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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.
Best Credit Cards for Hotel Elite Status
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 Credit Cards
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 from American Express
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.
Marriott Bonvoy Boundless Credit Card
If you don’t need a premium travel credit card, the Chase-issued Marriott Bonvoy Boundless™ Credit Card 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 7,000 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.
Learn more: Hotel Rewards Credit Cards
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, and elite rollover nights.
Like the other cards on this list, IHG Premier cardholders get a reward anniversary night each card anniversary valid at properties costing 40,000 points or less. An exclusive Premier card benefit is getting the 4th-night reward when booking 4+ 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 140,000 points after spending $3,000 on purchases within the first three months of account opening. Cardholders earn up to 25x points total per $1 spent when you stay at an IHG hotel. Additionally, you can earn 2x points at gas stations, grocery stores, and restaurants and 1 point per $1 on everything else.
World of Hyatt Credit Card
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.
Learn more: Hotel Rewards Credit Cards
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. Earn 5x Membership Rewards® Points for flights booked directly with airlines or with American Express Travel. Starting January 1, 2021, earn 5x points on up to $500,000 on these purchases per calendar year. Cardholders also earn 5x points on prepaid hotel bookings through amextravel.com.
This card’s annual fee is $550 (See Rates & Fees).
New cardmembers can earn 75,000 bonus Membership Rewards® Points after spending $5,000 on purchases in the first 6 months of account opening. Cardholders also earn 10x points on eligible purchases at U.S. gas stations and U.S. supermarkets, up to $15,000 in combined purchases, during your first 6 months of card membership. When you go through the CardMatch™ tool, you might qualify for a welcome offer of 100,000 Membership Rewards.
Learn more: Johnny Jet Recommended Credit Cards
Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card
You earn unlimited 2x miles for every $1 spent with the Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card and can redeem your miles for travel statement credits or award flights. Capital One also reimburses your Global Entry or TSA PreCheck application fee with up to $100 application fee credit.
New cardholders can earn 60,000 miles if you spend $3,000 on purchases in the first 3 months of the account opening.
Learn more: Rewards Credit Cards
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?
For rates and fees of The Platinum Card® from American Express, please click here.
Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card
- Earn 60,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $750 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®
- 2X points on dining at restaurants including eligible delivery services, takeout and dining out and travel & 1 point per dollar spent on all other purchases.
- Get 25% more value when you redeem for travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards®. For example, 60,000 points are worth $750 toward travel.
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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.