Ultimate Guide to Hotel Loyalty Program Status Matches and Challenges

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Most travelers enjoy the special treatment they receive from having hotel loyalty program elite status… so much so that long-term relationships may be built with the hotel brand preference, and in the process, the traveler becomes qualified for hotel elite status.

Once you’ve grown accustomed to upgraded rooms, executive lounge access, late check-out, complimentary breakfast, and other amenities, it can be difficult to break away and stay at other hotel chains.

Fortunately, with hotel loyalty program status matches and challenges, you may not have to give up those hard-earned perks to try out a new brand — and that is our topic today.

We’re going to talk about utilizing your current hotel loyalty program elite status to receive corresponding complimentary elite status in another hotel loyalty program. This strategy can be extremely helpful if you’ve relocated, changed jobs, or you simply want to try a different hotel brand.

Let’s get started by covering which hotel programs offer these status matches/challenges, the requirements, and the process for submitting a request. We’ll also discuss some of the benefits you can expect to receive with elite status. We’ve included our recommendations for hotel-branded credit cards that may offer an even faster path to elite status or that compliment the specific hotel rewards program.

It’s a lot to cover, so let’s get started.

How Do Hotel Loyalty Program Status Matches and Challenges Work?

Hotel rewards programs want to attract good customers with proven loyalty and 1 strategy for doing so is to offer a match of your current earned hotel elite status to the corresponding elite status in their hotel loyalty program.

This match gives a proven loyal customer time to try out the new brand, while having similar elite status, and with hopes that the guest will continue to stay at that brand in the future. It’s worth noting that normally only earned (versus granted) elite status will be matched, but there are exceptions where status held by having a co-branded hotel credit card has been matched.

A status match may be good for 90 days, even longer, and may include requirements for a specified number of stays or nights within that time period to extend your status. This additional stay requirement is commonly called a “challenge.” If you meet the challenge stay requirements, the extended status could last a set number of additional months, the remainder of the current calendar year, or even the entire subsequent calendar year, depending on the structure of the match/challenge.

Note that usually only paid stays count towards a challenge and stays must be booked directly through the hotel reservation website versus a third party, such as an online travel agency.

Most major hotel loyalty programs offer matches, challenges, or a combination of the 2, but offers can be withdrawn at any time. Also, not all hotel loyalty programs publish the requirements for a status match or challenge. In these cases, different customers may receive different offers.

Let’s look at some of the most popular hotel loyalty program status matches and challenges.

Marriott Bonvoy

The St. Regis Bahia Beach Resort Puerto Rico Pool
With nearly 7,000 properties worldwide, there’s a Marriott property appropriate for every traveler. The St. Regis Bahia Beach Resort, Puerto Rico. Image Credit: Marriott

The Status Match and Challenge

UPDATE: For a limited time, Marriott is currently offering a status match challenge to Marriott Bonvoy Rewards members who hold status with another major hotel chain. When your request is approved, you will have 90 days to complete challenge requirements to maintain status beyond the initially granted 90-day period. Elite status will then be extended until February 2022. Learn more here. In the meantime, the fast-track challenge mentioned in this article is not available. 

While Marriott Bonvoy doesn’t offer a status match to other hotel loyalty program elite status, it does have a RewardsPlus partnership program with United Airlines and matches United Premier Gold members (and higher) to Marriott Bonvoy Gold Elite status. You can register here.

For others who want a fast track to Marriott Bonvoy hotel program elite status, the program does offer a status challenge.

You do not need to have a corresponding status to participate, as even a Marriott Bonvoy member can elect to do the challenge. For example, if you are a Marriott Bonvoy Gold Elite member, you can choose to do a challenge for higher Platinum Elite status.

Enroll in the Marriott Bonvoy loyalty program before registering for the challenge. Have your account number ready, call Marriott Bonvoy at 800-627-7468, and ask for a Marriott Bonvoy representative (if you are not immediately directed to one). You must select one of the challenge levels, Gold or Platinum, at the time of registration.

You will have the remainder of the current month plus 3 additional months to complete the challenge. For example, if you call in on March 15, you would have the remainder of March plus all of April, May, and June to complete the stays you need to extend status.

