Home Hotels How To Get Elite Hotel Benefits Just By Having A Credit Card

How To Get Elite Hotel Benefits Just By Having A Credit Card

by joeheg

Hotels provide special elite benefits to frequent guests as a thank you. While each chain has different benefits for each membership level, you’ll usually see a welcome gift, free Wi-Fi, early check in, late check out, an upgraded room and a variety of other perks.

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Pferdschwemme (Horse Pond), as seen from our (upgraded) room at the Goldener Hirsch

While I’d like to think that we’re traveling all the time, we actually aren’t. We stayed outside of our home for 43 nights in 2021. The breakdown of our stays looks like this:

  • Rentals/Guest Houses – 14 nights
  • Disney Vacation Club –8 nights
  • Marriott – 7 nights
  • IHG – 7 nights
  • Hyatt – 3 nights
  • Keahotels – 3 nights
  • TWA Hotel – 1 night

These hotel stays do not make it worthwhile for any hotel chain to offer me premium benefits. That’s fine with me though, because by not having to earn loyalty status with a hotel program, I can pick any hotel that I want based on our needs. However, I still enjoy the perks given to guests with elite status, so I do the next best thing. I get status by having the hotel’s co-brand credit card. The status these cards provide doesn’t have any spending requirement, but some of them will offer you a higher level of status once you spend a certain amount on the card in a calendar year.

Here’s a list of the cards that offer elite status as a benefit. Please note that links to credit cards in this post may pay us a referral bonus.

IHG Rewards Club

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Just by having the IHG® Rewards Club Select Credit Card (no longer available) and the IHG Rewards Club Premier Credit Card, you automatically get Platinum Elite status with IHG. This would normally require staying 40 nights or earning 40,000 points a year. The annual fee for the IHG card is $99.

The benefits of Platinum Elite membership are listed as followed:

  • Extended Check Out
  • Free Internet
  • Priority Check-In
  • 50% Bonus Earnings on Top of Base Points
  • Complimentary Room Upgrades

If you’re looking for a no-annual-fee card, the IHG Traveler card gives Silver Elite status to cardholders and Gold Elite status after spending $20,000 each calendar year.

World of Hyatt

Holding the World of Hyatt Credit Card will give you Discoverist status in the World of Hyatt program. This is the first level of the Hyatt loyalty program and you would normally have to stay 10 nights or earn 25,000 points in a year to qualify. The annual fee for the Hyatt Credit Card is $95.

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The benefits of Discoverist status are listed as follows:

  • Complimentary premium Internet where available
  • Bottle of water daily
  • Upgrade to a preferred room based on availability at check-in
  • Dedicated check-in reserved for elite members
  • Extend your stay until 2:00 PM upon request (subject to availability at some locations)
  • Resort fees are waived on free night awards

Hilton Hotels

When you have the Hilton Honors Surpass card, you get Hilton Honors Gold status. Earning this status normally requires 28 nights, 14 stays or 52,500 Base Points in a calendar year. The annual fee for the Hilton Surpass AMEX card is $95. Actual benefits are difficult to list because they differ depending on what brand of Hilton hotel at which you’re staying. I’ll list some benefits, but you can see the whole list on the Hilton Honors website.

  • 80% Elite Status Bonus on base points
  • 5th Night Free on reward stays
  • Standard Internet Access
  • Late check out
  • Two complimentary bottles of water (per stay)
  • Daily food and beverage credit at U.S. hotels (depends on the hotel)
  • Space available upgrades (depends on hotel)

The Hilton Honors Aspire card grants the cardholder top-level Diamond status. This status would otherwise take 42 nights, 21 stays or 84,000 Base Points in a calendar year. This status doesn’t come cheap. The Aspire card has a $450 annual fee. Diamond status gives you the following benefits (most of which are the same benefits you get with Gold)

  • 100% Elite Status Bonus on base points
  • 5th Night Free on reward stays
  • Premium Internet Access
  • Executive Lounge Access
  • Late check out
  • Two complimentary bottles of water (per stay)
  • Daily food and beverage credit at U.S. hotels (depends on the hotel)
  • Space-available upgrade to a preferred room

The no-annual-fee Hilton Honors AMEX card provides Silver status as a perk to cardholders.

Marriott Bonvoy

Marriott has credit cards issued by both Chase and American Express

The Marriott Bonvoy Boundless card from Chase gives the cardholder automatic Silver Elite status. This card has a $95 annual fee.

Having Marriott Silver Elite status gives you the following:

  • 10% bonus points on eligible stays
  • Complimentary in-room internet (if booking with Marriott)
  • Priority Late Checkout

The Marriott Bonvoy American Express card will also provide Silver Elite status. This card also has a $95 annual fee.

The $450 annual fee Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant American Express card gives cardholders Gold status which normally requires you to stay for 25 nights in a calendar year. Gold Elite status provides the following benefits.

  • 25% bonus on eligible stays
  • Enhanced room at check in
  • Gold Welcome Gift of Points
  • Complimentary enhanced in-room internet
  • 2PM late check out, subject to availability and hotel.

American Express Platinum Card

While the American Express Platinum card is not a co-branded card, it does provide status with two hotel programs as a benefit.

With the Platinum American Express card, you automatically receive Hilton Gold and Marriott Gold Elite status. These benefits don’t come cheap, as the Platinum card has a $695 a year annual fee. I know that seems steep but it can really end up being worth it depending on how much you travel.

Other Hotel Credit Cards That Provide Status Perks

Final Thoughts

As you can see, getting hotel elite status is easy by having the right credit cards. Personally, I wouldn’t get any of these cards for the elite status alone. Fortunately, hotel cards have other perks, like free night certificates, that make it worth paying the annual fee.

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