The best credit cards to jumpstart elite status in 2020

Apr 14, 2020

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 Editor’s note: This is a recurring post, regularly updated with new information. The team at The Points Guy loves to travel, but now is not the time for unnecessary trips. Health officials note that the fastest way to return to normalcy is to stop coming in contact with others. That includes ceasing travel. We are publishing travel and credit card deals and content because we should all use this time to think about and plan what’s next. TPG doesn’t advise booking trips for travel until the late spring or early summer — and even then, be mindful of cancellation policies.

Chasing elite status with a hotel or airline can be addicting. Once you get a taste of the benefits (think upgrades, lounge access, bonus points and enhanced customer service), it’s hard to give them up. Depending on how frequently you travel, you could easily get hundreds — if not thousands — of dollars in value from elite status. However, these lucrative perks come at a cost. With the big three U.S. carriers requiring customers to spend at least $3,000-$4,000 in a year and the major hotel chains requiring at least 10 nights stayed to earn the lowest level of elite status, even bottom-tier members have to shell out.

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Luckily, there are a number of credit cards that can help jumpstart your progress. In fact, if you play your cards right (pun intended), you could have top-tier elite status in a major program by the time you finish reading this guide.

Related reading: Credit cards that can help you earn airline elite status

In This Post

The best credit cards for elite status in 2020

Why you should use a credit card to earn elite status

Hilton elite status could land you an upgrade to a studio suite. (Photo by Zvonimir Luketina / EyeEm / Getty Images
Hotel elite status could land you an upgrade to a suite. (Photo by Zvonimir Luketina / EyeEm / Getty Images)

The higher you get into the world of elite status, the more incremental value there is in moving up to the next rung. For example, going from a general member with Marriott Bonvoy up to a Silver elite won’t be the most noticeable of differences, but moving from Gold to Platinum or from Platinum to Titanium can help you unlock those elusive and aspirational suite upgrades.

Related reading: What is Marriott Bonvoy elite status worth in 2020?

While many credit cards offer you the ability to earn status outright, many also offer the ability to earn just a few thousand elite miles or a few elite night credits to help bump you up to the next rung. In fact many people will be better off using credit cards to augment their actual travel plans bump themselves up to a higher tier.

If you don’t travel enough to earn some form of elite status you may have trouble fully utilizing the benefits and be hesitant about spending a large amount of money just to earn status. A number of programs offer status to anyone who holds the right credit card, and if you’re not currently loyal to a single airline or hotel chain you can actually use these offers to guide you. This is why I recommend that anyone who travels occasionally but not often open the Hilton Honors Aspire Card from American Express for automatic top tier Hilton Diamond status.

Related reading: The best hotel credit cards for 2020

Is it worth it?

(Photo by The Points Guy)
(Photo by The Points Guy)

Some credit cards on this list give away status as a benefit to all cardholders, while some require you to spend tens of thousands of dollars a year to earn status or level up to a higher tier. A good example of this is the Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant™ American Express® Card, which gives all cardholders automatic Marriott Gold status and allows them to upgrade to Platinum status by spending $75,000 a year on the card.

First of all, not every person is going to be able to responsibly spend that amount, and you should never ever do anything to jeopardize your personal finances in the pursuit of elite status. Even if you can spend that amount, putting it all on one card carries a huge opportunity cost. It might mean you aren’t able to earn any welcome bonuses on new cards, or it might mean you’ll miss out on valuable bonus categories from using other cards. You’ll have to carefully analyze your own travel patterns to make sure you’d get enough value out of this new level of status to justify that opportunity cost.

Other ways to earn elite status

With all this focus on credit cards it can be easy to forget that many people earn status simply by traveling the requisite amount. With the exception of a few secretive unpublished top-tiers, most programs spell out quite clearly what you need to do in order to qualify for status. With U.S. airlines you’re looking at a mix of a spending requirement and some combination of flight miles or flight segments, while hotels will tally your yearly nights and/or stays.

Another great option is to consider a status match or challenge. The exact terms vary from program to program, but generally with a status match you’ll send the airline or hotel proof of your current elite status with one of their competitors, and they’ll offer you an equivalent tier of elite status in their own program on a promotional period.