  • Gold Challenge — stay 8 paid nights
  • Platinum Challenge — stay 16 paid nights

A word of caution voiced by members who have completed the challenge and had issues — document the challenge offer, follow up with a call back to make sure the challenge is noted in your account, and check your Marriott Bonvoy account to see if the challenge has been listed under your “promotions” (it may or may not be, but if it is you can be assured you’re registered).

You could also request a follow-up email confirming that you are enrolled in the challenge and that it states the specific terms of the challenge such as dates, number of nights needed, and level of elite status requested.

Since Marriott Bonvoy does not publish a status match or challenge, this information was gathered from calling Marriott Bonvoy directly, from Marriott Insider bulletin boards, and sites such as StatusMatcher and FlyerTalk.

The Benefits of Marriott Bonvoy Elite Status

All elite members receive complimentary Wi-Fi, a dedicated reservation line, and the fifth night free when booking 5 consecutive award nights.

Elite LevelNights Required Each Calendar Year
Key Benefits
Silver1010% bonus points on stays, late check-out when available
Gold2525% bonus points on stays, 2 p.m. late check-out, enhanced room upgrades, welcome points
Platinum5050% bonus points on stays, executive lounge access, complimentary breakfast, 4 p.m. late check-out, early check-in, enhanced room upgrades including suites, annual choice benefit
Titanium7575% bonus points on stays, all Platinum benefits, an additional choice benefit, United Airlines Silver Premier status, guaranteed room availability
Ambassador100 plus $20,000 in qualified spending at MarriottAll Titanium benefits plus an assigned personal ambassador and “Your 24” with the ability to pick check-in/check-out times

This is just an overview of the key benefits of Marriott Bonvoy elite status. We’ve written extensively for you on the Marriott Bonvoy loyalty program in articles such as the value of Marriott Bonvoy elite status, how to earn lots of Marriott points, and the best way to redeem your Marriott points for maximum value.

The Best Credit Cards for Marriott Bonvoy Loyalists

American Express and Chase issue several Marriott-branded credit cards, each with the potential to serve a Marriott guest well. Here are just a couple of the best credit cards for Marriott loyalists.

Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant™ American Express© Card

Why we like the card for Marriott Bonvoy loyalists:

  • Complimentary Marriott Bonvoy Gold Elite status
  • Receive Platinum Elite status after spending $75,000 on the card in a calendar year
  • Worldwide lounge access to over 1,200 Priority Pass locations
  • Free hotel night certificate each card anniversary year, worth up to 50,000 points
  • $300 statement credit for Marriott purchases each card anniversary year
  • $100 property credit at Ritz-Carlton or St. Regis properties
  • 6x earnings at Marriott, 3x earnings on flights booked with airlines and U.S. restaurants, 2x earnings all other purchases
  • 15 qualifying elite night credits towards elite status
  • Trip cancellation and interruption insurance

Marriott Bonvoy Boundless™ Credit Card

Why we like the card for Marriott Bonvoy loyalists:

  • Complimentary Marriott Bonvoy Silver Elite status
  • Receive Gold Elite status after spending $35,000 on the card
  • Free hotel night certificate each card anniversary year, worth up to 35,000 points
  • 6x earnings at Marriott, 2x earnings all other purchases
  • 15 qualifying elite night credits towards elite status

Both cards come with complimentary premium Wi-Fi at Marriott properties, no foreign transaction fees, purchase protection, and travel benefits such as secondary car rental insurance, trip delay, and baggage delay.

For an overview of all the best credit cards for Marriott loyalists, you’ll want to access our comprehensive article.

Bottom Line: Marriott Bonvoy offers a status challenge versus a status match. You can participate in a Gold or Platinum level challenge that will extend status after staying 8 qualifying nights or 16 qualifying nights, respectively, within the 90-day challenge period. 

Hilton Honors

London Hilton on Park Lane Room
Enjoy the perks of an upgraded room, complimentary breakfast, and more, with Hilton Honors elite status. London Hilton on Park Lane. Image Credit: Hilton

The Status Match and Challenge

Hilton Honors will match most current equivalent hotel elite statuses to its Gold level for an initial 90-day period. During that time period, you’ll have the option to complete a challenge.

