Two easy status opportunities recently caught my attention and could be useful to readers, even if you aren’t planning to change your allegiance to a preferred carrier. Read on at the bottom for more tips on how to find status matches and use them to your advantage.
Free Hilton HHonors Gold
The first is complimentary Gold status with Hilton HHonors, shared by MilesQuest. It was a good catch because the Hilton Gold status I thought I still had from a similar offer last year just expired. (I mentioned in my honeymoon planning post that I was surprised it was still current, but we just hadn’t reached the new program year yet.)
The offer is for residents of Australia with a Visa Infinity card. Fortunately, you don’t actually need those things — you only need to make Hilton think you do. MilesQuest provides some very helpful links to a website that will come up with an Australian address and a fake Visa Infinity card number.
Update your Hilton profile with the address, register with the fake card number, and then switch your address back. It takes five minutes, and you’ll get free Internet and breakfast at Hilton hotels for the next year. The opportunity to register lasts through May 31.
United Premier 1K Trial
The other is an opportunity to get Premier 1K status with United’s MileagePlus program. Many airlines will not match to their top tiers, so this is a unique opportunity if you have been considering moving your loyalty or just splitting a significant amount of existing travel.
Points, Miles, & Martinis shares that United is extending Premier 1K status to existing top-tier members from American Airlines’ Executive Platinum tier, very similar to when American tried the reverse tactic last year. I took up American on its offer, and although I enjoyed their product, their route network just didn’t mesh well with my home airport or travel habits. This is why a trial can be so important: each side gets to try it out before making a commitment.
Matched customers will have Premier 1K status for 90 days, but without a loyalty card you won’t be able to access international Star Gold lounges. You must fly 35,000 Premier Qualifying Miles or 40 Premier Qualifying Segments in that time to keep your status. If you do it on or after July 1, your status will last until January 31, 2015. If you do it before July 1, it will only last until January 31, 2014.
Generally status matches, challenges, and trials are once-in-a-lifetime opportunities, though there are always exceptions for high-value customers. If you have to ask, you probably aren’t one. But United has stated that you can still qualify if you have not requested a similar trial in the last five years. You must request a trial by April 30.
Easy status opportunities can be granted in the form of a match (no conditions, except existing status elsewhere), a challenge (you must complete a certain amount of business, but no prior status is required), or a trial (you must have status and complete a certain amount of business to keep it). At least these are my definitions of the terms. More information about different status matches, trials, and challenges can be found on StatusMatcher.com.
Opportunities for free status come and go. I don’t jump on all of them, but I do take a moment to think about my travel patterns and if they might come in useful sometime later. For example, Accor’s Platinum status is almost worthless to me, but it can be used to request a match to Club Carlson’s Gold status — that’s not bad. It pops up once or twice a year.
My 2012 trial for Hyatt Diamond status was much more valuable, I managed to meet the requirements to keep it for 2013, and I will probably requalify again for 2014. In 2013 I’ve requested matches to Alaska’s MVP Gold and Kimpton’s Inner Circle. I haven’t made much progress toward requalification, but I think my chances are good later this year. Much of my immediate travel needs are already booked.
In general, you should look for challenges or matches to programs that you will actually use. Many such matches are one-time-only. If you squander it, you will find that you have gotten benefits for maybe one or two trips. Good if you were planning a honeymoon, but otherwise not so much.