Edited by: Jessica Merritt
& Juan Ruiz
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Most travelers enjoy the special treatment they receive from having a hotel loyalty program elite status — so much so that long-term relationships may be built with that hotel brand preference.
Once you’ve grown accustomed to upgraded rooms, executive lounge access, late checkout, complimentary breakfast, and other amenities, it can be difficult to break away and stay at other hotel chains.
Fortunately, with hotel loyalty program status matches and challenges, you may not have to give up those hard-earned perks to try out a new brand — and that is our topic today.
We will discuss leveraging your current hotel loyalty program’s elite status to receive corresponding complimentary elite status in another hotel loyalty program. This strategy can be extremely helpful if you’ve relocated, changed jobs, or want to try a different hotel brand.
Let’s start by covering which hotel programs offer these status matches or challenges, the requirements, and the process for submitting a request. We’ll also discuss some benefits you can expect to receive with elite status. Additionally, we’ve included our recommendations for hotel-branded credit cards that may offer an even faster path to elite status or that complement the associated hotel rewards program.
It’s a lot to cover, so let’s get started.
Hotel rewards programs want to attract good customers with proven loyalty. A strategy for doing so is to match your current earned hotel elite status to the corresponding elite status in their hotel loyalty program.
This match gives a proven loyal customer time to try out the new brand while having similar elite status, with hopes that the guest will continue to stay at that brand. It’s worth noting that normally only earned (versus granted) elite status will be matched, but there are exceptions where status held by having a co-branded hotel credit card has been matched.
A granted status match may be granted for 90 days and may include requirements for a specified number of stays or nights within that time period to extend your status. This additional stay requirement is commonly called a “challenge.” If you meet the challenge stay requirements, the extended status could last a set number of additional months, the remainder of the current calendar year, or even the entire subsequent calendar year, depending on the structure of the match or challenge.
Note that usually, only paid stays count towards a challenge, and stays must be booked directly through the hotel reservation website versus a third party, such as an online travel agency.
Most major hotel loyalty programs offer matches, challenges, or a combination of the 2, but offers can be withdrawn anytime. Also, not all hotel loyalty programs publish the requirements for a status match or challenge. In these cases, different customers may receive different offers.
Look at some of the most popular hotel loyalty program status matches and challenges.Hot Tip:
Watch your email or online loyalty account for targeted hotel status matches or challenges offered to loyalty program elite members. For example, American Airlines AAdvantage elite members may be targeted for World of Hyatt elite status matches or challenges or United MileagePlus elite members for Marriott Bonvoy matches or challenges.
While Marriott Bonvoy doesn’t publish a status match or challenge to other hotel loyalty program elite status, reports are that matches and challenges have been approved.
Enroll in the Marriott Bonvoy loyalty program before inquiring about a match or challenge. Have your account number ready, then call Marriott Bonvoy at 800-535-4028 and ask for a Marriott Bonvoy representative (if you are not immediately directed to one). Indicate that you have elite status with another hotel program and would like to try out Marriott Bonvoy’s elite status and ask for a status match.
You may be granted a match and/or given a challenge. If given a challenge, reports are that you will have the remainder of the current month plus 3 additional months to complete the challenge. For example, if you call in on March 15, you would have the remainder of March plus all of April, May, and June to complete the stays you need to extend status.
Here’s a typical Marriott Bonvoy elite challenge.
A word of caution voiced by members who have completed the challenge and had issues: document the challenge offer, follow up with a call back to make sure the challenge is noted in your account, and check your Marriott Bonvoy account to see if the challenge has been listed under your “promotions.” You may or may not see it, but if it is, you can be assured you’re registered.
You could also request a follow-up email confirming that you are enrolled in the challenge and that it states the specific terms of the challenge such as dates, number of nights needed, and level of elite status requested.
Since Marriott Bonvoy does not publish a status match or challenge, this information was gathered by calling Marriott Bonvoy directly, from the Marriott Insider Facebook page, and sites such as StatusMatcher and FlyerTalk.