  • Stay 10 nights during the 90-day challenge period and extend Gold status through March 31, 2021
  • Stay 18 nights during the 90-day challenge period and receive top-level Diamond status through March 31, 2021

To request that your current elite status be matched and to participate in a challenge, sign up for Hilton Honors, then complete the online status match request. You’ll need to provide your Hilton Honors membership number, proof of your current hotel elite status, and documentation of a Hilton hotel stay within the past 12 months.

The Benefits of Hilton Honors Elite Status

The benefits of Hilton Honors elite status are many. Here are just some highlights of what you can expect as a Hilton Honors elite:

  • Silver Status — standard free Wi-Fi, late check-out, fifth consecutive award night free, 20% bonus points on stays, elite rollover nights, no resort fees on award stays
  • Gold Status — all Silver benefits plus room upgrades, free breakfast, and 80% bonus points on hotel stays
  • Diamond Status — all previously mentioned benefits plus an upgrade to premium Wi-Fi, 100% bonus points on hotel stays, upgraded room included suites, executive lounge access, and the ability to gift status

For more information on the value of Hilton Honors elite status, what it takes to qualify, and details on the benefits of each elite level, you’ll be interested in our related articles.

The Best Credit Card for Hilton Honors Loyalists

Hilton Honors American Express Aspire Card

You’ll normally find nothing higher than mid-level elite status on a hotel-branded credit card, but the Hilton Aspire card delivers much more. The card offers top-level Hilton Honors Diamond status for as long as you hold the card.

Why we like the card for Hilton Honors Loyalists:

It’s easy to learn more about earning lots of Hilton Honors points, the best ways to redeem your points, and the best credit cards for Hilton loyalists as we’ve created several informational articles.

Bottom Line: Hilton Honors will grant a status match for an initial 90-day period then extend the status after completion of the challenge requirements during that time. Staying 10 qualifying nights during the period extends Gold status while staying 18 nights is required to extend Platinum status. The Hilton Aspire card offers the quickest way to top elite status, offering Diamond level status as long as you have the card. 

World of Hyatt

Hyatt Regency Washington On Capitol Hill Exterior View
Status match to World of Hyatt and enjoy staying at well-located properties such as the Hyatt Regency Washington on Capitol Hill in D.C. Image Credit: Hyatt

The Status Match and Challenge

While there isn’t currently a public status match or challenge available with World of Hyatt, some corporations are eligible for their employees to participate in status challenges. Check with your travel booking department to see if your company currently participates.

Hyatt also has a partnership with American Airlines. Select AAdvantage elite members may qualify for Hyatt elite challenges or status matches. You can link your accounts and get more information here.

Also worth noting is that, due to an ongoing partnership, MGM M life Rewards members can receive the corresponding World of Hyatt status.

The Benefits of World of Hyatt Elite Status

Whether it’s entry-level Discoverist status, mid-tier Explorist, or top-level Globalist, you’ll enjoy the perks of being a World of Hyatt elite. Here’s a quick overview of the benefits of having status with Hyatt.

  • Discoverist — complimentary free premium internet, free breakfast at participating Hyatt Place properties, resort fees waived on award nights, basic room upgrade, 2 p.m. check-out, early 12 p.m. check-in
  • Explorist — all the benefits of Discoverist status plus room upgrades to the best room available, excluding suites
  • Globalist — all previously mentioned benefits plus free lounge access, suite upgrades when available, Guest of Honor privileges to gift award nights to family/friends, late 4 p.m. check-out, free hotel parking on award nights

All elite members receive a dedicated reservation line, bottled water, member-only rates, dedicated check-in area, and corresponding MGM M life Rewards elite status.

If you’re interested in World of Hyatt elite status, including MGM M life Rewards status, you can learn more in our comprehensive article that tells you everything you need to know.

The Best Credit Card for World of Hyatt Loyalists

World of Hyatt Credit Card

The Hyatt Credit Card supports the World of Hyatt loyalty program nicely with free hotel nights, elite qualifying nights each year, and elevated earnings at Hyatt properties.

