How to Get Elite Status at a Hotel Fast Through Matches, Challenges and Credit Cards

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hotel elite status

Do you want to enjoy all the benefits of elite status at your favorite hotel, including complimentary room upgrades, discounts, club access and more? There are a number of ways you can earn status quickly.

If you’re already an elite, you can request a status match or take part in a status challenge with another hotel loyalty program. If you don’t have status, getting the right hotel credit card can make you an elite fast.

Many hotels don’t make their status match information public. On top of that, many will only grant status or offer challenges on a case-by-case basis. Keeping their policies secret gives them more leeway to change the rules and further restrict who they allow to participate.

Best Offers for Any Hotel Stay

INTRO APR on Purchases
0% (up to 14 months)
INTRO apr on Balance Transfer
0% (up to 14 months)
Regular APR
See Site
Annual Fee
$0
Bonuses & Rewards
  • July 2018: Best Hotel Credit Cards
  • Clicking "Apply Now" will take you to the Credit-Land.com website to view card offers
  • Stay in Any Hotel, Anytime
  • Offers Available for Excellent and Good Credit
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We’ve done our best to put together a list of the current offers given the available information. Keep in mind as you read through the list that there’s no guarantee that you’ll be offered a challenge or match even if you meet the requirements spelled out below.

You have nothing to lose, though, so give it a try if you think you’ll qualify. If it doesn’t work out, you can always get a hotel credit card. Many of them offer immediate status to cardholders.

Earn Big Rewards From Capital One

Before we get into your options for earning elite status with various hotel chains, it’s worth pointing out a potentially very valuable offer from Capital One and Hotels.com. If you have either the VentureOne or Venture card from Capital One, you can earn 10x miles for booking a room through hotels.com/venture.

Venture® Rewards Credit Card

INTRO APR on Purchases
N/A
INTRO apr on Balance Transfer
N/A
Regular APR
14.74% - 24.74% (Variable)
Annual Fee
$0 intro for first year; $95 after that
Rewards Program
Venture® Rewards
Bonuses & Rewards
  • + Earn 2X miles on every purchase, every day. Plus earn 10X miles on thousands of hotels; learn more at hotels.com/venture
  • Enjoy a one-time bonus of 50,000 miles once you spend $3,000 on purchases within 3 months from account opening, equal to $500 in travel
  • Named ‘The Best Travel Card' by CNBC, 2018
  • Receive up to $100 application fee credit for Global Entry or TSA Pre✓®
  • Fly any airline, stay at any hotel, anytime; no blackout dates
  • No foreign transaction fees
  • + Miles won't expire for the life of the account and there's no limit to how many you can earn
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VentureOne® from Capital One®

INTRO APR on Purchases
0% intro on purchases for 12 months
INTRO apr on Balance Transfer
N/A
Regular APR
13.74% - 23.74% (Variable)
Annual Fee
$0
Rewards Program
Venture® Rewards
Bonuses & Rewards
  • + Earn 1.25X miles on every purchase, every day and pay no annual fee. Plus earn 10X miles on thousands of hotels; learn more at hotels.com/venture
  • + Miles won't expire for the life of the account and there's no limit to how many you can earn
  • Enjoy a one-time bonus of 20,000 miles once you spend $1,000 on purchases within 3 months from account opening, equal to $200 in travel
  • Enjoy a low intro APR on purchases for 12 months; 13.74%-23.74% variable APR after that
  • Travel when you want with no blackout dates
  • Fly any airline, stay at any hotel, anytime
  • No Foreign Transaction Fee
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Since you can use Capital One miles toward any travel purchase at a rate of 1 cent each, that’s like getting 10% cash back!

Both of these cards are great for any traveler since the rewards are super flexible and the earning structures are generous. You can use miles toward any travel purchased from anywhere. There are no blackout dates and no restrictions.

With the Venture card, you’ll get 2x miles on every purchase and a sign-up bonus worth $500. The no-annual-fee VentureOne card offers a solid 1.5 miles per dollar and a sign-up bonus worth $200.

