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Chasing Elite Status: The Upgraded Points Team’s Year-End 2023 Update

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Carissa Rawson
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Carissa Rawson

Senior Content Contributor

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Carissa served in the U.S. Air Force where she developed her love for travel and new cultures. She started her own blog and eventually joined The Points Guy. Since then, she’s contributed to Business ...
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Keri Stooksbury

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With years of experience in corporate marketing and as the Executive Director of the American Chamber of Commerce in Qatar, Keri is now Editor-in-Chief at UP, overseeing daily content operations and r...
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Stella Shon

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With a degree in media and journalism, Stella has been in the points and miles game for more than 6 years. She most recently worked as a Corporate Communications Analyst for JetBlue. Find her work in ...

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We’re all about points and miles here at Upgraded Points, which is why you’ll see an absolute deluge of guides instructing you how to make the best redemptions, find the best hotels, and book the best flights. But points and miles are just a part of the world of loyalty travel. Elite status tends to go hand-in-hand with earning points and includes benefits such as flight upgrades, complimentary breakfast, late checkout, and airport lounge access.

Many of us at Upgraded Points chase elite status — whether that’s with hotels or airlines. Let’s take a look at how it’s going now that we’ve reached the end of 2023.

Carissa Rawson, Senior Content Contributor

I’ll freely admit that this hasn’t been my best year for elite status. Although I’ve done tons of traveling, it’s been based more on where I needed to go rather than the carrier that’d get me there and what kind of status I’d earn as a result. Because of this, I failed to reach my United 1K goals — but a status match promotion from American Airlines accidentally double-qualified me for Oneworld status. Let’s look.

World of Hyatt — Globalist

Rawson Hyatt Globalist status

I first earned World of Hyatt Globalist in 2021, and now you’ll almost never catch me outside a Hyatt hotel. I screeched into 66 nights by December thanks to some last-minute travel to Brazil (Taylor Swift, anyone?) and Savannah, Georgia.

While I’m safe for another year, I’m not sure how I’m going to maintain Globalist in 2025 now that the Hyatt-MGM partnership has been nuked. Sounds like I’m going to be making quite a few mattress runs to Category 1 hotels in New Mexico.

Hilton Honors — Diamond

Conrad Bora Bora patio
Hilton Diamond status got me an upgrade to an overwater villa on a 7-night stay in Bora Bora. Image Credit: Carissa Rawson

Hilton continues to be my backup hotel chain of choice if I can’t find a Hyatt, mostly because I have top-tier elite status. This is thanks to the Hilton Honors American Express Aspire Card*, which gives me complimentary Diamond status as long as I hold the card.

Although it has an expensive $550 annual fee, I always make use of the up to $400 resort credit it offers, as well as the flight credit of up to $200. Together, these 2 make up the annual fee; the rest is just gravy.

*All information about the Hilton Honors American Express Aspire Card has been collected independently by Upgraded Points.

Marriott Bonvoy — Gold Elite

I slipped from Platinum Elite down to Gold Elite this year as Marriott Bonvoy finally ended its status extensions. I have complimentary Gold Elite status thanks to The Platinum Card® from American Express (upon enrollment, though I almost never stay at Marriott unless it’s to redeem one of my 2 annual free night certificates. I get these each year thanks to my Marriott Bonvoy Business® American Express® Card and my Marriott Bonvoy American Express® Card*.

*All information about the Marriott Bonvoy American Express® Card has been collected independently by Upgraded Points.

IHG One Rewards — Platinum Elite/Ambassador

Unlike the rest of the world, I made a mistake and didn’t get in on IHG’s lucrative Diamond Elite status match promotion. Instead, I remain a lowly Platinum Elite status holder courtesy of my IHG One Rewards Premier Credit Card.

However, I usually find myself staying at an InterContinental property once or twice per year, which means I always renew my Ambassador status. This costs me $200 and gives me great benefits when staying at InterContinental, including room upgrades and an annual free night certificate.

United MileagePlus — Gold

United increased the requirements to earn elite status this year, which means I gave up on my dream of maintaining Premier 1K status after earning Gold.

United Premier Qualification

This hurts. A lot. I hate that I won’t have top-tier benefits at my favorite airline, but there’s simply no way I can spend $24,000 per year on flights with United, not when I’m focused on saving money and redeeming miles instead.

American AAdvantage — Executive Platinum

American Airlines and its AAdvantage program are not my top choice in U.S. airlines, but I was finally targeted for the Instant Status Pass earlier this year thanks to my United 1K status.

Knowing my Premier 1K was going the way of the dinosaurs, I took advantage of the matched offer and got myself Executive Platinum status until March 2024. Now I just need to figure out how to earn 67,000 Loyalty points in 4 months. SimplyMiles purchases and AA hotels, anyone?

