12 Hotel Credit Cards That Offer Elite Hotel Status

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Million Mile Secrets reader MQ commented:

Any cards give you hotel status (without a major spend?).  I have a Hilton AMEX that I’ve hit the $20,000 spend on so I have status with them through the end of the year, but I’m looking for other hotel options since the major devaluation.

Hotel Elite Status Credit Cards

The Citi Hilton Reserve Card Gets Reader MQ Free Gold Elite Status, Breakfast, and Internet

MQ wants to know which credit cards give elite hotel status without spending a lot of money.  There are 12 hotel credit cards that offer free elite hotel status.

My favorite “free” status is Hilton Gold status from having the Citi Hilton Reserve.  That’s because we get free internet and breakfast with Hilton Gold status!

Free Elite Hotel Status From Having These Credit Cards

MQ can get free elite hotel status when he has these hotel credit cards.

1.   Best Western

Hotel Elite Status Credit Cards

Free Gold Status Earns MQ Best Western Bonus Points for Stays at Best Western Hotels Like the Best Western Premier Vieux Port in France

MQ can get free Gold elite status (10% bonus Best Western points and elite only offers) with the Best Western credit card.

MQ also gets Best Western Diamond status for spending $10,000 from his January statement to his December statement.

If MQ stays at a lot of Best Western hotels, this would be a good card.  But he shouldn’t go out of his way to get this card if he only stays at Best Western 1 or 2 times a year.

2.   Choice

MQ gets Gold elite status with the Choice credit card.

Gold elite status gives MQ:

  • 10% bonus Choice points per stay
  • Ability to book free award nights 50 days in advance
  • Special Elite phone number (US and Canada members only)

MQ could get Gold elite status after 10 stays at Choice hotels so unless he has to be able to book award nights 50 nights in advance, it’s not worth it to get this card.

3.   Club Carlson

Hotel Elite Status Credit Cards

With the Club Carlson Credit Card, MQ Gets Free Gold Status and the Last Award Night Free (Stays of 2 Nights or More) at Hotels Like the Radisson Blu Resort Marina & Spa, St. Martin

With the Club Carlson credit card MQ gets free Gold elite status and a free night when redeeming 2 or more nights at the same hotel.

Gold status gets MQ:

  • Free room upgrades
  • Welcome gift
  • Early check-in and late checkout
  • 35% bonus Club Carlson points per stay
  • Rollover nights (elite qualifying nights carryover)

And all Club Carlson members get free internet.

Although, there aren’t a lot of Club Carlson hotels in the US, the Gold elite status and free night when redeeming 2 or more nights makes the Club Carlson credit card a good card for MQ.

4.   Fairmont

MQ gets Premier elite status from the Fairmont credit card.

Premier elite status gets MQ:

  • Free room upgrades
  • Free suite upgrades
  • $50 dining certificates
  • Free 3rd night on a 3 night stay
  • 2 for 1 rounds of golf at select Fairmont golf resorts

And all Fairmont President’s Club members get free internet.

Fairmont doesn’t have a lot of hotels in the US, but with free upgrades and 3rd night free on a 3 night stay, MQ should consider getting the Fairmont credit card.

5.   Hilton

Although MQ has a Hilton AMEX card, there are lots of Hilton credit cards.

A.   Citi Hilton Reserve

MQ can get the Citi® Hilton Reserve card which gives him 2 free weekend nights at almost all Hilton hotels worldwide and Gold elite status (free breakfast and internet) for as long as he has the card.

Hotel Elite Status Credit Cards

MQ Gets Free Gold Elite Status and 2 Free Weekend Nights at Hotels Like the Hilton Bora Bora Nui With the Citi Hilton Reserve Card

This is my favorite way to get Hilton Gold elite status.  We’ve saved money on internet and breakfasts in Venice and many other places!

B.   American Express Hilton HHonors

MQ gets free Silver elite status from the American Express Hilton HHonors card.

Silver, Gold and Diamond elite members get the 5th night free on award stays of 5 nights or more.

Because he can’t get free breakfast or internet with Silver elite status, MQ might consider a card other than the American Express Hilton HHonors card.  Instead he can apply for 1 of the Hilton cards that give Gold elite status, like the Citi Hilton Reserve card.

C.   American Express Hilton HHonors Surpass

The American Express Hilton HHonors Surpass gets MQ free Gold elite status (free breakfast and internet) for the 1st year.

Hotel Elite Status Credit Cards

Hilton Gold Members Get Free Breakfast and Internet

MQ can also get Hilton Diamond status for spending $40,000 from his January statement to his December statement.

This card is another good way for MQ to get Hilton elite status.

D.   Citi Hilton HHonors Visa Signature

MQ gets free Silver elite status from the Citi Hilton HHonors Visa Signature card.  I’d rather get the Citi Hilton Reserve which gets me free Gold elite status instead.

And don’t forget that there are lots of ways to earn Hilton points for award nights!

6.   Hyatt

The Hyatt credit card gives MQ free Platinum elite status (free internet) and 2 free nights at any Hyatt worldwide after completing the minimum spending.

Hotel Elite Status Credit Cards

Platinum Status Gets MQ Free Internet at Hyatt Hotels, but Who Wants to Stay Inside With a View Like This at the Hyatt Regency Maui?

