Which Credit Cards Offer Elite Status As A Card Perk? Make Status Runs A Thing Of The Past

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These credit cards offer elite status for free

These Credit Cards Offer Elite Status on Hotels & Rental Cars

Knowing which credit cards offer elite status simply by having the credit card is the easiest path to elite status. Elite status on airlines, with rental car agencies, or with a hotel brand can offer a slew of perks. Move to the front of the line, get upgrades, better food, nicer views…the list goes on. People extoll the perks of elite status, but some of us are too lazy or too cheap to work for it. Here are the credit cards which give you elite status just by keeping them in your wallet. It’s free and is available automatically! (though you sometimes have to activate it)

Updated January 29, 2022

Rental Car Elite Status from Credit Cards

Earning elite status from rental car agencies is possible with several credit cards. To maximize this further, numerous rental car agencies also do status matches. This means you could open credit cards for status in one program then match to status in another. Check out Status Matcher for options on this.

Avis Car Rental

Avis Car Rental and its Avis Preferred program offer 2 tiers: Preferred and Preferred Plus. Signing up for the Preferred program is free. The following cards offer perks at Avis:

  • Chase Sapphire Reserve – The CSR offers discounts on your Avis rentals which makes earning status cheaper.
  • American Express Platinum Card – Connecting your Avis Preferred benefits to your Platinum card to receive one class of car upgrade. This is at no charge but not guaranteed — only when available.
  • American Express Business Platinum – Same perks as the personal Platinum listed above.
  • United Club Infinite Card – Complimentary Avis President’s Club status
  • United℠ Presidential Plus℠ Card – Complimentary Avis President’s Club status
  • The Ritz-Carlton Card from Chase – Even though you won’t be elevated to Preferred Plus, you get a dedicated reservation line, upgrades when available, and 25-50% more points on your rentals. Set up your account at this link.
  • U.S. Bank Altitude™ Reserve Visa Infinite® Card – Get Avis Preferred Plus status
  • World Elite Mastercards – This is a catch-all, because numerous cards fall into this grouping. World Elite Mastercards offer perks beyond normal Mastercard credit cards. You’ll first need to register your card here. Afterwards, you can claim your travel benefits. One of the benefits is Preferred Plus status with Avis. That will offer discounts, upgrades, skipping the line, and more.
The following cards qualify as World Elite Mastercards:
  • Barclaycard Arrival Plus World Elite Mastercard
  • Virgin Atlantic World Elite MasterCard
  • Hawaiian Airlines World Elite Mastercard
  • Citi Prestige Card
  • AAdvantage Aviator Silver World Elite Mastercard
  • AAdvantage Aviator Red World Elite Mastercard
  • Citi Premier Card
  • Citi AAdvantage Executive World Elite Mastercard

Hertz Top Tier Status Upgrade


Hertz rental car company has the Gold Rewards program. There are 3 tiers: Gold, Five Star, and President’s Circle. Signing up is free. Anyone with Gold status or above will have cars waiting outside. You can skip the line and don’t need to go inside. The following cards offer perks at Hertz:

  • American Express Platinum Card – All flavors of the American Express Platinum Card offer Gold status with Hertz Gold Rewards. Additionally, your Platinum Card’s benefits include free upgrades on your car and discounts on your rentals.
  • American Express Business Platinum – Offers the same Hertz tier and upgrade perks as the personal Platinum Card. Upgrades of one class of car will be awarded at no charge when available, and you receive discounts on the rental price.
  • U.S. Bank Altitude™ Reserve Visa Infinite® Card – Automatic Hertz Gold Plus status
  • Capital One Venture X Rewards Credit Card – Complimentary Hertz President’s Circle status

These credit cards offer elite status at National

National Car Rental

National Car Rental’s status program is Emerald Club. There are three tiers: Emerald, Executive, and Executive Elite. The following credit cards offer elite status for free at National:

  • American Express Platinum Card – Receive Emerald Executive status with National. Benefits include guaranteed upgrades, the ability to choose any car you want on the lot, discounts on premium cars, and no waiting in line. Choose between a selection of rewards from each rental. You also earn benefits on rentals with their partner Enterprise Rent-A-Car. You also get a free rental after every 6 paid rentals at this level.
  • American Express Business Platinum – Offers the same tier and upgrade perks as the personal version of the card at National. You’ll receive the same Emerald Executive status.
  • Chase Sapphire Reserve – Receive Emerald Executive status with National. Using your CSR means you’ll earn 3x points by using the Sapphire Reserve card to pay for your rental.
  • The Ritz-Carlton Card from Chase – Receive Emerald Executive status with National. You’ll also receive discounts up to 25% by using your Ritz-Carlton Card to pay for the rental. Set up your account here.
  • U.S. Bank Altitude™ Reserve Visa Infinite® Card – Complimentary Emerald Executive Club status.
  • World Elite Mastercards – Again, this covers multiple cards. After registering your World Elite Mastercard, you can claim Emerald Executive status with National Car Rental.

