Home » 11 credit cards that get you hotel elite status just by having them in your wallet
11 credit cards that get you hotel elite status just by having them in your wallet
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Hilton Honors American Express Card, Hilton Honors American Express Surpass® Card, Hilton Honors American Express Aspire Card
World of Hyatt elite status
The World Of Hyatt Credit Card
IHG Rewards elite status
IHG® Rewards Club Premier Credit Card
Choice Privileges elite status
Choice Privileges Visa Signature Card
Wyndham Rewards elite status
Wyndham Rewards® Earner Card, Wyndham Rewards® Earner Plus Card
Two people can book the same exact hotel room for the same exact price but have totally different experiences. One person may end up in an upgraded room on a high floor in a corner, with extra space and a couch, all while enjoying free breakfast and premium internet, earning a ton of extra points, checking in early, and checking out late.
The other person might get a fine standard room, maybe on a lower floor next to the elevator. Basic internet might be included, but if that person plans to use it heavily for work or streaming, they may want to pay a few dollars a day to upgrade to premium. The breakfast buffet is $20 per person, and late checkout isn't available, even for a fee — although the hotel is happy to hold their bags until their late flight.
These two people booked the same exact room using identical booking methods (directly with the hotel.) So what gets the first person here such better treatment?
The answer: elite status. And you don't need to spend dozens of nights on the road each year to earn it; some credit cards will grant you status just for having an account in good standing. Read on to see which cards offer these free benefits, as well as what you can get when you hold one.
At Hilton, Platinum Card cardholders who enroll their accounts get complimentary Gold level status. This mid-tier status is particularly valuable at Hilton, including free breakfast or a food and beverage credit at most hotels, room upgrades and late checkout subject to availability, a fifth reward night for free any time you stay for four nights using points, an 80% bonus on points earned during paid stays, free water bottles in-room, and more.
Platinum Card members also get Gold status at Marriott when they enroll, although Gold perks at this brand are slightly different. You'll get a room upgrade at check-in when it's available, as well as check-out time as late as 2 p.m., complimentary premium internet, a 25% bonus on earned points, and a small welcome gift of bonus points.
Marriott and Starwood merged their hotel loyalty programs, and as a result, their portfolios of credit cards were updated and merged as well. Thankfully, the days of confusing branding are behind us — all co-branded Marriott cards have Marriott Bonvoy branding, but some credit cards are issued by Amex, and some are issued by Chase.
In addition to the Platinum Card, which comes with Marriott Gold status, here are the cards that get you status with the Marriott Bonvoy brand.
Marriott Bonvoy Boundless™ Credit Card
The Marriott Bonvoy Boundless™ Credit Card gets you Silver-level elite status with Marriott.
While Silver status doesn't get you much, it's still something — you'll get a 10% bonus on points earned, priority for late checkout, access to a dedicated customer service line, free Wi-Fi, and more. While it's not a published benefit, you may also be given preferential rooms. When you spend $35,000 on the card in a given year, you'll earn Gold status instead.
The card offers 6 points on every dollar spent at Marriott hotels (in addition to the points you'd normally earn for the stay) and 2x points on everything else. After your first year, you'll get a free night certificate every year on your account anniversary, good for any property that costs 35,000 nights or fewer.
With the Marriott Bonvoy Boundless™ Credit Card you can currently earn 75,000 bonus points after you spend $3,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. The card has a Marriott Bonvoy Boundless™ Credit Card annual fee.
Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant™ American Express® Card
The Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant™ American Express® Card comes with automatic Marriott Gold elite status, and cardholders receive up to $300 in annual credit toward purchases at hotels participating in the Marriott Bonvoy™ program (offer ends 9/22/22 and will be replaced with a benefit of up to $25 in statement credits per month for eligible purchases at restaurants worldwide), an annual free night certificate good for hotels that cost up to 50,000 points, access to Priority Pass airport lounges**, and plenty more to make up for the Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant™ American Express® Card annual fee (See Rates), which isn't waived the first year.
The Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant Card offers a solid intro bonus: Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant™ American Express® Card. Cardholders earn 6x points on purchases at hotels in the Marriott Bonvoy™ program (on top of what they'd normally earn for a stay), 3x points at US restaurants and flights booked directly with the airline, and 2x points on everything else.