If MQ can’t get a status match for a Hyatt Diamond challenge, the free internet and 2 free nights (sign-up bonus) would make this a good card for MQ.

And there are lots of ways to get Hyatt points.

7.   IHG

MQ can get the Chase IHG Rewards Club card which gives him Platinum elite status and a free night on his card anniversary.

With Platinum elite status, MQ gets:

  • Free room upgrades
  • Priority check-in
  • Rollover nights (elite qualifying nights carryover)
  • 50% bonus IHG points per say

Note:  These benefits don’t apply to InterContinental hotels which have their own Ambassador program.

Free internet is available for all IHG Rewards Club members at IHG hotels, except in Europe where that benefit starts in July 2014.

IHG has a lot of hotels so the free room upgrades and Platinum elite status would be worth it to MQ to get.

8.   Marriott

With the Marriott Rewards® Premier Credit Card, MQ gets Silver elite status.

MQ gets Silver elite status after 10 stays at Marriott hotels so unless he has to have late check-out , it’s not worth it to get this card.

9.   Ritz-Carlton

Hotel Elite Status Credit Cards

With Gold Elite Status MQ Could Get a Free Room Upgrade at the Ritz-Carlton Kapalua in Maui

MQ gets Gold elite status for the 1st year of membership with the Ritz-Carlton card.

Gold elite status gets MQ:

  • Free internet
  • Free room upgrades
  • Late checkout
  • 25% bonus Ritz-Carlton points per stay

MQ keeps Gold elite status in the 2nd year after he spends $10,000 on the Ritz-Carlton card in a “card year.”  If MQ gets his card in June, his “card year” would be June to June.

If MQ spends $75,000 in a card year, he gets Platinum Elite status.

Ritz-Carlton doesn’t have a lot of hotels in the US, but free internet, upgrades, and late check-out make it worth it to MQ to get the Ritz-Carlton card.

Elite Hotel Status From Spending on Credit Cards

Now let’s take a look at cards which get you elite status for spending on the cards.

1.   Best Western

MQ gets Diamond status after spending $10,000 in a calendar year with the Best Western credit card.

Diamond status gets MQ:

  • Free upgrades
  • 250 Best Western points or snack and beverage
  • 30% bonus Best Western points per stay
  • Elite only offers

2.   American Express Hilton HHonors Surpass

Hotel Elite Status Credit Cards

Diamond Status Gets MQ Free Breakfast and Internet at Hilton Hotels

MQ gets Diamond status (free breakfast, internet, room upgrades) after spending $40,000 in a calendar year with the American Express Hilton HHonors Surpass.

3.   Citi Hilton HHonors Reserve

After spending $40,000 from his January statement to his December statement MQ can get Diamond elite status with the Citi Hilton HHonors Reserve card.

4.   Ritz-Carlton

MQ keeps Gold elite status in the 2nd year after he spends $10,000 on the Ritz-Carlton card.

If MQ spends $75,000 in a card year, he gets Platinum Elite status.

Bottom Line

There are 12 hotel credit cards that get MQ elite hotel status without being a Big Spender.

MQ can get Gold elite status from the Best Western credit card, Choice credit card, Club Carlson credit card, Citi Hilton Reserve card, American Express Hilton HHonors Surpass.

Some of the hotel programs will even match the status MQ has from another hotel!

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9 responses to “12 Hotel Credit Cards That Offer Elite Hotel Status

  1. Radisson Blu Resort Marina & Spa, St. Martin is no longer part of Radisson.

  2. Darius, for the deal where you get a free fifth night for every four nights of reward booking at Hilton, do you know if those two free weekend night certificates for the credit card count as two of the four nights? Or do they have to be four point-only nights?

  3. Marriott silver isn’t that bad but churning 75000 points twice for both my wife and me with no fee? It’s almost a month free in a Fairmont – can’t complain.

  4. Hey Darius,
    I like your blog but I have to say– your lead photo for this post is the least appetizing food photo I’ve ever seen. Were you indicating that status with the Citi Hilton card is like a tray of turds?
    And diamond status gets a tray of yellow vomit?
    Good blog.
    Ugly photos.
    Take a tip from blogger “Lenticular Travel” and get a new camera. Take lots of photos at different exposures and choose the best one. Read a little of Trey Ratcliff’s stuff. Shoot at an angle. You want me to salivate, not get nauseous.
    Your friend John T

  5. Patrick Griswold

    Can also get gold spg status with 30k spend on Amex spg card.

  6. Marriott Silver isn’t so bad. You get 20% bonus points with each night. They’ll sometimes provide you with free upgrades–the Grand Cayman Marriott upgraded us to a suite with an ocean view. You get a free night plus 70K points with their card. Once you hit 270K points you can trade them in for a hotel/air package. And after about 6 months Marriott offered us a Gold challenge where we only needed 6 nights in 90 days to get Gold.

  7. Hey D,
    Have you compared relative benefits for the different hotel cards if one were able to MS, say, =- 5-8k/month? A card or two worth keeping after the bonus to max MS? The relative redemptions seem hard to process given the different rooms, availability,blackouts, etc.
    Hotel Tips/??
    L