Which hotel chains offer lifetime status? (and the BA criteria revealed too)

Lifetime status is a popular perk among the hotel chains.  Hilton Honors was the latest to jump on the bandwagon in 2015.

In general, lifetime status usually requires such a high threshold that you would wonder why such a person would ever want to set foot in another hotel ever again if they did not have to!  Despite that, I thought it was worth running through the various options.

Hotel

At present, Hyatt, Marriott, Starwood and Hilton offer lifetime status.  Radisson Rewards and IHG Rewards Club do not.

Hilton Honors launched Lifetime Diamond (top tier) status in 2015.  You can find the – sparse – details on the Hilton website here.  You need to have been a Diamond member for 10 years, not necessarily consecutive, whilst earning 2 million Hilton Honors base points OR to have knocked up a whopping 1,000 nights in Hilton properties!

World of Hyatt offers Lifetime Globalist (top tier) status to anyone who has earned 1 million base points.  This would require $200,000 of spending.  Details are here.

Marriott Rewards and Starwood Preferred Guest are to merge their lifetime status criteria from August.  Until 31st December 2018 you can also continue to qualify under the separate existing criteria for Marriott and Starwood properties.

These are the new criteria for the combined Starwood Preferred Guest / Marriott Rewards scheme:

Lifetime Silver Elite – 250 nights across both chains plus 5 years of elite status across both chains

Lifetime Gold Elite – 400 nights across both chains plus 7 years of Gold elite status or higher across both chains

Lifetime Platinum Elite – 600 nights across both chains plus 10 years of Platinum elite status across both chains

There is no longer a base points requirement, as there was under the old Marriott Rewards lifetime status criteria.  Existing members with lifetime status in either scheme will retain it in the new merged scheme.

Further details can be found on the Marriott / Starwood merger website here.

As you will be able to obtain year-by-year Gold status in the new programme for free with American Express Platinum – for as long as you keep your Platinum card – Lifetime Silver and Lifetime Gold are less valuable than they could be.

Whose lifetime?

To be honest, lifetime status with airline or hotel chains has never appealed to me.  I would be happy to accept it as a by-product of stays I was doing anyway but would not chase it.  Ask the former ‘Lifetime Gold’ members of bmi Diamond Club if it was worth spending money chasing that status, which BA promptly scrapped after the takeover.

Even when the company survives, your lifetime status can be downgraded.  American Airlines added a new status level, Platinum Pro, from 2017.  This pushed Lifetime Platinum status holders further down the pecking order for upgrades.

Lifetime status can even create perverse incentives.  I have a friend who achieved Lifetime Gold status with British Airways – it is explained here at ba.com if you want to know more about it.  The requirement for BA lifetime status is 35,000 British Airways tier points which is the equivalent of 125 Club World return trips to New York.

His first move on achieving it was to abandon British Airways on long-haul for what he considers ‘better’ airlines.  If Lifetime Gold did not exist he would definitely continue to put 1,500 tier points a year in BA’s direction in order to retain Galleries First access on short-haul, but that isn’t a problem for him now ….

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Comments

  1. another thing that happens with lifetime status (if the company stays in business) is that the benefits are reduced so that “gold” no longer gets the same benefits as before but they are in a higher tier. BAEC gold used to get free changes to reservations – now that’s GGL only.

  2. Jamainky says:

    Thanks Rob – useful to see in one place…nothing to really aspire to.

    O/T: I have been unable to access the Creation site (IHG card) for the last 3 days…one of their call centre staff suggested major IT outage….anyone having the same issue?

    • MattC says:

      Not for me, logged in fine on 16th and just now at least.

    • I experienced minor issues yesterday evening but only seemed affected for 30 minutes or so

    • Peter K says:

      I booked a hotel okay on it 2 days ago.

    • Charlie says:

      They seem to have regular issues if it’s accessed from an iOS or MacOS device where it gives a maintenance error message. When I rung I was patronised into using a windows device and that their site works fine! Cancelled now anyway.