You may be able to extend that status by completing certain flight or stay requirements. Meanwhile, a status challenge allows anyone to start from scratch and leapfrog up to a higher tier of status by completing a designated amount of travel during a promotional period, often about three months.

Airline elite status

Although no credit card currently on the market gives airline elite status outright, many allow cardholders to earn incremental credits toward status that might be just be the boost you need to jump into the elite ranks or reach a higher tier. Depending on how much spend you put on your card, you may be able to earn status without ever setting foot on a plane. Below, we look at some airline credit cards.

Delta SkyMiles® Reserve American Express Card

(Photo by Darren Murph)
You get access to Delta’s 21,000-square-foot Sky Club at Seattle-Tacoma Airport with this card. (Photo by Darren Murph/The Points Guy)

Annual fee: $550 (see rates and fees)

Welcome bonus: 40,000 miles and 10,000 Medallion® Qualification Miles (MQMs) after you spend $3,000 in purchases in the first three months of card membership.

Elite status: In addition to the MQMs that come as a part of the welcome bonus, you’ll receive 15,000 MQMs for reaching $30,000, $60,000, $90,000 and $120,000 in calendar-year spending for a total of up to 60,000 MQMs — almost enough for Delta Platinum Medallion status. The card waives Delta’s MQD requirement for elite status up to the Platinum level when you spend $25,000 on it in a calendar year and the MQD requirement for Diamond status when you spend at least $250,000.

Related reading: What is Delta Air Lines elite status worth?

Other benefits: Earn 3 miles per dollar on eligible Delta purchases and U.S. supermarkets 1 mile per dollar on everything else. In addition to a Sky Club membership, you’ll get two one-time guest passes for the lounge, your first bag checked free, priority boarding, no foreign transaction fees, a Global Entry/TSA PreCheck fee credit (up to $100), an annual companion certificate (valid for main cabin, Comfort+ or first class), access to complimentary upgrades and complimentary access to American Express Centurion Lounges when flying Delta with a ticket purchased on the card.

See our card review for more details.

Analysis: This card is excellent for Delta flyers as it offers access to the most valuable perks of elite status, such as complimentary upgrades, lounge access and priority boarding, right off the bat. And if you want actual elite status, you can earn all the way up to Gold Medallion status (normally earned after 50,000 MQMs or 60 segments plus $6,000 MQDs) year after year purely through spending or Platinum Medallion status (normally earned after 75,000 MQMs or 100 segments plus $9,000 MQDs) with around three round-trip transcontinental trips per year.

APPLY HERE: Delta SkyMiles® Reserve American Express Card

Delta SkyMiles® Platinum American Express Card

(Photo by Benji Stawski / The Points Guy)
Delta One aboard the refurbished 767-400 (Photo by Benji Stawski/The Points Guy)

Annual fee: $250 (see rates and fees)

Welcome bonus: 40,000 miles and 10,000 Medallion® Qualification Miles (MQMs) after you spend $2,000 in purchases in the first three months of card membership. Plus, a $100 statement credit after you make a Delta purchase within the first three months of account opening.

Elite status: Waive Delta’s MQD requirement for elite status (up to the Platinum level) when you spend $25,000 on your card in a calendar year and earn 10,000 MQMs when you spend $25,000 in a year, and another 10,000 MQMs if you spend $50,000 in a year.

Other benefits: Earn 3 miles per dollar on eligible Delta purchases and hotel spending, 2 miles per dollar at restaurants and U.S. supermarkets 1 mile per dollar on everything else. In addition to your first bag checked free, priority boarding and no foreign transaction fees, this card offers a Global Entry/TSA PreCheck fee credit and domestic main cabin round-trip companion certificate each year upon renewal of your card.

See our card review for more details.

Analysis: You won’t be able to earn status purely through spending with this card, but you’ll definitely get a nice boost and get to enjoy elite-like benefits, such as a free checked bag and priority boarding, before even earning status.