All elite members receive complimentary Wi-Fi, a dedicated reservation line, and a fifth night free when booking 5 consecutive award nights.
|Elite Level||Nights Required Each Calendar Year||Key Benefits|
|Silver||10||10% bonus points on stays, late checkout when available|
|Gold||25||25% bonus points on stays, 2 p.m. late checkout, enhanced room upgrades, welcome points|
|Platinum||50||50% bonus points on stays, executive lounge access, welcome gift (points, breakfast, or amenity), 4 p.m. late checkout, early check-in, enhanced room upgrades including suites, annual choice benefit|
|Titanium||75||75% bonus points on stays, all Platinum benefits, an additional choice benefit, United Airlines Silver Premier status, guaranteed room availability|
|Ambassador||100 plus $23,000 in qualified spending at Marriott||All Titanium benefits plus an assigned personal ambassador and “Your 24” with the ability to pick check-in and checkout times|
This is just an overview of the key benefits of Marriott Bonvoy elite status. We’ve written extensively on how to earn lots of Marriott Bonvoy points, and the best way to redeem your Marriott Bonvoy points for maximum value. We’ve also discussed in depth how to earn Marriott Bonvoy Elite status.Hot Tip:
Marriott Bonvoy’s preferred partnership with United Airlines matches United MileagePlus Premier Gold members (and higher) to Marriott Bonvoy Gold Elite status.
American Express and Chase issue several Marriott-branded credit cards, each with the potential to serve a Marriott guest well. Here are just a couple of the best credit cards for Marriott loyalists:
Both cards come with complimentary premium Wi-Fi at Marriott properties, no foreign transaction fees, purchase protection, and travel benefits such as secondary car rental insurance, trip delay, and baggage delay.
Hilton Honors will match most current equivalent hotel elite statuses to its Gold level for an initial 90-day period. During that time period, you’ll have the option to complete a challenge.
To request that your current elite status be matched and to participate in a challenge, sign up for Hilton Honors, then complete the online status match request. You’ll need to provide your Hilton Honors membership number and upload proof of your current hotel elite status.
The benefits of Hilton Honors elite status are many. Here are just some highlights of what you can expect as a Hilton Honors elite:
10 Nights, 4 Stays, or 10,000 base points
40 Nights, 20 Stays, or 75,000 base points
60 Nights, 30 Stays, or 120,000 base points
|Fifth Award Night Free||X||X||X|
|Bonus Points on Stays||20%||80%||100%|
|Upgraded Rooms||X||Including suites and rooms with executive lounge access|
|Gift Elite Status||X|
All elite members receive late checkout when available, elite rollover nights, and no resort fees on award stays.
You’ll normally find nothing higher than mid-level elite status on a hotel-branded credit card, but the Hilton Aspire card delivers much more. The card offers top-level Hilton Honors Diamond status for as long as you hold it.
While there isn’t a public status match or challenge available with World of Hyatt, some corporations are eligible for their employees to participate in status challenges. Check with your travel booking department to see if your company currently participates.
Hyatt has also had an ongoing partnership with American Airlines. Select AAdvantage elite members could qualify for Hyatt elite challenges or status matches. You can link your accounts online.
Additionally worth noting is that with another Hyatt partnership, MGM Rewards members have the opportunity to receive the corresponding World of Hyatt status.
Whether it’s entry-level Discoverist status, mid-tier Explorist, or top-level Globalist, you’ll enjoy the perks of being a World of Hyatt elite. Here’s a quick overview of the benefits of having status with Hyatt including the annual requirements for each level.
10 Nights, 25,000 base points, or 3 events
10 Nights, 50,000 base points, or 10 events
60 Nights, 100,000 base points, or 20 events
|Points Earning||5 base points per dollar spent + 10%||5 base points per dollar spent + 20%||5 base points per dollar spent + 30%|
|Waived Resort Fees||On free night awards||On free night awards||On eligible rates and on free night awards|
|Small Luxury Hotels of the World Benefits||X||X||X|
|Upgraded Room||To a Preferred room within the booking class||Upgraded room, excluding suites/lounge access rooms||Upgrades to suite and lounge access rooms, when available|
|Late Checkout||2 p.m.||2 p.m.||4 p..m|
|Club Access or Breakfast||X|
|Guest of Honor Privileges||X|
|Free Parking||On award nights|
All elite members receive premium internet, a dedicated reservation line, bottled water, members-only rates, a dedicated check-in area, Milestone Rewards, and the opportunity for corresponding MGM Rewards elite status.
Hot Tip: If you already have Hyatt Explorist status, check out the possibility of status matching to MGM Rewards Gold, Ceasar’s Diamond, and Wyndham Diamond.
