Being an elite in airline and hotel programs can have serious upsides. Upgrades, convenient perks, occasional special treatment, feeling special, feeling privileged, feeling superior, etc. 😉 I would recommend pursuing elite status, but not breaking your back to achieve it, because I honestly think it is over-hyped, especially in the travel blog world. Maybe when I get older I will feel the need for more guaranteed comfort, but I currently prefer to get to my destination quickly and efficiently, and then to focus on the experience of the destination itself.
That being said, I actually have elite status with American, United, Hilton, Hyatt, Club Carlson, and Marriott, and I have gotten countless awesome upgrades because of it. But these statuses are all the result of my normal travel patterns, credit card signups, easy online promotions, and status-matching campaigns. I have never done a “mileage run” or a “mattress run”, i.e., travel for the sole purpose of gaining miles/points and elite status (amazingly common for elite status gurus/addicts). This just doesn’t seem worth it to me, but to each his/her own!
Since I don’t think I have anything new to contribute to the thoroughly covered subject of elite status, I will simply offer links to other fellow bloggers who sum it up best:
Hack My Trip has this fantastic post on how to go from nothing to elite in one program and then leverage it to other programs via status matches (which is what I have done!)