Many co-branded credit cards offer elite status in various frequent flyer and rewards programs for airline, hotel, rail, and rental car travel providers. Sometimes, card holders receive elite status simply for being a card member…this is especially true for co-branded hotel credit cards. In other instances, spending on the co-branded credit card get you elite credit/nights/miles in a given program at specified thresholds or ratios.
For travelers who want to experience the benefits that elite status has to offer, but who do not travel enough, or split up their travel too much, to earn elite status “the hard way,” co-branded credit credit cards can be a cost-effective way of obtaining elite status without having to put in the miles or nights.
Check out the table below for a comprehensive overview of which credit cards provide elite status and annual spending requirements.
Credit Cards with Automatic or Spending-Based Elite Status
The cards referenced in the table below refer to the personal versions and not the business versions of the card (if applicable). Nevertheless, the business versions of the card generally carry the same benefits with regards to earning elite status.
Co-branded cards that do not offer any elite status qualification benefits are not included in the table below, unless they are the only card for a given rewards program.
A few high-end cards, like the Platinum Card from American Express, are not co-branded but do come with automatic elite status…the Platinum Card gives automatic Gold status with Hilton Honors and Marriott Rewards.
Obtaining Elite Status with Credit Cards
This is the name of the provider’s rewards or frequent flyer program.
This is the type of travel service that the rewards program’s travel providers offers.
This is the name of the credit card associated with the rewards program.
This is the annual fee for the credit card associated with the rewards program.
Automatic Elite Status with Credit Card
This is the elite status level you receive simply for being a cardholder of the credit card. Not all rewards programs or credit cards offer automatic elite status.
Highest Automatic Elite Status with Spend Requirement
This is the highest possible elite status level you can achieve by meeting a spending requirement on the credit card. The spending requirement may be an annual threshold, annual thresholds with multiple tiers, or a ratio.
Highest Automatic Elite Status Annual Spend Requirement
This is the amount you will have to spend on the credit card to obtain the highest possible elite status level you can achieve with the credit card.
Elite Crediting Rate
The rate (ratio) at which you accrue elite miles/nights/credits based on your spending on the credit card. Not all credit cards have an elite crediting rate; some have a single annual spending requirement threshold or simply come with automatic elite status (no spending requirement).
Elite Crediting Annual Maximum
The maximum number of elite miles/nights/credits you can achieve annually based on your spending on the credit card.