Coronavirus (COVID-19): Hotel Elite Status Extensions, Changes, and Updates

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The coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic impacted countless industries across the world and the hospitality industry was one of the most drastically affected.

Hotels that had once been busy year-round were either forced to close or scale back operations in a major way because people stopped traveling for almost a year. Even as vaccines have been rolled out and travel has begun to rebound, there are still many travelers who aren’t ready to become road warriors again.

Hotel companies know that repeat customers are some of the most profitable, so they want to make sure that when people starting booking travel again, they do so at their properties. And the best way to do that is via loyalty programs.

We have seen brands extend elite status into 2023, offer reduced qualifications, reward bonus points, 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.

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?
Accor Hotels Yes Yes Yes
Best Western Points never expire N/A Yes
Caesars Entertainment Yes Yes Yes
Choice Hotels Yes N/A Yes
Hilton Yes Yes Yes
Hyatt Yes Yes Yes
IHG Hotels & Resorts Yes Yes Yes
Marriott Yes Yes Yes
Omni Hotels No Yes Yes
Preferred Hotels & Resorts Yes Yes Yes
Radisson Hotels Yes Yes Yes
Shangri-La Yes N/A Yes
Wyndham Hotels & Resorts Yes N/A Yes

Individual Hotel Responses — Elite Status Requirements

Accor Hotels

Initially, Accor Hotels had only extended ALL – Accor Live Limitless status for 1 year to members who live in mainland China, Hong Kong, Macau, or Taiwan.

However, the updated policy, now for all ALL – Accor Live Limitless members, has extended status through December 31, 2021. Points will expire as normal on December 31, 2021, and reset on January 1, 2022.

Best Western

Best Western Rewards elite members have already had their status automatically extended through January 31, 2022, and requirements for 2021 have been reduced.

The 2021 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 Entertainment

Caesars Rewards 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 2021 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)

If you used your Tier Benefits (like the $100 Diamond Dinner) in 2020 and your status was extended, you will not receive those benefits again.

Choice Hotels

The status for Choice Privileges Diamond members has been extended through December 31, 2021. Gold or Platinum members as of May 20, 2020, have had their status boosted by 1 level through December 31, 2021.

Elite qualifications have been reduced for 2022 as well:

  • Gold: 7 nights
  • Platinum: 15 nights
  • Diamond: 25 nights

Points will not expire through December 31, 2021. Normally points expire after 18 months of no account activity.

Hilton

Hilton Barra da Tijuca Rio de Janeiro
Hilton Barra da Tijuca Rio de Janeiro. Image Credit: Chris Hassan

Hilton Honors points will not expire until December 31, 2022, even if there was no account activity for 12 months. Credit card free night awards will not expire until January 3, 2022, at the earliest. 

All elite members will automatically receive a status extension through March 31, 2023. Additionally, Hilton will roll over all 2021 elite qualifying nights to 2022. For example, if you’ve stayed 10 elite-qualifying nights this year, you will start 2022 with 10 nights — helping you achieve elite status faster. However, if you had rollover nights from 2020, they will not be rolled over.

2022 elite status qualification requirements have also been reduced; the updated requirements are:

  • Silver: 3 stays, 7 nights, or 17,500 base points
  • Gold: 14 stays, 28 nights, or 52,500 base points
  • Diamond: 21 stays, 42 nights, or 84,000 base points

Cardholders of the Hilton Honors American Express Surpass® Card with unexpired or new Free Weekend Night Rewards issued through December 31, 2022, can continue to use those nights any night of the week (not only on weekends).

Hyatt

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 requalify. 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

Guests without qualifying activity in the past 24 months will forfeit their points starting again in January 2022.

IHG Hotels & Resorts

IHG Rewards has extended elite status to all existing members through January 2022 based on status earned in 2019.

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

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.

Points never expire for Gold Elite, Platinum Elite, and Spire Elite members. Points normally expire after 12 months of inactivity for Club members, which will restart on December 31, 2021.

Marriott

The St. Regis Mauritius Resort Pool 1
The St. Regis Mauritius Resort. Image Credit: Marriott

Marriott Bonvoy elite members have had their status extended by a year, to February 1, 2022. Point expiration has been paused until March 31, 2022, at which point members with no qualifying activity in the past 24 months will forfeit their points.

Additionally, for 2021, Marriott has gifted 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 for 2021.