Starwood Preferred Guest

Thanks to the merger, you can match Starwood Preferred Guest and Marriott Rewards status. Just link your SPG and Marriott accounts and your status will instantly be matched. Note that accounts can be linked but not combined. Points can be transferred between programs, but not at a 1:1 ratio. The points transfer from Marriott to SPG at a ratio of 3:1.

starwood preferred guest
Starwood Preferred Guest merged with Marriott and offers reciprocal elite status

Starwood does not match status with any another hotel. However, they will typically offer applicants a status challenge. Just send them an email at platinum.liaison@starwoodhotels.com. You don’t have to have status at another hotel to qualify. To receive Gold status, you must complete nine paid nights, and Platinum takes 18 nights. The challenge period is three months, with the option to include the month before you apply.

SPG will not offer you the challenge if you were Gold or Platinum status holder within the last five years, and only one challenge is allowed per account. Paid nights qualify, but award nights, cash & points nights and any other complimentary stays do not count.

Earn $100 Statement Credit & Work Towards Elite Status

If the challenge doesn’t work out, the Starwood Preferred Guest® Credit Card from American Express comes with a credit of five nights and two stays toward elite status. Unfortunately, this benefit is only available until August 2018. After that, it will no longer be offered. Starpoints can be transferred to over 30 different frequent flyer programs and nearly all of them offer 1:1 transfer rates.

Starwood Preferred Guest® Credit Card from American Express

INTRO APR on Purchases
N/A
INTRO apr on Balance Transfer
N/A
Regular APR
17.49% to 26.49% Variable±
Annual Fee
$0 first year, then $95
Rewards Program
Starwood Preferred Guest®
Bonuses & Rewards
  • 6x Starpoints at Participating Starwood and Marriott Rewards Hotels
  • 2x Starpoints on All Other Purchases
  • + 1 Free Night Award every year after Card account anniversary
  • 75,000 bonus points after spending $3,000 within the first 3 months
  • Receive a 5,000 Starpoint bonus when you transfer 20,000 Starpoints to a participating frequent flyer program
  • No Foreign Transaction Fee
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Alternatively, the Amex Platinum card comes with Gold status for both SPG and Hilton Honors. While it has a hefty $550 annual fee, you’ll also get a 60,000-point sign-up bonus, quintuple points for airfare, a $200 airline fee credit, $200 in Uber rides, a $100 Global Entry credit and access to a wide variety of lounges, including Centurion lounges, Delta Sky Clubs, Airspace Lounges and Priority Pass lounges.

American Express® Platinum Card®

INTRO APR on Purchases
N/A
INTRO apr on Balance Transfer
N/A
Regular APR
N/A
Annual Fee
$550
Rewards Program
Membership Rewards®
Bonuses & Rewards
  • 5x Points on Airfare and Hotels
  • 1x Points on All Other Purchases
  • + Complimentary access to Centurion Lounges, Delta Sky Clubs and Priority Pass Select lounges
  • + Gold elite status with Starwood Preferred Guest and Hilton Honors
  • 60,000 bonus points after you spend $5,000 in the first 3 months
  • $200 airline fee credit
  • $200 in annual Uber credits
  • $100 credit for Global Entry or TSA PreCheck
  • No Foreign Transaction Fee
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Marriott Rewards

Marriott does not offer a straight match with any program other than SPG, but they do frequently offer challenges to those who request them. Call 801-468-8000 to apply.

Be aware that Marriott does not publish any information on status challenges, so it’s a bit difficult to know what callers will be offered. Typically challenges are three months long and require three stays for Silver, six stays for Gold and nine stays for Platinum. Note that, unlike SPG, Marriott’s challenge is based on stays not nights.

If you can’t complete the challenge, the new Marriott Rewards Premier Plus card offers a shortcut to elite status. You get instant Silver Elite Status just for getting the card. Plus, you can earn Gold Elite Status if you spend $35,000 in a year.

Right now, the card comes with a huge 100,000-point sign-up bonus and annual free night award.