    • the_real_a says:

      If you are using firefox, disable tracking protection (click the padlock next to the address bar) and ensure adblock is OFF and popups are ON.

      The site is not down, it seems the it throws an error due to capacity problems, so just keep refreshing. usually on the 4th or 5th time i manage to get in.

    • guesswho2000 says:

      Works fine for me, but Firefox (on Mac) won’t let me make payments – goes through the motions (even the verified by visa stuff), but always declines, originally thought it was the card, but the bank in question had no record of the transaction even being attempted.

      Tried again in Safari, and it went through straight away. I often get messages (in any browser) saying it’s down for maintenance, just ignore it and try again, usually works on the second attempt, or at latest by the third attempt.

    • Crafty says:

      Clear cookies. I had this for 2-3 weeks but it was fine as soon as I did that

  3. KBuffett says:

    OT – Can anyone share which hotel groups credit stays or points for:
    1) bookings made via a third party
    2) spend whilst staying at the hotel if booked via a third party (eg food, spa)
    3) spend whilst staying at the hotel if booked directly (eg food, spa)
    4) multiple room bookings (if booked directly)
    5)) 4) multiple room bookings (if booked via a third party)

    I wish there was a points calculator online somewhere that could help with queries like the above!

    • Once you have the above information plus the points earning rates you can easily create your own calculator in a spreadsheet in less than 30 minutes if you have moderate excel skills.

    • Genghis says:

      I’ll answer some
      1) none
      4) radisson and Hotels.com work well for lots of rooms

    • TGLoyalty says:

      If booked directly all of Hilton, SPG, Marriot, IHG earn on all spend. Not sure about the rest but strange they wouldn’t.

      Hilton allow 1 room for nights/stay but 2 earn points if on same folio.
      Marriot 1 for nights/stays but earn points for 3
      SPG earn stays/nights/points for 3 until Aug when it changes to marriot rules.
      IHG is just 1 room outside USA, where it’s up to 9 I think.

      SPG allow you to earn points on food without a booking so you should be able to earn if via 3rd party

      • TGLoyalty says:

        Hyatt – 3 rooms (only 1 gives elite nights/credit)
        Wyndham Rewards – 3 Rooms
        Club Carlson – 3 Rooms
        Melia – 2 rooms
        Clarification on IHG – 9 rooms is U.S. and Canada and excludes InterContinental Hotels

  4. David says:

    I have ‘earned’ Lifetime Platinum with AA when I accrued 2 milliion miles with the programme (much of that with TWA, a company acquired by AA.) However, at the time it was the 2nd highest tier. Since then they have added effectively 2 more tiers above that! It is still equivalent to OW Sapphire, so I am not complaining (too loudly.)

  5. AlanC says:

    Hilton Diamond Lifetime 10 years and 1000 nights.
    Marriott/SPG Plat Lifetime 10 years and 600 nights.
    I have been Diamond for 17 years straight but only 850 nights as mostly single night bookings.
    As Rob says a whopping 1000 is tough and especially against SPG/Marriott.

  6. The thing for me is what do you actually get for being “Lifetime ” it seems to me that beyond having the card for life (however long that is for you or them) there is no real incentive and as such once you have it you simply go off somewhere else since you no longer have to think about retaining the status.

    I speak as someone who’s spent nearly 30 years travelling and now approaching retirement I have little incentive to continue giving my loyalty despite having several Gold / Diamond etc for Life cards

  7. Marcw says:

    I believe Melia Rewards has also a lifetime status.

  8. “Revealed” lol….

  9. Jamie says:

    Re: ‘Lifetime status can even create perverse incentives’

    You could argue that shows the person spent a lot more on that airline than they otherwise desired/would so still an incentive for the airline.

  10. How can you establish your lifetime history with Hilton eg number of years Diamond and number of nights stay?

  11. riku

    Not quite the same but last year BA gave me gold for 3 years, so until 2020.

    I now fly less with BA as the tier points won’t do anything for me. Still like the First Wing checkin and Galleries First lounge though . .

    I still get double miles on other OW airlines of course

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