Credit card anniversary award nights and travel packages that were due to expire in 2020 or 2021 will now expire on January 3, 2022. Suite Night Awards (SNAs) were extended by 1 year to December 31, 2021.

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.

Omni Hotels

Select Guest members who did not re-achieve Platinum or Black Level status in 2019 did not have their status downgraded for 2020. For those elite members who did reach Platinum or Black Level, their statuses were extended through the end of 2021.

Preferred Hotels & Resorts

All I Prefer Elite Members have had their status extended through June 30, 2022, regardless of travel activity.

Points expiration has been paused until December 17, 2021.

Radisson Hotels

Radisson Rewards Americas 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.

All qualifying nights earned in 2020 were rolled over to 2021 and will count towards qualification for 2022 status.

Shangri-La

All Diamond and Jade Shangri-La Golden Circle elite members have had their tier status automatically extended through December 31, 2022.

Golden Circle Award Points, which normally expire on an annual basis, were originally extended until December 31, 2021, but there is no mention of extending them any further.

Wyndham Hotels & Resorts

Wyndham Rewards elite members have had their status extended through the end of 2021.

Members are 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

Final Thoughts

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.

We have already seen major chains (like Hilton) extend status into 2023, so expect others to follow.

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!


The information regarding the Hilton Honors American Express Surpass® Card was independently collected by Upgraded Points and not provided nor reviewed by the issuer.


Frequently asked questions

Will I lose my elite hotel status due to the coronavirus?

In short, probably not. Almost every major hotel company is extending elite benefits through 2022 and beyond. If you earned elite status with a hotel chain in 2019 or 2020, it is very likely that it will automatically be extended so that you will be able to keep your benefits when you start traveling again.

Are my hotel points going to expire if I can't travel?

Almost every hotel chain has extended the expiration date on points so that travelers will have time to use them after the coronavirus pandemic when people can start traveling again. If you have points that are due to expire soon, scroll up and check the policy of your hotel.

Which hotel chains are offering elite status extension due to the coronavirus?

Essentially every major hotel chain operating in the U.S. is offering an elite status extension of some length.

I have free hotel nights from my credit card --- will those expire?

Based on all of the information we have gathered so far, every credit card free night certificate that we know of will automatically be extended. Scroll up and find your specific hotel loyalty program to find out exactly how long your free night will be extended for.

Chris Hassan

About Chris Hassan

Chris is from Boston and is currently living in Rio de Janeiro with his wife, two kids, and their dog, Shelby. When Chris was in college, he spent a semester abroad studying hotel and business management in Switzerland. That is where he caught the travel bug and met his wife. Quite a successful trip!

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6 comments

  1. Has there been any indication of stretching things through the end of 2022 from Marriott Bonvoy? Many folks are unable to travel (safely) still and use/enjoy status, but things will hopefully be better next year.

    Reply

    • Hi Traveler,

      We have not received any word of this yet, but if Marriott does make the decision to extend elite status we will definitely update this post to indicate that!

      Reply

  2. It makes it really easy to cancel credit cards this year after the handling of these extensions. Travel is unpleasant (masks, testing, and new strain concerns) then you have credit cards raising fees and lack of redemption availability, and point devaluation issues. Cleaning house on cards — AA (gone), Delta (gone), Marriott Bonvoy (gone), Hyatt (gone), IHG (gone), Chase Sapphire Reserve (going), Hilton Aspire (going)… Nice to get rid of these cards that are harder and harder to get value due to rising fees, point devaluations and redemption restrictions…Cash and cash equivalents are becoming a lot more appealing for the cards I am keeping.

    Reply

  3. We have had an extremely difficult time redeeming free night certificates and Radisson customer service say they cannot help with this. We have only succeeded once out of many many tries! Post after post online verifies that this is the case with most people who attempt to redeem these.

    Given this situation and the ongoing and deteriorating Covid situation, has anyone heard anything about Radisson extending the
    e-certs that are due to expire in December 2021?

    Reply

  4. I have 8 nights that I wanted to combine for a much needed vacation. Due to my mom’s illness, her eventual passing, covid and not being able to take more time off, I was hoping to get the certificates extended until Spring, but Marriott, IHG, Hyatt and Radisson have all said that they have already extended the certificates. I’ll be cancelling my Marriott Bonvoy AMEX card soon.

    Reply

Any thoughts or questions? Comment below!

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