As you’re undoubtedly aware, it’s nearing the end of the qualifying year for 2014 airline and hotel elite status with December 31 quickly approaching. And for the first time in, well, forever, I’m either dropping tier levels or losing status completely in all of my travel loyalty programs.
If I were reading this post, say, two or more years ago, and knew it was from the “future me,” I’d be in an absolute panic about not requalifying for my beloved status. But today I’m not, and I don’t care that in my four primary airline and hotel programs I’m falling from:
- United Premier 1K to Premier Platinum
- American Platinum to General Member
- Hilton Gold to Silver
- Club Carlson Gold to General Member
Platinum on United is still above average, especially for my travel needs, and Summer (aka Mommy Points) posted a great piece yesterday about her thoughts and experiences as a Platinum this year. Plus, Scott over at Hack My Trip offers up individual posts by airline titled, “Is Status Worth It?” Here’s his case for United.
After next year, I’m sure I’ll fall back on my lifetime Premier Gold status, for which I’m thankful and happy to have, but it isn’t an absolute need.
But let me get back to why I don’t care so much about losing status with airlines and hotels. In addition to the reasons for snapping out of my upgrade phobia, elite status junkie phase, and for more recent things that have me questioning taking a booked trip, it’s because of the changing landscape of the industry itself.
It’s the introduction of an annual spend requirement on Delta and United (tick tock, American fliers), the abundance of loyalty program devaluations (too many to list), the ease of getting similar elite perks by holding the right credit card, being able to pay for elite services individually, and so forth and so on.
If you’ve attended the Chicago Seminars or Frequent Traveler University (any location) the past couple of years, both Randy Petersen and Steve Belkin often discuss many of these changes and their impact to those of us in the “hobby” of collecting miles and points.
I’m bowing out of the mileage/mattress running game for elite status as a result of this travel loyalty program evolution. It’s absolutely wonderful to have the upgrades and other perks, and I’ve enjoyed them for a couple of decades, but I’m done now.
I’ll certainly still be collecting and redeeming miles and points, but I’m going to play the game by my rules, not those of the airlines and hotels.
Are you throwing in the towel?
– Follow Darren Booth on Twitter, @FrequentlyFlyin, for more airline, hotel and travel industry news, reviews and opinions.