Home Hotel Loyalty The Key Credit Cards That Offer Hotel Elite Status

The Key Credit Cards That Offer Hotel Elite Status


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Earlier this year I wrote a post that covered hotel loyalty programs that offer lifetime elite status and a post that took a look at whether or not lifetime elite status with hotel loyalty programs is a worthwhile thing to pursue, and a natural progression from those posts is to take a look at the credit cards that offer cardholders elite status with the major hotel chains like Hilton, Marriott, and Hyatt as part of the benefits package they offer.

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

Hilton

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 makes the no annual fee Hilton Honors American Express Card 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:

Note: Holders of the no annual fee Hilton Honors Card (review) 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 a $95 annual fee for one of the two Hilton Honors co-branded cards listed above 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 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 just $95 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 – $450 annual fee (rates & fees)

Note: Holders of the Hilton Honors Surpass Card (review) and the Hilton Honors American Express Business Card 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 $450 annual fee for the Hilton Honors Aspire Card and putting $40,000 of spending on a more rewarding card (rates & fees).

Hilton Honors Diamond status is the only major hotel 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

IHG Rewards Gold Elite Status

IHG Rewards Gold Status can be earned by spending $10,000 on the no annual fee IHG Rewards Club Traveler Credit Card (review), but the status offers such limited benefits that no one should be aiming to earn it through credit card spending.

IHG 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:

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

IHG Rewards Spire Elite Status

Under normal circumstances, IHG Rewards Spire status requires 75 nights or 75,000 base points per year but at the time of writing, no credit card offers this status as an outright benefit.

Holders of the IHG Rewards Club Premier Credit Card (review) can earn Spire Elite status through spending made on their credit card as the points earned by the card count as base spending towards elite status. $75,000 of un-bonused spending or $37,500 of bonused spending (grocery stores, restaurants, and gas stations) would earn a cardholder Spire Elite status but with other cards offering considerably better returns on un-bonused spending and on spending at grocery stores, restaurants, and gas stations, this is a path that I would strongly discourage.

Marriott

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.

To all intents and purposes, 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 looking to hold one 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 Card (review) and the Marriott Bonvoy Business™ American Express® Card (review) both offer Bonvoy Gold Elite status to cardholders who spend $35,000 on their cards in a year, but an easier and more economical way to get Bonvoy Gold status would be to hold both the Boundless Card and the Business Card together as they form the cheapest card combination that gives members 30 elite night credits per year (which is more than enough to lock-in Bonvoy Gold 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 check-outs, and the 25% bonus points that Gold Elites earn are all worth having.

Marriott Bonvoy Platinum Elite Status

Under normal circumstances, Marriott Bonvoy Platinum Elite Status requires 50 nights per year but at the time of writing, no credit card offers this status as an outright benefit.

Holders of the Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant™ American Express® Card and the Ritz-Carlton Credit Card (not open to new applicants) can earn Bonvoy Platinum Elite status by spending $75,000 on their card in a year (terms apply). As with so many other cards already mentioned in this a

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.

Radisson Rewards

Radisson Rewards Silver Status

At the time of writing, no credit card offers Radisson Rewards Silver Status as an outright benefit.

Radisson Rewards Gold Status

The following card bestows Radisson Rewards Gold 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:

  • Radisson Rewards Premier Card – $75 annual fee

As mid-tier hotel elite statuses go, Radisson Rewards Gold status is useful but unremarkable. The potential for a late check-out is useful and the occasional room upgrade is nice but the status doesn’t offer anything that makes the Radisson Rewards Premier Card a must-have card.

Radisson Rewards Platinum Status

At the time of writing, no credit card offers Radisson Rewards Platinum Status as an outright benefit and no credit card offers the option for a cardholder to spend their way to this status levels either.

World of Hyatt

World of Hyatt Discoverist Status

The following card bestows World of Hyatt Discoverist 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:

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 World of Hyatt Credit Card 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 night needed for Explorist status by spending $65,000 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 World of Hyatt Credit Card 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 night needed for Explorist status by spending $140,000 on their card.

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 $140,000 of spending on the World of Hyatt 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 $95/year to enjoy Hilton Gold status courtesy of the Hilton Honors American Express Surpass® Card rather than make 20 stays or spend 40 nights at Hilton properties).

The key to making sure that you make the right decision when deciding if a card that offers elite hotel status is right for you is to make sure that you understand what other benefits the cards offer and what the various hotel statuses offer, as well as having an honest conversation with yourself about how often you’ll be able to use whatever status a card bestows upon you.

My personal preference is 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), and to hold the more expensive cards (with impressive benefits) relating to the hotel chains that I know I’ll be visiting a lot (e.g. Marriott).

What’s your hotel credit card strategy?

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

A Favorite Card With A Big Welcome Bonus

 The World of Hyatt Credit Card is the most rewarding credit card you can hold if you’re aiming to maximize your points earnings when staying at Hyatt properties. Right now, all successful applicants are being offered this welcome bonus:

  • Earn 30,000 Bonus Points after spending $3,000 on the card in the first 3 months of opening your new account and earn up to 30,000 more bonus points by earning 2 points/dollar in all shopping categories in which the World of Hyatt credit card doesn’t already offer a bonus (on up to $15,000 of spending in the first six months of account opening).
  • Apply by 30 September 2021 and receive 2 Elite Night Credits for every night you stay between 16 August and 31 December 2021 (successful applicants only).

Our Favorite Benefits:

  • 4 points/dollar at Hyatt properties worldwide
  • 2 points/dollar at fitness clubs and gyms
  • World of Hyatt Discoverist status for as long as you hold the card
  • 5 elite night credits every year
  • 2 elite night credits for every $5,000 spent on the World of Hyatt credit card
  • A free night certificate valid at Category 1 – 4 properties every year

Click for more details on the World of Hyatt Credit Card

Regarding Comments

Responses are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser or any other advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser’s responsibility or any other advertiser’s responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.

2 COMMENTS

  1. Hi

    All the prices etc in this article are in US $. do these benefits apply if you hold a UK version of, say, the Amex Platinum card? On a related note, that card seems to have a lot more benefits for US holders, than UK ones. Is that just my perception or do US holders get a much better deal?

    • These are all US-specific cards but as it happens, the U.K. Platinum Card also offers cardholders Marriott and Hilton status. The other benefits that it offers are slightly different to those offered by the US Card.

      Yes, US-based travelers get a much better deal than their counterparts in the U.K. – there are considerably more cards offered in the US and the benefits and welcome bonuses offered by those cards put what the U.K. cards offer in the shade.

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