Hilton elite status
Hilton's loyalty program, Hilton Honors, can offer hotel guests a great value — even if Hilton points aren't worth quite as much as other hotel loyalty points, like Marriott, it's often easier to earn them quickly.
Plus, the status you can get from a credit card is particularly valuable. While there are three personal Hilton credit cards that offer various levels of status, only two of those cards offer status with meaningful perks.
Hilton Honors American Express Card
The entry-level Amex Hilton Honors Card has a decent set of benefits for a no-annual-fee card (See Rates), including Silver elite status in the Hilton Honors program.
At Hilton, holding Silver status doesn't get you a ton, but you'll still be eligible for things like late checkout, free water bottles in your room during stays, a free fifth night on award stays, and bonus points. When you spend $20,000 on eligible purchases on the card in a calendar year, you'll get upgraded to Gold status, which includes the same perks as Silver, plus free breakfast, room upgrades, and more bonus points.
The card offers 7 points per dollar spent on eligible Hilton purchases, 5 points per dollar spent on eligible purchases at US restaurants, US gas stations, and US supermarkets, and 3x points on every other eligible purchase.
When you open a new account, you can earn a welcome bonus offer of 80,000 points after you spend at least $1,000 in your first 3 months of account opening. For a no-fee card this is pretty solid, but you can do better with the other Hilton options.
Hilton Honors American Express Surpass® Card
With an annual fee of Hilton Honors American Express Surpass® Card(See Rates), the Hilton Honors Surpass® Card is the best mid-range option in Hilton's line-up.
The Hilton Honors Surpass® Card offers complimentary Gold status, which potentially an incredible deal. The free breakfast or food and beverage credit alone can make up for the annual fee in just a few stays.
If you spend $40,000 on eligible purchases on the Hilton Honors Surpass® Card within a calendar year, you'll be upgraded to Diamond status. In addition to the same benefits you'd get from Gold status, Diamond gets you a higher priority for room upgrades, executive lounge access, and more. The card also comes with 10 free day passes to Priority Pass airport lounges.
When you open a Hilton Honors Surpass® Card, you can earn 130,000 points after you spend at least $2,000 in your first 3 months of account opening. You'll also get a free weekend night certificate if you spend $15,000 on eligible purchases on the card within a calendar year.
The card also has a better earning rate than the regular Hilton card. It earns 12x points on eligible Hilton purchases, 6x points on eligible purchases at US restaurants, US gas stations, and US supermarkets, and 3x points evry other eligible purchase.
Hilton Honors American Express Aspire Card
The Hilton Honors Aspire Card is the premium Hilton card, and even though it has a Hilton Honors American Express Aspire Card annual fee Product Card 6012cd7f88948700119fd911, it offers an absurd amount of potential value to blow that away.
Along with a welcome bonus offer of Hilton Honors American Express Aspire Card, the card comes with complimentary top-tier Diamond status without any spending requirement, getting you those room upgrades, executive lounge access, and more, in addition to all the benefits of lower tiers such as free breakfast.
It features up to a $250 airline fee credit per calendar year, and up to a $250 Hilton resort statement credit each card member year — right away that's $500 in value. The Hilton Honors Aspire Card also offers a $100 Hilton on-property credit every time you book a stay of two nights or longer at a participating Waldorf Astoria or Conrad property — you just need to book through a specific website for cardholders.
Cardholders also get a free weekend night reward each year — regardless of how much they spend — and a second if they spend $60,000 on the card in a calendar year.
The Hilton Honors Aspire Card, naturally, has the highest rewards earning rate of the Hilton cards: 14 points per eligible dollar spent with Hilton, 7x points on eligible flights booked with the airline, car rentals, and at U.S. restaurants, and 3x points on every other eligible ourchase.
Hyatt elite status
Hyatt loyalists only have one credit card option, but it's a solid one. If you're a fan of the brand and prefer to stay there, here's the card you should consider to earn elite status.
The World Of Hyatt Credit Card offers complimentary Discoverist status — Discoverist is the first of three Hyatt elite tiers, followed by Explorist and Globalist. Discoverists are entitled to bonus points during stays, complimentary premium internet, free water bottles, late checkout on request, preferred rooms (though not upgrades), and more.
You'll also receive five qualifying night credits each year toward the next elite tier, and you'll earn an additional two night credits every time you spend $5,000, making it easier to earn enough stays for Explorist or Globalist.
