Tony Pulis steered his Stoke side to a 0-0 draw against Leicester which secured the Potters promotion to the Barclays Premier League and relegated the Foxes to Coca-Cola League One.
Pulis' outfit produced a typically gritty performance as they battled to a goalless draw at the Britannia Stadium which clinched the Championship's second automatic promotion place.
Leicester defender Richard Stearman's header hit the bar for the visitors in the 82nd minute but Stoke dominated the clash and the although the final whistle was delayed after a premature pitch invasion the Potters fans were eventually able to celebrate their return to the top flight after a 23-year absence.
Ian Holloway's side were relegated after Southampton claimed a dramatic 3-2 home win over Sheffield United thanks to a brace of goals from Stern John, who was later sent off.
Stephen Quinn (23) had given the Blades, who still had an outside chance of making the play-offs heading into the match, the lead.
Marek Saganowski equalised for the Saints three minutes before half-time and John then grabbed his first goal of the match in the 53rd minute.
United substitute Jonathan Stead levelled matters in the 65th minute but John smashed the ball home from inside the penalty area four minutes later to score the decisive goal.
John was then sent off with 10 minutes left for a second bookable offence to set up a tense finale - but Nigel Pearson's side hung on to avoid the drop.
Ultimately a point was enough for Stoke to win promotion to the Premier League for the first time after Alan Lee's 70th-minute winner give Ipswich a 1-0 win over Hull at Portman Road.
The Tigers will now face Watford in the play-off semi-finals after the Hornets were held to a 1-1 draw by Blackpool at Bloomfield Road.
Ben Burgess broke the deadlock in the second minute and Watford's plight looked difficult after Darius Henderson was sent off in the 60th minute for a second bookable offence.
But Tommy Smith's equaliser two minutes later ensured Adrian Boothroyd's side finished sixth, ahead of Wolves on goal difference.
Mick McCarthy's side had claimed a 1-0 win over Plymouth thanks to Seyi Olofinjana's 87th-minute winner - but it left them agonisingly one goal behind Watford in the table.
Crystal Palace secured a play-off meeting with Bristol City in emphatic fashion with a 5-0 thrashing of 10-man Burnley at Selhurst Park.
The Clarets had Clarke Carlisle sent off for a foul on Scott Sinclair inside the penalty area and Ben Watson converted the resulting spot-kick in the eighth minute.
It was all Palace from then onwards as Victor Moses (10), Tom Soares (37), Sinclair (61) and Clinton Morrison (65) found the net for Neil Warnock's side.
West Brom were crowned champions after they eased to a 2-0 win at 10-man QPR.
Martin Rowlands was sent off in the 37th minute and Albion made the extra man count as goals from Do-heon Kim (53) and Chris Brunt (77) saw them home at Loftus Road.
Sheffield Wednesday remain in the Championship courtesy of Leicester's draw but made sure with a 4-1 victory over Norwich in Dion Dublin's final game.
Darren Huckerby had given the Canaries a ninth-minute lead but a brace from Deon Burton, including a 23rd-minute penalty, and a goal apiece from Ben Sahar (76) and Leon Clarke (87) saw the Owls home.
Chris Coleman breathed a huge sigh of relief after his Coventry side stayed up despite their 4-1 defeat by Charlton at the Valley.
Luke Varney (four), Andy Gray (19), Grant Basey (48) and Chris Powell (86) were on target for the Addicks while Michael Mifsud (20) netted a consolation for the Sky Blues.
Elsewhere, Bristol City confirmed a fourth-placed finish after goals from Lee Trundle (eight), Michael McIndoe (16) and David Noble (51) gave them a 3-0 home victory over Preston.
Cardiff warmed up for the FA Cup final with a 3-0 win over Barnsley, the team they edged out in the semi-finals last month, at Ninian Park.
Goals from Paul Parry (44), Kevin McNaughton (49) and Joe Ledley (63) gave Dave Jones' side a comfortable victory over the Tykes.
Relegated Scunthorpe and Colchester ended their Championship campaigns with a six-goal thriller which finished at Glanford Park as Paul Hayes (67, 82) and Kevin McLeod (11, 48) both scored two goals apiece. Jonathan Forte (15) and Scott Vernon (47) were the other players on the scoresheet as the match finished 3-3.