How to Get Free Hotel Status Using Credit Cards

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When we think of hotel status, we think of checking in and finding out we have a free upgrade. Most hotel status programs require staying a lot of nights to earn status. Credit cards come into play here because you can "buy" status at different hotel properties. 

For the top tier status, you still need to accumulate nights or spend a lot of money with the respective credit card. 

Today, we're going to look at the four main hotel programs:

  1. Hilton
  2. IHG
  3. Hyatt
  4. Marriott Group (Marriott, SPG, Ritz-Carlton) 

View the spreadsheets here (there are two tabs):

With Hilton, IHG, and Hyatt, you can earn status by accumulating points throughout the year. The big benefit of having status is you can earn more points when you stay at the hotel. 

free hotel status via credit cards

free hotel status via credit cards

For all of the brands, except for IHG and Hyatt, you get the 5th night free when you book a 5-night consecutive stay. 

Moving onto the interesting part, you will not receive free upgrades at Hilton, even if you have Diamond status. With the other brands, free upgrades are specifically listed as a benefit for top tier status.

IHG offers upgrades, Hyatt Discoverist offers upgrades to preferred rooms, and Hyatt Explorist offers upgrades, but it excludes suites/clubs.

If you frequent Las Vegas often, Hyatt gives you status at MGM properties. If you have Discoverist, you get Pearl status, and Explorist will give you Gold status. 

At Marriott, you receive upgrades at the Gold and Platinum levels. Ritz-Carlton offers free upgrades to Gold and Platinum members; Platinum includes suites. 

How to Get Hotel Status

how to get hotel status

how to get hotel status


The Amex Hilton Surpass and the Amex Platinum cards will grant you Hilton Gold status in the first year. When you spend $40,000 in a calendar year with the Hilton Surpass, you can earn Hilton Diamond status. 


By having the Chase IHG card, you automatically get IHG Platinum status. 


By having the Chase Hyatt card, you automatically earn Discoverist status. After spending $50,000 in a calendar year with the card, you earn Explorist status. 

Marriott Group

If you want Marriott Silver status, you can achieve that just by having the Chase Marriott card. If you spend $105,000 in a calendar year, you can earn Gold status and Platinum status with $180,000 in spending.

With the Chase Marriott Business card, you can earn Gold Status after spending $50,000 per the calendar year.

If you have the Amex Platinum card, you automatically earn Gold status. 

An important note is that if you have status at one Marriott property, you automatically get status matched at all the other brands like SPG and Ritz-Carlton. 

By having the Ritz-Carlton card, you automatically earn Ritz-Carlton Gold status. If you want Platinum status, you'll have to spend at least $75,000 per the calendar year on the card.


Whenever you signup for credit cards, they typically ask you for a hotel membership rewards number to link to your account. This means you can get elite status at a hotel, even though you don't have the hotel chain's specific credit card or stayed nights there.

With all of the hotel membership reward numbers and logins, I use LastPass to keep track of all my logins. 

View the current public hotel card offers by clicking the hotel banner in the top right sidebar.