Do Hotel Credit Cards’ Elite Credits Count Toward Lifetime Status?

Feb 20, 2018

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“Reader Questions” are now answered twice a week — Tuesdays and Thursdays — by TPG Assistant Editor Brendan Dorsey.

Lifetime status: a daunting phrase to some and a fun challenge to others. TPG‘s Zach Honig recently became a million miler on United, earning lifetime Premier Gold status, while lifetime United Global Services member Tom Stuker just flew his 19-millionth mile! To achieve lifetime status with a travel loyalty program, you usually need to complete the required number of flight miles or hotel stays — but there are a few hacks out there. TPG reader Eric wrote in asking about how a credit card could help him creep toward lifetime status.

When it comes to elite qualifying nights you can earn from credit cards like the Marriott personal and business cards, do those nights count towards lifetime status?

TPG Reader Eric

Great question, Eric. There are quite a few cards that offer credits toward hotel elite status for the year. But what about lifetime status?

First let’s look at how to get lifetime status at Marriott. Marriott Rewards members earn status forever after they reach the following thresholds:

  • Lifetime Silver Elite: 250 nights and 1.2 million points
  • Lifetime Gold Elite: 500 nights and 1.6 million points
  • Lifetime Platinum Elite: 750 nights and 2 million points

That’s a lot of nights in a hotel — if you want status that really means something (Platinum, rather than just Gold or Silver), you’ll have to spend the equivalent of more than two full years in a Marriott property!

However, both the Marriott Rewards Premier Credit Card and the Marriott Rewards Premier Business Credit Card offer 15 elite credits when you sign up, and you’ll get another 15 every year you keep the card open. Plus you’ll earn an additional credit for every $3,000 you spend on one of the cards with no cap on the credits you can earn.

The good news is that all the credits you receive from the card, and the points, can count toward Marriott lifetime status. Transferring in Ultimate Rewards points to your Marriott account also counts toward the point goal, and you can use those points for award nights at a Marriott property, which also count toward lifetime status.

Marriott Aruba. image courtesy of Marriott.
Lifetime status offers a slew of benefits including upgrades and point bonuses — for years to come. Image courtesy of Marriott Aruba.

For those gunning for lifetime status with SPG, it’ll be a bit more difficult to attain. The annual 5 night credits that the Starwood Preferred Guest® Credit Card from American Express and the Starwood Preferred Guest® Business Card from American Express offer to cardholders don’t count toward lifetime status. Though keep in mind that with the merger of Marriott and SPG, the lifetime status requirements could change. Those with Marriott status can status-match to SPG, and vice versa for those who have SPG status.

The Hyatt Credit Card doesn’t provide elite credits, and points earned from card spend don’t count toward the million points needed for Lifetime Globalist status. The Hilton Amex cards don’t provide elite credits, but the premium Hilton Honors American Express Aspire Card does come with complimentary Diamond status. You’ll need to to be a Diamond for 10 years and either stay 1,000 lifetime nights (both paid and award stays) or earn 2 million lifetime points (not from credit card spend) to get lifetime Diamond status with the chain.

So, Eric, if you’re on track to hit lifetime status at a hotel chain just make sure you know which cards, if any, can help you toward that lofty goal.

Thanks for the question, and if you’re a TPG reader who’d like us to answer a question of your own, tweet us at @thepointsguy, message us on Facebook or email us at info@thepointsguy.com.

Featured photo of Miami Beach Edition Hotel, which participates in Marriott Rewards and The Ritz-Carlton Rewards. (Photo courtesy Edition Hotels)

Editorial Disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the 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.

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