Why we like the card for World of Hyatt loyalists:

  • Free hotel night certificate at card renewal
  • Complimentary World of Hyatt Discoverist status
  • 5 elite qualifying nights towards elite status qualification each calendar year
  • Earn 2 additional elite qualifying nights for each $5,000 spent on the card
  • 9x earnings at Hyatt
  • 2x earnings on flights, local transit, fitness/gym memberships, restaurants

To learn more about the Hyatt Credit Card and the best credit cards for Hyatt loyalists check out our related articles.

Bottom Line: World of Hyatt is not offering a status match or challenge currently, but certain corporate clients may participate in a status challenge. World of Hyatt members who have MGM M life Rewards status may receive reciprocal elite status. 

IHG Rewards Club

Holiday Inn Dead Sea
Earn IHG Rewards Club points and redeem for free nights at properties throughout the world.  Holiday Inn Dead Sea, Jordan. Image Credit: Holiday Inn

The Status Match and Challenge

IHG Rewards Club periodically offers status matches but it does not currently have a promotion on offer. When the promotion is running, you are normally able to match to Gold, Platinum, or the top Spire Elite status.

If you have a lot of upcoming stays booked with IHG it’s always good to send an email or call and check to see if there is an imminent or current promotion.

Additionally, IHG allows you to purchase Ambassador Elite status which grants elite benefits at Intercontinental properties. Ambassador status costs $200 or you can redeem 40,000 IHG Rewards Club points.

The Benefits of IHG Rewards Club Elite Status

All IHG Rewards elite members receive priority check-in, extended check-out, special member rates, free internet, a welcome amenity, and “Raid the Bar” at Kimpton properties. Rewards nights also count toward elite status for all members.

Here are the additional benefits you can expect with IHG Rewards elite status:

  • Gold Elite — 10% bonus points on stays
  • Platinum Elite — 50% bonus points on stays, complimentary room upgrades, elite rollover nights, guaranteed room availability
  • Spire Elite — all Platinum Elite benefits, 100% bonus points on stays, Hertz Gold Plus Rewards 5 Star upgrades, choice benefit

The Best Credit Card for IHG Rewards Club Loyalists

IHG® Rewards Club Premier Credit Card

  • Generous welcome bonus
  • Complimentary Platinum Elite status
  • Free night certificate each card anniversary worth up to 40,000 points
  • Fourth consecutive award night free
  • 25x points per dollar spent at IHG properties
  • 2x points at grocery stores, gas stations, and restaurants
  • Spend $20,000 in a calendar year on the card and receive 10,000 bonus points
  • $800 in cell phone protection
  • Trip cancellation/interruption insurance

To decide which IHG-branded credit card is right for you, you’ll want to read our full review. To learn how to earn lots of IHG Rewards Club points and redeem them for great value, we’ve covered these topics, too.

Bottom Line: IHG is not currently offering a status match or challenge. However, Ambassador status, good at Intercontinental properties, can be purchased for $200. IHG Rewards Club Platinum Elite status can be secured by having the IHG Premier card. 

Wyndham Rewards

Wyndham Kona Hawaiian Resort
Wyndham has a diverse portfolio of properties that includes budget options, mid-tier properties, and high-end resorts. Wyndham Kona Resort, Hawaii. Image Credit: Club Wyndham

The Status Match and Challenge

Update:While Wyndham has currently suspended its status match and challenge program, we’ll still detail the previous program as we are hopeful the program will return. One exception to the suspension of Wyndham status matches is the brand’s reciprocatory relationship with the Caesars Rewards program. Top Wyndham Rewards Platinum and Diamond members may still status match to Caesars Rewards program

If you are a member of any of the major hotel loyalty programs, Wyndham will match you to its Gold level status. You do not need to have elite status in another program to receive Wyndham Gold status.

Wyndham offers an elite status match that grants equivalent elite status for 90 days from the date of approval. To extend the status, the member must complete the required amount of stays during the 90-day period.

For the Platinum level, the required number of stays for the challenge is 7 and for Diamond, it is 14 stays. Once those stays are completed, status is extended to December 31 of the following calendar year.

