How to Earn Elite Status with Credit Cards

Newcomers to the world of free travel and credit cards are often disappointed to learn that all the miles they earn through bonuses and charges aren’t actually getting them any closer to achieving elite status on their favorite airline.

Elite status miles on airlines are usually only earned through flying. These are known as “butt-in-seat” miles. The airlines want to be sure that their most active customers (and those who receive the most privileges) actually spend a lot of time in the air, as opposed to earning all their miles shopping on the ground. Once in a while, an exception comes up where some bonus promotions will include elite status miles in addition to the normal miles. We’ll be sure to share those when they come around.

Hotels are the biggest ongoing exception and follow different rules when it comes to elite status and credit cards. Check out these credit cards that offer automatic status at some of the top hotel chains:

  • Citi® Hilton HHonors™ Reserve Card (Free Hilton HHonors Gold Status)
  • Marriott Premier Rewards Card (Free Silver Elite Marriott Rewards Status)
  • Hyatt Credit Card from Chase (Free Platinum Hyatt Rewards Status)

Elite status benefits at hotels vary, but will often provide you with amenities like bonus points, late checkout, upgraded rooms and free internet. You may even get lucky with lounge access and free breakfast!