Marriott Rewards® Premier Plus Card

INTRO APR on Purchases
N/A
INTRO apr on Balance Transfer
N/A
Regular APR
17.49% to 24.49% Variable±
Annual Fee
$95
Rewards Program
Marriott Rewards®
Bonuses & Rewards
  • 6x Points on Marriott® and SPG® Purchases
  • 2x Points on Dining, Airfare and Car Rentals
  • 2x Points on Gas
  • 2x Points on All Other Purchases
  • 100,000 bonus points after you spend $5,000 in the first 3 months
  • 1 free night award every year after your account anniversary, valid for a one night hotel stay at a property with a redemption level up to 35,000 points
  • No Foreign Transaction Fee
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Hilton Honors

Hilton currently offers a somewhat unusual mix of a status match and challenge. They will match your status with another hotel for 90 days, with the opportunity to retain that status until 2020. You must complete four stays to retain Gold and eight stays for Diamond within that three-month period.

You can apply for the match/challenge here. You’re required to upload both proof of status with another hotel and proof that you’ve stayed at that hotel within the last 12 months.

Reach Silver and Gold Status With Hilton

New Hilton Honors Amex cardmembers can earn 50,000 bonus points and automatically receive Silver status. Cardholders can upgrade to Gold Status after spending $20,000 on the card in a calendar year.

Hilton Honors Ascend Cardholders can earn 75,000 bonus points and will automatically receive Gold Status.

Hilton Honors™ Card

INTRO APR on Purchases
N/A
INTRO apr on Balance Transfer
N/A
Regular APR
17.24% to 26.24% Variable±
Annual Fee
$0
Rewards Program
Hilton Honors™
Bonuses & Rewards
  • 7x Points on Hilton Purchases
  • 5x Points on Dining, Gas and Groceries
  • 3x Points on Car Rental
  • 3x Points on All Other Purchases
  • 75,000 bonus points after you spend $1,000 in the first 3 months
  • No Foreign Transaction Fee
  • + Complimentary Silver Status
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Hilton Honors™ Ascend Card

INTRO APR on Purchases
N/A
INTRO apr on Balance Transfer
N/A
Regular APR
17.24% to 26.24% Variable±
Annual Fee
$95
Rewards Program
Hilton Honors™
Bonuses & Rewards
  • 12x Points on Hilton Purchases
  • 6x Points Dining, Gas and Groceries
  • 3x Points on Car Rentals
  • 3x Points on All Other Purchases
  • 100,000 bonus points after you spend $3,000 in purchases within the first 3 months
  • An additional free weekend night award after your first anniversary of Card Membership. Offer Ends 06/27/2018.
  • Earn a Weekend Night Reward from Hilton Honors after you spend $15,000 on purchases on your card in a calendar year
  • No Foreign Transaction Fee
  • + Complimentary Gold Status
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Hyatt Gold Passport

In the past, Hyatt would periodically offer a status match or challenge, though it hasn’t had any offers in quite some time. A few years ago Hyatt offered both a match and a challenge. The challenge consisted of staying six nights in two months for Platinum (now Discoverist) and 12 nights in two months for Diamond (now Explorist). It was open to anyone, even if you didn’t have status. It’s worth keeping and eye out for this in case they offer it again.

If you’re an optimist, you can request a match or challenge by emailing goldpassport@hyatt.com. It’s always possible that they’ll give it to you even though they don’t currently have a published offer.

The foolproof way to get status with Hyatt is to get the Hyatt Visa from Chase. It includes Discoverist status; 40,000-point sign-up bonus; triple points at Hyatt; double points for dining out, airfare and car rentals; and one free night every year. It has a $75 annual fee. You can also achieve Explorist status if you spend $50,000 a year.

