All The Ways To Earn Hotel Elite Status With Credit Cards

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One of the trends we’re increasingly seeing is the ability to earn hotel elite status through credit cards. Rather than having to put in up to 75 nights per year worth of stays in order to earn top tier status, many hotel groups are now letting you earn status for spending certain amounts on credit cards

In this post I wanted to look at all the ways to earn elite status with credit cards for several of the major hotel chains, including Club Carlson, Fairmont, Hilton, Hyatt, IHG, Marriott, Ritz-Carlton, and Starwood. I’ll break down the option by loyalty program and then status level:

Club Carlson

Earn Club Carlson Gold status by:

Radisson-Blu-1
Club Carlson Gold members receive room upgrades

Fairmont President’s Club

Earn Fairmont President’s Club Premier status by:

Earn Fairmont President’s Club Platinum status by:

  • Spending on the Fairmont Visa Signature Credit Card; you’ll get one stay credit when you spend $7,500 on the card in a calendar year, and another stay credit if you spend an additional $7,500

fairmont-pacific-rim
Fairmont elite members receive room upgrades

Hilton HHonors

Earn Hilton HHonors Gold status by:

Earn Hilton HHonors Diamond status by:

Hilton-Queenstown - 11
Hilton Diamond members receive upgraded rooms, sometimes to suites

Hyatt Gold Passport

Earn Hyatt Gold Passport Platinum/Discoverist status by:

Earn Hyatt Gold Passport Explorist status by:

Grand-Hyatt-Hong-Kong-Grand-Suite - 38
Hyatt Explorist members receive four club level upgrades per year 

IHG Rewards Club

Earn IHG Rewards Club Platinum status by:

Crowne-Plaza-Doha-09
IHG Rewards Club Platinum members receive room upgrades

Marriott Rewards/Ritz-Carlton/Starwood Preferred Guest

I’m putting these all under one heading, given that the three programs are now offering tier matching between programs. While there are still three different programs, you can match your Starwood Gold status to Marriott/Ritz-Carlton Gold, and your Starwood Platinum status to Marriott/Ritz-Carlton Platinum, and vice versa.

With that in mind, you can earn Starwood Gold status by:

Earn Marriott Rewards Silver status by:

Earn Marriott Rewards Gold status by:

Earn Marriott Rewards Platinum status by:

  • Spending $180,000 per calendar year on the Marriott Rewards® Premier Credit Card (since the card offers one elite qualifying night per $3,000 spent, plus 15 elite qualifying nights every year)

You can earn Ritz-Carlton Rewards Gold status by:

You can earn Ritz-Carlton Rewards Platinum status by:

Given the tier matching opportunities, the best way to earn:

  • Marriott/Ritz-Carlton/Starwood Gold status is just by having the Amex Platinum Card
  • Marriott/Ritz-Carlton/Starwood Platinum status is by spending $75,000 per year on the Ritz-Carlton Rewards Card

W-Guangzhou-Hotel
Starwood Platinum members receive unlimited space available suite upgrades

Bottom line

As you can see, there are lots of ways to earn hotel status through credit card spend nowadays. Some ways are more compelling than others, though I guess it all depends what you’re looking for. In general, I’d say the most compelling opportunities to earn hotel status through credit cards are:

Do you earn hotel status through a credit card, and if so, which status through which card?


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Comments

  1. Since mention the elite qualifying nights and stays change on the Hyatt card effective 2017, shouldn’t you mention that the spending requirement is going up to $75,000 as well?

  2. Thanks for your great post!

    Could you add if the per year spend requirements are calendar based or account anniversary based?

    Thanks again.

  3. I called Hyatt Customer Service for Diamond members and no one could confirm that the qualifying nights feature of the Chase VISA Hyatt card is disappearing. They told me to call Chase, since Chase issues the qualifying nights to Hyatt. I called Chase, got a manager, who then went to their marketing department. They said that the 10 qualifying nights credit after $40,000 spend is continuing. What is the truth?

  4. I have statuses through Amex Platinum (work) and Ritz-Carlton (personal). I just earned Platinum status at Ritz and used points to stay overnight in Tokyo. We were upgraded to a 1300 sf Carlton Suite. Total room cost was ¥400.

  5. It’s worth noting that at least on the Marriott card, the 15 elite qualifying nights are effective quickly after getting the card. I was able to push up to Platinum status with Marriott as I needed 12 more nights to qualify. With the 15 from the card, I got the bump up. The wording makes it sound like it’s effective on the second year (which is pretty typical with how Marriott does things), but this hit my account within a week. And of course with matching status on Sheraton it was an easy decision to get the card.

    The moral of the story – if you’re looking to get an end of year boost with Marriott it’s an easy way if you’re within 15 nights of the next tier.

    One more small perk with Marriott, if you’re Platinum with them, they give you free silver status on United Airlines. I don’t fly them, but some small status is a nice welcome addition.

  6. How about just being loyal to just one brand which is what many of us do who are not high rollers. As a retired school teacher with a Marriott Chase Credit card, I have maintained my elite status for at least 5 years. And now I get Spg elite status also along with United Silver Status, thanks to reciprocal agreements. It’s not really that hard…..

  7. For me, the HHonors “sweet spot” is spending $10,000 per cardmember year on the Citi HHonors Reserve card. Gives me Gold status and a free weekend night with very few restrictions. Used it at top hotels in London, New York, and Chicago.

  8. Is the 50K spend on the card for Explorist just at Hyatt or is that at anyplace you use the card? The web site sounds like the base point are only on Hyatt purchases. Thanks!

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