Posted by Ric Garrido

Here is a summary of elite level benefits as a hotel loyalty credit card member. Most hotel credit cards offer at least the minimum elite level status while a cardmember. Best Western, SPG and Wyndham do not offer automatic elite as a credit card member. Best Western, Hilton and Marriott offer a way to earn top elite status through credit card spend. 

Cards offering high-level elite status based on card spend 

Hilton HHonors American Express Surpass 

  • Silver VIP is complimentary with card membership. Gold VIP membership is complimentary for the first year as a cardmember.
  • Gold VIP after the first year requires $20,000 in annual card spend. Gold VIP members receive complimentary internet. This level normally requires 16 stays, 36 nights or 60,000 base points ($6,000 hotel spend) in a calendar year. Gold VIP members receive 25% bonus points. Click the link for other on-property Gold VIP benefits.
  • Diamond VIP $40,000 in annual card spend. Diamond VIP members receive complimentary internet. This level normally requires 28 stays, 60 nights or 100,000 base points ($10,000 hotel spend) in a calendar year. Diamond VIP members receive 50% bonus points. This is one of the best credit card features among hotel loyalty credit cards.

Hilton HHonors American Express No Fee card

  • Silver VIP is complimentary with card membership.
  • Gold VIP $20,000 in annual card spend.
  • No Diamond VIP spend option. 

All Hilton HHonors credit cards offer Silver VIP elite status. This elite status normally requires 4 stays or 10 nights in a calendar year. Silver elites receive complimentary newspaper, two bottles of water per stay and complimentary health club access if hotel owned and operated. 

The primary benefit of Silver VIP is the ability to book discounted VIP awards which provide a 15% discount on 4-night stays, 20% discount on 5-night stays and 25% discount on points required for stays of six nights or more. American Express AXON 6 and AXON 7 awards for stays of 4 nights are even lower priced than HHonors VIP awards.

  • 4-nights VIP category 5 = 119,000 points; AXON category 5 = 125,000 points.
  • 4-nights: VIP Category 6 = 136,000 points; AXON category 6 = 125,000 points.
  • 4-nights VIP Category 7 = 170,000 points; AXON category 7 = 145,000 points.

 

Marriott Rewards Premier Visa

15 nights elite credit (automatic Marriott Rewards Silver elite while a cardmember since Silver requires 10 nights in a calendar year)

1 elite night for every $3,000 in card spend. Gold elite requires 50 nights and Platinum elite requires 75 nights. The spend level appears to be $105,000 (Gold elite) or $180,000 (Diamond elite) to reach higher elite tiers with credit card spend.

The combination of Marriott Rewards elite rollover nights and credit card nights greatly reduces the requirement for Gold (50 nights) and Platinum elite (75 nights) and the need to spend these amounts for higher level elite status in 2011.

How Marriott Rewards elite rollover works in 2011: Assume you stay 20 nights in 2011 at Marriott brand hotels. You finish 2011 with 35 elite nights credit (15 credit card nights + 20 hotel stay nights).

Elite rollover allows you to rollover 25 nights from 2011. These are the 25 nights exceeding the 10 nights qualification requirement for 2011 Silver elite of your 35 nights earned in 2011.  You start 2012 with rollover nights elite credit. You start 2012 with 25 elite nights and then earn 15 more nights when you renew your Marriott credit card.

Gold elite status will only require 10 additional nights in 2012 after rollover nights and credit card elite nights. Platinum elite takes only 35 nights in 2012. And your 2012 earned elite status will carry over into 2013 through February 2014.

 

Best Western Rewards World MasterCard

Earn next higher elite tier after $6,000 in spend. Best Western has three elite tiers at Gold (10 nights), Platinum (15 nights) and Diamond (30 nights) in a calendar year. The Best Western card could be a good value for someone who would otherwise reach only Platinum elite. Best Western elite benefits.

 

Cards with complimentary Low Level Elite Status 

Hyatt Gold Passport Visa

Platinum elite – this elite level normally requires 5 stays or 15 nights in a calendar year. Gold Passport Platinum elite has the benefit of complimentary internet, 15% bonus points and Platinum Extra Awards for every third stay with offers of bonus points, lounge access, dining credits and room upgrades at different stay levels from Stay 3 through Stay 24.

 

Choice Privileges (Gold elite) – normally requires 10 nights in a calendar year. Primary benefit of Gold elite is extended booking window of 50 days rather than 30 days as a general member.  Gold elites receive 10% bonus points on hotel spend.

 

Marriott No Fee Visa (Silver elite) – normally requires 10 nights in a calendar year. The primary benefits of Marriott Rewards Silver elite is 20% bonus points and late check-out option.

 

IHG Priority Club Visa (Gold elite) – normally takes 15 nights or earn 20,000 points in a calendar year or buy Gold elite for $50. Gold elites earn 10% bonus points on hotel spend. Gold elite has minimal benefits.

Hilton HHonors Citi Visa No Fee card

  • Silver VIP is complimentary with card membership. 

 

Cards that do not offer any complimentary elite status without reaching a spend threshold. 

Best Western Rewards World MasterCard

Best Western Rewards MasterCard does not offer entry-level complimentary elite status as a card benefit. You can earn the next higher elite tier after $6,000 in card spend in the calendar year. Best Western has three elite tiers at Gold (10 nights), Platinum (15 nights) and Diamond (30 nights) in a calendar year. The Best Western card could be a good value for someone who would otherwise have only Platinum elite. Best Western elite benefits.

Starwood Preferred Guest American Express

SPG American Express cardmembers do not receive complimentary elite status. Gold elite is attained after $30,000 in annual card spend. This elite level earns 1 bonus point per dollar in hotel spend. Gold elite after $30,000 in annual spend on card is an extremely high spend threshold in my opinion. Most members will likely earn Gold elite with 8 hotel stays or 20 nights. SPG Gold elite has the benefit of 4pm late checkout. SPG Gold elite benefits.

Wyndham Rewards Visa

Wyndham Rewards does not have elite tiers as a component of its hotel loyalty program.

Related post: Loyalty Traveler Analysis of Hotel Rewards Credit Cards (March 19, 2011)

11 Responses

  1. The SPG AmEx actually does offer complementary “Preferred Plus” status. This is an “unpublished” level but the consensus seems to be that it is basically “Gold minus the 50% point bonus”

  2. I only have visa, i wish i can use it

  3. [...] Here is a link to my blog post on hotel rewards credit card benefits from a couple weeks ago. http://boardingarea.com/loyalt…-credit-cards/ __________________ Loyalty Traveler blog analyzes hotel loyalty programs and promotions for the [...]

  4. I am always impressed by your thoughtful analysis. This is a superb resource post.

  5. @Carol.

    Thank you.

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