Silvercar rental


Launched in 2012, Silvercar is an all-Audi rental car company that operates a bit differently. Don’t expect the standard rental car facility, and everything is managed through the website or the app. Because they’re a non-standard rental agency, retrieving your car varies from airport to airport.

They do have a rewards program, but there’s only one tier, and they say everyone is a VIP in their program. While not specifically a status elevation, the Chase Sapphire Reserve and Ritz-Carlton Card offer discounts of up to 30% at Silvercar as a perk. Sign up for your account and validate your eligibility for discounts here. You must add your CSR to your account and use that as the payment method to get the discount. The full terms are here.

some credit cards offer elite status at sixt


Sixt is gaining steam in recent years as a rental agency. They were THE agency when I lived in Germany. Sixt Advantage Circle offers 4 tiers: Express, Gold, Platinum, and Diamond.

  • World Elite Mastercards – Again, this covers multiple cards. After registering your World Elite Mastercard, you can claim Platinum status with Sixt.

Hotel elite status from credit cards

Hotel Elite Status from Credit Cards

Numerous credit cards offer elite status as a free perk, covering a wide range of levels and hotel brands. Simply by having these cards in your wallet, you can earn elevated status. The perks, upgrade levels, and types of status vary widely.

Hilton credit cards offer elite status upgrades


There are a ton of cards offering various levels of status in Hilton Honors. There are 4 levels of status: Member, Silver, Gold, and Diamond. All levels have resort fees waived on points stays and can share points with each other for free. Since Hilton has an exclusive agreement with American Express for cards, you won’t see any other issuers here. The following credit cards offer elite status with Hilton:

Hyatt elite status


The World of Hyatt rewards program ranks as a favorite for many in this hobby. There are 4 tiers: Member, Discoverist, Explorist, and Globalist. Only one credit card earns status in World of Hyatt.

The World of Hyatt Credit Card from Chase comes with automatic Discoverist status. You’ll earn 10% bonus on points from stays, waived resort fees on award nights, premium internet. There’s free bottled water, preferred rooms when available, and late checkout at this level. You can also match your status to Pearl status with M Life Rewards from MGM.

IHG Rewards Club status from credit cards


The IHG Rewards Club program includes 5 tiers: Club, Gold, Platinum, Spire, and Intercontinental Ambassador. After numerous devaluations and changes to free night certificates, this program ranks low on most people’s priorities. However, it is possible to receive status from a credit card.

The IHG Rewards Club Premier Credit Card from Chase comes with automatic Platinum status. Along with room upgrades, you’ll receive a welcome gift, spa credits, free mini bar access, and late checkout.

Additionally, the United Club Infinite Card offers Platinum Elite status in IHG.

Credit cards offer elite status with Marriott


Marriott’s Bonvoy program has 6 tiers: Member, Silver, Gold, Platinum, Titanium, and Ambassador. Yes, it has its fans and its detractors, but earning status isn’t overly difficult. Additionally, these credit cards offer elite status with Marriott:

  • American Express Bonvoy Brilliant Credit Card – Receive automatic Gold status with this card. Earn 25% extra points on your stays, get a 2pm late checkout, and receive a gift of points at check-in. When available, you’ll also receive room upgrades. This card also has a $300 annual credit for spend at Marriott properties. This can tack on more free nights or free meals.
  • American Express Bonvoy Business Card – Receive Silver status via a credit of 15 elite nights in your account. Silver status gives you a 10% bonus on points earned from stays and late check-out when available.
  • American Express Platinum Card – Receive automatic Gold status. Less the $300 perk, you’ll receive the same benefits as above.
  • The American Express Business Platinum – Receive the same perks and benefits as the personal card. You get Gold status by enrolling in your card benefits section of the website.
  • Chase Marriott Bonvoy Bold Credit Card – Receive 15 nights of credits per year, which automatically gives you Silver status.
  • Chase Marriott Bonvoy Boundless Credit Card – Receive the same Silver status as the Bold credit card. Note: this credit card has a $95 annual fee (the Bold card has no fee), but you get a free night certificate every year with this card–something the Bold card doesn’t offer.
  • The Ritz-Carlton Card from Chase – Get automatic gold status with this credit card in your wallet. Enjoy the same benefits listed above.

Credit cards offer elite status with M Life

MGM Resorts

MGM Resorts has the M Life Rewards program. There are 5 tiers: Sapphire, Pearl, Gold, Platinum, and Noir. The only credit card that offers elite status with M Life is their own M Life Rewards Mastercard. This gives automatic Pearl status. Earn 10% bonus points, comps for playing casino games, an express line at the buffet, and free self-parking. You also get early access to ticket sales for events at MGM properties.

