5 Secret, Invite-only Elite Status Tiers for Travelers That You've Never Heard Of

Airlines and hotels offer secret invitation-only elite statuses for their biggest spenders that come with some next-level perks.

<p>Courtesy of United Airlines</p>

Courtesy of United Airlines

Airline elite status is everything to road warriors, who are dedicated members of loyalty programs across airlines, hotels, and even car rental companies. But aside from the standard tiers of those loyalty programs, some travel brands have secret tiers for their most elite customers, which are only achievable by personal invitation. Here are five such elite statuses, some of which are poorly kept secrets — listen carefully during boarding and you'll hear flight attendants call their "secret" elites at the beginning of their process — and others that even the most experienced travelers have never heard of.

American Airlines ConciergeKey

<p>Courtesy of American Airlines</p>

Courtesy of American Airlines

American Airlines doesn't formally publish material about its ConciergeKey program, but anecdotal evidence suggests that this tier of the AAdvantage loyalty program is reserved for managers of corporate travel programs and employees recommended by those managers. It's also for individual big spenders — those who spend tens of thousands (or maybe hundreds of thousands) of dollars on American flights each year. Perks reportedly include everything that travelers with American's highest public elite status tier, Executive Platinum, get: day-of travel assistance via a dedicated phone line and email; private airport transfers; Admirals Club lounge membership and access to Flagship Lounges; and World of Hyatt Globalist status, among other benefits.

United Airlines Global Services

United publishes one official way to achieve its "secret" status tier, called Global Services: become a four-million miler. Once you do, you'll be treated to lifetime Global Service benefits, which include, according to reports, a dedicated phone line and email address for travel assistance, Mercedes-Benz airport transfers, access to special fare classes when using upgrade certificates (the certificates are a perk of United Premier 1K status, the highest published tier of United's MileagePlus program), United Club access, and more. Now, achieving four-million-miler status on United is no easy feat, but don't worry, United invites select MileagePlus members to enjoy Global Services status, though its qualifications for an invitation remain secret.

Delta 360°

<p>Celal Gunes/Getty Images</p>

Celal Gunes/Getty Images

Delta actually acknowledges its not-so-secret 360° elite status and even offers some guidance into what's considered for nominations: how much you fly, how often you purchase seats in premium cabins, and how much you spend on a Delta SkyMiles American Express credit card. But the thresholds are not published, and some speculate they may vary based on your home airport. All invitees must already hold Diamond Medallion status — Delta's top public tier — which means they already receive those benefits. Additional perks supposedly include Porsche transfers at airports, a dedicated phone line for travel assistance, and gifts like Ray-Ban aviator sunglasses and general Delta swag.

Hyatt Courtesy Card

Hotel brands also have secret elite status, but it's far more selective than the airline programs. Hyatt, for instance, reportedly had a program called Courtesy Card, which is typically reserved for Hyatt hotel owners and specially nominated World of Hyatt members. According to the blog One Mile at a Time, members include those nominated by Hyatt general managers, high-spend members, and managers of corporate travel accounts. Because Courtesy Card is so exclusive, there's not much information on the perks associated with the status, but they potentially include a complimentary upgrade to the hotel's best suite.

Marriott Cobalt

Marriott Cobalt is a secret tier of the hotel brand's Bonvoy program, and it's only granted to those nominated by Marriott employees and approved by Marriott International's president and CEO, according to The Points Guy. Benefits vary based on the hotel, including upgrades at some lower-tier properties and club access at higher-tier properties, but the distinguishing feature is exceptional personalized service no matter where you stay. Cobalt elites are also granted all the benefits of Marriott's published top tier: Ambassador Elite.

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