A few weeks ago I presented at the Chicago Seminars on hotel and airline elite status basics, fast tracks, and short cuts. While “free” travel is my primary focus and goal, elite status has really surged in importance to my own family in the last 12 months. It is not at all a “status” thing for me, but it is a very practical way to make travel much more comfortable, enjoyable, and even (at times) more affordable. I don’t think the average family needs elite status with every airline and several hotels, but focusing on getting status in at least one or two programs makes sense in lots of situations…and it is even easier than you might think.
I made a limited number of hard copies of my presentation, and somewhat surprisingly those copies were all utilized, and more people wanted a copy of the PowerPoint I used. Of course, not everything that was said by myself or others in attendance is reflected on the PPT (gotta get some things in person), but the bulk of the presentation is now available for anyone who would like to look at it. I don’t promise it will stay up forever since I am having a very hard time keeping it live on my site, and I may tweak it to use again in the future. However, I will try to keep it up for at least a few weeks for anyone who is interested.
To give you an idea of what is included in the presentation, here are the main topics:
- Overview of Star Alliance and related Silver and Gold benefits
- Discussion of qualifying via the US based Star Alliance carriers and associated benefits and “fast tracks” to doing so.
- A look at some easier paths to Star Alliance Gold Status via non-US based carriers (Aegean and Turkish). This is a much easier way to qualify for Star Gold status than via the US carriers, but you won’t get the same level of benefits on a US based carrier as you would if you qualified with them. Regardless, those interested in Star Gold status would be remiss to not learn about the opportunities via Aegean and Turkish.
- Overview of OneWorld Alliance and related Ruby, Sapphire, and Emerald benefits.
- A focus on American Airlines and their challenges for status.
- Overview of Sky Team and related Elite and Elite Plus benefits.
- A focus on Delta and their elite challenges and other ways to obtain Delta elite qualifying miles (such as credit cards).
- Southwest Companion pass benefits and very easy ways to get and maximize that pass.
- Alaska Airlines as a good option for those who can’t commit to just one airline or alliance.
- Alternative routes to airline status (promotions, MegaDos, gifting status, etc.)
- Hotel status elite basics (and it can be more valuable than airline status when you consider time spent in a hotel vs time spent in an airplane)
- A look at Hyatt elite benefits and fast-tracks to Platinum and Diamond status
- SPG elite benefits and fast-tracks to Gold and Platinum status (including info on the Platinum Challenge)
- Super easy path to Marriott elite status
- Even easier path to Hilton Gold status
- Top tier Priority Club status via credit card or buying points
- Leveraging elite status with one hotel chain to others via status matches (Club Carlson, Best Western, etc.)