APPLY HERE: Delta SkyMiles® Platinum American Express Card

Citi / AAdvantage Executive World Elite Mastercard

Get priority check-in, airport screening and early boarding with the Citi AAdvantage Executive card. (Photo by Zach Griff/The Points Guy.)

Annual fee: $450

Welcome bonus: 50,000 miles after you spend $5,000 on purchases in the first three months of account opening.

Elite status: Earn 10,000 EQMs after you spend $40,000 on the card during a calendar year.

Related reading: What is American Airlines elite status worth?

Other benefits: Earn 2 miles per dollar on eligible American Airlines purchases and 1 mile per dollar on everything else. This card comes with a number of elite-like benefits, including an Admirals Club airport lounge membership, priority check-in, airport screening and boarding when flying American, a first bag checked free for you and up to eight companions on the same reservation and a Global Entry/TSA PreCheck application fee credit.

See our card review for more details.

Analysis: It’s a bummer that this card doesn’t offer any EQDs, but fortunately, this card still provides many elite-like benefits, including Admirals Club access (access granted with a same-day boarding pass for an eligible American Airlines’ flight and active card), in case the EQM boost is not enough to help you earn elite status.

Related reading: Why I’m jumping off the AA elite status hamster wheel

Note that there’s also the AAdvantage® Aviator® Silver Mastercard® that earns up to 10,000 EQMs per year and $3,000 EQDs, but that card is not open to new applicants. You can pick up the AAdvantage® Aviator® Red Mastercard®keep the card for at least 90 days and then call Barclays and request an upgrade to the Aviator Silver card, but the product change is not guaranteed. 

Related reading: The many flavors of Barclays’ AAdvantage Aviator credit cards

There is a long list of factors that Barclays looks at when considering whether or not it will approve an upgrade request, including but not limited to whether your account is in good standing, the length of your account history and any recent upgrades/downgrades, so the Citi / AAdvantage Executive World Elite Mastercard is a safer bet.

APPLY HERE: Citi / AAdvantage Executive World Elite Mastercard

United Explorer Card

The United Explorer card comes with two, one-time United Club passes each year. (Photo by Zach Honig/The Points Guy)

Annual fee: $95 (waived the first year)

Welcome bonus: Earn 40,000 bonus miles after you spend $2,000 on purchases in the first three months your account is open.

Elite status: Earn 500 PQPs for spending $12,000 on the card each calendar year, plus an additional 500 PQPs with an additional $12,000 in spend, for a grand total of 1,000 PQPs. (Note that these bonus PQPs only count toward status up to Premier Platinum.)

Related reading: What is United Airlines elite status worth?

Other benefits: Earn 2 miles per dollar on United purchases and at restaurants and hotels and 1 mile per dollar on everything else. Get your first bag checked free (you must include your MileagePlus number in your reservation and pay for the flight with the Explorer Card to receive this benefit), priority boarding and 25% inflight savings on United flights. You’ll also get two, one-time United Club passes deposited into your MileagePlus account each year of card membership, expanded award availability and an up to $100 Global Entry/TSA PreCheck application fee credit.

See our card review for more details.

Analysis: Despite being an entry-level card, it offers the same PQP boost as United’s more expensive cards and is jam-packed with premium travel perks, including annual lounge visits.

APPLY HERE: United Explorer Card

Southwest Rapid Rewards Priority Credit Card

(Photo by Summer Hull / The Points Guy)
Enjoy priority boarding with A-List status. (Photo by Summer Hull / The Points Guy)

Annual fee: $149

Welcome bonus: Earn 40,000 points after you spend $1,000 in the first three months of account opening.

Elite status: You can earn up to 15,000 TQPs a year — 1,500 for each $10,000 spent. That will get you just about halfway to A-List status with Southwest. All points earned with this card, including the welcome bonus, count toward Companion Pass eligibility.

Related reading: What is Southwest Airlines elite status worth?

Other benefits: Earn 2 points per dollar spent on Southwest purchases and Rapid Rewards car rental and hotel partner purchases and 1 mile per dollar on everything else. You’ll get a $75 annual Southwest travel credit, four upgraded boardings per year (when available), 20% back on inflight drinks and Wi-Fi and pay no annual fees.

