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Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Frequent Traveler Status Changes

March 2015

March 1st is the day my status changed in a couple of guest programs, and if I keep with this less traveling way of life, I expect there will be more next year. I have updated my program status changes in the header of this blog, and this post provides further information.

Delta - status change from Gold to Silver

First, a bit of background about the travel style I had been used to - When Delta and Northwest Airlines merged in 2008 my status was Silver. Silver status with Northwest had been worthwhile before the airlines merged. After the merger, Silver status became insignificant because there are so many travelers from my home airport (GRR) with Gold status or higher. Since most flights from GRR are not direct flights, I expect that many of those travelers earn their status from segments rather than miles. In the beginning, I earned my status by miles flown, and the last two years I earned it by segments flown. My status had fluctuated between Gold and Silver for a couple of years, and then I remained a Gold flyer for the last four years years until March 1st.

We left on a trip in February 2015 and returned March 1st. My Delta status was Gold when we left, and Silver when we returned. We checked in online 24 hours before our return departure when my status was still Gold, and my boarding pass said Sky Priority on it. I was glad for that, although I was not sure if anything would be different the next day.

Our flight home was at 4:10 p.m., and the next day began as if my status was still Gold. We received Sky Priority tags on our luggage, and I received an upgrade to first class on the first leg of our trip. We had purchased coach class tickets with miles, and the Delta Skymiles program allows upgrades to first class on award tickets for Gold members or higher.

When we entered the Delta Sky Club between flights, I presented my American Express Platinum card. Since we were on an International flight, my husband was allowed complimentary access with me - another perk for Gold status members or higher. I had not thought about this before we got to the club, because I knew that the $29 fee would have been refunded by American Express, if we had been charged.

Both of our flights had been delayed that day, and by the time we boarded our connection home it was after 10:00 p.m. When we were in the Sky Club, I noticed that I was no longer on the upgrade list. My status had completely changed from Gold to Silver sometime between 8:30 p.m. and 10:00 p.m. on March 1st. I feel very fortunate that it did not change before this!

Marriott - status change from Gold to Silver

My Marriott status over the years had changed from Silver to Gold to Platinum, back to Gold, and now it is Silver again. I received an offer from Marriott to keep my Gold status for 25,000 points, which I only briefly considered. I thought the offer was expensive, and I did not have 25,000 points, since I am a points spender rather than a hoarder. If Marriott had made me an offer to keep my status by staying X number of days within a certain time frame, I would have considered that because I absolutely love the Marriott perks I received while my status was Gold and Platinum! I am fulfilling a current offer from Hilton to keep my Gold status instead.
JW Marriott pin I received during one of my stays
I have not stayed at a Marriott yet since my status dropped to Silver on March 1st, although I do have a Marriott stay coming up at the Courtyard Grand Rapids Downtown. I would have chosen the JW Marriott Grand Rapids, except that I booked our stay with a rewards certificate, which does not cover a stay at the JW since the hotel category is higher. The Courtyard is a category 5, and the JW is a category 7 hotel. I will post my experiences in the hotel review after that stay.

The service and perks I received at Marriott when I had Silver status were still good, although things were not the same as when I had Gold or Platinum status. I only had Platinum status for a brief time, and I did not notice a difference between Gold and Platinum status.

Future travels

Now that I no longer have Gold status with either of these companies, it makes me less excited about traveling. Having status with a company also affects my decision about who to book my travel plans with. When I had Gold status with Delta, I actively sought out ways to fly with them, even when the cost was higher. I would consider different dates or airports to try and get on a Delta flight because I knew that if I ran into any travel snafus, they would take excellent care of me.

I did the same thing when I had Gold status with Marriott. I knew that Marriott would always give me an upgrade to the executive floor, and I looked forward to the elite experience. I am not sure if I will receive any perks as a Silver member, and I do not expect to be traveling enough in 2015 to regain my Gold status.

I still have plenty of travel reviews and destination tidbits coming in 2015. You can, however, expect slightly different posts, such as information about condos, campgrounds, and overnight lodging without status! And, we do have a cruise booked. Check the sidebar on the right of this blog for future destinations.

I welcome your comments! Let me know if you have any questions or desires for future posts.