HomeHotel LoyaltyKey credit cards that offer hotel elite status

Key credit cards that offer hotel elite status


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Earlier this year I published an article covering hotel loyalty programs that offer lifetime elite status and an article 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 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 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 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 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 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

The InterContinental Amstel Amsterdam

IHG One Rewards Gold Elite status

IHG One Rewards Gold Status can be earned by spending $20,000 on the no annual fee IHG® Rewards 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 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:

On the whole, IHG Rewards Platinum Elite status is unrewarding so I wouldn’t recommend that anyone gets the IHG® Rewards 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 One Rewards Diamond Elite status

Under normal circumstances, IHG Rewards Diamond status requires 70 nights or 120,000 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 Premier credit card (review) and the IHG® Rewards Premier Business credit card 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 probably be considering.


Marriott

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.

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® credit card (review) 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, doesn’t seem like an economical path to 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 check-outs, 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, the Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant® American Express® Card offers Marriott Bonvoy Platinum Elite status as one of its benefits in return for a $650 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 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 nights needed for Explorist status by spending $65,000 on their card.

For its part, the World of Hyatt Business credit card 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 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 60 elite night needed for Explorist status by spending $140,000 on their card.

Holders of the World of Hyatt Business credit card 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 $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 discussion 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

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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.

1 COMMENT

  1. Actually you can get Hyatt Explorist through Barclays Wyndham Business Eaners, by status matching from Wyndham to Caesar, Caesar to MGM, MGM to Hyatt.

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