Here is a sampling of what you can expect when you request a status match with Wyndham.

Hotel Loyalty ProgramStatus Level in Current ProgramMatched to This Wyndham Status Level
Marriott BonvoySilver ElitePlatinum
Marriott BonvoyGold Elite, Platinum Elite, Titanium Elite, Ambassador EliteDiamond
Hilton HonorsSilverPlatinum
Hilton HonorsGold, DiamondDiamond
World of HyattDiscoveristPlatinum
World of HyattExplorist, GlobalistDiamond
IHG Rewards ClubGoldPlatinum
IHG Rewards ClubPlatinum Elite, Spire EliteDiamond
Radisson RewardsSilverPlatinum
Radisson RewardsGold, PlatinumDiamond
Choice PrivilegesGold, PlatinumPlatinum
Choice PrivilegesDiamondDiamond
Best WesternGold, Platinum, DiamondPlatinum
Best WesternDiamond SelectDiamond

The Benefits of Wyndham Rewards Elite Status

All Wyndham Rewards members receive free Wi-Fi, rollover elite nights, go free local gift or experience discount voucher, and a minimum of 1,000 points per stay.

BenefitsGold — 5 NightsPlatinum — 15 NightsDiamond — 40 Nights
Preferred Room ChoiceXXX
Late Check-OutXXX
Early Check-InXX
Avis and Budget Car Rental UpgradesXX
Welcome AmenityX
Suite UpgradesX
Gift Gold StatusX

The Best Credit Card for Wyndham Rewards Loyalists

Wyndham Rewards® Visa® Card

Why we like the card for Wyndham Rewards loyalists:

  • Welcome bonus
  • 5x earnings for spending at Wyndham properties in addition to 10 points per dollar for staying at Wyndham
  • 2x earnings on telecommunications, cable, satellite, gas, electric, heating, water bill, and at gas stations
  • 6,000 Wyndham Rewards points at each card renewal
  • $75 annual fee

Barclays also issues a Wyndham Rewards Card with no annual fee. You can learn more about these 2 cards and all the ways to earn Wyndham Rewards points here.

Bottom Line: Wyndham Rewards will match members of other hotel rewards programs to its Gold status level and corresponding elite members to the same Wyndham Rewards elite level. To extend status beyond the initial 90-day match, Gold level requires 7 qualifying stays and Diamond requires 14 stays. 

Radisson Rewards

Radisson Hotel Egypt
Radisson has some stunning properties that offer excellent redemption value. The Radisson Blu Resort, El Quseir, Egypt. Image Credit: Radisson

The Status Match

While Radisson Rewards offers a quick and easy path to matching your existing hotel status, the hotel chain limits status matches to once in a lifetime. For this reason, you’ll want to plan the timing your request for when the status is especially important to you, perhaps for an upcoming stay at a special property or an extended stay.

The program has 3 elite levels but only Silver and Gold levels are granted for status matches. Its top Platinum status is not included in the status match program and must be earned.

To request a status match, simply send an email with your Radisson Rewards membership number and proof of current earned hotel elite status to [email protected]

The Benefits of Radisson Rewards Elite Status

When matched to Silver level you can expect to receive:

  • 22x Radisson Rewards points per dollar spent at Radisson
  • Room upgrade
  • Early check-in/late check-out
  • 10% discount on food and beverage.

And when matched to Gold level, you can expect the following:

  • 25x Radisson Rewards points per dollar spent at Radisson
  • Room upgrade
  • A welcome gift
  • 15% discount on food/beverage
  • Early check-in/late check-out
  • Guaranteed room availability 72 hours before your stay

You can go on to achieve Platinum level status and receive the following:

  • 35x Radisson Rewards points per dollar spent at Radisson
  • Room upgrade, welcome gift, early check-in/late check-out
  • Complimentary breakfast
  • 20% discount on food/beverage
  • Guaranteed room availability 48 hours before your stay

All Radisson Rewards members receive member-only rates, the ability to book using points/cash, complimentary water during their stay, and award nights that count towards elite status qualification.

Learn more about the best ways to earn Radisson Rewards points and how to get maximum value when redeeming your points in our articles on these topics.