However, you can do better than Pearl. If you have status with Hyatt, you can match to higher levels. With status matches for casinos, you can get a lot of benefits.

Radisson rewards program elite status


The former Club Carlson program has become Radisson Rewards. There are 4 tiers: Club, Silver, Gold, and Platinum. These credit cards offer elite status with Radisson Rewards:

  • Radisson Rewards Visa Signature Card – Receive automatic silver status with this card in your wallet. This qualifies you for discounted pricing on paid stays, 22 points per dollar on spend at their properties (instead of just 20), discounts on food at the hotel, free bottled water during stays, early check-in and late check-out. When available, you’ll get upgraded rooms, as well.
  • Radisson Rewards Premier Visa Signature Card – Offers gold status from having this card. This means you get all of the above benefits and more. Earn 25 points per dollar, bigger discounts, better upgrades, and a 72-hour room guarantee. You’ll also receive a welcome gift at check-in (these are often snacks or fruit plates).
  • Radisson Rewards Visa Business Card – The business version offers the same Gold status as above, earning the same perks.

Sonesta rewards program elite status


Sonesta hotels and their Travel Pass program keep popping up lately. You can pool points for use at their properties around North America, Egypt, and the western parts of South America. They have 3 tiers: Member, Preferred, and Elite. Only one credit card offers elite status at Sonesta: the Sonesta World Mastercard from Bank of America.

With this card in your wallet, you’re automatically elevated to “Elite” — the top tier. Late check-outs, upgraded wifi, dedicated reservation line, and a $15 credit to the snack shop are included at this level. Additionally, you only need 12 nights per year to qualify, so this status isn’t unobtainable on your own. Also, receive a 15% discount on dining, room upgrades (but you’ll have to pay for suite upgrades), free non-alcoholic drinks, and a welcome gift. However, I couldn’t find any information listing what these are. Lastly, you’ll have a choice between club lounge access or free breakfast each day.

Earn elite status with Wyndham


Wyndham’s loyalty program is Wyndham Rewards. There are 4 tiers: Blue, Gold, Platinum & Diamond. There have been some devaluations / changes and lawsuits against the company lately, but you can still attain value by having Wyndham status. The following credit cards offer elite status with Wyndham:

  • Wyndham Rewards Visa Card (no annual fee version) – For no annual fee, this card gives you Gold status. Receive preferred rooms at check-in, late check-out, and other standard benefits like awards that never expire.
  • Wyndham Rewards Visa Card ($75 annual fee version) – It has the same name but a different structure. The card has a bigger sign-up bonus, $75 annual fee, and you’ll receive automatic Platinum status. With Platinum, you’ll receive early check-in privileges, status match to Caesars Rewards, and car rental upgrades at Avis & Budget after linking your accounts.

However, you can reach Diamond, the top tier. Do this by status matching if you have elite status with other hotel brands. You can read how to do that here and how to maximize it here.

Final Thoughts

It is possible to receive elite status with hotels or rental car agencies without any effort. Some credit cards offer elite status for free, simply by having the card. Open the card, pay the annual fee (if there is one), and enjoy the perks. Room upgrades or late check-out add a nice touch and convenience. Things like free meals, free parking, or credits at the snack shop go beyond that and add cost savings. Cash that stays in your pocket is the winner when I have a choice of options. Which of these cards do you think provides the most bang for your buck on elite status?

Ryan Smith
Travel hacker in 2-player mode, intent on visiting every country in the world, and can say "hello" or "how much does this cost?" in a bunch of different languages.

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Responses 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.


  1. Great post on this topic. IHG really only has 4 levels. Club,Gold,Plat, Spire. Ambassador is a separate status for IC hotels and has two levels Ambassador and Royal Ambassador. You can be Ambassador/Royal and Spire or Platinum at the same time. It’s rather confusing.

    • Interesting! I’m on the outside looking in, since I’ve never had the IHG card and never really stayed much with them. Thanks for clarifying.

  2. Best benefits all the way around still go to the AX Hilton Aspire card. I easily get $750-800 annual value from the card not counting the Diamond benefits.

    • Woops, thanks for catching that. Copied the list of Citi cards and deleted the ones that didn’t apply. Missed one 🙂

  3. Which car rental company’s do you have to activate elite status after adding the correct credit cards?

    • All of them require at least one step, such as setting up an account and linking it to the card that’s giving you the status. If using World Elite Mastercards, you’ll have to go through their site and sign up that way to claim the benefit. All of these can be done online in less than 5 minutes. Save the card as a saved payment method in your account with the car rental agency, then you should be good to go. My Hertz account took about 48hr to update the status level, but National took 10min to send me an email about my status tier upgrade.


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