Top Hotel Credit Cards Offering Elite Status (2021)

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 Hilton Honors American Express Aspire Card has 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 April 2021

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 (note that when I list the regular qualification requirements I’m using pre-coronavirus numbers, since many hotel groups have lowered elite qualification requirements for 2021):

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 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, $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.
  • 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 Brilliant™ American Express® Card, $450 annual fee — when you spend $75,000 on the card in a calendar year
  • 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:

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

Note that for 2021 World of Hyatt elite requirements have been cut in half, so status is even easier to earn.

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
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 *

Reminder: OMAAT comments are changing soon. Register here to save your space.