The World of Hyatt card supports the World of Hyatt loyalty program nicely with free hotel nights, elite qualifying nights each year, entry-level elite status, and elevated earnings at Hyatt properties.
IHG One Rewards periodically offers status matches and fast-track challenges. Its most recent offer included a fast-track offer to Gold or Platinum Elite status when staying 2 or 5 nights, respectively.
IHG does allow you to purchase Ambassador Elite status, which grants elite benefits at InterContinental properties. Ambassador status costs $200, or you can redeem 40,000 IHG One Rewards points.
All IHG One Rewards elite members receive late checkout, special member rates, and free internet. Rewards nights also count toward elite status for all members.
Here are the additional benefits you can expect with IHG One Rewards elite status:
|Bonus Points on Stays||20%||40%||60%||100%|
|Complimentary Room Upgrades||X||X|
|Elite Rollover Nights||X||X|
|Guaranteed Room Availability||X||X|
|Hertz Gold Plus Rewards 5-Star Status||X|
To decide which IHG-branded credit card is right for you, you’ll want to read our full review. We’ve covered these topics to learn how to earn lots of IHG One Rewards points and redeem them for great value, too.
Update: While Wyndham has currently suspended its status match and challenge program, we’ll still detail the previous program as we are hopeful the program will return. One exception to suspending Wyndham status matches is the brand’s reciprocatory relationship with the Caesars Rewards program. Top Wyndham Rewards Platinum and Diamond members may still status match to the Caesars Rewards program.
If you are a member of any of the major hotel loyalty programs, Wyndham will match you to its Gold-level status. You do not need to have elite status in another program to receive Wyndham Gold status.
Wyndham offers an elite status match that grants equivalent elite status 90 days from approval. To extend the status, the member must complete the required amount of stays during the 90-day period.
For the Platinum level, the required number of stays for the challenge is 7, and for Diamond, 14 stays. Once those stays are completed, the status is extended to December 31 of the following calendar year.
Here is a sampling of what you can expect when you request a status match with Wyndham.
|Hotel Loyalty Program||Status Level in Current Program||Matched to This Wyndham Status Level|
|Marriott Bonvoy||Silver Elite||Platinum|
|Marriott Bonvoy||Gold Elite, Platinum Elite, Titanium Elite, Ambassador Elite||Diamond|
|Hilton Honors||Gold, Diamond||Diamond|
|World of Hyatt||Discoverist||Platinum|
|World of Hyatt||Explorist, Globalist||Diamond|
|IHG One Rewards||Gold||Platinum|
|IHG One Rewards||Platinum Elite, Diamond Elite||Diamond|
|Radisson Rewards Americas||Silver||Platinum|
|Radisson Rewards Americas||Gold, Platinum||Diamond|
|Choice Privileges||Gold, Platinum||Platinum|
|Best Western||Gold, Platinum, Diamond||Platinum|
|Best Western||Diamond Select||Diamond|
All Wyndham Rewards members receive free Wi-Fi, rollover elite nights, a go free local gift or experience discount voucher, and a minimum of 1,000 points per stay.
|Benefits||Gold — 5 Nights||Platinum — 15 Nights||Diamond — 40 Nights|
|Preferred Room Choice||X||X||X|
|Avis and Budget Car Rental Upgrades||X||X|
|Gift Gold Status||X|
While Radisson Rewards Americas offers a quick and easy path to matching your existing hotel status, the hotel chain limits status matches to once in a lifetime. For this reason, you’ll want to plan the timing of your request for when the status is especially important to you, perhaps for an upcoming stay at a special property or an extended stay.
The program has 3 elite levels. To request a status match, simply send an email with your Radisson Rewards Americas membership number and proof of current earned hotel elite status to firstname.lastname@example.org.Hot Tip:
In 2022, Choice Hotels International purchased Radisson Hotels Americas. Although the 2 loyalty programs are still separate, you can transfer Choice Privileges points to Radisson Rewards at the rate of 1:2.
Here are the key benefits you can expect when you receive a match to any of the following Radisson Rewards Americas elite status levels. We’ve also included the number of nights you would normally have to stay to achieve each level.
All Radisson Rewards Americas members receive members-only rates, the ability to book using points and cash, complimentary water during their stay, and award nights that count towards elite status qualification.
Radisson does not have a co-branded credit card available.
