There are currently no accepted and validated blood tests available for diagnosing acute exacerbations of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (AECOPD). In this study, we sought to determine the discriminatory power of blood C-reactive protein (CRP) and N-terminal prohormone brain natriuretic peptide (NT-proBNP) in the diagnosis of AECOPD requiring hospitalizations. The study cohort consisted of 468 patients recruited in the COPD Rapid Transition Program who were hospitalized with a primary diagnosis of AECOPD, and 110 stable COPD patients who served as controls. Logistic regression was used to build a classification model to separate AECOPD from convalescent or stable COPD patients. Performance was assessed using an independent validation set of patients who were not included in the discovery set. Serum CRP and whole blood NT-proBNP concentrations were highest at the time of hospitalization and progressively decreased over time. Of the 3 classification models, the one with both CRP and NT-proBNP had the highest AUC in discriminating AECOPD (cross-validated AUC of 0.80). These data were replicated in a validation cohort with an AUC of 0.88. A combination of CRP and NT-proBNP can reasonably discriminate AECOPD requiring hospitalization versus clinical stability and can be used to rapidly diagnose patients requiring hospitalization for AECOPD.