in hotels for work, if I stayed at an IC 75 nights a year, the out-of-pocket cost of booking an IC over a reasonably priced hotel, especially overseas would be far greater than benefits from any status.

so, alas, I ll have to be satisfied with free Platinum status from my free credit card.
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Old Oct 1, 13, 7:13 am
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Originally Posted by rankourabu View Post
I have 5 hotel statuses, and have only stayed on free nights in chains.
Its very possible to have hotel status by just having the right (often free) credit card.

Its very possible to get many airline benefits that status would give you with the right credit card as well.
i do not know of any airline benes from bought card other than free bag, front of line boarding, and the lounge. (excluding amex megabuck card, if still offered). wife and i fly about 50K a year using FF tickets. we each have a couple thousand ff miles from paid short hauls to family. absolutely no status with any airline.

my only interest in getting status is some airlines give better selection on award flights to elites
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Old Oct 1, 13, 7:25 am
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Originally Posted by Apieinthesky View Post
Ok yes well, I have Hilton Silver from the AmEx card, IHG Platinum from the Chase IHG card, and SPG Gold from the AmEx Platinum card. SPG Gold may be a somewhat legitimate status, but the AmEx Platinum, with a $450 annual fee, is no ordinary credit card. The others I'd say are pretty useless. Not completely useless, but I'm sure lots of people wouldn't consider it "real" status.
SPG Gold is borderline useful, but you don't need the $450 Amex...the standard SPG Amex with $30k in spending will do the trick. Since I still consider 1 Starpoint the "gold standard" for general credit card spending, I consider SPG Gold a truly free status via this means.

HH Diamond is probably the best status you can get with a credit card. Requires $40k spending per year. I earn somewhere around 3.5 HH points per dollar spent when I do this, which I value a *little* less than 1 Starpoint. So I can't call Diamond totally "free", but I get enough value out of it that it's worth the $100-200 in net value in Starpoints that I give up to get it.

Marriott Silver is like SPG Gold - useful mainly in distinguishing you from the guests who truly don't pay attention to hotel programs. Good news is that you don't have to spend a dime on the Marriott Visa to keep it...you always have your 15 EQN every year, so you're always Silver.

Originally Posted by slawecki View Post
my only interest in getting status is some airlines give better selection on award flights to elites
Yeah, *that* level of status (usually top tier or close to it to get access to extra award seats) requires some real flying.

I remember AA used to send me special award route offers as a Citi AA cardholder (maybe 7-8 years ago?) but I don't believe they were adding inventory for cardholders...I think it was just a minor discount on miles needed to redeem.
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Old Oct 1, 13, 8:56 am
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In addition to SPG giving night/stay credits for award bookings, DL gives full status miles for business and first class "pay with miles" tickets which are NOT the same as award tickets.

As a general rule, upgrading with miles or certs gets you airline status and redeemable miles for the fare you paid.
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