Join Choice Privileges to be eligible for a status match with Choice Privileges.
Send an email to email@example.com (U.S. and Canadian members), status_match_EU@choicehotels.com (for European members), or firstname.lastname@example.org (for Australian or New Zealand members) and include the following information.
You can expect to be matched to the Gold or Platinum Elite level.
However, if you stay 1 night at a Cambria hotel, you will be upgraded to Diamond Elite status. Just add this documentation to your request:
You can expect a response within 3 to 5 business days.
Status matches granted for Diamond status between January and June normally provide elite status through the remainder of that calendar year. Matches to Diamond status granted June through December normally receive status through the end of the following year. Guests who received a Diamond status match in the previous year are not eligible in the current year.
If you were previously matched to a status less than Diamond, you might still remain eligible for a Diamond status match with a Cambria stay.
All elite members receive exclusive member rates, a dedicated elite customer service line, and express reservations/check-in. Here are some of the key benefits of Choice Privileges’ elite status.
|Bonus Points on Stays||10%||25%||50%|
|Elite Welcome Gift||X||X||X|
|Avis Preferred Plus||X||X|
|Complimentary Room Upgrades||X|
While elite status doesn’t result in a long list of benefits, if you can secure a status match to Diamond and have an upcoming stay or 2, you could benefit from extra bonus points and an upgraded room.
If you stay with Choice often, you might want to check out this Choice-branded credit card. The card does have an annual fee but it is waived the first year! You’ll also find a nice welcome offer and super-elevated earnings at Choice properties.
If you prefer a no-annual-fee card, there is also the Choice Privileges® Mastercard®.
Best Western Rewards offers a “No Catch” status match that matches your current hotel program elite status and extends that status to the end of the program year.
Join Best Western Rewards, call 800-444-7646 if you have questions, and complete the status match request form. You’ll need to include documentation of your current hotel status. A prompt reply is promised.
Elite members who status match in 2023 will have their elite tier extended through March 2025.
Here are the core benefits you’ll receive when matched to any of these elite levels, plus the qualifications you would normally have to achieve:
5 Nights, 3 Stays, or Earn 5,000 Points
7 Nights, 5 Stays, or Earn 7,500 Points
15 Nights, 10 Stays, or Earn 10,000 Points
25 Nights, 20 Stays, or Earn 25,000 Points
|Bonus Points on Stays||10%||15%||30%||50%|
|Special Member Rates||X||X||X||X|
|Late Checkout and Early Check-in||X||X||X||X|
All Best Western Rewards elite members receive a dedicated reservation line, points that never expire, no blackout dates, and free award nights that count toward elite status.
In early 2019, Best Western acquired the luxury hotel brand WorldHotels. Although its footprint is small, with just 300 properties worldwide, the acquisition serves to round out the brand with an upscale accommodations option.
The brand’s “No Catch” status match functions like the Best Western program in that you must first join WorldHotels Rewards, then complete a form to request the match. WorldHotels Rewards will determine the equivalent match level based on your status with the other hotel chain.
The benefits of elite status with WorldHotels Rewards align with the same benefits as Best Western Rewards.
Best Western also has a co-branded card that has no annual fee. The Best Western Rewards® Mastercard® earns 13x points per dollar spent at Best Western properties.
While Sonesta sports a small footprint worldwide with less than 100 properties, the offerings are diverse and range from upscale resorts and extended-stay properties to unique, intimate accommodations.
A status match is simple to obtain by first joining Sonesta Travel Pass, then sending an email to email@example.com. Include your Travel Pass number and a copy of your current hotel status credentials with another hotel chain, such as your membership card or statement.
Sonesta will match to the Preferred or Elite level depending on your current status with the other hotel chain.
All Sonesta Travel Pass members receive complimentary upgraded Wi-Fi, 5% off, express check-in and checkout, customized room preferences, member-only offers, and assistance from a Member Champion during their stay.
