Up to 32nd degree, a Mason has to petition; however, 33rd a Mason has to be appointed?
The only way to get to 32nd is to submit petitions and do the required work to that point. For 33rd if you ask for it that ensures you are not appointed. That's why it's called honorary. It's important to note that the Scottish Rite is just one of many optional orders. It happens to be famous but it's neither required nor expected.