Christine Krzyszton, Senior Finance Contributor

Earning airline status this year was quite different compared to last year. All the stars aligned in 2022, and I was able to reach the elite trifecta of Delta SkyMiles Diamond Medallion, United MileagePlus 1K, and American AAdvantage Executive Platinum.

Delta SkyMiles — Diamond Medallion

I have achieved Delta Diamond elite status for 2024 by flying Delta partners on premium flights. I used Chase Ultimate Rewards and Amex Membership Rewards points for most of those flights. I have the Chase Sapphire Reserve® and The Business Platinum Card® from American Express, and the latter has a 35% rebate on premium flights when using Membership Rewards points.

I received an unexpected gift from Delta Air Lines in the form of lifetime Delta Diamond elite status for reaching the 3-million miler level. Next year, I won’t have to reach any flying or spending levels to keep Delta status. The granted status comes with all the associated Choice Benefits, including Global Upgrade Certificates.

American AAdvantage — Executive Platinum

I am close to Executive Platinum status, mainly derived from AA and partner flights but also from shopping portals and SimplyMiles purchases. I use my American Airlines-branded card for those purchases as well. The qualifying year ends February 28, and I have a flight in January that will qualify me for Executive Platinum.

United Airlines — Gold

I will finish the year with Premier Gold Elite status due to a few premium flight sales on United flights. I also purchased several heavily discounted SAS Premium Economy flights to Europe and Scandinavian countries with Chase Ultimate Rewards points (1.5 cents per point with my Chase Sapphire Reserve card). There were flights for less than $500 to Dublin, $600 to Paris, and $700 to Scandinavia.

Marriott Bonvoy — Titanium Elite

I had no problem making Titanium Elite status with 25 elite night credits from my Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant® American Express® Card, plus 15 nights from my Marriott Bonvoy Business® American Express® Card. I also took advantage of the fifth night free several times at AC hotels in Spain, which can be incredibly good value. 

Hilton Honors — Diamond

Like Carissa, I have Hilton Diamond status via my Hilton Aspire card.

Hot Tip:

If you’re trying to shortcut your way to elite status, check out our guides on the best credit cards for earning airline elite status and the best credit cards for complimentary hotel elite status.

James Larounis, Senior Content Contributor

You’ll probably notice a theme here. These are all the same statuses I went for in 2022, which means I succeeded last year. I’ve also hit my goals this year and look forward to doing so again in 2024 — after all, I know what I like!

World of Hyatt — Globalist

I’ve been a Hyatt loyalist for a long time now, which means it’s always on my list for requalification. I tend to travel a lot, so cheap mattress runs aren’t really my thing. Instead, I’m taking advantage of regular paid stays and award redemptions to maximize my Globalist status.

Marriott Bonvoy — Titanium Elite

I qualified for Titanium Elite status in 2022 and have done so again. Although I always start with 30 Elite Night Credits per year thanks to the Marriott Bonvoy Bevy™ American Express® Card‘s 15 Elite Nights and the Marriott Bonvoy Business card with another 15 Elite Nights, the rest of my stays are paid.

American AAdvantage — Executive Platinum

American Airlines may have switched to Loyalty Points for earnings, but I still use butt-in-seat miles to get all the way to Executive Platinum status. Rather than relying solely on American Airlines flights, however, I leverage its excellent partnership with Alaska Airlines to earn status. Alaska is one of the last U.S. airlines that’ll credit you based on how far you’ve flown rather than how much you’ve paid.

Nick Ellis, Editor and Content Contributor

I made big plans for this year, but they didn’t quite pan out. There’s always next year!

Delta SkyMiles — Silver Medallion

After (very sadly) dropping out of the ranks of Delta Diamond Medallion members at the start of this year, I’m looking to achieve Platinum Medallion status or higher, but not until 2024.

This is because Delta awards rollover Medallion Qualification Miles (MQMs) each year, which means you will receive any excess MQMs over the level of status you achieved in the previous year as a head start to qualifying for status.

Delta MQM rollover
Image Credit: Delta

I’ve already reached Silver Medallion status for next year, so I’ve kept my Medallion Qualification Dollar (MQD) earnings under the threshold for Gold Medallion (8,000 MQDs), and my MQM level around where it’s at now (~105,000).

This way, I’ll start next year with around 80,000 MQMs and get to work on quickly requalifying for Platinum Medallion status or higher in the first half of the year.

And finally, since Medallion status is valid from when you earn it through the next year, if I earn it through this strategy in early 2024, I’ll also have the status through 2025!

