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Will You Pursue Elite Status if Your Business Travel is Reduced?

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Rene’s Points For Better Travel, a division of Chatterbox Entertainment, Inc. has partnered with CardRatings for our coverage of credit card products. Rene’s Points For Better Travel and CardRatings may receive a commission from card issuers. Opinions, reviews, analyses & recommendations are the author’s alone, and have not been reviewed, endorsed or approved by any of these entities. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.


There is all sorts of speculation that business travel as we know it is done-zo. Companies that survive the current, ugly economic climate may not have the travel budgets they once did.

Many of us are (all too) familiar with Zoom meetings. But that might be the route some employers use to replace business travel.

Delta CEO Ed Bastian said during the past quarter’s earnings call that quick business trips for short meetings (especially involving some international markets) might go the way of virtual meetings instead.

But he emphasized something many of us know: in-person meetings are vital for some businesses and their client relationships.

I’ve been to only a handful of trade shows but can’t see how they’d be as effective in a virtual world.

My work as a sales rep showed me how crucial face-to-face contact is for earning business, closing sales, and cultivating relationships.

Business Travel Cuts Hit Home

I’m hearing from several colleagues and friends that their business travels will be either significantly reduced or cut altogether. (Although we’ll certainly be thankful to have clients and jobs.) Two of my clients have told me business travel will be limited — if it returns.

Status Challenges

Many people earn (or chase) airline and hotel loyalty program elite status because they travel so often for business.

The perks — especially the upgrades! — are nice. Some people share some of them with a loved one(s) when traveling for leisure. It’s nice to treat your family or friends to a free (or significantly reduced) vacation with upgrades on the plane and at the hotel.

Details are shown on Delta Air Lines first A220 in Atlanta, Georgia at Hartsfield Jackson International airport on Sunday October 28,2018. (Chris Rank/Rank Studios 2018)

Many of us reach lower- to mid-tier hotel status thanks to cobranded credit cards or products such as the Platinum Card from American Express and Business Platinum Card from American Express. Airline status can be a little harder to earn — but there certainly are ways to make it easier.

If you’ve grown accustomed to having elite status with hotel and airline loyalty programs, will you pursue those ranks if your business travel is eliminated or significantly reduced?

Perhaps you have family or friends who enjoy your status because you take them on trips. We’ve written about pursuing status for leisure travel. Will you still have to satisfy your status craving if your business travel goes away?

We love traveling — and that certainly won’t stop. But will it be worth it for people to still chase status?

I think it’s a personal decision based on time and budget. But most of all, how important the status benefits are for fewer trips.

What Will You Do?

What are your thoughts right now about your business travel future — especially how it relates to your loyalty program status practices?

Please share your thoughts below!

— Chris

Amazon Lightning Deals

Rene’s Points For Better Travel, a division of Chatterbox Entertainment, Inc. has partnered with CardRatings for our coverage of credit card products. Rene’s Points For Better Travel and CardRatings may receive a commission from card issuers. Opinions, reviews, analyses & recommendations are the author’s alone, and have not been reviewed, endorsed or approved by any of these entities. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.


Responses are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser's responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.

8 Comments

  1. Sitting on 3.5 million Sky Pesos and 1.1 million AAdvantage miles, I will concentrate on using all my miles as I fear the airline industry isn’t through the worst. Chapter 11 and 13 are closer than we know. Ed Bastian mentioned it is one alternative that Delta May require to clear their liabilities from their A&L columns. It’s closer than we know and WHERE are we going to travel?

    • Isaac Pollak Reply

      its a dilemma
      I have traveled over 9 million miles and been to 116 countries and 328 cities in 44 years of international business travel.
      I am usually in Europe twice a month , Australia and S Africa 2-4 times annually and so on .
      All this came to a screeching halt in March and i have millions of points/miles with Air /Hotels. ( I think my wife of 45 years is actually happy to have me home for such a long stretch !)
      For the first time ever i called Amex to cancel one of my platinum cards and they gave me a substantial retention bonus .
      In addition I was starting a a retirement journey in 2021. i think i will rethink and substantially reduce my miles/points footprint

  2. The vast majority of my travel is leisure and love the perks and upgrades. If, and when, we can travel again, I will continue to chase at least some status!! But agree, that I will now try to use some of those sky pesos as who knows what will come next!

  3. My airline/hotel status is earned but almost all through work. [Example : Hilton Diamond status was earned in 2019 through nights stayed (73). However, only 15 of those was through personal travel.]

    My company is not saying what will happen once we get to the other side of this pandemic. But, if they cut us back to ‘critical’ travel only…then there’s no way my leisure travel can get me elite anything!

  4. There is a real and valid concern about business travel dropping off. Having been on both the sales and procurement side of the table, there are considerations for both. Despite what a person in sales wants to do (meet in person for relationship development, or get a competitive edge), the buyer may be wary of sitting in a conference room or office with an individual, or group of people, who have flown in from wherever they’re from, just to hear a pitch about a product or service. Short of a tempting lunch or dinner offer, what additional advantage does a buyer get over a video call? Why would an employee risk infection (imagined or not) by meeting with someone who they don’t know? While I’m certain there are doubters of this coronavirus threat, the reality for the person being pitched to is whether it’s worth the time and risk to meet in person now, instead of just a video call and presentation.

  5. I have plenty of MQM’s to maintain PM status for awhile (especially with the carryover rules for this year). I will be traveling (because I have to), but my main destination airport has suspended service. I most likely will be flying on other airlines unless they resume service soon.

  6. Barry Graham Reply

    I said right at the start of this, maybe even in a comment on one of your posts, that one of the good things that is likely to come from this is to make us rethink our attitude on chasing status. I haven’t changed my feelings on this. Even though I do it too, I still don’t think it’s a great way to spend time and energy. If could be that other ways to get the benefits we love, such as upgrading for money without status, will become even more affordable. If that happens, it will be tempting to give us the chase (no pun intended).

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