11 Credit Cards With Automatic Hotel Elite Status

Advertiser disclosure: The Miles Genie has partnered with CardRatings for our coverage of credit card products.  The Miles Genie and CardRatings may receive a commission from card issuers. Editorial disclosure: Opinions, reviews, analyses, and recommendations are the author’s alone, and have not been reviewed, endorsed, or approved by any of these entities.

You do not have to be a road warrior or a big spender to earn hotel elite status. You can enjoy the perks of elite status just by having the right credit card in your wallet.

Having elite status with a hotel loyalty program may elevate your experience. You may receive perks such as upgraded rooms, free breakfast, early check in, late check out, extra points, and more. Benefits vary depending on the hotel program and your status level.

See also: How to status match your way to a free Atlantis Bahamas trip

In this post, I’ll discuss each card on the list and I’ll briefly discuss each loyalty program with which you can earn status

All cards in this list give automatic status. Some cards will grant you higher status if you meet a certain spending threshold in a year.

Personal cards
Business cards

With the exception of The Platinum Card from American Express and The Business Platinum Card from American Express, all cards in this list are hotel co-branded cards.

I generally discourage the use of hotel co branded cards for everyday spending. In my experience, transferable currencies such as Chase Ultimate Rewards and American Express Membership Rewards points are more valuable.

Hotel cards are great for welcome bonuses and for ongoing benefits. Several hotel cards have benefits, including automatic status, that make the card worth keeping even if you’re not using it regularly.

Remember that all Chase cards are 5/24 cards, which means you need to priotize them over cards from other banks.

1. The Platinum Card from American Express

The Platinum Card from American Express will grant you automatic status for 2 different hotel programs.

Amex Platinum cardholders receive Hilton Honors Gold status. This normally requires 20 stays, 40 nights, or 75,000 Hilton Honors base points in one year.

Amex Platinum cardholders also receive automatic Marriott Bonvoy Gold status. Marriott Bonvoy Gold elite status is normally earned after staying 25 nights in one year.

American Express platinum, best premium travel credit cards 2020

Current offer: Earn 60,000 American Express Membership Rewards points after spending $5,000 in the first 3 months. Terms apply, learn how to apply here.

To activate your automatic Hilton and Marriott gold status, you just need to link your Hilton and Marriott accounts to your Amex account. You can do this online under the benefits section of your Amex account. Your status will stay active as long as you keep the Platinum Card.

I’ll discuss Hilton and Marriott gold status more below.

The Platinum Card from American Express additional details

The annual fee is $550. I would never keep a card open with that kind of fee just for hotel elite status, but there are lots of other benefits and credits. The current welcome offer of 60,000 American Express Membership Rewards points also helps offset that annual fee.

Statement credits:  Receive up to $200 in reimbursement for airline incidentals per calendar year, receive $200 total in Uber credits annually, receive $100 reimbursement for TSA precheck or Global Entry enrollment, and 100$ total in statement credit for purchases at Saks Fifth avenue annually.

More benefits: Cardholders and two guests are granted access to the amazing Centurion lounges (where available). These lounges have complimentary food and drinks, plus some locations even have spa services! You’ll also get lounge access to airport lounges around the world with a Priority Pass membership.

Earn rate: If you’re a frequent flyer, this card has one of the highest earn rates on flight purchases. Earn 5 points per dollar on flights booked directly through airlines or through amextravel.com.  Earn 1 point per dollar on all other purchases.  Terms apply, learn how to apply here.

Marriott Bonvoy

Click here for more information about Marriott Bonvoy.

Marriott Bonvoy elite perks

how to earn Marriott Bonvoy elite status credit cards 2020
Marriott Bonvoy elite status 2020

Important note: 2 banks issue personal Marriott co-branded cards: Chase and Amex.

The general rule of thumb is that if you want a personal Marriott co-branded card, you should prioritize Chase over Amex because of 5/24.

You can have Marriott co-branded cards from both banks, but both banks have now placed restrictions on welcome bonuses. To put it simply, once you open one from either bank, there is a waiting period before you can get a welcome bonus from the other bank’s card.

But the personal cards aren’t exactly an apples to apples comparison. The Amex Marriott co-branded card is a premium card and as such, the automatic elite status is higher.

The Amex Marriott co-branded personal card grants automatic gold status (and possible platinum), but the annual fee is higher. You could argue that the Amex Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant is a better Marriott card thanks to the benefits. But the point of this post is to discuss the best cards for elite status. If you are a beginner under 5/24, I do not feel that the automatic gold status granted from the Amex Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant is valuable enough to open that card over other cards.

Also, you cannot have both Chase cards (Marriott Bonvoy Bold and Marriott Bonvoy Boundless) at the same time.