MQMs are used to determine Medallion Status and are different from the miles you earn towards flights. Effective 1/1/24, this benefit will no longer be available, and there will be a new way to earn toward Medallion Status with the Card. Learn more at delta.com/skymilesprogramchanges.

Marriott Bonvoy — Platinum Elite

My path to requalify for Marriott Bonvoy Platinum Elite status has been much more straightforward. I hold The Ritz-Carlton™ Credit Card (no longer open to new applicants), which awards 15 Elite Night Credits each year.

Thanks to several out-of-town weddings that required hotel stays — and a generous double-elite-nights promotion — I’ve already netted an additional 28 Elite Night Credits, leaving me at 43 Elite Night Credits in total. With the travel I have planned through the rest of the year, I’ll have no problem reaching Platinum Elite status once again.

Hilton Honors — Diamond

This is a common refrain, which just attests to how valuable the Hilton Aspire card can be. Like others on our team, I have Hilton Diamond status thanks to my credit card.

Hot Tip:

Check out some of the best perks of the Hilton Aspire card with our detailed guide.

World of Hyatt — Explorist

I tend to put my loyalty with Marriott, but I still like the occasional Hyatt stay (and free nights!). I keep The World of Hyatt Credit Card on hand, which gives me automatic Explorist status for as long as I hold the card.

Stella Shon, Editor and Content Contributor

Thankfully, there are no mattress runs or last-minute flight bookings involved for me in 2023. I’ve already solidified elite status for the next year thanks to an abundance of status match opportunities. Plus, with Delta’s announcement that it would drastically hike up elite status requirements in 2024, my elite status goals have done a complete 180.

Delta SkyMiles — Platinum Medallion

I achieved Delta SkyMiles Platinum Medallion status a month before the elite status requirement changes were announced. This year, I have earned a total of 110,000 MQMs and got the MQD waiver through spending on my Delta SkyMiles® Platinum Business American Express Card, which puts me right at Platinum status. The benefits are great, but definitely not enough to move the needle for me to chase Delta status next year.

MQMs are used to determine Medallion Status and are different from the miles you earn towards flights. Effective 1/1/24, this benefit will no longer be available, and there will be a new way to earn toward Medallion Status with the Card. Learn more at delta.com/skymilesprogramchanges.

JetBlue — Mosaic 3

Like many disgruntled travelers, I’ll be flying Delta a lot less in the new year. I status matched my Platinum status to JetBlue Mosaic 3, which will get me 4 Mint upgrade certificates, free Even More Space seats, and more. I plan on using those Mint certificates flying to London in 2024!

Frontier — 100K

I also paid $149 to status match my Delta Platinum status to Frontier’s top 100K elite status level. I flew Frontier once almost a decade ago, but having this status has really elevated my experience on Frontier. With free seat assignments (with extra legroom), free checked bags, and carry-ons, flying Frontier feels like I’m flying on any mainline domestic carrier — except with a $19 price tag. I’ll have this status through the end of 2024, and I feel like it was well worth the money.

World of Hyatt — Globalist

In terms of hotels, I successfully earned Hyatt Globalist status with the limited-time Bilt challenge by staying 20 nights in 90 days. Early summer travel meant that it was easy to line up my nights to hit this requirement during my travels in Tokyo, Los Angeles, and London.

Park Hyatt guest room
The iconic Park Hyatt Tokyo is one of the best places to experience Globalist status. Image Credit: Hyatt

I’ve never had Globalist status before and have always bummed off my generous Globalist friends as a Guest of Honor, so I’m excited to have this status of my own until February 2025.

Final Thoughts

We’re at the end of the year and have enjoyed meeting our elite status goals, whether they’re top-tier airline status or the ever-popular Hyatt Globalist status. Check back in with us next year to see what we have in store for 2024!

The information regarding the Hilton Honors American Express Aspire Card was independently collected by Upgraded Points and not provided nor reviewed by the issuer.
The information regarding The World of Hyatt Credit Card was independently collected by Upgraded Points and not provided nor reviewed by the issuer.

For rates and fees of The Platinum Card® from American Express, click here.
For rates and fees of the Marriott Bonvoy Business® American Express® Card, click here.
For rates and fees of the Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant® American Express® card, click here.
For rates and fees of the Marriott Bonvoy Bevy™ American Express® Card, click here.
For rates and fees of the Delta SkyMiles® Platinum Business American Express Card, click here.
For rates and fees of The Business Platinum Card® from American Express, click here.

Carissa Rawson's image

About Carissa Rawson

Carissa served in the U.S. Air Force where she developed her love for travel and new cultures. She started her own blog and eventually joined The Points Guy. Since then, she’s contributed to Business Insider, Forbes, and more.

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