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While perks for preferred customers on airlines — especially upgrades — are getting harder to come by, hotel elites have a whole world of enticing benefits at their fingertips, including bonus points and those coveted suite upgrades. Qualifying for elite status requires a full year of planning and concentration, and the minute you qualify, its likely already time to start thinking about next year.

One popular question we get from readers is, “When does hotel elite status expire?” Today we’ll take a look at just how long your status lasts with each of the four brands.

When Does My Hotel Elite Status Expire?

Enjoy free breakfast with Marriott Platinum
Missing out on perks like free breakfast by misunderstanding your elite status membership period can really hurt. (Photo by Summer Hull/The Points Guy)

Similar to airline elite status, there are two sets of dates to keep in mind when thinking about hotel elite status. The first is the qualification period, which is the time period in which you have to earn enough points/nights/stays to lock in your status. For the major hotel chains, this is simply the calendar year, meaning you have from January 1 to December 31 to complete the requirements for a given level.

Once you earn status, it will typically take effect immediately, though there’s sometimes a delay in the system recognizing your new elite level. Note too that your new status is based on stays that have posted to your account; your qualifying activity doesn’t update in real-time. As a result, if you surpass a qualification threshold in the middle of a longer stay, you’ll almost certainly need to wait until you check out for it to be reflected.

The second aspect of this question involves how long your status will last once you’ve qualified. This is your membership term, and each hotel chain has its own policy along these lines. Let’s see how each major program handles this:

  • Marriott Bonvoy: Once you earn elite status, it will be valid for the rest of the calendar year in which you’ve earned it and an additional 14 months after that. So, for example, if you earn Gold status in 2019, it will be valid until February 28, 2021.
  • World of HyattWhen you qualify for elite status with Hyatt, you’ll receive that status through February of the second calendar year following qualification.
  • Hilton Honors: Once you reach a certain elite tier with Hilton, you’ll keep such status for the rest of that year and the subsequent calendar year.
  • IHG Rewards Club: Once you have earned elite membership status in any calendar year, you’ll maintain that status through the end of the following calendar year.

As you can see, it breaks down pretty evenly into two groups. Marriott and Hyatt take the more generous approach, giving you status for a full 14 months after the year in which you earn it, while Hilton and IHG only give you one full year (in addition to the year in which you qualify). Hilton does make up for this by offering the ability to roll over elite-qualifying nights to the following year, effectively giving you a fast track to requalify.

(Photo by Eric Helgas)
Many cards — like these Hilton Amex ones — offer automatic elite status. (Photo by Eric Helgas)

Hotels are also a different from airlines here because it’s possible to earn hotel elite status just by holding the right credit cards. These cards will typically grant you automatic status just for holding the card, though some — like The Platinum Card® from American Express — do make you “renew” your status each year. If you then cancel a credit card that offers complimentary hotel elite status, your perks will be discontinued as well once the program recognizes that you’re no longer entitled to the benefits.

If you’re looking for a cobranded card that offers automatic top-tier status, consider applying for the Hilton Honors Aspire Card from American Express. It’s currently offering a welcome bonus of 150,000 points after you spend $4,000 in purchases on the card within your first three months of card membership, and it grants you top-tier Diamond status — which should be reflected on your Hilton Honors account within a few days of approval. Even though it carries a $450 annual fee (see Rates and Fees), it comes with a $250 annual Hilton resort credit, a $250 annual airline fee credit, Priority Pass Select membership and a free weekend night every year — plus a second when you spend $60,000 on the card in a calendar year. You’ll also earn 14x points per dollar spent at Hilton properties and 7x points on flights booked directly with the airline or at AmexTravel.com, car rentals booked directly from select companies, and at US restaurants.

RELATED: 5 Things to Do When You Get the Amex Hilton Aspire Card

For more information, check out our full review of the Hilton Aspire.

Bottom Line

Knowing exactly when your hotel elite status expires can prevent a nasty surprise when you arrive for a stay, and it’s not always clear. Fortunately, you’ll have at least a full year of perks once you’ve earned a given status level, and you may get an extra two “bonus” months with select programs. Hopefully this guide has helped you determine exactly when your time is up — or help you plan to push that date out even farther.

For rates and fees of the Hilton Aspire, please click here.

Featured image by the author

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Hilton Honors Aspire Card from American Express

This card is currently offering a welcome bonus of 150,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 in the first three months.

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More Things to Know
  • Earn 150,000 Hilton Honors Bonus Points with the Hilton Honors Aspire Card from American Express after you use your new Card to make $4,000 in eligible purchases within the first 3 months of Card Membership. Plus, enjoy a free Weekend Night Reward within your first year and every year after renewal.
  • Earn 14X Hilton Bonus Points when you make eligible purchases on your Card at participating hotels or resorts within the Hilton Portfolio.
  • Earn 7X Bonus Points for eligible purchases: on flights booked directly with airlines or amextravel.com, on car rentals booked directly from select car rental companies & at U.S. restaurants.
  • Earn 3X Hilton Honors Bonus Points for all other eligible purchases on your Card.
  • Enjoy up to $250 in Hilton Resort Credits on your Card each anniversary year, when you stay at participating resorts within the Hilton portfolio.
  • Enjoy complimentary Diamond status with your Hilton Honors Aspire Card.
  • $450 annual fee.
  • Terms Apply.
  • See Rates & Fees
Intro APR on Purchases
N/A
Regular APR
17.49%-26.49% Variable
Annual Fee
$450
Balance Transfer Fee
Either $5 or 3% of the amount of each transfer, whichever is greater.
Recommended Credit
Good,Excellent
Terms and restrictions apply. See rates & fees.

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.