Top Hotel Credit Cards Offering Elite Status (2020)

Filed Under: American Express, Chase
In the interest of full disclosure, OMAAT earns a referral bonus for anyone that’s approved through some of the below links. The information and associated card details on this page for the The Platinum Card from American Express, and Club Carlson cards have been collected independently by OMAAT and has not been reviewed or provided by the card issuer. These are the best publicly available offers (terms apply) that we have found for each product or service. Opinions expressed here are the author's alone, not those of the bank, credit card issuer, airline, hotel chain, or product manufacturer/service provider, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities. Please check out our advertiser policy for further details about our partners, and thanks for your support!

I’ve written about the best hotel credit cards offering free nights, either as an annual benefit or as a reward for reaching certain spending 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 (review) and IHG® Rewards Club Premier Credit Card (review) 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.

Best Hotel Credit Cards For Elite Status For October 2020

In this post I wanted to take a 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 spending is required.

There are potentially all kinds of benefits to hotel elite status, ranging from free breakfast to late check-out to bonus points to suite upgrades. Obviously the higher your status, the better the perks.

Here are all the options, organized alphabetically by program and then by hierarchy of elite tiers:

Choice Privileges Gold Status Credit Cards

Choice Privileges Gold status ordinarily requires 10 nights per year, but can be earned with the following card:

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

Hilton Honors Silver Status

Hilton Honors Silver status ordinarily requires four stays or 10 nights per year, but can be earned with the following card:

Hilton Honors Gold Status Credit Cards

Hilton Honors Gold status ordinarily requires 20 stays, 40 nights, or 75,000 base points per year, but can be earned with the following cards:

Hilton Honors Diamond Status Credit Cards

Hilton Honors Diamond status ordinarily requires 30 stays, 60 nights, or 125,000 base points per year, but can be earned with the following cards:


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

IHG Rewards Club Gold Status Credit Cards

IHG Rewards Club Gold status ordinarily requires 10 nights or 10,000 base points per year, but can be earned with the following card:

IHG Rewards Club Platinum Status Credit Cards

IHG Rewards Club Platinum status ordinarily requires 40 nights or 40,000 base points per year, but can be earned with the following cards:

  • IHG® Rewards Club Premier Credit Card, $89 annual fee, waived the first year — 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

IHG Rewards Club Spire Status Credit Cards

IHG Rewards Club Spire status ordinarily requires 75 nights or 75,000 base points per year, but can be earned with the following card:

  • IHG® Rewards Club Premier Credit Card, $0 Introductory Annual Fee for the first year, thereafter $89 — points earned on this card count as base spend towards status, so spending $75,000 on non-bonused purchases, or $37,500 on gas stations, grocery stores, and restaurants, would earn you Spire status
  • Points transferred from Chase Ultimate Rewards also anecdotally seem to count towards IHG status, so transferring over 75,000 points should earn you Spire status


IHG Rewards Club Platinum members receive room upgrades

Marriott Bonvoy Silver Elite Status Credit Cards

Marriott Bonvoy Silver Elite status ordinarily requires 10 nights per year, but can be earned with the following cards:

  • Marriott Bonvoy Bold Credit Card, no annual fee — offers 15 elite qualifying nights per year, which is more than enough for Silver status
  • Marriott Bonvoy Boundless Card from Chase, $95 annual fee — offers 15 elite qualifying nights per year, which is more than enough for Silver status
  • Marriott Bonvoy Business™ American Express® Card, $125 annual fee (Rates & Fees) — offers 15 elite qualifying nights per year, which is more than enough for Silver status. Limited-Time Offer: Through 1/13/21 if you apply for, are approved for, and meet the spending requirement on this card you’ll receive complimentary Marriott Bonvoy Platinum Elite status for one year (February 1, 2021-January 31, 2022).
  • Marriott Bonvoy American Express Card, $95 annual fee, no longer open to new applicants — offers 15 elite qualifying nights per year, which is more than enough for Silver status
  • Marriott Bonvoy Business Credit Card, $99 annual fee, no longer open to new applicants — offers 15 elite qualifying nights per year, which is more than enough for Silver status
  • Marriott Rewards Premier Card, $85 annual fee, no longer open to new applicants — offers 15 elite qualifying nights per year, which is more than enough for Silver status

Note that each Marriott Bonvoy member can earn at most 30 elite nights per year from credit cards, with 15 elite nights coming from a personal card, and 15 elite nights coming from a business card.

Marriott Bonvoy Gold Elite Status Credit Cards

Marriott Bonvoy Gold Elite status ordinarily requires 25 nights per year, but can be earned with the following cards:

Marriott Bonvoy Platinum Elite Status Credit Cards

Marriott Bonvoy Platinum Elite status ordinarily requires 50 nights per year, but can be earned with the following cards:

  • Marriott Bonvoy Business™ American Express® Card, $125 annual fee — Limited-Time Offer: Through 1/13/21 if you apply for, are approved for, and meet the spending requirement on this card you’ll receive complimentary Marriott Bonvoy Platinum Elite status for one year (February 1, 2021-January 31, 2022).
  • Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant™ American Express® Card, $450 annual fee — when you spend $75,000 on the card in a calendar year. Limited-Time Offer: Through 1/13/21 if you apply for, are approved for, and meet the spending requirement on this card you’ll receive complimentary Marriott Bonvoy Platinum Elite status for one year (February 1, 2021-January 31, 2022).
  • The Ritz-Carlton Credit Card, $450 annual fee, no longer open to new applicants — when you spend $75,000 on the card in a cardmember year

There are no cards that offer Marriott Bonvoy Titanium or Ambassador status.