The Best Credit Card for Radisson Rewards Loyalists

Radisson Rewards™ Premier Visa Signature® Card 

Why we like the card for Radisson Rewards Loyalists:

  • Elevated 10x earnings for each dollar spent at Radisson properties in addition to 25x stay points
  • 5x earnings all other purchases
  • Generous welcome bonus
  • 40,000 Radisson Rewards points at each card renewal
  • Complimentary Gold status
  • 15 elite qualifying nights towards elite status each calendar year
  • 1 free hotel night certificate for each $10,000 spent on the card, up to $30,000 each card anniversary year
  • Visa Signature travel benefits

The Radisson Rewards Premier card could make a productive companion card for any Radisson enthusiast.

Bottom Line: Radisson Rewards will status match to its Silver and Gold levels. Matches expire at the end of the elite qualifying year unless the elite status is earned under the normal annual requirements. Radisson only matches status once in a lifetime. 

Choice Privileges

clarion hotel helsinki
The Clarion Hotel Helsinki, Finland. Image Credit: Clarion

The Status Match and Challenge

Join Choice Privileges and complete a qualifying stay at a Cambria hotel to be eligible for a status match with Choice Privileges.

Send an email to [email protected] (U.S. and Canadian members) or [email protected] (for European members) and include the following information.

  • Full name
  • Choice Privileges member number
  • Screenshot or copy of your other program’s membership card, current statement, or account status page showing status and expiration date

You can expect to be matched to Gold or Platinum Elite level. However, if you stay 1 night at a Cambria hotel, you will be upgraded to Diamond Elite status. Just add this documentation to your request:

  • A copy or screenshot of your Cambria hotel folio/receipt

You can expect a response within 3-5 business days.

Status matches granted for Diamond status between January and June will provide elite status through the remainder of that calendar year. Matches to Diamond status granted June through December will receive status through the end of the following year. Guests who received a Diamond status match in the previous year are not eligible in the current year.

If you were previously matched to a status less than Diamond, you may still remain eligible for a Diamond status match with a Cambria stay.

The Benefits of Choice Privileges Elite Status

All elite members receive exclusive member rates, a dedicated elite customer service line, and express reservations/check-in.

  • Gold — 10% bonus points on stays
  • Platinum25% bonus points on stays, Avis Preferred Plus
  • Diamond50% bonus points on stays, Avis Preferred Plus, complimentary room upgrades

While elite status doesn’t result in a long list of benefits, if you can secure a status match to Diamond and have an upcoming stay or 2, you could benefit from extra bonus points and an upgraded room.

The Best Credit Card for Choice Privileges Loyalists

Choice Privileges® Visa Signature® Card

If you stay with Choice often, you might want to check out the Choice-branded credit card. The card does not charge an annual fee, offers a nice welcome bonus, and comes with super elevated earnings at Choice properties.

Why we like the card for Choice Privileges loyalists:

  • Welcome bonus worth as many as 4 free hotel nights
  • Complimentary Choice Privileges Gold Elite status
  • 15x points per dollar spent at eligible Choice properties
  • 5x earnings when purchasing Choice Privilege points or Choice gift cards
  • 2x earnings all other purchases
  • 8,000 bonus points after spending $10,000 in a calendar year on the card
  • Visa Signature benefits

For ideas on the best ways to redeem Choice Privilege points and to learn more about the loyalty program, you’ll want to access our guides.

Bottom Line: Choice Privileges will match you to Gold or Platinum level based on your current hotel elite status, but if you stay at a Cambria hotel just 1 night, it will match you to Diamond-level elite status. 

Best Western Rewards

best western phu quoc
Best Western Rewards elite status may secure you an upgraded room at premium hotel properties such as this Best Western Premier Sonasea Phu Quoc, Vietnam. Image Credit: Best Western

The Status Match — Best Western

Best Western Rewards offers a “No Catch” status match that matches your current hotel program elite status and extends that status to the end of the program year.

Join Best Western Rewards, call 800-444-7646 if you have questions, and complete the status match request form. You’ll need to include documentation of your current hotel status. A prompt reply is promised.

