Hotel elite status offers valuable perks that improve your hotel stays and save money. However, most travelers don’t stay at hotels frequently enough to earn elite status. Did you know that there’s a way to get VIP treatment without being loyal to just one hotel brand? Here’s how to get premium hotel benefits without elite status. Plus, we share credit cards and other membership programs that automatically include elite status from your very first stay each year.
How to get premium hotel benefits without elite status
While having hotel loyalty is cool, you can get top-tier hotel benefits without elite status. In some cases, these benefits are even better than top-tier elite status from some hotel loyalty programs. Here are five hotel booking programs offering premium benefits that you need to know about.
Fine Hotels + Resorts
If you have The Platinum Card® or The Business Platinum Card® from American Express, you have exclusive access to over 1,300 properties in the Fine Hotels + Resorts collection. These properties include a complimentary suite of benefits that rival top elite status with any hotel loyalty program.
Benefits include daily breakfast for two, a $100 experience credit, and complimentary WiFi. Plus, guests receive guaranteed 4 pm late check-out and (when available) a complimentary room upgrade and 12 pm early check-in. American Express estimates the average value of these upgrades at $600 per stay. Some properties even offer 3rd or 4th night free when booking certain promotions.
Learn more about Fine Hotels + Resorts and view the latest offers on its website.
As an Amex Platinum cardholder, you receive an annual $200 hotel credit, which can be used when booking rooms through Fine Hotels + Resorts or The Hotel Collection. Additionally, you’ll earn 5x points on these prepaid hotel reservations through Amex Travel. You can use your Membership Rewards points to pay for all or some of the cost of your reservation. However, you only receive 1 cent per point, which isn’t a good value redemption in my opinion.
The Hotel Collection
The Hotel Collection is a portfolio of 700 hotels offering benefits to select American Express customers. While these benefits are not as generous at Fine Hotels & Resorts, they still offer tremendous value. When you book a consecutive two-night stay at one of these hotels, you’ll receive a complimentary room upgrade (when available) and a $100 experience credit.
Eligible American Express cards include:
- The Platinum Card from American Express
- The Business Platinum Card from American Express
- American Express Gold Card
- American Express Business Gold Card
- The Centurion Card
Learn more about these cards and see the latest offers.
Luxury Hotel & Resort Collection
The benefits of this program are available exclusively for select Chase credit cards. With over 1,000 high-end hotels, resorts, lodges, and spas to choose from, you’ll find a property almost anywhere you want to travel. When booking through the Luxury Hotel & Resort Collection, you’ll receive daily breakfast for two, a special benefit worth up to $100, and complimentary WiFi. Plus, these reservations include a complimentary room upgrade, early check-in, and late checkout when available.
Eligibility is based on the first six digits of your Chase credit card. Visit the LHR Collection website to verify your card’s eligibility. Our research and reports from readers show that these are some of the best Chase credit cards that include these benefits:
- Chase Sapphire Reserve
- Chase Freedom Unlimited
- J.P. Morgan Reserve Card
- United Explorer Card
- United Club Card
- Southwest Rapid Rewards Performance Business Card
- United Explorer Business Card
Visit the Luxury Hotel & Resort collection website for further details and exclusive offers.
Mastercard Travel & Lifestyle Services
American Express isn’t the only credit card issuer that offers exclusive benefits to its cardholders. Mastercard has its own collection of more than 4,000 four and five-star properties where eligible cardholders receive elite status benefits.
When you book through this site, you’ll receive a low-price guarantee and complimentary daily breakfast for two, room upgrades, early check-in, and late check-out (based on availability). Benefits and promotions vary by hotel, so explore the site to see what offers work for your next trip.
Learn more about these benefits at Mastercard Travel & Lifestyle Services.
Visa Luxury Hotel Collection
Visa also offers exclusive benefits to its eligible cardholders when booking reservations through its luxury collection of over 900 hotels. The Visa Luxury Hotel Collection includes a best-rate guarantee, automatic room upgrade (when available), complimentary daily breakfast and WiFi, and a $25 food and beverage credit per stay. Additionally, you’ll be recognized with VIP Guest status and receive late check-out upon request.
Benefits vary depending on the type of Visa credit card you have. Visa Infinite and Visa Signature card benefits are the same, except that Visa Infinite cardholders receive a special amenity upon arrival. Explore the Visa Luxury Hotel Collection to see the latest offers and benefits.
Credit cards that include automatic elite status
If hotel elite status is important to you, certain credit cards include automatic elite status just for being a cardholder. In some cases, you can earn higher levels of elite status based on your spending.
Additionally, you can get complimentary elite status with ten major travel brands when you sign up for FoundersCard (affiliate link). The American Express Platinum Card also includes Hilton Honors Gold and Marriott Bonvoy Gold when you activate your benefits.
Best Western Rewards elite status
- Best Western Rewards® Mastercard®: Gold status
- Best Western Rewards® Premium Mastercard®: Platinum status
Hilton Honors elite status
- Hilton Honors Card: Silver status, Gold after spending $20,000 each year
- Hilton Honors Surpass® Card: Gold status, Diamond after spending $40,000 each year
- Hilton Honors Business Card: Gold status, Diamond after spending $40,000 each year
- Hilton Honors Aspire Card: Diamond status
IHG One Rewards elite status
- IHG® Rewards Traveler Credit Card: Silver status, Gold after spending $20,000 each year
- IHG® Rewards Premier Card: Platinum status, Diamond after spending $40,000 each year
- IHG® Rewards Premier Business Card: Platinum status, Diamond after spending $40,000 each year
Marriott Bonvoy elite status
- Marriott Bonvoy Boundless® Credit Card from Chase: Silver status
- Marriott Bonvoy Bevy™ American Express® Card: Gold status
- Marriott Bonvoy Business® American Express® Card: Gold status, Platinum after spending $75,000 each year
- Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant® American Express® Card: Platinum status
World of Hyatt elite status
- World of Hyatt Card: Discoverist status
- World of Hyatt Business Card: Discoverist status for the business owner and up to five employees
Wyndham Rewards elite status
- Wyndham Rewards Earner® Card: Gold status
- Wyndham Rewards Earner® Plus Card: Platinum status
- Wyndham Rewards Earner® Business Card: Diamond status
Learn more about hotel credit cards and their current benefits and offers.
The Bald Thoughts
I love the benefits that I receive from hotel elite status. However, it can be challenging to earn or maintain elite status with hotel loyalty programs each year. Using these programs allows travelers to receive luxury perks without needing elite status. This enables you to try out different brands or stay at hotels that don’t belong to a loyalty program while still receiving valuable perks like free breakfast, complimentary upgrades, and a welcome gift.
Have you tried any of these programs and if so, what has your experience been?