Here’s an overview of the requirements and key benefits for Sonesta Travel Pass elite members.
|Member Tiers/Elite Benefits|
Annual Nights or Point Requirement
10 Nights or 10,000 Points
20 Nights or 20,000 Points
10 Nights or 10,000 Points
|Special Rates and Promotions||X||X||X||X|
|Complimentary Free Upgraded Wi-Fi||X||X||X||X|
|Tier Bonus Point Multipliers||50%||75%||100%|
|Exclusive Reservation Line||X||X||X|
|Early Check-in/Late Checkout||X||X||X|
|Complimentary Continental Breakfast||X||X|
Before you jump in and request a challenge, be sure to investigate and learn the answers to these questions:
Hot Tip: Some hotel loyalty elite programs have been known to match granted elite status, such as the complimentary elite status that comes with your credit card. For example, The Platinum Card® from American Express comes with Hilton Honors Gold and Marriott Bonvoy Gold statuses that may be possible to match to other hotel elite programs.
A hotel loyalty program status match or challenge can be a great opportunity to try out a new hotel brand without sacrificing the benefits you’ve previously earned with your current hotel brand.
Securing status via a status match or challenge can also be smart to have elite status in more than 1 hotel program as a backup when a preferred hotel brand is unavailable at your destination.
It’s noteworthy that status matches or challenges can come and go quickly, availability can disappear, and requirements can change.
Additionally, elite status challenges and matches are not unique to hotel loyalty programs — some airline frequent flyer programs offer the same type of elite status reciprocity. To learn more about matching your earned airline elite status with another airline, you’ll want to catch our comprehensive article on the topic.
The information regarding the Marriott Bonvoy Boundless® Credit Card was independently collected by Upgraded Points and not provided nor reviewed by the issuer.
The information regarding the Hilton Honors American Express Aspire Card was independently collected by Upgraded Points and not provided nor reviewed by the issuer.
The information regarding The World of Hyatt Credit Card was independently collected by Upgraded Points and not provided nor reviewed by the issuer.
The information regarding the Wyndham Rewards® Earner℠ Plus Card was independently collected by Upgraded Points and not provided nor reviewed by the issuer.
The information regarding the Wyndham Rewards® Earner℠ Card was independently collected by Upgraded Points and not provided nor reviewed by the issuer.
The information regarding the Choice Privileges® Select Mastercard® was independently collected by Upgraded Points and not provided nor reviewed by the issuer.
The information regarding the Choice Privileges® Mastercard® was independently collected by Upgraded Points and not provided nor reviewed by the issuer.
The information regarding the Best Western Rewards® Premium Mastercard® was independently collected by Upgraded Points and not provided nor reviewed by the issuer.
The information regarding the Best Western Rewards® Mastercard® was independently collected by Upgraded Points and not provided nor reviewed by the issuer.
If you have current elite status with a hotel loyalty program, it is likely that another hotel loyalty program would match that elite status. This allows you to enjoy elite status with the new hotel program immediately.
Some hotel loyalty programs do not match elite status but offer an opportunity to fast-track to elite status with a stay challenge. If you complete a stated amount of stays during the required period (usually 90 days), your status can be granted and extended for a greater period of time. Hotel loyalty programs can offer a status match, a challenge, or a combination of the 2.
It’s also worth noting that matches and challenges can change or be discontinued anytime.
Most major hotel programs offer a status match, a status challenge, or a combination of the 2. Even if a hotel program does not publicly advertise a match or challenge, it is always worth calling or sending an email if you plan to stay at a specific brand for an extended period.
A hotel program may not have a published status match or challenge program but grants them on a case-to-case basis.
Status matches and challenges differ by hotel loyalty program. Some only grant these once in a lifetime. Others allow you to do a challenge repeatedly — once every other year, once every 3 years, or even once every 5 years.
It’s good to ask up front how often the hotel loyalty program allows you to be granted a match or participate in a challenge and plan your requests appropriately.
The answer is yes if you frequently stay at a particular brand. Even entry-level elite status can result in free Wi-Fi, special member rates, a dedicated reservation line, free water, and the ability to use cash combined with points for a free night stay.
Elevated elite status can deliver benefits such as room upgrades, executive lounge access, complimentary breakfast, early check-in, late checkout, guaranteed room availability, and bonus points. Elite status can make your stay more comfortable, save you money, and allow you to earn free hotel nights faster. Hotel elite status is not difficult to achieve.
You can secure elite status with status matches, challenges, or a hotel-branded credit card. Hotel loyalty programs can also grant entry-level elite status when you stay as little as 4 stays in a calendar year, such as with Hilton.
Each of the hotel loyalty programs we have covered in this article allow reward nights booked with points to count toward elite status qualification. If you’re completing a status match or challenge, reward nights normally do not count toward that match or challenge.
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