See our card review for more details.

Analysis: This card is great for Southwest flyers as it lets you shortcut both A-List status and the Companion Pass. The $99-per-year Southwest Rapid Rewards Premier Credit Card offers the same welcome bonus and TQP-earning benefit, but falls short of the Priority card as it lacks valuable benefits like the $75 annual Southwest travel credit and four upgraded boardings per year and only offers 6,000 anniversary points.

APPLY HERE: Southwest Rapid Rewards Priority Credit Card

JetBlue Plus Card

(Photo by Zach Griff/The Points Guy)
Mosaic members get priority check-in, security and boarding. (Photo by Zach Griff/The Points Guy)

Annual fee: $99

Welcome bonus: Earn 40,000 points after you spend $1,000 in the first 90 days of account opening

Elite status: You’ll get automatic JetBlue Mosaic elite status after you spend $50,000 each year with the card.

Related reading: What is JetBlue elite status worth?

Other benefits: Earn 6 miles per dollar on JetBlue purchases, 2 points per dollar at restaurants and grocery stores and 1 mile per dollar on everything else. You’ll also get an annual $100 statement credit toward the purchase of a JetBlue Vacations Package, 5,000 bonus anniversary points, a 10% rebate on award flights, a free first checked bag and 50% off in-flight food and cocktail purchases.

See our card review for more details.

Analysis: While it’s nice to be able to earn Mosaic status purely through spending with this card, it’s an expensive option. Mosaic status is typically achieved either by accruing 15,000 base points (spending $5,000 on JetBlue tickets) or by earning 12,000 base points ($4,000 spending) and flying 30 segments.

APPLY HERE: JetBlue Plus Card

Frontier Airlines World Mastercard

Stretch out in Frontier emergency exit row (JT Genter / The Points Guy)
Frontier elites can stretch out in an emergency exit row for no additional cost. (JT Genter / The Points Guy).

Annual fee: $79

Welcome bonus: Earn 40,000 points after you spend $500 in the first 90 days of account opening

Elite status: All miles you earn with this card are both award miles and elite-qualifying miles, so you can earn any level of Frontier status simply based on spending. Frontier offers three tiers of elite status: Elite 20k, Elite 50k and Elite 100k.

Other benefits: Earn 5 miles per dollar spend on purchases on Frontier’s website, 3 miles per dollar spent at restaurants and 1 mile per dollar spent on everything else. Enjoy no foreign transaction fees, Priority Zone 2 boarding, family mileage pooling, no points expiry when you make a purchase at least every six months and a $100 flight voucher every account anniversary after spending $2,500 or more during the preceding year on your card. Plus, you’ll get an award redemption fee waiver when you use your card to pay for the taxes and fees on Frontier awards.

See our card review for more details.

Analysis: Frontier may not offer the most valuable elite status out there, but being able to earn any level of status simply based on spending is terrific.

Related reading: The best credit cards to use on low-cost carriers

Hotel elite status

Hotel chains are a lot more generous than the airlines when it comes to giving away elite status. You can get automatic elite status with Marriott, Hilton, Hyatt and IHG without staying at any of their properties or putting any spend on your card.

Related reading: On the hamster wheel of chasing hotel elite status? Buy it instead

Marriott Bonvoy Boundless Credit Card

(Photo of The Moxy NYC Downtown courtesy of the hotel.)
Enjoy late checkout with Silver Elite status, but not upgrades. (Photo of The Moxy NYC Downtown courtesy of the hotel.)

Annual fee: $95

Welcome bonus: Earn 75,000 Bonus Points after you spend $3,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening.

Elite status: Automatic Marriott Bonvoy Silver Elite status, plus 15 elite night credits, each calendar year toward reaching a higher status. Reach Gold status by spending $35,000 or more on your card in a calendar year.

Related reading: What is Marriott Bonvoy elite status worth?

