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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. 

Terms apply to American Express benefits and offers. Visit americanexpress.com to learn more.

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:

  • Hilton Resort statement credit
  • One annual free hotel night certificate
  • Second free hotel nighter certificate after $60,000 in annual card purchases
  • Priority Pass Select lounge membership (Enrollment required)
  • Terms apply

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.

The annual fee is $450 (See Rates & Fees). 

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 premium Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant™ American Express® Card earns cardholders Gold Elite status and 15 Elite Night credits (enrollment required). This hotel elite status level gives you enhanced room upgrades, premium internet access, and 2 p.m. late checkout.

The Bonvoy Brilliant comes with a free night award valid at any property costing 50,000 points or less. Air travel benefits include Priority Pass Select lounge membership and Global Entry or TSA PreCheck.

Enjoy up to $300 in statement credits each year of Card Membership for eligible purchases at hotels participating in the Marriott Bonvoy™ program.

Cardholders earn:

  • 6 Marriott Bonvoy points for each dollar of eligible purchases at hotels participating in the Marriott Bonvoy™ program
  • 3 points at U.S. restaurants and on flights booked directly with airlines
  • 2 points on all other eligible purchases

New Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant™ American Express® Card cardholders can earn 75,000 Marriott Bonvoy bonus points after you use your new Card to make $3,000 in purchases within the first 3 months. Plus, earn up to $200 in Statement Credits for eligible purchases at U.S. Restaurants within the first 6 months of Card Membership.

The annual fee is $450 (See Rates & Fees).

Learn more: Hotel Rewards Credit Cards

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 up to 17x Bonvoy points per $1 spent at over 7,000 participating Marriott Bonvoy hotels.

New cardholders can earn 3 Free Nights (each night valued up to 50,000 points) after qualifying purchases, plus 10x total points on eligible purchases in select categories.

Learn more: Hotel Rewards Credit Cards

IHG Rewards Club Premier Credit Card

The IHG® Rewards Club Premier Credit Card 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 150,000 points after spending $3,000 on purchases within the first three months of account opening. There is a $0 intro annual fee for the first year, then $89.

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.

Related: IHG Rewards Club Premier Credit Card Review

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.

You also have the opportunity to earn up to 60,000 bonus points as a signup bonus. Earn 30,000 Bonus Points after you spend $3,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. Plus, earn 2 Bonus Points per $1 spent on purchases that earn 1 Bonus Point, up to $15,000, in the first 6 months of account opening.

Learn more: Hotel Rewards Credit Cards

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?

For rates and fees of the Hilton Honors American Express Aspire Card, please click here.

And for rates and fees of the Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant™ American Express® Card, please click here.

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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.

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