Maximise your Avios, air miles and hotel points

Which hotel chains offer lifetime status? (and the British Airways lifetime status criteria revealed)

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Lifetime status is a popular perk among the hotel chains.

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 chains with lifetime status

At present, Hyatt, Marriott 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 two million Hilton Honors base points OR to have knocked up a whopping 1,000 nights in Hilton properties!

Even tougher, the 10 years of Diamond status must be full calendar years. If you earned Diamond status in June 2020, after a very busy first six months of the year, you have the status for the rest of 2020 and all of 2021.  However, only 2021 counts towards the 10 years you require.

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 Bonvoy has three levels of lifetime status:

Lifetime Silver Elite – 250 nights plus 5 years of Silver elite status or higher

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

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

There is no longer a base points requirement, as there was under the old Marriott Rewards lifetime status criteria.  Existing members with lifetime status with the legacy Marriott Rewards or SPG scheme were merged into Bonvoy.

Further details can be found on the Marriott Bonvoy site here.

Get free hotel status with American Express Platinum

Or just get yourself the right payment card …..

The rationale for pushing for lifetime status is undermined by the fact that both Marriott and Hilton give out status via UK payment cards.

As you can obtain year-by-year Gold Elite status with Marriott Bonvoy for free with American Express Platinum – for as long as you keep your Platinum card – Lifetime Silver Elite and Lifetime Gold Elite are less valuable than they could be.

You can also achieve Gold Elite status by spending £15,000 per year on the Marriott Bonvoy American Express card.

Similarly, Amex Platinum also comes with Hilton Honors Gold status.  This is not as good as Lifetime Hilton Diamond, of course, but you still get the free breakfast benefit.

You also get free MeliaRewards Gold status, Shangri-La Golden Circle Jade status and Radisson Rewards Gold status with American Express Platinum.  We wrote about the hotel status benefits here.

Whose lifetime are we talking about anyway?!

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 British Airways promptly scrapped after the takeover of British Midland.

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 down the pecking order for upgrades.

British Airways lifetime status rules

How do you get British Airways Lifetime Gold status?

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.  We published a full article explaining how British Airways Lifetime Gold status works here.

The requirement for British Airways Executive Club lifetime Gold 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 earn 1,500 tier points a year to retain Galleries First access on short-haul, but that isn’t a problem for him now ….

(Want to earn more hotel points?  Click here to see our complete list of promotions from the major hotel chains or use the ‘Hotel Promos’ link in the menu bar at the top of the page.)

Comments (17)

  • Andrew says:

    “British Airways lifetime status criteria revealed” – was it a secret that you’ve found out and are now telling us? It’s right there on the Exec Club account home page.

  • Cheshire Pete says:

    What’s more of a ‘secret’, I think, is 100,000 TPs for lifetime GGL. Hard to find that on the website!

    • Mike P says:

      That’s correct. GGLFL is 100,000 Tier Points and comes with CCR card for life as well as unlimited Jokers. There are a few GGLFL about but the total number, as you might imagine, is small.

  • Robert says:

    I also didn’t quite understand what you meant by “revealed” in respect to BA Gold lifetime. It’s never been a secret… 🙂

    • AJA says:

      I initially thought that BA had decided to reduce the number of TP required for GfL by 25%. That wouldn’t help me but my OH would qualify if they did that.

  • Riku says:

    I think the headline was meant for the Daily Mail version of this story. Next week the status for BAEC Gold will be “revealed” here!

  • James says:

    Am I the only person reading this as the code BA will be downgrading avios points and making changes to the different tiers. Even if there is no imminent changes the company is changing and we are in a different world to one 6 months ago.

    However when the US and UK travel is allowed again, there are only a few companies to go West. So still not much choice.

    • Doug M says:

      Inflation ensures that eventually Avios devalue, just like money. At that point pat yourself on the back and tell everyone how you saw it coming.

      • Rob says:

        Er, no.

        Inflation ensures that HOTEL points devalue. They must do, because (to take it to extremes) in 1000 years it will be £1 million for a night at a Holiday Inn, earning 12 million IHG points, so obviously an InterCon won’t still be 70,000 points per night.

        Avios do NOT need to devalue from the airline side. The miles you earn are based on miles flown, and in 1000 years New York will still be the same distance from London as it is now, plus or minus 1cm for moving tectonic plates. You could still earn 25% of miles flown for an economy ticket and pay 100,000 for an off-peak return.

        However, you DO need to adjust for the credit card earning side, because your £1 million hotel room in 2120 would earn 1.5 million Avios which would get you 10 x Club World returns. This devaluation could be done by devaluing the earnings per £1 on the credit card, however, without impacting the scheme itself.

        • Alex W says:

          Don’t give them any more reasons to switch to revenue based earning!

        • Andrew says:

          Yes, the credit card spend points need to be adjusted – in the 10 years I’ve had my BAPP, RPI has increased by 30%, so in real terms, as I’m still earning 1.5 avios per £1 spent, and if the cost of a redemption didn’t change, I would be earning 30% more avios in real terms to what I was 10 years ago.

  • AJA says:

    125 return trips in CW to achieve GfL at an average of £2.5k per ticket is over £312k of spend. That is some serious spending just to get a shiny gold card. I would expect a CCR card for life after spending that sort of money. As for the 100k TP to achieve GGLfL I’m not surprised there only a handful of card holders though reading FT some people seem to manage 10k TP a year.

  • Al says:

    “Revealed”??? Nothing new to see here. Hope this blog’s not going to go from useful, must-read daily website to click bait rubbish like some of its competitors…

    • Rhys says:

      The same title has been used on every version of this article since 2016 at least 🙂 a lot of people will not be aware of lifetime status on BA!

      • Al says:

        2016 was when GFL was announced though, wasn’t it? So it was “revealed” in 2016… 😉

        • Al says:

          I take that back – I got curious and googled, it was 2013 – time flies!

  • Don Max says:

    I think Melia Rewards should be part of the list of hotel chains that offer lifetime status!