Other benefits: Earn 6 points per dollar at participating Marriott Bonvoy hotels and 2 points per dollar on everything else. Receive a free night award every year on your account anniversary when you renew your card, worth up to 35,000 points, and free premium in-room Wi-Fi.

See our card review for more details.

Analysis: Automatic Silver status is better than no status at all, but don’t expect benefits like suite upgrades and free breakfast. Silver status offers a 10% point bonus, late checkout (subject to availability) and access to an elite member reservation line.

APPLY HERE: Marriott Bonvoy Boundless Credit Card

Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant Amex

Platinum Elite status includes upgrades to suites. (Photo by Nick Ellis/The Points Guy)

Annual fee: $450 (see rates and fees)

Welcome bonus: Earn 75,000 bonus Marriott Bonvoy points after you use your new card to make $3,000 in purchases within the first three months.

Elite status: Enjoy complimentary Marriott Bonvoy Gold status with your card, and earn Marriott Bonvoy Platinum status after making $75,000 in eligible purchases on your card in a calendar year. Each calendar year you also receive credit for 15 nights toward the next level of Marriott Bonvoy elite status (say, if you already reach Gold status based on your stays but are within shouting distance of Platinum status without having to meet the $75,000 spending requirement).

Other benefits: Earn 6 points per dollar at participating Marriott properties, 3 points per dollar at U.S. restaurants and on flights booked directly with the airline, and 2 points per dollar on everything else. Each year on your cardmember anniversary, you’ll receive a free night award worth up to 50,000 points, good for up to a standard Category 6 hotel.

Each year you will also receive up to $300 in statement credits for eligible purchases (including room rates) at participating Marriott Bonvoy hotels, and enjoy up to $100 in credits for on-property charges when booking stays of two nights or more at Ritz-Carlton or St. Regis properties. Other benefits include Priority Pass Select lounge access and a Global Entry or TSA PreCheck application fee credit.

See our card review for more details.

Analysis: While Gold Elite status isn’t that lucrative, Platinum Elite is, including perks like upgrades to suites and free breakfast. Even better, the card isn’t that much more expensive than the mid-tier Boundless card given how easy it is to get full value from the annual $300 Marriott statement credit and effectively lower the annual fee to $150. Just make sure the Platinum Elite benefits you’re getting outweigh the points you’re giving up for putting such heavy spending on this card as you could potentially earn a more valuable haul of points by diverting $75k of spending to a different card.

Related reading: Is it worth spending $75k on the Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant card to earn Platinum status?

APPLY HERE: Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant Amex

The Platinum Card from American Express

(Photo by Nicholas du Pont / The Points Guy)
Get free breakfast on all stays booked through Amex FHR. (Photo by Nicholas du Pont/The Points Guy)

Annual fee: $550 (see rates and fees)

Welcome bonus: Earn 60,000 Membership Rewards points when you spend $5,000 on purchases in the first three months of account opening.

Elite status: Cardmembers can register for automatic Hilton Honors Gold status and Marriott Bonvoy Gold status

Other benefits: Earn 5 points per dollar on flights booked directly with airlines and through American Express travel, plus prepaid hotel bookings through amextravel.com and Amex Fine Hotels & Resorts and 1 point per dollar on everything else. Aside from automatic elite status with Hilton and Marriott, you can get elite-like benefits at luxury hotels around the world by booking through Fine Hotels & Resorts. The Amex Platinum also includes access to more airport lounges than any other card, a Global Entry or TSA PreCheck fee credit, up to $200 in annual airline incidental fee credits, up to $200 per year in Uber credits, up to $100 pear year in Saks Fifth Avenue shopping credits, discounted premium flight tickets via the Amex International Airlines Program and complimentary memberships in Hertz Gold Plus Rewards, Avis Preferred and National Car Rental Emerald Club Executive.

See our card review for more details.

Analysis: This is easily the best card for hotel stays across all top hotel brands. You get automatic Gold elite status with both Hilton and Marriott and highly-valuable elite-like benefits on FHR stays. Every FHR stay comes with benefits such as complimentary room upgrades when available; noon check-in; 4:00 p.m. checkout; on-site food and beverage credits and more.