The Benefits of Best Western Rewards Elite Status

  • Gold — 10% bonus points on stays, special member rates, late check-in/early check-out, a welcome gift or choice of points, room upgrades
  • Platinum — all Gold benefits, 15% bonus points on stays
  • Diamond — all Gold benefits, 30% bonus points on stays
  • Diamond Elite — all Gold benefits, 50% bonus points on stays

All Best Western Rewards elite members receive a dedicated reservation line, points that never expire, no blackout dates, and free award nights count towards elite status.

The Status Match — WorldHotels

In early 2019, Best Western acquired the luxury hotel brand WorldHotels. Although its footprint is small, just 300 properties worldwide, the acquisition serves to round out the brand with an upscale accommodations option.

The brand’s “No Catch” status match functions the same as the Best Western program in that you must first join WorldHotels Rewards, then complete a form to request the match. WorldHotels Rewards will determine the equivalent match level based on your status with the other hotel chain. Matched status is valid through January 2022.

The benefits of elite status with WorldHotels Rewards align with the same benefits as Best Western Rewards.

The Best Credit Card for Best Western Rewards Loyalists

Best Western Rewards® Premium Mastercard®

Why we like the card for Best Western Rewards loyalists:

  • Complimentary Platinum Elite status as long as you have the card
  • Welcome bonus worth up to 4 free hotel nights
  • 20x points per dollar spent at Best Western (10x points for having the card + 10x points for Platinum status)
  • Low annual fee

Best Western also has a co-branded card that has no annual fee. The Best Western Rewards® Mastercard® earns a total of 13x points per dollar spent at Best Western properties.

To learn more about Best Western-branded credit cards, the Best Western Rewards loyalty program, and how to earn lots of Best Western Rewards points, see our in-depth article.

Bottom Line: Best Western Rewards will match your hotel elite status until the end of the current elite program year. 

Sonesta Travel Pass

Royal Sonesta New Orleans
Royal Sonesta New Orleans. Image Credit: Sonesta

While Sonesta sports a small footprint worldwide with less than 100 properties, the offerings are diverse and range from upscale resorts, extended-stay properties, to unique intimate accommodations.

The Status Match

A status match is simple to obtain by first joining Sonesta Travel Pass, then sending an email to travelpa[email protected] Include your Travel Pass number and a copy of your current hotel status credentials with another hotel chain, such as your membership card or statement.

Sonesta will match to the Preferred or Elite level depending on your current status with the other hotel chain.

The Benefits of Sonesta Travel Pass Loyalty Status

All Sonesta Travel Pass members receive complimentary upgraded Wi-Fi, 5% off, express check in/check out, customized room preferences, member-only offers, and assistance from a Member Champion during their stay.

  • Preferred — all Member benefits, plus priority reservations line, guaranteed room type (bed type), complimentary room upgrades, early check in/check out
  • Elite — all Preferred benefits, plus priority self-parking, discounted suite upgrades, a welcome amenity, complimentary lounge access, a $15 Snack and Sip credit, and a 15% discount on dining and amenities

The Best Credit Card for Sonesta Loyalists

Sonesta World Mastercard®

  • Generous welcome bonus worth up to 6 free hotel nights
  • 3x earnings at Sonesta (a total of 13x earnings for Travel Pass members)
  • 2x earnings on car rental, dining, and airfare
  • Spend $7,500 each anniversary year and receive 30,000 bonus points
  • Complimentary Elite-level member status
  • Complimentary room upgrades
  • 15% discount on dining and amenities
  • No foreign transaction fees
  • $75 annual fee waived the first year

Bottom Line: If you’re a Sonesta fan, have upcoming stays with the hotel chain, and have elite status with another hotel loyalty program, requesting a status match is an easy way to gain benefits that can make your stay more comfortable and also more rewarding. 

