HomeHotel LoyaltyWhich key credit cards offer hotel elite status?

Which key credit cards offer hotel elite status?


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Frequent visitors to this site may have already seen our article coveringing hotel loyalty programs that offer lifetime elite status and our article that looks at whether or not lifetime elite status with hotel loyalty programs is a worthwhile thing to pursue, so a natural progression from those articles is to take a look at the credit cards that offer cardholders elite status with some of the major hotel chains as part of their overall package of benefits.

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Note: All information about the Hilton Honors American Express Aspire Card has been collected independently by Traveling For Miles. The Hilton Honors American Express Aspire Card is not currently available through Traveling For Miles

Hilton

a large room with a chandelier and stairs
Hilton Los Angeles Airport (LAX)

Hilton Honors Silver Status

The following card bestows Hilton Honors Silver status on cardholders as part of the benefits package that it offers. The status is held for as long as the card account remains active:

Most entry-level elite statuses are very unrewarding, but there’s one very good reason to hold Hilton Honors Silver status – you have to be a Hilton Honors elite status holder to access the 5th-night free benefit on award bookings – and that’s just one of the things that makes the card_name very useful.

Hilton Honors Gold Status

The following cards bestow Hilton Honors Gold status on cardholders as part of the benefits package that they offer. The status is held for as long as the card account remains active:

Holders of the no annual fee Hilton Honors American Express Card can also earn Gold Status when they spend $20,000 on their card (in a calendar year) but this is not a path that I recommend.

There are a lot of other credit cards which offer significantly better returns on $20,000 of spending, so most people would be better off paying an annual fee for one of the more premium Hilton Honors co-branded cards and putting $20,000 of spending on a more rewarding card.

Hilton Honors Gold status is generally regarded as the best mid-tier hotel status around – it’s the only mid-tier status that offers complimentary breakfast or a credit towards breakfast on all stays – and that makes it a status worth having.

Given the choice of earning the status the hard way (20 stays, 40 nights, or 75,000 base points in a year) or enjoying that status courtesy of a card that costs annual_fees per year, I know which I would choose!

Hilton Honors Diamond Status

The following card bestows Hilton Honors Diamond status on cardholders as part of the benefits package that it offers. The status is held for as long as the card account remains active:

  • Hilton Honors Aspire Card from American Express – $550 annual fee (rates & fees)

Note: All information about the Hilton Honors American Express Aspire Card has been collected independently by Traveling For Miles. The Hilton Honors American Express Aspire Card is not currently available through Traveling For Miles.

Holders of the card_name and the card_name can also earn Diamond Status when they spend $40,000 on their card (in a calendar year), but this is not a path that I recommend.

There are a lot of other credit cards which offer significantly better returns on $40,000 of spending than either of these cards so most people would be better off paying the annual fee for the Hilton Honors Aspire Card and putting $40,000 of spending on a more rewarding card.

Hilton Honors Diamond status is the only major hotel top-tier elite status that can be enjoyed simply by holding a credit card. Considering the status gives members access to upgrades (to suites) and 100% bonus points on all Hilton stays, the fact that this is even available is pretty remarkable.


IHG

a building next to a body of water
The InterContinental Amstel Amsterdam

IHG One Rewards Gold Elite status

IHG One Rewards Gold Status can be earned by spending $20,000 on the card_name (review) which comes with a annual_fees annual fee, but the benefits associated with this status are so limited that no one should be aiming to earn it through credit card spending.

IHG One Rewards Platinum Elite status

The following cards bestow IHG Rewards Platinum Elite status on cardholders as part of the benefits package that they offer. The status is held for as long as the card account remains active:

  • card_nameannual_fees annual fee
  • card_nameannual_fees annual fee
  • IHG® Rewards Select credit card – not open to new applicants

On the whole, IHG Rewards Platinum Elite status is unrewarding, so I wouldn’t recommend that anyone gets the Premier credit card for the status benefit alone. If, however, you’re a reasonably frequent visitor to IHG properties, the card’s all-around package can be very useful (see our review here).

IHG One Rewards Diamond Elite status

IHG One Rewards Diamond status requires a member to credit 70 nights or 120,000 base points to their account in a calendar year and, at the time of writing, no credit card offers this status as an outright benefit.

Holders of the card_name (review) and the card_name can earn Diamond Elite status when spending $40,000 on their card in a calendar year, but with other cards offering considerably better returns, this is a path only those who can hit the target with ease should be considering.


Marriott

a room with tables and chairs
The Renaissance St Pancras London

Marriott Bonvoy Silver Elite status

All of the following Marriott Bonvoy credit cards offer 15 elite night credits every year and so, effectively, bestow Marriott Bonvoy Silver Elite status on their cardholders.

  • Marriott Bonvoy Bold® credit card – no annual fee
  • Marriott Bonvoy Boundless® credit card – $95 annual fee
  • Marriott Rewards™ Premier Card – no longer open to new applicants
  • Marriott Bonvoy American Express Card – no longer open to new applicants
  • Marriott Bonvoy Business™ Credit Card – no longer open to new applicants

Generally speaking, Marriott Bonvoy Silver Elite status is one of the least rewarding hotel elite statuses around, so although all of the cards listed above have their merits, no one should be holding any of them just so they can say they have Bonvoy Silver Elite status.

Marriott Bonvoy Gold Elite status

The following cards bestow Marriott Bonvoy Gold Elite Status on cardholders as part of the benefits package that they offer. The status is held for as long as the card account remains active:

The Marriott Bonvoy Boundless® credit card offers Bonvoy Gold Elite status to cardholders who spend $35,000 on their cards in a year, but with Gold Elite status available simply by holding the Bonvoy Business card, spending $35,000 on a card that isn’t very rewarding, isn’t a sensible way to get mid-tier Bonvoy status.