2. Marriott Bonvoy Boundless Visa Signature from Chase

The Marriott Bonvoy Boundless Visa Signature credit card from Chase comes with Marriott Bonvoy Silver elite status. If you spend $35,000 on the card in a calendar year, you will receive gold status.

Some notable Marriott Bonvoy silver status perks include:

  • 10% bonus points earned on paid stays
  • Late check-out
  • Dedicated elite line

Some notable Marriott Bonvoy gold status perks include:

  • Room upgrades (subject to availability)
  • 25% bonus points earned on paid stays
  • Late check-out
Marriott convoy boundless chase credit card 2020

Current offer: 75,000 Marriott Bonvoy points after spending $3,000 in the first 3 months.

Marriott Bonvoy Boundless credit card additional details

The annual fee is $95.

In addition to the nice welcome offer, the card comes with a free night worth up to 35,000 points starting at your first anniversary of card membership. This benefit alone has made the card extremely valuable for Ryan and me.

Earn rate: With this card, you earn 6 points per dollar at Marriott properties, and 2 points per dollar on everything else. The earn rate on this card seems high, but remember, Marriott points aren’t as valuable as other points.

The no annual fee Marriott Bonvoy Bold card from Chase also comes with automatic silver status. But the welcome bonus and the annual free night benefit on the Marriott Bonvoy Boundless card are worth the annual fee in my opinion.

You can use the free night certificate for properties such as the JW Marriott in Lima

3. Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant American Express Card

Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant cardholders receive automatic Marriott Bonvoy Gold status. If you spend $75,000 in a year, you will receive Platinum status. Marriott Platinum status perks include free breakfast, hotel lounge access, better upgrade possibilities, and more.

Some notable Marriott Bonvoy gold status perks include:

  • Room upgrades (subject to availability)
  • 25% bonus points earned on paid stays
  • Late check-out

Some notable Marriott Bonvoy platinum status perks include:

  • Better room upgrades
  • 50% bonus points earned on paid stays
  • Late check-out
  • Breakfast
  • Lounge access
Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant<sup>™</sup> American Express<sup>®</sup> Card

Current offer: 100,000 Marriott Bonvoy points after spending $5,000 in the first 3 months. This offer ends 4/08/20.

Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant American Express Card detais

This is a premium card and the annual fee is $450.

Benefits:

  • Receive an annual credit of $300 for Marriott purchases.
  • Receive an annual free night worth up to 50,000 points.
  • Priority Pass membership (airport lounge access)

Earn rate: With this card, you earn 6 points per dollar at Marriott properties, 3 points per dollar at US restaurants and on flights booked directly with airlines, and 2 points per dollar on everything else. The earn rate on this card seems high, but remember, Marriott points aren’t as valuable as other points.

My take: While the benefits of this card can be valuable, Marriott gold status should not be the reason you open this card. Also, I would not spend the $75k required to reach Platinum status. I’d rather spend $75k on cards that earn more valuable points.

The annual free night certificate can be extremely valuable

World of Hyatt

World of Hyatt is one of my favorite programs. There is only one Hyatt co-branded credit card at this time.

World of Hyatt elite benefits

world of hyatt status with credit card 2020
world of hyatt status with credit card 2020
world of hyatt status with credit card 2020

Click here for more information about World of Hyatt elite tiers.

4. World of Hyatt credit card

The World of Hyatt credit card from Chase grants cardholders automatic Discoverist status.

Discoverist status perks:

  • Premium Internet
  • Bottled Water
  • Room upgrades (subject to availability)
  • Late checkout (subject to availability)

Discoverist status is low-tier, but Discoverist status will get you free premium internet and late checkout. In our experience, Hyatt is also generous with room upgrades, even for lower status!

Fast track to higher status: card members receive 5 qualifying night credits towards your next tier status every year

chase world of Hyatt credit card 2020

Current offer: Up to 50,000 Hyatt points.

25,000 if you spend $3,000 in the first 3 months, then another 25,000 if you spend an additional $3,000 in the first 6 months (a total of $6,000 in the first 6 months). 

It is possible to spend your way to higher World of Hyatt status:

  • Each time you spend $5,000, receive 2 additional qualifying credits toward your next tier status.
  • There is no limit, so technically you could spend your way to top-tier globalist status.
Even low Hyatt status has gotten us room upgrades and birthday surprises such as strawberries and champagne!
World of Hyatt credit card details

The annual fee is $95, but the initial bonus offer and then the benefits make this card worth opening and keeping.

The main benefit that makes this card worth keeping year after year is the annual free night certificate. This is good for any Hyatt property that is category 1-4. There are so many properties for which you can use the annual free night with rates significantly higher than $95.

Earn an extra free night at any Category 1–4 Hyatt hotel or resort if you spend $15,000 during your cardmember anniversary year.

