24 Credit Cards That Give You Hotel Elite Status

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Last week I wrote a post about the hotel credit cards that offer free night certificates, either as an annual benefit, or as a reward for reaching certain spend thresholds. In many cases these anniversary free night certificates can more than justify the annual fees on cards, given that they can be redeemed at some great hotels.

For example, both The World of Hyatt Credit Card and IHG® Rewards Club Premier Credit Card offer anniversary free night certificates that can be redeemed at hotels with nightly rates that are way higher than the cards’ annual fees.

That’s only one perk that potentially makes hotel credit cards useful, though. One of the other awesome things about some credit cards is that they can make it easy to earn status. Nowadays it’s possible to earn top tier elite hotel status with several hotel credit cards, and the opportunities to earn status with credit cards keeps improving.

So in this post I wanted to look at all the ways you can use US-issued credit cards to earn elite hotel status. In some cases you get status just for having a card, and in other cases a certain amount of spend is required. Here are all the options, organized by program and then status level:

Choice Privileges

Earn Choice Privileges Gold status (requires 10 nights per year)

There are no cards that offer Choice Privileges Platinum or Diamond status.

Hilton Honors

Earn Hilton Honors Silver status (requires 4 stays or 10 nights per year)

Earn Hilton Honors Gold status (requires 20 stays, 40 nights, or 75,000 base points per year)

Earn Hilton Honors Diamond status (requires 30 stays, 60 nights, or 125,000 base points per year)


Hilton Honors Gold & Diamond members receive free breakfast at most Hilton hotels

IHG Rewards Club

Earn IHG Rewards Club Gold status (requires 10 nights or 10,000 base points per year)

Earn IHG Rewards Club Platinum status (requires 40 nights or 40,000 base points per year)

  • IHG® Rewards Club Premier Credit Card ($89 annual fee) — valid for as long as you have the card
  • IHG Rewards Club Credit Card ($49 annual fee, no longer open to new applicants) — valid for as long as you have the card

There are no cards that offer IHG Rewards Club Spire status.

Marriott Rewards/Starwood Preferred Guest

A new Marriott loyalty program will be introduced in August, so all of the below information is based on what we can expect once that new program is formed. I intentionally won’t even mention Starwood Preferred Guest status, since the program will cease to exist as of next month.

Marriott Silver status (requires 10 nights per year)

Note that each Marriott member can earn at most one set of 15 elite night credits per year, so even if you have multiple of the above cards, you’d earn a maximum of 15 elite nights per year.

Marriott Gold status (requires 25 nights per year)

Marriott Platinum status (requires 50 nights per year)

  • SPG Luxury Card ($450 annual fee, will be released on August 1, 2018) — when you spend $75,000 on the card in a calendar year
  • The Ritz-Carlton Rewards® Credit Card ($450 annual fee, this new benefit kicks in as of August 26, 2018) — when you spend $75,000 on the card in a cardmember year


Marriott Platinum members will receive complimentary suite upgrades

Radisson Rewards

Radisson Rewards Silver status (requires nine nights or six stays per year)

  • Radisson Rewards Visa Signature Card ($50 annual fee) — valid for as long as you have the card; if you already have Silver status, you receive 10 qualifying nights towards Gold or Platinum status each year

Radisson Rewards Gold status (requires 30 nights or 20 stays per year)

  • Radisson Rewards Business Visa Card ($60 annual fee) — valid for as long as you have the card; if you already have Gold status, you receive 15 qualifying nights towards Platinum status each year
  • Radisson Rewards Premier Signature Visa Card ($75 annual fee) — valid for as long as you have the card; if you already have Gold status, you receive 15 qualifying nights towards Platinum status each year

World of Hyatt

World of Hyatt Discoverist status (requires 10 nights or 25,000 base points per year)

  • The World of Hyatt Credit Card ($95 annual fee) — valid for as long as you have the card
  • The Hyatt Credit Card ($75 annual fee, no longer open to new applicants) — valid for as long as you have the card

World of Hyatt Explorist status (requires 30 nights or 50,000 base points per year)

  • The World of Hyatt Credit Card ($95 annual fee) — the card offers five elite qualifying nights annually, plus two additional elite nights for every $5,000 spent, so spending $65,000 would earn 31 elite qualifying nights, which is more than enough for Explorist status
  • The Hyatt Credit Card ($75 annual fee, no longer open to new applicants) — when you spend $50,000 on the card in a calendar year

World of Hyatt Globalist status (requires 60 nights or 100,000 base points per year)