APPLY HERE: Platinum Card from American Express

Hilton Honors American Express Surpass Card

(Photo by Samantha Rosen / The Points Guy)
The executive lounge at the Conrad Tokyo. (Photo by Samantha Rosen/The Points Guy)

Annual Fee: $95 (see rates and fees)

Welcome bonus: Earn 125,000 bonus points after spending $2,000 in eligible purchases within the first three months.

Elite status: Automatic Hilton Gold status and the opportunity to earn Diamond status by spending $40,000 a year on the card.

Related reading: What is Hilton Honors elite status worth?

Other benefits: Earn 12 points per dollar at participating Hilton hotels, 6 points per dollar at U.S. restaurants, U.S. supermarkets and U.S. gas stations and 3 points per dollar on everything else. You’ll get 10 Priority Pass lounge visits every year and can earn a weekend night reward from Hilton Honors after you spend $15,000 on purchases on your card in a calendar year.

See our card review for more details.

Analysis: This card is ideal for those that want mid-tier status with Hilton and don’t want to pay a high annual fee. Hilton Honors Gold status is among the most valuable mid-tier hotel statuses out there, getting you an 80% points bonus, no resort fees and a fifth night free during reward stays, space-available upgrades, free in-room and lobby Wi-Fi, late check-out, free breakfast and two free bottles of water.

APPLY HERE: Hilton Honors Surpass Card

Hilton Honors Aspire Card from American Express

An upgraded suite at the Hilton Dead Sea. (Photo by Carissa Rawson/The Points Guy.)

Annual fee: $450 (see rates and fees)

Welcome bonus: Earn 150,000 points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first three months of account opening.

Elite status: Enjoy automatic top-tier Hilton Honors Diamond status.

Other benefits: Earn 14 points per dollar on eligible Hilton hotels, 7 points per dollar on flights booked directly with airlines or amextravel.com, car rentals booked directly from select car rentals and at U.S. restaurants and 3 points per dollar on everything else. Get one weekend night reward every year after renewal plus an additional night at eligible properties after you spend $60,000 on purchases on your card in a calendar year. Enjoy up to $250 in statement credits each year of card membership for eligible purchases at participating Hilton resorts, up to $250 per calendar year in airline incidental fee credits, up to $100 in credits for qualifying charges at participating Waldorf Astoria Hotels & Resorts and Conrad Hotels & Resorts on two-night-minimum stays and Priority Pass airport lounge access.

See our card review for more details.

Analysis: This card is a must for Hilton fans. Automatic Diamond status is as good as it gets, with perks like guaranteed lounge access (at properties that have them), suite upgrades, free breakfast and more. TPG values Hilton Diamond status at $3,025.

APPLY HERE: Hilton Honors Aspire Card

IHG Rewards Club Premier Credit Card

(Photo by Benji Stawski / The Points Guy)
This card could land you an upgrade at the Hotel Indigo Los Angeles Downtown. (Photo by Benji Stawski/The Points Guy)

Annual fee: $89

Welcome bonus: Earn 125,000 points after you spend $3,000 on purchases in the first three months after opening your new card.

Elite status: Enjoy automatic IHG Rewards Platinum Elite status.

Related reading: What is IHG Rewards elite status worth?

Other benefits: Earn 10 points per dollar at IHG properties, 2 points per dollar at gas stations, grocery stores and restaurants and 1 point per dollar on everything else. As a cardholder, you’ll get a fourth night reward, an annual award night certificate worth up to 40,000 points, a Global Entry/TSA PreCheck fee credit, up to $100, and no foreign transaction fees. See our card review for more details.

Analysis: As long as you’re spending more than a few nights a year at IHG properties, Platinum Elite status alone can be worth the card’s $89 annual fee. Standout perks include a 50% bonus on paid stays, room upgrades (excluding suites) and a welcome amenity.