Status Challenge Considerations

Before you jump in and request a challenge, be sure to investigate and learn the answers to these questions:

  • Can I receive written confirmation of the terms/conditions of the status match/challenge?
  • What are the exact start and ending dates for the challenge?
  • Do only paid stays count toward completing the challenge? Note that third party bookings, such as Orbitz, Hotels.com, etc., normally do not count and benefits do not normally apply when nights are not booked directly with the hotel brand.
  • Is my current status matched to the new brand at the beginning of any required challenge period or after I complete the challenge?
  • If I complete the challenge successfully, how long with my new status be extended? What date will it expire?
  • Would a hotel-branded credit card give me the same elite level status without having to complete a status challenge requiring a lot of paid stays?
  • How often does this hotel brand grant members a status match/challenge? For example, is it limited to once in a lifetime, every 3 years, or every 5 years?
  • Do I have a lot of stays coming up at the brand with which I am requesting the match/challenge? Is this the best timing for the challenge if I can only do it once in a lifetime, every 5 years, etc.?

Hot Tip: Some hotel loyalty elite programs have been known to match granted elite status, such as the complimentary elite status that comes with your credit card. For example, The Platinum Card® from American Express comes with Hilton Honors Gold and Marriott Bonvoy Gold statuses that may be possible to match to other hotel elite programs. 

Final Thoughts

A hotel loyalty program status match or challenge can be a great opportunity to try out a new hotel brand without sacrificing the benefits you’ve previously earned with your current hotel brand.

Elite status can offer such an elevated experience at your preferred brand and it’s relatively easy to secure. It can also be good to have elite status in more than 1 hotel program as a backup when a preferred hotel brand is not available at your destination.

Also, keep in mind that elite status challenges and matches are not unique to hotel loyalty programs — some airline frequent flyer programs offer the same type of elite status reciprocity. To learn more about matching your earned airline elite status with another airline, you’ll want to catch our comprehensive article on the topic.


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Frequently asked questions

How do hotel program status matches work?

If you have current elite status with a hotel loyalty program, it is likely that another hotel loyalty program would match that elite status.

This allows the member to enjoy elite status with the new hotel program immediately.

Some hotel loyalty programs do not match elite status but offer an opportunity to fast track to elite status with a stay challenge. If the member completes a stated amount of stays during the required period (usually 90 days), status can be granted and extended for a greater period of time.

Hotel loyalty programs can offer just a status match, a challenge, or a combination of the 2.

It’s also worth noting that matches and challenges can change or be discontinued at any time.

Which hotel programs offer a status match?

Most major hotel programs offer either a status match, a status challenge, or a combination of the 2. Even if a hotel program does not publicly advertise a match or challenge, it is always worth calling or sending an email if you have plans to stay at a specific brand for an extended period of time.

It is possible a hotel program may not have a published status match/challenge program but grants one on a case to case basis.

How often can you do a hotel status match?

Status matches and challenges differ by hotel loyalty program. Some only grant these once in a lifetime. Others allow you to do a challenge repeatedly — once every other year, once every 3 years, or even once every 5 years.

It’s good to ask up front how often the hotel loyalty program allows you to be granted a match or participate in a challenge and plan your requests appropriately.

Is hotel elite status worth it?

The answer is yes, if you stay frequently at a particular brand. Even entry-level elite status can result in free internet, special member rates, a dedicated reservation line, free water, and the ability to use cash combined with points for a free night stay.

Elevated elite status can deliver benefits such as room upgrades, executive lounge access, complimentary breakfast, early check-in, late check-out, guaranteed room availability, and bonus points.

Elite status can make your stay more comfortable, save you money, and allow you to earn free hotel nights faster.

Hotel elite status is also not difficult to achieve. You can secure elite status with status matches, challenges, or with a hotel-branded credit card. Hotel loyalty programs can also grant entry-level elite status when you stay as little as 4 stays (Hilton) in a calendar year.

Do award hotel nights count toward elite status?

Each of the hotel loyalty programs we have covered in this article allow reward nights booked with points to count toward elite status qualification.

If you’re completing a status match/challenge, however, reward nights normally do not count towards that match/challenge.

Christine Krzyszton

About Christine Krzyszton

Christine, who lives in Northern Michigan, travels about 300,000 miles a year despite her remote location. Her expertise is traveling the world on a weekend with no pre-determined destination in mind, letting the cost of the airfare determine where she will go. She has over four million flown miles and elite status on all three major domestic carriers.

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