- Hotel elite status can get you perks like free breakfast, room
upgrades, and bonus points on your stays.
- While you can earn hotel status by racking up elite-qualifying
nights with a hotel chain, some credit cards offer automatic elite
status to cardholders.
Hilton Honors Aspire Card from American Express is the only
card to offer top-tier hotel elite status to cardholders just for
having the card: You get Hilton Diamond status which comes with
perks like a 100% points bonus.
- Other cards, like the
World of Hyatt Credit Card and the
Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant™ American Express® Card, offer
middle-tier elite status automatically, with the option to earn
top-tier status when you meet spending requirements.
If you’ve seen the movie Up in the Air, you might have felt a
pang of jealousy when the main character, Ryan Bingham, bypassed
the lines at hotel check-in desks and stayed in beautiful hotel
suites courtesy of his elite status. He was on the road constantly,
racking up elite-qualifying nights to get those status perks. But
you don’t have to spend dozens of nights in hotels to get top-tier
Below is a round-up of hotel credit cards that get you top-tier
status — either just for being a cardholder, or for meeting
certain spending requirements in a year.
Read more: The best
hotel credit cards to open now
Honors Aspire is the only credit card that offers top-tier
elite status right out of the gate. Cardholders get Diamond elite
status just for being a cardholder, and it takes effect almost
immediately — in my case, I noticed the upgrade a day after I
was approved for the card.
Hilton Diamond members get free breakfast, club lounge access,
accelerated earnings on paid Hilton stays (100% point bonus) and
complimentary suite upgrades based on availability. These are all
incredibly valuable perks that can save you money on future Hilton
stays while accelerating the number of points you can earn.
In addition, the
Hilton Aspire Card earns 7 points per dollar spent on direct
flight bookings, car rentals and dining at US restaurants. Charging
Hilton stays to this card boosts your already-high earning rate
with 14 points per dollar spent. As an added spending incentive,
you’ll receive a free weekend night after spending $60,000 on your
card. That’s in addition to an annual free weekend night that is
issued just for renewing the card every year.
The only downside to this card? The annual fee is a bit steep at
$450. I personally keep this card in my wallet because of the
tremendous value I get out of the Hilton Diamond membership
If you’re not quite willing to pay the $450 annual fee on the
Hilton Aspire Card, you may want to opt for the Hilton Honors
Surpass Card instead. The card has a $95 annual fee and comes with
mid-tier Hilton Gold elite status, which offers some pretty
substantial benefits, including free breakfast and an 80% point
bonus on paid stays.
If Gold elite status isn’t sufficient, you can upgrade to
Diamond status by charging $40,000 in eligible purchases to your
card every calendar year. Considering the average American
household has $40,814 worth of non-housing expenditures every year,
hitting that threshold may be more attainable than you might
In addition to elite status benefits,
Hilton Surpass cardholders earn 12 points per dollar spent at
Hilton hotels and 6 points at restaurants, supermarkets, and gas
stations in the US. Those are very common spending categories for
most people, so there’s potential to further maximizing household
spending with this card.
The World of Hyatt Credit Card comes with instant Discoverist
status, which includes perks like a 10% bonus points on all
eligible spending, premium internet access, late checkout, and room
upgrades based on availability.
If those benefits don’t sound quite as exciting as those offered
to top-tier elites, you can spend your way to higher status.
World of Hyatt card holders can 5 elite-qualifying nights every
year, plus 2 additional nights for every $5,000 spent. Earning
top-tier Globalist status would require $140,000 worth of credit
card spending the first year and then $125,000 every year to
re-qualify. For big spenders who prefer this over completing 55 to
60 nights at Hyatt, it’s a solid option.
If you’re looking to earn Marriott Bonvoy elite status, the
Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant American Express Card is a great option.
The card offers Gold elite status, plus the ability to upgrade to
Platinum status after spending $75,000 in a calendar year. While
Marriott Platinum isn’t quite top-tier status, it does come with
premium perks like enhanced room upgrades (based on availability),
club lounge access, free breakfast and a 50% bonus points on paid
stays, among other benefits
Top-tier hotel elite status can be incredibly useful when it
comes to saving on travel expenses like breakfast and earning more
points. Being able to get these perks from a credit card is ideal
because it frees you up to stay at hotels that offer you the best
rates rather than forcing you to pick one chain repeatedly to earn
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4 credit cards that can get you the highest level of hotel elite status