Earn rate: 4 World of Hyatt points per dollar at Hyatt, 2 points per dollar at restaurants, 2 points per dollar on airfare purchased directly from airlines, 2 points per dollar on local transit, and 2 points per dollar on gym memberships, 1 point per dollar on everything else.

My take: Discoverist status alone isn’t a reason to open and keep this card. But the free night benefit makes it a keeper for us. Also, the ability to spend your way to elite status is appealing since we probably stay at Hyatt more than any other hotel chain. I’m still not sure I value top Hyatt status enough to switch my spending to this card, but I do value Hyatt points more than other hotel points.

You can use the free night certificate at Part Hyatt Mendoza!

IHG Rewards Club

To be honest, IHG is one that we just really haven’t had much experience with, so I really cannot speak to elite status benefits. I can show you what it looks like on paper though, and I can tell you that there is a pretty enticing offer right now on one of their co-branded credit cards.

IHG Rewards Club elite benefits

IHG credit card elite status 2020

Click here for more information about IHG elite tiers.

5. IHG Rewards Club Premier Credit Card

The IHG Rewards Club Premier Credit Card from Chase comes with automatic IHG Platinum elite status.

IHG Platinum Eite benefits:

  • Upgraded rooms
  • Guaranteed availability
  • 50% bonus points
  • Late check out
IHG(Registered Trademark) Rewards Club Premier Credit Card

Current offer: 125,000 IHG points after spending $3,000 in the first 3 months.

IHG Rewards Club Premier Credit Card details

The annual fee is $89. The IHG card has one perk that you do not find often on cards with similar annual fees. Cardholders can receive up to $100 every 4 years for Global Entry or TSA Precheck application fees.

Like the Marriott Bonvoy Boundless and World of Hyatt cards, you also receive a free night each anniversary with the IHG Rewards Club Premier credit card. Cardmembers receive one free night up to 40,000 points.

When you redeem points for a stay of 4 or more nights, the 4th night is free.

Earn rate: 10 points per dollar at IHG properties (this brings the total to 25 points per dollar because you also receive 10 for being an IHG Rewards Club member, plus an additional 5 for having Platinum status), 2 points per dollar at gas stations, grocery stores, and restaurants, 1 point per dollar on all other purchases.

My take: This is a 5/24 card, so if you want it, it needs to be on your priority list. 140,000 points is a great welcome bonus. As with all cards, I do not feel that status alone is a reason to get this card, but it’s a nice benefit if you have other reasons to have this card.

Hilton Honors

All Hilton co-branded cards are issued by American Express. That means that you should not open these cards before opening the Chase cards you want.

Hilton Honors is one of the few programs that grants top elite status just from having a credit card in your wallet. The most premium Hilton co-branded card, the Hilton Honors American Express Aspire Card, comes with complimentary diamond status.

Hilton Honors elite perks

Click here for more information about Hilton Honors.

Waldorf Astoria in Amsterdam

6. Hilton Honors American Express Surpass Card

The Hilton Honors American Express Surpass Card comes with automatic Hilton Honors Gold elite status. If you spend $40,000 on the card in a calendar year, you will be upgraded to diamond elite status through the end of the next calendar year.

Some notable Hilton gold status perks include:

  • Room upgrades (subject to availability)
  • Complimentary breakfast
  • 80% bonus points earned on paid stays
  • 5th award night free
  • Late check-out

Some notable Hilton diamond status perks include:

  • Enhanced room upgrades
  • Complimentary breakfast
  • 100% bonus points earned on paid stays
  • 5th award night free
  • Late check-out
  • Lounge access
Hilton Honors American Express Surpass<sup>®</sup> Card

Current offer: Earn 125,000 Hilton Honors points after you spend $2,000 in your first 3 months

Hilton Honors American Express Surpass Card details

The annual fee is $95

If you spend $15,000 in a calendar year, you will earn a free weekend night. This can be valuable, but I’m not sure I would spend $15k on this card. Click here for more info about free weekend night certificates.

Earn rate: 12 points per dollar at Hilton properties, 6 points per dollar at US restaurants, US supermarkets, and US gas stations, 3 points per. dollar on all other purchases. Like I said with Marriott, it is important to keep in mind that not all points are equal. Hilton points aren’t as valuable as other points such as Ultimate Rewards or American Express Membership Rewards points.

7. Hilton Honors American Express Aspire Card

The Hilton Honors American Express Aspire Card comes with automatic Hilton diamond status.

