This post contains references to products from one or more of our advertisers. We may receive compensation when you click on links to those products. For an explanation of our Advertising Policy, visit this page.

TPG reader Zach tweeted me to ask:

@thepointsguy — “Can a hotel tell if I got my status from stays vs. a credit card? Will they treat me differently if I got status through a credit card?”

Earning elite status is getting easier in general, because it’s often included as a benefit on co-branded credit cards. Status earned from a co-branded card is identical to status earned through nights or stays, so the answer to Zach’s question is no. Although corporate employees could probably tell the difference, front desk staff won’t have the inside scoop into how you earned your elite status. And frankly, they shouldn’t care anyway, because you’re valuable to them as a co-branded cardholder.

Shutterstock HOTEL
Front desk staff at a hotel won’t be able to tell how you earned elite status, and shouldn’t treat you any differently. Photo courtesy of Shutterstock.

That being said, there’s a grey area with respect to room upgrades. Hotels have algorithms to rank you based on your value as a customer, and that rank can impact your chances of getting an upgrade. Even if you got the two stays, five nights credit on your Starwood Preferred Guest Credit Card from American Express, there may be a higher-ranking Platinum member who will get the upgrade because he or she is deemed more valuable to SPG.

Even with airlines, the front line staff won’t be able to see how you earned status, and if they do, they still shouldn’t treat you any differently.

If you have any other questions, please tweet me @thepointsguy, message me on Facebook, or send me an email at

Starwood Preferred Guest® Credit Card from American Express

The best sign-up bonus we've ever seen from the SPG Amex is here, for a limited time only. Earn up to 35,000 Starpoints which can be used for hotel redemption around the globe, transferred to over 30 airline partners, and even transfer from Starwood to Marriott Rewards at a 1:3 ratio.

Apply Now
More Things to Know
  • Earn 25,000 bonus Starpoints® after you use your new Card to make $3,000 in purchases within the first 3 months.
  • Limited Time Offer- Earn an extra 10,000 bonus Starpoints® after you make an additional $2,000 in purchases within the first 6 months. Offer ends 4/5.
  • Earn 2 Starpoints® for each dollar of eligible purchases spent on the Card at participating SPG® & Marriott Rewards® hotels. Earn 1 Starpoint for all other purchases.
  • No Foreign Transaction Fees on International purchases.
  • Redeem Starpoints® at over 1,300 participating hotels and resorts in over 100 countries and for flights on more than 150 airlines with SPG flights, all with no blackout dates.
  • $0 introductory annual fee for the first year, then $95.
  • Terms Apply.
  • See Rates & Fees
Intro APR on Purchases
Regular APR
15.74%-19.74% Variable
Annual Fee
$0 introductory annual fee for the first year, then $95.
Balance Transfer Fee
Recommended Credit
Excellent Credit
Terms and restrictions apply. See rates & fees.

Editorial Disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airlines or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

Disclaimer: The responses below are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses 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.