OUR FAVORITE PARTNER CARDS

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Hotel credit cards are an easy way to accumulate loyalty points to book free nights. They also allow you to enjoy the same benefits as travelers who earn the same status by booking at least 40 nights a year. If you’re a casual traveler or simply want the elite benefits ASAP, these credit cards give you automatic hotel elite status.

Editor’s Note: Some of the offers below may have expired or are no longer available on our site. 

Editor’s Note: Some of the offers below may have expired or are no longer available on our site. 

Best Credit Cards for Hotel Elite Status

Hilton Honors

The information for the Hilton Honors American Express Aspire Card has been collected independently by Johnny Jet. The card details on this page have not been reviewed or provided by the card issuer.

American Express offers three co-brand Hilton Honors credit cards. Their premium option is the Hilton Honors Aspire American Express Card which gives you Diamond status which is the highest Hilton Honors membership tier.

Select Hilton Honors Diamond status benefits include executive lounge access, complimentary breakfast at all hotels, and a 48-hour room guarantee.

By owning the Aspire Card, you can enjoy these additional Hilton Honors benefits:

  • $250 Hilton Resort statement credit
  • $100 Hilton on-property credit
  • One annual free hotel night certificate
  • Second free hotel nighter certificate after $60,000 in annual card purchases
  • $250 airline fee credit
  • Priority Pass Select lounge membership

New cardholders can also earn 150,000 bonus points (worth up to 30 free nights!) by spending $4,000 in the first 3 months of account opening.

Marriott Bonvoy

The Marriott Rewards and Starwood Preferred Guest rewards programs have been combined into a new rewards program now called Marriott Bonvoy. American Express offers a premium card and Chase carries the consumer credit card. Both are valuable in different ways.

Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant

The information for the Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant from American Express Card has been collected independently by Johnny Jet. The card details on this page have not been reviewed or provided by the card issuer.

The premium Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant from American Express gives you automatic Gold Elite status and 15 Elite Night credits. This hotel elite status level gives you enhanced room upgrades, premium internet access, and 2 p.m. late checkout. You can earn Platinum Elite by spending $75,000 in a calendar year to have access to the hotel lounges and guaranteed room types.

The Bonvoy Brilliant comes with a free night award valid at any property costing 50,000 points or less. You will also get an annual $300 Bonvoy statement credit and a $100 on-property credit. Air travel benefits include Priority Pass Select lounge membership and Global Entry or TSA PreCheck.

You can earn a 75,000-point welcome offer after spending $3,000 on purchases in the first 3 months of account opening.

Marriott Bonvoy Boundless

If you don’t need a premium travel credit card, the Chase-issued Marriott Bonvoy Boundless only costs $95 annually. It comes with Silver Elite status and 15 Elite Night credits. Silver status lets you enjoy a 10% point bonus and late checkout.

Owning the Marriott Bonvoy Boundless™ Credit Card also means you get hotel night good at any property that costs 35,000 points or less at each card renewal. Plus, cardholders earn 6X Bonvoy points per $1 spent at over 6,900 participating Marriott Bonvoy hotels.

New cardholders have the opportunity to earn 75,000 bonus points by spending $3,000 on purchases within the first 3 months of account opening.

IHG Rewards Club Premier Credit Card

The IHG® Rewards Club Premier Credit Card has an $89 annual fee and gives you automatic Platinum Elite status. This is the second-highest status in the IHG Rewards Club program and lets you enjoy space-available room upgrades, a 50% point bonus, $30 in-room spa credit, and elite rollover nights.

Like the other cards on this list, IHG Premier cardholders get a free anniversary night each card anniversary valid at properties costing 40,000 points or less. An exclusive Premier card benefit is getting the 4th night free when booking your first 3 nights with rewards points. If you don’t have it already, the IHG Premier reimburses your Global Entry or TSA PreCheck application fee.

New cardholders can also earn 125,000 points after spending $3,000 on purchases within the first three months of account opening. For the first 12 months, new cardholders can also earn 40x points total per $1 spent when you stay at an IHG hotel. After that, you will earn 25x points per $1.

Additionally, you can earn 4x points on all other purchases for the first 12 months. After that, you will earn 2x points at gas stations, grocery stores, and restaurants and 1 point per $1 on everything else.

World of Hyatt

It’s hard to ignore the World of Hyatt Credit Card which helps you maximize one of the most robust hotel loyalty programs. You instantly get Discoverist hotel elite status that gives you premium internet and a free bottle of water daily. Discoverist members also earn 10% bonus points on stays, waived resort fees on bonus nights, space-available room upgrades, and free breakfast.

World of Hyatt cardmembers can upgrade their elite status faster as they receive 5 qualifying elite night credits each year. You earn an additional 2 elite night credits for every $5,000 spent.

Besides the elite status benefits, you also get a free night credit valid at any category 1-4 property each card anniversary. You earn a second free night award by making $15,000 in annual card purchases.

Finally, new The World of Hyatt cardmembers can earn up to 50,000 bonus points in two 25,000-point increments. The two spending milestones are $3,000 in the first 3 months and $6,000 total within the first 6 months. This entire bonus is worth up to 10 free nights.

M life Rewards

If you’re all about Las Vegas, the M life Rewards Mastercard gives you automatic Pearl Status. Member benefits include free self-parking, a buffet line pass at Las Vegas Resorts, and a 10% bonus playing slots and express comps.  The best part is that this is a no annual fee credit card which means you begin saving money as soon as you arrive in Las Vegas.

Flexible Hotel Elite Status

Co-brand hotel credit cards tend to offer the best elite status levels. That doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy comparable benefits with a flexible travel rewards card.

Platinum Card from American Express

If you prefer a credit card that caters to airline rewards but still offers some hotel perks, consider The Platinum Card® from American Express. You can enjoy these hotel elite status benefits:

  • Hilton Honors Gold Status
  • Marriott Bonvoy Gold Elite Status
  • Fine Hotels and Resorts on-property benefits (average total value of $550 per stay)
  • The Hotel Collection ($100 on-property credit)

Besides these hotel benefits, you can also enjoy the $200 airline fee credit, $200 in Uber credits, and free Global Entry or TSA PreCheck. You may also see if you qualify for the massive 100,000-point signup bonus too.

Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card

Through January 2020, you earn 10x miles on all Hotels.com/venture purchases with the Capital One® Venture® Rewards Credit Card. This can be the best way to maximize your stays at local and boutique hotels that don’t partner with a national loyalty program. For every 10 paid nights, Hotels.com gives you the 11th night free.

Besides this hotel boost, you earn unlimited 2x miles for every $1 spent and can redeem your miles for travel statement credits or award flights. Capital One also reimburses your Global Entry or TSA PreCheck application fee through a fee credit.

New cardholders have the chance to earn 50,000 bonus miles ($500 value) by spending $3,000 in the first 3 months. This card doesn’t have the most robust benefits in regards to hotel elite status, but it can be an easy way to score free hotel nights if you’re not loyal to one hotel brand. It’s also one of the best travel cards available.

Summary

As expected, premium hotel credit cards offer the best hotel elite status. But even settling for the lower-priced “mass consumer” cards still give you a jumpstart each year. You would need to spend at least 10 to 40 nights before you qualify for the same status level without the card.

What’s your go-to hotel loyalty program? Which hotel elite status level is your goal this year?

Josh Patoka

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Editorial Note: The editorial content on this page is not provided by any bank, credit card issuer, airlines or hotel chain, and has not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

8 of the Best Credit Cards for Hotel Elite Status
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