Marriott Platinum members receive complimentary suite upgrades

Radisson Rewards Gold Status Credit Cards

Radisson Rewards Gold status requires 30 nights or 20 stays per year, but can be earned with the following card:

World of Hyatt Discoverist Status Credit Cards

World of Hyatt Discoverist status ordinarily requires 10 nights or 25,000 base points per year, but can be earned with the following cards:

  • 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 Credit Cards

World of Hyatt Explorist status ordinarily requires 30 nights or 50,000 base points per year, but can be earned with the following cards:

  • 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 Credit Cards

World of Hyatt Globalist status ordinarily requires 60 nights or 100,000 base points per year, but can be earned with the following card:


World of Hyatt Globalist members receive complimentary suite upgrades

Wyndham Rewards Gold Status Credit Cards

Wyndham Rewards Gold status ordinarily requires five nights per year, but can be earned with the following card:

Wyndham Rewards Platinum Status Credit Cards

Wyndham Rewards Platinum status ordinarily requires 15 nights per year, but can be earned with the following card:

Wyndham Rewards Diamond Status Credit Cards

Wyndham Rewards Diamond status ordinarily requires 40 nights per year, but can be earned with the following card:

Credit Card Hotel Elite Status Summary

It’s pretty remarkable that nowadays you can earn top tier status with Hilton and Wyndham just for having a credit card, and with Hyatt and Marriott you can earn top tier status with credit card spending. 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 spending.

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

The following links will direct you to the rates and fees for mentioned American Express Cards. These include: Hilton Honors American Express Card (Rates & Fees), The Business Platinum® Card from American Express (Rates & Fees), The Hilton Honors American Express Business Card (Rates & Fees), The Platinum Card® from American Express (Rates & Fees), Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant™ American Express® Card (Rates & Fees), Marriott Bonvoy Business™ American Express® Card (Rates & Fees), Hilton Honors American Express Surpass® Card (Rates & Fees), and Hilton Honors American Express Aspire Card (Rates & Fees).

The comments on this page have not been provided, reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any advertiser, and it is not an advertiser's responsibility to ensure posts and/or questions are answered.
Comments
  1. Assuming I’ve done my homework correctly, the $95/yr Wyndham Rewards Earner Business Card’s Platinum status will be matched to Caesars Rewards Platinum status, which comes with:
    1) No resort fees on Vegas properties, which is huuuuuuge
    2) a $100 annual “celebratory dinner”
    3) 2 nights at Caesars Bluewater Dubai (though all guests must be 21+), with wine and chocolate greeting
    4) 4 nights at Atlantis hotel in the Bahamas (though lower-tier diamonds pay resort fees)
    5) access their lounges (free for higher-tier elites)
    6) various incentives to encourage you to “game” your disposable income

    I’m in, I was approved. Hopefully I haven’t overlooked anything here. For those who can qualify with a small biz, this may be a much better way to access Caesars Diamond than the “Founders Card” that every points site seems to want to push these days.

  2. Big correction on my post above: the Wyndham Rewards Earner Business Card comes with *DIAMOND* status which is supposed to be matched to Caesars Rewards *DIAMOND* status. Mods, you may want to avoid some confusion and revise my original post.

  3. I am lifetime Marriott Titanium Elite. I have rarely gotten upgraded in the US and recognition at a hotel is pitiful. I am retired and spent a lifetime of staying at their hotels, mostly top Marriotts, and using their credit card and the benefits have just gone downhill and getting worse.

    The interesting thing is we have 1 MM Hilton points and rarely stayed in a Hilton. The wife has the Aspire card and we get treated better at Hilton than Marriott.

    I wish I had put all those hotel nights in a Hyatt over the working years.

    To not be treated well by Marriott is OK with me, but for my wife that spent all those nights keeping the kids only looked forward to this time when Marriott would treat us right. It is Marriott hurting my wife and that is the issue with me.

  4. Don’t count on the Caesars March to Diamond from Wyndham in 2021. The new management from Eldorado has already made some changes and more to come to both cur down on payout to players and focus on people who earn their status by gambling. Long time Diamond Plus member (all by gambling) and I’m already seeing changes plus hosts and others are giving me a heads up on some changes coming

  5. @Byron I was in and out of Marriott’s program in two years’ time. There’s no meat there.

    Hyatt’s program just kills it, both for international stays and domestically. We’ve been regularly upgraded to $1000+/night suite accommodations in California and NYC. If you travel to Asia things get even better: you can expect complimentary meals, alcohol, and ten-million-dollar views in Asian capital cities like Shanghai.

    The secret sauce for World of Hyatt is to get the Chase WoH credit card, the Chase Sapphire Reserve, and the Chase Freedom Unlimited, spend on them strategically based on which yields the highest reward for given spend, and convert UR points to Hyatt points. They add up quickly, and the Chase Hyatt card will help you earn and retain status through spend alone: every $5000 in spend yields 2 qualifying nights. Worth remembering if you’re responsible for a huge tax bill.

    I have yet to be impressed with any other top-tier hotel rewards program, though in fairness I will try out my Hilton Diamond status when I can return to Asia. Supposedly you’ll get better recognition as a Hilton Diamond in Asia.

  6. @AC thanks for the heads-up. Just curious, do you feel like you manage to “break even” gambling your way to Diamond plus, or is your gambling just a recreational thing that you don’t mind spending some money for? What games do you enjoy?

Leave a Reply

If you'd like to participate in the discussion, please adhere to our commenting guidelines. Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *