Many readers ask questions along the lines of:
I’ll be flying or staying at a hotel, and I’ll reach the next elite status tier during that trip. What I can I do to make sure I get the appropriate benefits for my new status?
Unfortunately, you probably won’t get special treatment. We live in a digital age, and it takes time for your flight or hotel stay to register on the computers that track your progress and award elite status. I would say that usually this is accomplished within 3-7 days. Even the upgrade system that we use to grant access to special threads on the Travel Codex forum requires about an hour. It’s an automated process, and it would be too taxing on the system to run it continuously.
If you have 99,000 miles when you leave San Francisco and reach Premier 1K or Executive Platinum while you’re en route to Chicago, that won’t affect your upgrade priority for the next leg of your journey. Nor will Hyatt or Starwood start handing out free breakfast on the third night of your stay. What matters is your status at the beginning of the trip. This is not an attempt by the hotel or airline to get the better of you. It’s just how it is. No one knows you have that status until it registers in the computer.
But… there must be something you can do, right?
In the case of an airline, I’d say “no way.” Airlines have highly regimented procedures. Upgrades today are processed almost entirely by computer according to a multifaceted system of priorities that take into account status, fare, and time of booking. It’s unusual to find a gate agent who will override that system on your behalf. And no one, not ever, is going to look up your itinerary and calculate at what point you’ll reach the next tier.
Hotels may be a different story. Branding is handled by a central office, but the actual property is independently operated. Your relationship with the staff can go a long way toward getting extra benefits. Sometimes hotels will give more generous benefits to frequent guests (or guests who may become frequent) even if they don’t have elite status. So there could be some merit to pointing out — politely — that you expect to earn such-and-such status on this stay.
What you should definitely do is make sure that your new status is correctly listed in any existing reservations. This is a common problem at hotels — you’ll check in and they’ll think you still have no status. It’s not until you bring it up that someone checks the database and confirms that you’re entitled to additional perks. Airlines, because of their automation, are a little better, but you may still need to manually request an upgrade.
The least I can say is to be patient. You’ll get your upgrade eventually, and remember that you were willing to fly thousands of miles and stay dozens of nights without any status (or with lower status). You’ll have to complete this stay, too, before your eligible for the next level. It won’t be much longer.
But keep this lesson in mind if you have a special trip coming up. You might want to fit in one extra mattress run or mileage run at home so that your status kicks in before an important family vacation.