Hilton Diamond Status perks:

Some notable Hilton diamond status perks include:

  • Enhanced room upgrades
  • Complimentary breakfast
  • 100% bonus points earned on paid stays
  • 5th award night free
  • Late check-out
  • Lounge access
Hilton Honors American Express Aspire Card

Current offer: Earn 150,000 Hilton Honors points after you spend $4,000 in your first 3 months

Hilton Honors American Express Aspire Card Details

The annual fee is $450. In addition to the top tier elite status, there are a few benefits that may offset the annual fee:

Each year, you will receive a free weekend night. This can be extremely valuable. Click here for more info.

Receive up to $250 in statement credits each year at participating Hilton Resorts.

Earn rate: 14 points per dollar at Hilton properties, 7 points per dollar on flights booked directly with airlines or at amextravel.com, car rentals at select companies, and at US restaurants, and 3 points per dollar on all other purchases. Like I said with Marriott, it is important to keep in mind that not all points are equal. Hilton points aren’t as valuable as other points such as Ultimate Rewards or American Express Membership Rewards points.

8. Hilton Honors Card

The Hilton Honors Card from American Express comes with automatic Hilton Honors Silver elite status. If you spend $20,000 on the card in a calendar year, you’ll be upgraded to gold status.

Some notable Hilton silver status perks include:

  • 25% bonus points earned on paid stays
  • 5th award night free
  • Late check-out
Hilton Honors Card

Current offer: Earn 75,000 Hilton Honors points after you spend $1,000 in your first 3 months

Hilton Honors Card Details

There is no annual fee.

Besides the automatic status, it is worth mentioning that there are no foreign transaction fees. Most no annual fee cards do have foreign transaction fees.

Earn rate: 7 points per dollar at Hilton properties, 5 points per dollar at US restaurants, US supermarkets, and US gas stations, 3 points per. dollar on all other purchases. Like I said with Marriott, it is important to keep in mind that not all points are equal. Hilton points aren’t as valuable as other points such as Ultimate Rewards or American Express Membership Rewards points.

Business credit cards with hotel status

Do you qualify for business credit cards?

If you’re unsure, check out this article.

9. Business Platinum Card from American Express

The Business Platinum Card from American Express comes with automatic Hilton Gold and Marriott Gold status.

If you want a premium business card, this is a strong contender. The Business Platinum Card from American Express is especially lucrative for those who regularly make large business purchases.

amex business platinum 2019

Current Offer: 75,000 American Express points After spending $15,000 in the first 3 months.

The annual fee is $595, but the benefits may be worth it, especially if you make large business purchase or if you spend a lot on flights. Terms apply. Learn how to apply here.

Earn rate: The earn rate is 5 points per dollar on flights and prepaid hotels at amextravel.com, 1 point per dollar on everything else. Also, purchases over $5,000 earn 1.5 points per dollar (you can earn up to 1 million additional points each year). So if you make large business purchases that may not qualify for bonus categories on other business cards, this may be a good card for you.

Also, you will get the $200 airline incidental reimbursement per calendar year, $100 reimbursement for TSA precheck or Global Entry enrollment, and airport lounge access benefits that the personal version of this card has. Note that the Uber credits and Saks credits are not available on the Business Platinum Card. You can also enroll to receive $100 semi-annually for Dell purchases in the US (that’s $200 per year).

10. Hilton Honors American Express Business Card

The Hilton Honors American Express Business Card comes with automatic gold elite status.

Current offer: Earn 125,000 Hilton Honors points after you spend $3,000 in your first 3 months

Hilton Honors American Express Business Card details

The annual fee is $95.

If you spend $15,000 in a calendar year, you will earn a free weekend night. This can be valuable, but I’m not sure I would spend $15k on this card. Click here for eligible properties.

You will also receive 10 free airport lounge visits each year with Priority Pass.

Earn rate: 12 points per dollar at Hilton properties, 6 points per dollar on select business and travel purchases, 3 points per dollar on all other purchases. Like I said with Marriott, it is important to keep in mind that not all points are equal. Hilton points aren’t as valuable as other points such as Ultimate Rewards or American Express Membership Rewards points.

11. Marriott Bonvoy Business card from American Express

The Marriott Bonvoy Business card from American Express comes with automatic Marriott silver elite status.

If you spend $35,000 in a calendar year, you will receive Marriott gold status.

Current offer: Earn 75,000 Marriott Bonvoy points after you spend $3,000 in your first 3 months. Terms apply.

Hilton Honors American Express Business Card details

The annual fee is $125.

Earn rate: 6 points per dollar at Marriott properties, 4 points per dollar at US restaurants, 4 points per dollar at US gas stations, 4 points per dollar on wireless telephone services provided directly from US service providers, 4 points per dollar on US purchases for shipping, and 2 points per dollar on all other purchases.

Benefits: Annual free night certificate worth up to 35,000 points. Plus, if you spend $60k in one year, you will earn an additional free night award.

Ritz Carlton Kyoto

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Comments below are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. The comments have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser’s responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.

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