APPLY HERE: IHG Rewards Club Premier Credit Card

World of Hyatt Credit Card

(Photo by Katie Genter/The Points Guy)
The Andaz Capital Gate hotel in Abu Dhabi is a Category 2 Hyatt property. (Photo by Katie Genter/The Points Guy)

Annual fee: $95

Welcome bonus: Earn 25,000 points after you spend $3,000 in the first three months, plus an additional 25,000 points after you spend $6,000 total on purchases within the first six months of account opening.

Elite status: Hyatt Discoverist status automatically, though you also receive five qualifying night credits toward the next level of elite status each year and the opportunity to earn two additional night credits for each $5,000 spent on the card.

Related reading: What is Hyatt elite status worth?

Other benefits: Earn 4 points per dollar at Hyatt properties, 2 points per dollar on local transit and commuting, at restaurants, on airline tickets and on fitness club and gym memberships and 1 point per dollar on everything else. You’ll get one free night at a Category 1-4 hotel each year after your cardmember anniversary plus a second free night at a Category 1-4 hotel each year when you spend $15,000 on the card during your cardmember year.

See our card review for more details.

Analysis: Discoverist status is one of the more valuable lowest-tier elite status levels. It comes with a 10% point bonus when staying at Hyatt properties, space-available upgrades to preferred rooms within the same category, a daily bottle of water, complimentary premium internet, late checkout, access to the elite reservation line, Pearl status with M life Rewards and bonus points on American Airlines flights. Higher levels of status are also within reach if you’re willing to put some spend on the card.

An added bonus? If you reach Hyatt Explorist elite status or higher and have linked your AAdvantage and World of Hyatt accounts, you might be offered a status match or challenge for American Airlines elite status.

APPLY HERE: World of Hyatt Credit Card

Bottom line

There are a number of credit cards that offer elite-qualifying miles, dollars and night credits that put earning or boosting your elite status within reach. A handful of cards even provide elite status outright. Just be sure to always take into account the opportunity cost before putting a significant amount of spend on your card simply to earn status as the spending threshold may be more trouble than it’s worth.

All of the cards that offer elite boosts are cobranded cards and cobranded cards typically aren’t the most lucrative options out there for everyday spending. Aside from that, spending simply to get to elite status might not be entirely logical for folks who don’t actually travel much, since they won’t get a lot of value from elite status. However, if you do spend a decent amount of time on the road and need help bridging the gap to hit elite status faster, the credit cards discussed today can be extremely useful.

Already have elite status? Check to see what airline and hotel status match options are available to you. Just note that status that’s been granted or obtained through credit cards rather than earned may not be enough for a match.

Related guides

Additional reporting by Ethan Steinberg
Featured photo by Liam Spencer/The Points Guy

For rates and fees of the Delta Reserve Amex card, click here.
For rates and fees of the Platinum Delta Amex card, please click here.
For rates and fees of the Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant Amex, please click here.
For rates and fees of the Platinum Card, please click here.
For rates and fees of the Hilton Surpass Card, please click here.
For rates and fees of the Hilton Aspire Card, please click here.

Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card

WELCOME OFFER: 60,000 Points

TPG'S BONUS VALUATION*: $1,200

CARD HIGHLIGHTS: 2X points on all travel and dining, points transferrable to over a dozen travel partners

*Bonus value is an estimated value calculated by TPG and not the card issuer. View our latest valuations here.

Apply Now
More Things to Know
  • Earn 60,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $750 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®
  • 2X points on travel and dining at restaurants worldwide & 1 point per dollar spent on all other purchases.
  • Get 25% more value when you redeem for airfare, hotels, car rentals and cruises through Chase Ultimate Rewards. For example, 60,000 points are worth $750 toward travel
  • Get unlimited deliveries with a $0 delivery fee and reduced service fees on orders over $12 for a minimum of one year on qualifying food purchases with DashPass, DoorDash's subscription service. Activate by 12/31/21.
  • Earn 5X points on Lyft rides through March 2022. That’s 3X points in addition to the 2X points you already earn on travel.
Intro APR on Purchases
N/A
Regular APR
15.99%-22.99% Variable
Annual Fee
$95
Balance Transfer Fee
Either $5 or 5% of the amount of each transfer, whichever is greater.
Recommended Credit
Excellent/Good

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.

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.