Marriott Bonvoy Gold Elite Status is neither great nor terrible. It’s somewhere in between.

It’s not as good as Hilton Gold status as it doesn’t offer status holders complimentary breakfast, but the potential for one-level upgrades, 2 pm checkouts, and the 25% bonus points that Gold Elites earn are all worth having.

Marriott Bonvoy Platinum Elite status

Historically, the only way of earning Marriott Bonvoy Platinum Elite Status was to credit 50 elite nights to a Bonvoy account or to put a considerable amount on spending on two premium Bonvoy credit cards.

As of 22 September 2022, however, card_name offers Marriott Bonvoy Platinum Elite status as one of its benefits in return for a annual_fees annual fee (rates & fees).

Marriott Bonvoy Titanium & Ambassador Elite status

At the time of writing, no credit card offers Marriott Bonvoy Titanium Elite or Marriott Bonvoy Ambassador Elite Status as an outright benefit and no credit card offers the option for a cardholder to spend their way to these status levels either.

Follow this link to see a comparison of all 5 Marriott Bonvoy consumer credit cards


Hyatt

The rooftop pool at the Tommie Hollywood
The rooftop pool at the Tommie Hollywood

World of Hyatt Discoverist status

The following cards bestow World of Hyatt Discoverist Status on cardholders as part of the benefits package that they offer. The status is held for as long as the card account remains active:

Both cards have their strong points for World of Hyatt members, but if you’re not spending enough nights at Hyatt properties to earn Discoverist status organically (10 nights or 25,000 base points in a year), the chances are that you won’t get enough value out of either of these cards to justify their annual fees.

Note: I hold both of these cards

World of Hyatt Explorist status

At the time of writing, no credit card offers World of Hyatt Explorist Status as an outright benefit but as the card_name offers cardholders 5 elite night credits every year and awards a further 2 elite night credits for every $5,000 spent, a cardholder could earn the 30 elite nights needed for Explorist status by spending $65,000 on their card.

For its part, the card_name offers cardholders 5 elite night credits for every $10,000 spent in a calendar year (but no free nights for simply holding the card), so a cardholder could use this card to earn the 30 elite night needed for Explorist status by spending $60,000 on their card.

Considering the weak nature of the benefits offered by Explorist status (most of Hyatt’s best benefits are to be had through its Milestone Rewards program), I would strongly discourage anyone from trying to earn Explorist status through credit card spending alone.

World of Hyatt Globalist status

At the time of writing, no credit card offers World of Hyatt Globalist Status as an outright benefit, but as the card_name offers cardholders 5 elite night credits every year and awards a further 2 elite night credits for every $5,000 spent, a cardholder could earn the 60 elite night needed for Explorist status by spending $140,000 on their card.

Holders of the card_name can also spend their way to Globalist status courtesy of the 5 elite night credits for every $10,000 in spending that their card offers (in a calendar year) – $120,000 of spending would be required.

Hyatt Globalist status has some great benefits but unless you have a lot of expenses that you can put on the card or a lot of business spending, I can’t see how putting $120,000-$140,000 of spending on a Hyatt co-branded card would be an option for the overwhelming majority of cardholders.

Bottom line

Quite a few credit cards offer cardholders hotel elite status as part of their benefits package and on the whole, these cards can offer a very economical and efficient path to elite status when compared to the paths that the hotel programs offer – I’d much rather pay annual_fees/year to enjoy Hilton Gold status courtesy of the card_name rather than make 20 stays or spend 40 nights at Hilton properties.

The key to making sure that you make the right decision when considering whether a card that offers elite hotel status is right for you is to make sure that you understand what other benefits the card offers and what the hotel status that comes with it offers.

You should also have an honest discussion with yourself about how often you’ll be able to use whatever status a card bestows upon you before you decide to invest in a credit card that offers that status.

My personal preference has always been to make sure that I hold the cheaper credit cards that give me status at hotel chains where I know I won’t earn status organically but whose properties I expect to visit at least a couple of times a year (e.g. Hilton).

I also hold the more expensive cards (with more impressive benefits) that relate to the hotel chains that I know I’ll be visiting more often (e.g. Marriott).

What’s your hotel credit card strategy?

Featured image: The W Hotel Melbourne – Image courtesy of Marriott

For rates and fees of the Hilton Honors American Express Card, please visit this page (rates & fees)
For rates and fees of the Hilton Honors Surpass Card from American Express, please visit this page (rates & fees)
For rates and fees of the Hilton Honors American Express Business Card, please visit this page (rates & fees)
For rates and fees of the the Platinum Card® from American Express, please visit this page (rates & fees)
For rates and fees of the the Business Platinum Card® from American Express, please visit this page (card_name)
For rates and fees of the Marriott Bonvoy Business® American Express® Card, please visit this page (rates & fees)
For rates and fees of the Marriott Bonvoy Bevy™ American Express card, please visit this page (card_name)
For rates and fees of the Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant® American Express® Card, please visit this page (rates & fees).

For Your Consideration

a black credit card with a white line and a chip

Currently, if you successful apply for the card_name (Amex's high-end premium Marriott credit card), you can bonus_miles_full.

(Annual fee annual_fees - rates & fees).

Select Benefit Highlights (terms apply & enrollment may be required):

  • Annual free night award worth up to 85,000 points
  • Marriott Bonvoy Platinum Elite status
  • 25 elite night credits every year (limitations apply per Marriott Bonvoy® member account).
  • Fee Credit for Global Entry or TSA Precheck
  • Priority Pass Select membership
  • Up to $25/month in dining statement credits

Click for more details on the card_name

For rates and fees of the Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant® American Express® Card, please visit rates & fees

Regarding Comments

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