China Eastern Explorer Reward Silver Status Obtained Through SPG Platinum Downgraded After One Year!

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One year ago Starwood Preferred Guest and China Eastern Explorer Rewards entered into a joint benefits relationship (similar to Delta and Emirates) and member were upgraded to the Silver level upon enrollment.

Now exactly one year later my own Silver Membership obtained through this partnership expired even though I’m still and active SPG Platinum member and have already re-qualified months ago.

I have used the China Eastern Silver (SkyTeam Elite) status on multiple occasions for flights within China as well as on Korean Air for some benefits which in China includes Lounge Access on both China Eastern and China Southern flights.

John wrote an article about the partnership last year (see here).

After the website was up I attempted and failed to sign up several times but finally succeeded after many attempts due to their really horrible website.

In the end it worked (access the registration page here) and my China Eastern status has been valid now for one year and I’ve entered it last when flying Korean Air on Thursday last week.

The next day however my China Eastern account was downgraded to base member exactly one year from enrolling.

First of all, what’s up with ‘Imperatorial’ (did I miss something?) and then of course it now says MEMBER, meaning no status anymore.

Let’s see if this changes again in a few days or not. In the meanwhile I contacted SPG Customer Service to maybe get in touch with their China Eastern liaison to follow up on this (not holding my breath that something will come of this request given that I was given incorrect information by four different SPG agents. Some didn’t know about the benefit at all while others said ‘Just show your Platinum Card and you’ll be fine. As if!

I highly doubt some random ground staff be it at the check-in or the lounge has been trained in detail (or in any way) about SPG’s China Eastern partnership and even if, the way this program is designed is that you receive your benefits over the silver status.

China Eastern Silver status doesn’t sound like much but it’s actually very valuable as it comes with benefits like:

  • Priority check-in
  • Priority boarding
  • Priority luggage handling
  • Access to the China Eastern business-class lounge
  • Excess-luggage allowance

Not only on China Eastern but also their partner China Southern as part of the China Alliance network, Greater China Connection:

Starting from 4 Jan, 2013, Elite members of China Southern Airlines, China Eastern Airlines, China Airlines, Xiamen Airlines, traveling economic class on Greater China flights of the four Airlines (including code-share flights) can use the self-operated airport lounges of the four Airlines in mainland China.

As SkyTeam is only a secondary program for me I rarely have a chance to obtain status with them just for my few domestic flights on China Southern (my favorite one of the three [CA,CZ,MU]). Even more reason to get this matter sorted.

Conclusion

If you plan on using this benefit you should have an open eye for when your Silver status officially expires and then monitor what happens to it.

I’ll of course update this once I have a definitive answer from either China Eastern or SPG in regards to how to get the Silver status reinstated.

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