The World Of Hyatt Credit Card earns 4 points per dollar spent on Hyatt purchases, 2x points at restaurants, on flights purchased directly from the airline, local transit, and gyms, and 1 point per dollar on everything else.
The card offers an intro bonus of The World Of Hyatt Credit Card. It has an annual fee of The World Of Hyatt Credit Card.
IHG elite status
IHG doesn't have quite the same brand recognition as chains like Hilton and Mariott, but don't let that fool you. The mega-chain, which encompasses brands like Holiday Inn, InterContinental, Kimpton Hotels, Hotel Indigo, and others, is one of the world's biggest hotel companies with more than 5,900 properties in over 100 countries around the world.
The IHG® Rewards Club Premier Credit Card offers free Platinum elite status to cardholders for as long as they keep the account open. Platinum elites are entitled to room upgrades (where available), late checkout, complimentary internet, a welcome gift, bonus points, free drinks in some hotels, and more.
The card comes with plenty of other benefits, including a free night certificate — good for any property that costs up to 40,000 points — on your card anniversary, a fourth award night for free on award stays of three or more consecutive night, and up to a $100 credit for Global Entry,TSA PreCheck, or Nexus.
The IHG® Rewards Club Premier Credit Card earns 10 points per dollar spent at IHG hotels (on top of what you'd normally earn for a stay), 5 points per dollar spent at gas stations, grocery stores, and restaurants, and 3 point per dollar on everything else.
The card's currently offering a 125,000 bonus points after spending $3,000 on purchases within the first three months of account opening. It has an annual fee of $89, waived the first year.
Choice Hotels elite status
The Choice Privileges loyalty program includes well-known brands like Comfort Inn, Quality Inn, and Cambria, so there's probably a Choice hotel just about anywhere you go. Road warriors and families, in particular, can get good value from Choice points — and having elite status for free from a credit card doesn't hurt, either.
Choice Privileges Visa Signature Card
The Choice Privileges Visa Signature Card doesn't have an annual fee and comes with a record-high welcome bonus offer: Earn Choice Privileges Visa Signature Card.
Cardholders receive automatic Choice Privileges Gold elite status, which is the lowest tier offered by the brand. Gold status comes with a few perks, including a 10% points bonus on stays, early check-in and late checkout, up to nine elite rollover nights, and a welcome amenity.
Wyndham elite status
The Wyndham Rewards program includes three levels of elite status — Gold, Platinum, and Diamond — and Barclays issues credit cards that offer complimentary status across the board.
The no-annual-fee Wyndham Rewards® Earner Card comes with entry-level Wyndham Gold elite status. With Gold status, you'll get perks like a 10% points bonus on paid stays, late checkout when available, and access to preferred rooms.
The card offers an intro bonus of up to 60,000 points: 45,000 bonus points after spending $1,000 on purchases in the first 90 days, plus an additional 15,000 bonus points after spending a total of $2,000 in the first six months. This limited-time offer expires October 14, 2021.
Cardholders also earn 7,500 bonus points each year on their cardmember anniversary if they spend $15,000 throughout the year, and get access to discounts on award and paid stays.
Wyndham Rewards® Earner Plus Card
The Wyndham Rewards® Earner Plus Card charges a Wyndham Rewards® Earner Plus Card annual fee, and comes with a higher level of elite status — Wyndham Rewards Platinum. Platinum members get all the same perks Gold elites do, plus a 15% points bonus on paid stays, early check-in, Avis and Budget rental car upgrades, and the opportunity to status match with the Caesars Rewards loyalty program.
The welcome bonus offer on this card is more substantial. You can earn up to 90,000 points: 60,000 bonus points after spending $1,000 on purchases in the first 90 days, plus an additional 30,000 bonus points after spending a total of $2,000 in the first six months. This limited-time offer expires October 14, 2021.
Ultimately, the best card for you depends on which hotel brand you tend to stay with, how often you stay, and which elite perks you value. If you're a Hyatt or IHG fan, there's only one card — if you stay with Hilton or Marriott, there are more choices.
Unless you're an absolute loyalist, the Platinum Card may be the best pick. It comes with mid-level status at two of the biggest chains, includes free breakfast or a food and beverage credit at Hilton properties, and offers excellent non-hotel perks, like airline lounge access.