The Hyatt Credit Card

INTRO APR on Purchases
N/A
INTRO apr on Balance Transfer
N/A
Regular APR
17.49% to 24.49% Variable±
Annual Fee
$75
Rewards Program
World of Hyatt®
Bonuses & Rewards
  • 3x Points on Hyatt Purchases
  • 2x Points on Airfare, Dining and Car Rental
  • 1x Points on Gas
  • 1x Points on All Other Purchases
  • 40,000 bonus points after you spend $2,000 in the first 3 months
  • 5,000 bonus points after you add the first authorized user to your account and make a purchase within the first 3 months
  • No Foreign Transaction Fee
  • + Free night every year
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Radisson Rewards

Radisson Rewards, which was known as Club Carlson until earlier this year, is the loyalty program for a variety of brands, including Carlson Rezidor, Country Inn & Suites, Park Inn and Radisson, will typically match your status. If you’re a top-tier elite at another hotel, you’ll get Gold. Mid-tier status gets Silver.

You cannot match to Platinum, which is Radisson Rewards’ highest elite status. It has to be earned the hard way. Each Radisson Rewards account is allowed only one status match, so you can’t keep applying if you lose status.

To apply, send proof of your current status and your Radisson Rewards account information to StatusMatch@radissonhotels.com.

Radisson Rewards Visa Signature Card includes elite status. It has a $75 annual fee and comes with Gold status, an 85,000-point sign-up bonus and a free night.

The Radisson Rewards Visa Signature card has a $50 fee and includes Silver status, 60,000 points and a free night.

Radisson Rewards™ Premier Visa Signature® Card

INTRO APR on Purchases
N/A
INTRO apr on Balance Transfer
N/A
Regular APR
15.49% to 24.49% Variable±
Annual Fee
$75
Bonuses & Rewards
  • 10x Points on Radisson Family of Hotels
  • 5x Points on Dining
  • 5x Points on Gas
  • 5x Points on All Other Purchases
  • 85,000 bonus points after spending $2,500 in purchases within the first 90 days
  • Earn one free night when you charge $10,000 then renewal your card by paying the annual fee
  • 2% fee for foreign transactions in U.S. dollars; 3% fee for transactions in a foreign currency
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Radisson Rewards™ Visa Signature® Card

INTRO APR on Purchases
N/A
INTRO apr on Balance Transfer
N/A
Regular APR
15.49% to 24.49% Variable±
Annual Fee
$50
Rewards Program
Club Carlson℠Rewards
Bonuses & Rewards
  • 6x Points at the Radisson Family of Hotels
  • 3x Points on Dining
  • 3x Points on Gas
  • 3x Points on All Other Purchases
  • 60,000 bonus points after spending $1,500 in purchases within the first 90 days
  • Earn one free night when you charge $10,000 then renew your card by paying the Annual fee
  • 2% - for foreign transaction in $; 3% - in a Foreign Currency
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IHG

The last time I know of IHG matching elite status from another hotel program was back in 2015. That isn’t a good sign. You never know, though, they could always come out with another offer.

In the meantime, the IHG Rewards Premier credit card comes with Platinum status. You’ll also get a 80,000-point sign-up bonus, a free night every year, a fourth reward night whenever you redeem for four or more nights, Global Entry/TSA PreCheck fee credit, ten points per dollar spent with IHG and double points at gas stations, grocery stores and restaurants. The card’s $89 annual fee is waived for the first year.

IHG® Rewards Club Traveler Credit Card

INTRO APR on Purchases
N/A
INTRO apr on Balance Transfer
N/A
Regular APR
17.49% to 24.49% Variable±
Annual Fee
$29
Rewards Program
IHG® Rewards Club
Bonuses & Rewards
  • 5x Points at IHG® Hotels
  • 2x Points on Gas, Groceries and Dining
  • 1x Points on All Other Purchases
  • 60,000 Points after you spend $2,000 in the first 3 months
  • Fourth night free for award redemptions.
  • 20% discount on point purchases
  • 5,000 bonus points after you add your first authorized user and make your first purchase in the first three months
  • No Foreign Transaction Fee
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Conclusion

Having elite status at a hotel is worth the hassle. You’ll get access to a variety of perks like upgrades, free nights, discounts and more. If you need status, consider getting the right co-branded credit card. If you already have status at one hotel, see if others will match it. You have nothing to lose.