Picture this: you are checking in your hotel when suddenly, the front desk staff tells you, “Congratulations, you’ve just been upgraded!”
How awesome is that? Everyone likes being upgraded, especially at no extra cost!
But how does one get free room upgrades during hotel stays?
By obtaining hotel elite status!
You might be thinking how nice it would be to obtain an elite status with a major hotel chain, but are probably feeling intimidated not only by the many nights you need to stay in a hotel, but the money it will cost to make that happen.
While you are absolutely correct, there are actually some travel hacking tricks you can use to get that elite status without having to put a dent in your wallet.
The following are three quick and cheap ways to get hotel elite status.
Method 1: Instant Elite Status from Credit Cards
There are two main credit cards in Canada that will allow you to get hotel elite status instantly:
The American Express Platinum Card will give you instant elite status from the following hotel chains:
- Starwood – Gold Status
- Carlson – Gold Status
- Hilton – Gold Status
The Scotiabank American Express Platinum will give you instant hotel elite status from the following hotel chain:
- Fairmont – Premier Status
Even though the platinum card is being advertised by Scotiabank as being required to obtain elite status, you can actually sign up for the lower tier card, and still get the status! Without paying the hefty annual fee, your wallet will thank you! Simply create a Fairmont President’s Club account, and enter the promo code BBLPREM when prompted.
This technique will instantly earn you Premier Status with Fairmont which will be very helpful with the next method.
Method #2: Status Matching
Whether you have obtained Elite Status with Fairmont, Starwood, Carlson or Hilton, you now have a powerful leveraging tool to status match with competing hotel groups.
Use whichever hotel elite status you’ve instantly earned, and send a screenshot of it, along with a friendly request to status match with the hotel groups listed below:
- Marriott – email@example.com
- Starwood – Platinum.Liaison@starwoodhotels.com
- Hilton – HHonorMyStatus@hilton.com
- Hyatt – firstname.lastname@example.org
- Best Western – StatusMatch@bestwestern.com
Use statusmatcher.com to check the odds of your status match request being granted.
I’ve personally used my Fairmont Premier status to get Platinum Status with Best Western using this strategy. I booked the cheapest room with Best Western and got upgraded to a nicer room with an amazing balcony and lake view.
Method #3: Fast Track Challenge
With certain hotel groups, they will not give you the hotel elite status instantly. Instead, you will be given a challenge to stay a specific number of nights within a 90 day time frame before you are granted the status.
Don’t worry, the number of required stays are typically much less than if you were actually trying to obtain hotel elite status the traditional way.
Here are the current status challenges available:
- Starwood – Request for the Gold or Platinum challenge and they will give you the elite status after staying 9 nights for gold or 18 nights for platinum.
- Marriott – Every Jan 2 – April 30, they have a promotion called “Taste of Gold Challenge”. If you qualify, you can get Gold Status after 6 paid stays. Sometimes, they aren’t so nice and will give you the “Road to Gold Challenge” instead. They will still give you Gold Status with Marriott after 6 paid stays but you don’t get to test drive the Gold status as oppose to the “Taste of Gold” version.
To maximize your savings as you attempt these challenges, make sure you do a mattress run. This means you will need to find all the cheapest hotel properties under that specific hotel chain, and purposely stay at those properties in order to earn the status while saving money.
When I did the “Taste of Gold Challenge” earlier this year, I was upgraded 4 out of 6 times every time I stayed at a Marriott property. The only reason I did not get upgraded those two instances, was because all the hotel rooms were exactly the same. One of the upgrades I got was so ridiculous not only did I end up on the top floor; I also got a fancy breakfast and lounge access with unlimited food.
Gaining Hotel Status is a Must
Getting hotel elite status can not only save you money in the long run, but if you have been spending most of your time sleeping in hostels, you can take this opportunity to pamper yourself here and there without breaking the bank.
Other perks with the hotel elite status includes late checkout, faster wifi, which will definitely come in handy if you are earning location independent income, and free breakfast.
Well, what are you waiting for? Go get that status!
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