The coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic is impacting countless industries across the world. The hospitality industry is no different and possibly the least immune.
Hotels that are used to having occupied rooms and packed restaurants are now closing in an attempt to stop the financial bleeding and ride this out until people start traveling again.
When people do start traveling again, hotels want to be sure that their previously loyal customers come back and keep spending their money where they used to.
To guarantee that, hotels have been offering elite members plenty of perks for when they return. These perks include point expiration extensions, status extensions, and more.
Of course, not all hotel loyalty programs are created equally, so some elite members may be getting more than others. Here is your ultimate guide for what hotels are offering in terms of elite status extensions, points, and more.
Table of contents
Table of Contents
Hotel Responses Overview
Compared to the airline industry, the hotel industry has been very accommodating when it comes to reservation cancellations and elite benefits.
While not as complex as airline reservations, the hotel industry has its own quirks. Fortunately, the big hotel chains have been very generous with their elite members in light of the coronavirus pandemic.
Hotel Benefits Chart
|Hotel||Extending Points?||Extending Certificates?||Extending Elite Status?|
|Best Western||Points never expire||N/A||Yes|
|Preferred Hotels & Resorts||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Wyndham Hotels & Resorts||Yes||N/A||Yes|
Individual Hotel Responses – Elite Status Requirements
Initially, Accor Hotels had only extended Accor Live Limitless status for 1 year to members who live in mainland China, Hong Kong, Macau, and Taiwan.
The new policy, for ALL-Accor Live Limitless members, extends status through December 31, 2021, and all expiring points were paused through December 15, 2020.
Members with unused Suite Night Upgrades as of December 31, 2020, will have them automatically extended for 12 months.
Finally, ALL Status nights and points earned between July 1, 2020, and December 31, 2020, have been rolled over to help members earn elite status faster in 2022.
Best Western elite members have already had their status automatically extended through January 31, 2022, and requirements for 2021 have been reduced.
The new requirements are:
- Gold: Stay 5 nights, or 3 stays, or earn 5,000 points
- Platinum: Stay 7 nights, or 5 stays, or earn 7,500 points
- Diamond: Stay 15 nights, or 10 stays, or earn 15,000 points
- Diamond Select: Stay 25 nights, or 20 stays, or earn 25,000 points
As always, Best Western Rewards points never expire.
Caesars, the hotel and casino company, has extending elite Tier Status to all current elite members through January 31, 2022. Additionally, requirements for achieving elite status have been reduced for 2021. The new requirements are:
- Platinum: Now 4,000 Tier Credits (was 5,000 Tier Credits)
- Diamond: Now 12,000 Tier Credits (was 15,000 Tier Credits)
- Diamond Plus: Now 20,000 Tier Credits (was 25,000 Tier Credits)
- Diamond Elite: Now 60,000 Tier Credits (was 75,000 Tier Credits)
- Seven Stars: Now 125,000 Tier Credits (was 150,000 Tier Credits)
Finally, all scheduled Reward Credit expirations for 6 months of inactivity have been paused until at least September 1, 2020.
Diamond members will have their status extended through December 31, 2021. Gold or Platinum members as of May 20, 2020, will have their status boosted by 1 level through December 31, 2020. To maintain that status through December 31, 2021, members need to stay 5 nights between June 1, 2020, and December 31, 2020.
Points will not expire through December 31, 2021. Normally points expire after 18 months of no account activity.
Hilton Honors points will not expire until December 31, 2021, even if there was no account activity for 12 months. Credit card free night awards will not expire until August 31, 2021.
All elite members whose 2019 status was scheduled to be downgraded on March 31, 2020, will automatically receive an extension through March 31, 2022. Hilton is also extending all 2020 elite members’ status through March 31, 2022. Additionally, Hilton will roll over all 2020 elite qualifying nights to 2021. For example, if you’ve stayed 10 elite-qualifying nights this year, you will start 2021 with 10 nights — helping you achieve elite status faster.
2021 elite status qualification requirements have also been reduced; the updated requirements are:
- Silver: 2 stays, 5 nights, or 12,500 base points
- Gold: 10 stays, 30 nights, or 37,500 base points
- Diamond: 15 stays, 30 nights, or 60,000 base points
Hilton Honors American Express Surpass® cardmembers with unexpired or new Free Weekend Night Rewards issued through December 31, 2020, can now use those nights any night of the week (not only on weekends). Additionally, any new Free Weekend Rewards issued from May 1 through December 31, 2020, will be valid for 24 months instead of the normal 12 months.
World of Hyatt points will not expire until June 30, 2021, even if there was no account activity for 24 months. All unused Free Night, Suite Upgrade, or Club Lounge Access awards with expiration dates between March 1, 2020, and December 31, 2020, have been extended to December 31, 2021.
Status and elite benefits have been extended for all existing elite members without having to re-qualify. This means that whatever status was shown as of March 31, 2020, was automatically updated to reflect an expiration date of February 28, 2022.
