Anytime free Elite status is offered by any Hotels or Airlines, I ALWAYS jump at the opportunity and sign up for it.
It could be Elite Status for some small European Airline or crappy Hotel Chain that I never plan on staying at, but if it is has the words Free, Elite, or Status in the offer, you can count me in.
The reason I am always signing up for any Elite Status available and encouraging Readers to do the same is because they can often be used for Status Matches to Airlines and Hotels that you actually want fly on and stay with!
In 2010, when I knew I was going to be taking a large trip to Australia and would be flying United and staying at Marriott Hotels, I parlayed my free Virgin Silver Status into United Silver Status and then used my free SPG Gold Status to trade up to Marriott Platinum Status.
In the past few months, Accor has offered free Platinum Status and Hilton has offered free Gold Status, so I thought it would be a great time to showcase how exactly to use these types of free Statuses to your benefit.
Additionally, most Hotel Credit Cards now come with some sort of Elite Status as long as you are a Cardholder. You can also use those free Statuses to Status Match to other Hotel Chains.
My Experience Getting Status Matched to Club Carlson Gold
I am going to Europe in September and decided to burn the 50,000 Club Carlson Points I earned this past Spring via their Big Night Giveaway, for a stay at a Radisson Blu.
To my surprise Radisson Blu’s actually look pretty awesome, so I opted to book 2 nights with Points and pay for another 2 nights.
However I only agreed to pay for the 2 nights after I did a Best Rate Guarantee and got them to knock 25% off the lowest price I found.
All in all, I have 4 nights booked at Radisson Blu.
Outside of my 50,000 point mattress run in the Spring, I have never really stayed at any Club Carlson properties in the United States, so since I have 4 nights booked, I figured now would be the best time to request a Status Match to Club Carlson.
How To Request A Status Match
1. Acquire “Throw Away” Elite Status
As stated earlier, I collect any Elite Status available even if I have no intention of using it.
This past year I got Accor A-Club Platinum Status as well as Hilton Gold Status for free.
I had actually forgotten that I had acquired both Elite Statuses, so I had to log into Award Wallet and check to see which programs I had Elite Status in.
2. Check StatusMatcher.com
Since not all Elite Statuses match up correctly, it is important to check StatusMatcher.com and see what other peoples’ experiences are.
Typically on StatusMatcher.com, you can also find the email address that you need to contact to start your Status Match.
When I visited Status Matcher, I simply looked for Radisson and checked what kind of success other people had.
Typically Hotels and Airlines are EXTREMELY stingy about giving away their absolute highest level of status and won’t ever directly match you to that.
For Club Carlson, their highest level is Platinum, so no one got matched to that but Gold seemed fairly easy to attain.
Also on Status Matcher I found the Club Carlson email address I needed to use which was firstname.lastname@example.org
3. Get Screenshots Of Your “Throw Away” Status
To get a Status Match to any Hotel or Airline, you need to prove to them that you have Elite Status somewhere else.
If not, then everyone would just say they have Elite Status and would ask to get matched.
To prove your Elite Status, you can typically take a Screenshot, PDF, or Snail Mail in your Elite Statement.
Most people get Paperless Statements these days, so Screenshot or PDF is easiest.
Sending in your Screenshot is a bit of an art because Hotels are aware that their Competitors giveaway free Elite Status, so they sometimes want to see that you have actually “earned” your Status as opposed to got it for free.
In my case, I had gotten both Accor and Hilton Status for free and have never actually stayed at either Brands.
However from a few random promotions I did, I had 1,150 Hilton Points in my account, so at least it did look like I had some activity.
This is also the reason I sent in 2 Elite Statuses as opposed to only 1.
I figure the more Statuses you send in, the more likely they are to approve you.
For my Accor Platinum Status, there was no way to hide that I didn’t have any activity, so I simply just sent it in as is.
The Red Arrow I added in for you guys.
For the Hilton Gold Status, I also did not have any Stays, however the way the page was situated, I could scroll to hide the 0 Nights / 0 Stays part.
So when I took the Screenshot, I simply moved it to make it look like that was the end of the page.
5. Send Your Status Request Email
Once you have your Screenshots, it is time to actually request your Status.
Via StatusMatcher.com, I found the exact email to request a Status Match from Club Carlson.
My email below is actually what I sent to Club Carlson yesterday.
As you can see, I am very specific about what Status I want.
From reading Status Matcher, I knew Platinum wasn’t a possibility, so I went for Gold.
Regardless always be clear in what you want or they might try to give you the lower Status.
Also because I didn’t really have any stays with my “Throw Away” Statuses, I made it clear that I had already made a reservation at Radisson and was planning on staying there.
I even included my confirmation number so they could check.
I personally think this is extremely important because if the Airline or Hotel knows you are serious and have already committed to spending a substantial amount of money with them, then they are more likely to approve you.
When I did my United and Marriott Status Match way back in 2010, I did not have qualifying activity in any of my “Throw Away” Statuses that I used for the Status Match.
When United and Marriott both came back and asked for Statements for both of my “Throw Away” Elite Statuses, I simply responded that my flight was already booked and gave them the confirmation.
Similarly for Marriott, I told them I had booked 10 days at the Marriott Sydney and provided the confirmation.
Without issue or me even proving that my “Throw Away” Elite Status was real, United and Marriott both approved me.
To my surprise and most likely due to the $2,000 in rooms they saw booked, Marriott matched my free SPG Gold Status to Marriott Platinum, which is their highest level!
6. Wait For Approval & Check Your Account
As I stated above, sometimes they will ask to actually see your Statement before they match you.
In the case of Club Carlson, within one day, I was matched without question.
However as you can see in the email, although I requested Gold Status, the CSR responded with Silver / Gold Status and outlined the Silver Status Benefits.
Before I emailed him back saying I actually wanted Gold Status, I simply logged into my Club Carlson Account to double check.
Lo and behold, Club Carlson had actually matched me to Gold Status!
7. Reap The Benefits
While it probably takes 5 minutes to sign up for “Throw Away” Elite Status and another 5 minutes to take a Screenshot and email them, spending those 10 minutes of your life getting a Status Match can reap significant benefits.
When I did this in 2010, having basic Silver Status with United allowed us to get bumped to Economy Plus, which was a godsend on a 16 hour flight in Economy. United was selling Economy Plus upgrades for $1,200 Roundtrip, which we got for free!
Additionally we got free checked bags which was nice.
For Marriott, as a Platinum Elite, we got a welcome gift as well as free Lounge Access which was nice because there was free Internet as well as Alcohol & Appetizers every night.
With my most recent Club Carlson Gold Status, I will receive the following benefits which normally would have taken 20 qualifying stays or 35 nights to earn.
- Complimentary room upgrades as available
- 50% point bonus on every eligible stay
- 2,000 point online booking bonus at clubcarlson.com or any Carlson Rezidor hotel website
- Early check-ins and late checkouts as available upon request
- Roll Over Nights (unused elite-qualifying nights count again next year toward elite status)
- 72-hour room availability guarantee at participating hotels
- Elite Customer Service Line
While Club Carlson Gold Gold doesn’t get free breakfast or anything extraordinary, the ability to check in early and hopefully get a room upgrade is good enough for me.
Basically, if your can use your free Status Match to make your trip a little bit more enjoyable (Room Upgrade) or convenient (Early Check-In), in my opinion it is worth the 10 minutes spent.
So hopefully next time you see a free offer for Elite Status you will remember to sign up for it!
If you have an upcoming trip and “Earned” free Elite Status, remember to cash it in with a Status Match.