If you never ask, then you will never be told yes… and it feels so good to hear the word “Yes” (or “YAAASS”)! When it comes to the points game, a simple question/request can earn you extra bonus points and miles, or even elite tier status – which can save you time and money while also increasing your overall travel experience! You just have to know what to ask for, when to ask it, and who to ask!
While I don’t always get what I ask for, the worst response I have ever received from a credit card company or loyalty program is “No”, so it is always worth the shot, right!?
To illustrate the process further I will detail some of the “Asks” that I have sent out in the past few months in order to provide you with the information you need to send your own requests/asks!
What to ask for?
Hotel Status “Asks”:
Hyatt Gold Passport Diamond Status – In the midst of all of the Marriott & Starwood business acquisition chatter, Hyatt announced a status match campaign on Twitter in which they were offering top tier Hyatt Gold Passport Diamond Status – an attempt to capitalize on any disgruntled SPG loyalists who might be unhappy with a potential merger. All those who messaged Hyatt with his or her current status at a competing hotel chain (including SPG, Marriott AND Hilton) and evidence of a recent stay using that status would receive this bump to top tier status. I caught word of the matching deal early on the first morning of its implementation, quickly logged onto my Hilton Account, snapped a screenshot of my then current Hilton Gold Status (courtesy of the Hilton Surpass by American Express), and received by Hyatt Diamond Status (and all its benefits) shortly thereafter!
Result? Granted! Time to enjoy upgraded rooms & suites, free breakfast and club lounge access!
Airline Status “Asks”:
Virgin America Elevate Status – Virgin America is currently offering a free status match to those with status in other frequent flyer rewards programs! Take a look at the chart below to determine if your status at a competing airline might qualify you for free Virgin America Status!
I was able to take advantage of this offer and match to Elevate Gold Status (valid for 90 days) based on my status as a Southwest Companion Pass holder (which I earned through the Southwest Visa Credit Card sign-up bonuses and spending)! While I am not sure if I will fly Virgin America in the next 90 days, I am hoping that I can at least visit one of the Virgin America Airport Lounges (a perk of my Elevate Gold Status)!
Result? Granted! Request status and join me in a Virgin America Airport Lounge!
Alaska Airlines MVP Status – Similar to the above, I attempted to match status using my current Southwest Companion Pass. Unfortunately for me, Alaska Airlines will only match status on the Southwest Companion Pass if it was earned though flight segments rather than through Rapid Reward Point earning… oh well, it was worth a shot!
Better Credit Card Offer Matching Asks:
Match to 60k Citi AA Platinum Mastercard Offer – I recently applied for the Citi American Airlines Platinum card under the terms of a 50k AAdvantage Mile sign-up bonus offer. After a bit of reading on FlyerTalk, it came to my attention that there was a better offer for 60k AAdvantage miles, targeted to specific AAdvantage members. While I was not specifically targeted, I read that Citi would potentially process a match to that higher offer upon request – which is exactly what happened! Just like that I found myself 10k AAdvantage miles richer!
Match to 100k HHonors Offer – There is a current limited time offer on the Hilton Surpass from American Express for 100k Hilton HHonors points (ending May 4th). This is a great offer and is 15k HHonors points better than the most recent limited-time high offer of 85k Hilton HHonors points. With my direction, my father-in-law applied for the Hilton Surpass a couple of months back under the 85k HHonors offer (which was the best public offer available at the time). With the news of the higher 100k HHonors offer I instructed him to send a request to American Express to see if the would match the new high offer. Unfortunately, American Express was not willing to grant the request and the quest for the extra 15k HHonors points was abandoned…
When to ask?
Credit Card Companies and Loyalty programs are a bit moody. If you catch them on a good day, they are willing to do whatever it takes to please you. Catch them on a bad day and you will get stone-walled at every turn. That’s why it pays (literally) to know when to ask!
Ask for status if you have existing High/Mid/Low Level status at competing airlines or hotel programs and when they publicly offer free matches! Airlines and Hotel Chains are constantly competing for your business/loyalty so if you show that you are willing to move your loyalty (whether you actually intend to or not) a competing airline or hotel just might offer to match any loyalty status that you might have! Remember, gaining status is not as tough as it sounds – many hotel credit cards will offer you mid-level status just for being a cardholder (like earning Hilton Gold Status through the Hilton Surpass)!
Ask to be matched to a better credit card sign-up bonus if a better offer becomes available within a short time (3 months or less) of your application. Sometimes they will match the higher offer as a measure of goodwill, and sometimes they won’t, but be sure to at least be conscious of any better offers that may appear after your application!
Who to ask it to?
Twitter – Most airlines and hotel programs have associated Twitter account that allow them to interact directly with customers and potential customers. I have always found airlines an hotels to be VERY responsive on Twitter, addressing direct tweets within hours! Make sure to follow all of your favorite airlines and hotels on Twitter and take advantage of the direct line of communication, whether it is to voice an issue or concern, or to ask for status (like I did for Hyatt Diamond!) or enrollment in other limited time offers!
Direct Email – Many airline and hotel loyalty programs have email addresses devoted specifically to status match requests and other status related questions. In the examples mentioned above, I contacted Virgin America Airlines at email@example.com, and Alaska Airlines at firstname.lastname@example.org. The airline or hotel loyalty program will respond back to you within a few days with a detailed list of what they will need to process any status match, such as evidence of you latest stay, flight history, or current status with a competitor airline or hotel brand. Simply reply with the items requested and then BAM! you will be extended some elite status and all the benefits and perks that come along with it!
Secure Messaging – This is the preferred method of communication for many credit card companies including Chase and Citi (American Express utilizes a chat feature in order to address customer questions/concerns), and is a great way to ask credit card companies whatever may be on your mind… like asking to be matched to a better/higher sign-up bonus offer (similar to what I asked Citi regarding my new AA Mastercard)! Be sure to take advantage of this feature and communicate with your credit card company regarding and questions/comments/concerns that you might have.
It never hurts to ask. I have received hundreds of dollars in travel benefits just based on my elite status and sign-up bonus increases. I earned this elite status not through dozens of hotel nights or flight segments, but by simply using my mid-level status earned as a credit card holder and then asking for more!
It can all be had if you just ASK!