Additionally, elite requirements for 2021 have been reduced by 50%:
- Discoverist: Stay 5 Tier-Qualifying Nights or earn 12,500 Base Points
- Explorist: Stay 15 Tier-Qualifying Nights or earn 25,000 Base Points
- Globalist: Stay 30 Tier-Qualifying Nights or earn 50,000 Base Points
Update: For those planning an upcoming Hyatt stay, as of July 27, 2020, Hyatt is requiring all guests at its U.S. and Canadian properties to wear face coverings in all indoor public spaces until further notice.
IHG is extending IHG Rewards elite status to all existing members through January 2022.
Additionally, all elite nights earned in 2020 have been rolled over to 2021 and elite requirements for 2021 have been reduced by 25%.
2021 IHG Rewards Elite status requirements are now:
- Gold Elite: Stay 7 Qualifying Nights or earn 7,000 Qualifying Points
- Platinum Elite: Stay 30 Qualifying Nights or earn 30,000 Qualifying Points
- Spire Elite: Stay 55 Qualifying Nights or earn 55,000 Qualifying Points
Points will not expire until June 30, 2021, even if there was no account activity for 12 months.
Credit card anniversary award nights that were due to expire starting March 1, 2020, will not expire before August 31, 2021. Certificates with an original expiration date of 2021 have been extended through December 31, 2021.
Update: For those planning an upcoming IHG stay, as of July 27, 2020, IHG is requiring all guests at its U.S. and Canadian properties to wear face coverings in all indoor public spaces until further notice.
Marriott Bonvoy elite members will have their status extended by a year, through February 2022. Points will not expire until August 1, 2021, even if there was no account activity for 24 months.
Additionally, for 2021 Marriott is gifting all members 50% of the elite night credits that their tier earned them in 2020. For each tier, the credits are:
- Silver Elite: 5 elite nights
- Gold Elite: 13 elite nights
- Platinum Elite: 25 elite nights
- Titanium Elite: 38 elite nights
- Ambassador Elite: 50 elite nights + $14,000 spend
Ambassador Elite Status is now easier to earn as the spending requirement has been reduced from $20,000 to $14,000.
Additionally, between February 16, 2021, and April 27, 2021, members can earn double points and elite night credits on stays of 2 nights or more, including reward nights.
Credit card anniversary award nights and travel packages that were due to expire in 2020 will now expire on August 1, 2021. Suite Night Awards (SNAs) have been extended by 1 year. No action is necessary; automatic account updates took place on December 11, 2020.
If you haven’t signed up for a Marriott Bonvoy account, now’s the time as the hotel chain has also brought back “Elite Guarantees.”
Update: For those planning an upcoming Marriott stay, as of July 27, 2020, Marriott is requiring all guests at its U.S. properties to wear face coverings in all indoor public spaces until further notice.
Select Guest members who did not re-achieve Platinum or Black Level status last year will not have their status downgraded for 2020. For those elite members who did reach Platinum or Black Level, they will have their statuses extended through the end of 2021.
Select Guest Free Nights with booking expiration dates of March, April, or May 2020, have been extended by 3 months.
While nothing has been announced yet, Omni has hinted that there will be reduced requirements for achieving elite status for 2021.
I Prefer elite members will have their status automatically extended through June 30, 2021, regardless of travel in 2020.
Additionally, any expiring points that members had were extended until the end of August 2020, which provide dtime to use those points towards an I Prefer Rewards Certificate.
Radisson has suspended its point expiration policy until December 31, 2021. It has also extended the elite status of members through February 2022, for those that would have expired in February 2021.
E-certs earned using the Radisson Rewards™ Visa® Card that are scheduled to expire between March 1, 2020, and July 31, 2020, can be redeemed through June 30, 2021.
All Diamond and Jade Shangri-La Golden Circle elite members will have their tier status automatically extended through December 31, 2021.
Additionally, Golden Circle Award Points, which normally expire on an annual basis, will be extended as well.
Members will be able to unlock member levels faster in 2021 as the company has reduced the qualifying night requirements. The updated requirements are:
- Blue: At enrollment
- Gold: After 3 nights
- Platinum: After 9 nights
- Diamond: After 24 nights
Essential workers are eligible for complimentary Gold status as part of the #EverydayHeros program. This includes healthcare workers, delivery drivers, grocery store employees, warehouse workers, construction workers, sanitation workers, and more. If you are an essential worker, you can claim your status here.
Overall, elite members should not have too much to worry about when it comes to retaining or regaining elite status. Almost all of the major hotel chains have very customer-friendly policies at the moment, and if they change, it will probably only be for the better.
Multiple elite programs have said that more changes are coming after the pandemic starts to settle down.
Of course, now is not the time to travel, but when it is, there will be plenty of hotels fighting for your business. Use this time to evaluate your future travel needs and decide whether or not now is the time to make the switch from 1 loyalty program to another.
This information will be changing often, so be sure to bookmark this page and check back frequently!