  • The World of Hyatt Credit Card ($95 annual fee) — the card offers five elite qualifying nights annually, plus two additional elite nights for every $5,000 spent, so spending $140,000 would earn 61 elite qualifying nights, which is more than enough for Globalist status; note that requalifying for Globalist status requires just 55 nights, so would require $125,000 in spend


World of Hyatt Globalist members receive complimentary suite upgrades

Wyndham Rewards

Wyndham Rewards Gold status (requires 5 nights per year)

Wyndham Rewards Platinum status (requires 15 nights per year)

There are no cards that offer Wyndham Rewards Diamond status

Bottom line

It’s pretty remarkable that nowadays you can earn top tier status with Hilton just for having a credit card, and with Hyatt and Marriott for credit card spend. Until recently these tiers were all much more difficult to achieve.

On top of that, there are many mid-range credit cards that offer status just for having the card, which can be valuable as well. For example, it’s really easy to earn Hilton Honors Gold status, and that gets you perks like free breakfast at most brands, bonus points, and more.

If you are going to spend money on your hotel credit card to earn status, just make sure you consider the opportunity cost of that spend.

Which credit cards do you find to be most valuable for earning elite hotel status?


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Comments

  1. The United Mileage Plus Club card also grants World of Hyatt Discoverist status as well or used to…

  2. Text like “Earn Hilton Honors Gold status (requires 20 stays, 40 nights, or 75,000 base points per year)” is a bit confusing. Does that mean you need to stay 20 stays,etc even IF you have those cards, or that’s what it normally requires, and you’d avoid that if you have the card?

    I believe it’s the latter as I have AmEx Plat and I got Honors Gold status just by clicking a link on the AmEx site, not having stayed there recently.

  3. IIRC, the M Life Rewards credit card earns the entry level M Life elite status, which maps to Hyatt Discoverist. I have no if it’s a good card or not, but I’d imagine it’s useful to those who frequently go to Las Vegas. No annual fee.

  4. SPG credit card from American Express in Japan offers only 5 elite qualifying nights a year.
    Not useful!!

  5. HI lucky,

    when it comes to sign up bonuses and AMEX, isn’t it that they give you the bonus only once per lifetime per credit card brand/type? That’s been my understanding.

    I’m asking because whenever I log in to my amex account, I get a pop-up informing me that I have been pre-approved for the 60k personal amex plat. I read the offer terms and nowhere do I see anything about me not getting the points if I already was given the bonus.

    FYI, i got the personal amex plat about two years ago when they had the 100k offer.

    do you think I’d still get the bonus I apply for it?

  6. With the SPG Lux Card you will earn Platinum Status by spending $75,000 in a year. If this was the only way one earned Platinum status for the year, would this count for a ‘year’ towards earning lifetime Platinum?

  7. For what it’s worth, the Ceaser’s Total Rewards Visa offers Platinum status in their Total Rewards loyalty program. That status is matched by Wyndham as Platinum and points are exchangeable between the two programs.

    It’s kind of a kludge, but it’s a way to get Wyndham Platinum without butt in bed nights.

  8. Marriott Silver is attainable with one single meeting. 15 nights with a credit card and you are at Gold. Not that new Marriott Gold is worth a hill of beans! But you could get to Platinum with 25 stays.

    RewardsPlus through United will be remaining at New Gold in 2019 so should ease some lounge over-crowding. Suite upgrades as a current Platinum Elite are virtually non-existant now and will be even worse with an abundance of Suite Night Awards going forward. Personally I won’t be directing any monies Marriotts way until the conversion is completed and I can evaluate whether or not they deserve my loyalty.

    James

  9. You forgot to mention that you can spend your way to IHG Spire through their cards. $75K spend if all done on 1X (DON’T!!!), or $37,500 with the 2X categories. Or far less if using the card to pay for IHG stays/incidentals.

  10. There are some great deals if you live in USA, the deals for us Brits are rubbish. Have you thought about covering this from the other side of the pond?

  11. Guys…. I have Spire Elite status with IHG. I have NO idea why!!! Not complaining, but really perplexed at how that happened. I thought it was just the regular status from the card until they were offering me free points for some reason. I have had a lot of bookings that I cancel and bought points I didn’t want from cash and points stays to discover you can’t cancel those without paying for it. BOO. Maybe all of my crazy bookings tripped up their computer system. I do have Amex Plat for Hilton/Marriott/SPG status. Anyone else have it for no reason???

  12. @Tennen

    I did the reverse. Through the UA Presidential Plus card, I got Hyatt Discoverist, which I recently used to get M Life Pearl. Great when I get a chance to go to the Borgata in Altantic City, or the Empire Casino in Yonkers, NY, when MGM takes it over later this year/early next year.

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