Hotel credit cards stand out from the competition by offering attractive redemption opportunities, high earning categories, elite status benefits, and a wide range of perks for global travel. With these cards, you can earn rewards that grant you free nights at budget-friendly properties or save up points for your dream vacation.
When choosing a hotel credit card, you have two options. Firstly, you can go for a general travel rewards card that allows point transfers to various hotel loyalty programs. Alternatively, you can opt for a co-branded credit card associated with your favorite hotel chain. Both options offer unique value propositions and may complement each other in your wallet.
To provide you with the best options, we extensively analyzed numerous hotel credit cards from different issuers. After careful consideration, we have curated a list of the most outstanding ones. Let us share our selections with you.
Chase Sapphire Reserve
The Chase Sapphire Reserve® stands out as a top-notch travel rewards card, making it an ideal choice for hotel stays. Despite its steep annual fee of $550, the array of benefits it offers more than justifies the cost. Cardholders can truly maximize their rewards potential by taking advantage of the numerous 1:1 transfer partners available through Chase Ultimate Rewards®.
In terms of rewards, the card excels in providing 5 points per $1 spent on flights and an impressive 10 points per $1 spent on hotels and car rentals purchased through Chase Ultimate Rewards®, after the first $300 spent on travel annually. Other travel and dining expenses fetch 3 points per $1, while all other purchases earn 1 point per $1.
The welcome bonus is quite enticing, allowing users to earn 60,000 points after spending $4,000 on purchases during the first three months of account opening. Furthermore, the card spares users from foreign transaction fees, making it more attractive for international travelers.
Among its many benefits, the Chase Sapphire Reserve offers a standout perk – an annual $300 statement credit for travel purchases made on the card each account anniversary year. While no points are earned on these purchases, the credit significantly offsets the annual fee.
In addition to the above, cardholders enjoy access to the Priority Pass lounge network (enrollment required) for luxurious airport experiences. The card also provides a Global Entry or TSA PreCheck application fee reimbursement, making travel procedures smoother. Plus, users receive a complimentary two-year Lyft Pink All Access membership, a $10 monthly statement credit for GoPuff through December 31, 2023, and one year of DashPass.
Moreover, the card offers various trip protections, ensuring peace of mind during travels. Notably, users have the flexibility to transfer their points at a 1:1 ratio to the World of Hyatt, Marriott Bonvoy, and IHG One Rewards hotel loyalty programs, as well as to numerous airline partners. This feature opens up a world of possibilities for travelers seeking the best value for their accumulated points.
Capital One Venture X Rewards Credit Card
Cardholders who possess the Capital One Venture X Rewards Credit Card enjoy a range of benefits akin to those of an ultra-premium card, but without the burden of an exorbitant annual fee. The card provides the flexibility to transfer points to various hotel and airline partners, with most of them offering a 1:1 rate.
One of the card’s key features is its annual fee, which stands at $395, but with the added benefit of $0 for authorized users. As for rewards, users can earn 2 miles per $1 on regular purchases, 5 miles per $1 on flights booked through Capital One Travel, and an impressive 10 miles per $1 on hotels and rental cars booked via Capital One Travel.
New cardholders are enticed with a generous welcome bonus of 75,000 miles after spending $4,000 on purchases within the first three months of opening an account. Another advantage is that the card does not impose foreign transaction fees, making it a traveler-friendly choice.
In terms of additional perks, cardholders receive an up to $300 annual travel statement credit, but this credit applies solely to purchases made through Capital One Travel. The card also grants 10,000 miles on each account anniversary and access to the Priority Pass network and Capital One lounges (enrollment required).
The Capital One Venture X Rewards Credit Card is praised for its simplicity of earning and the flexibility it offers for redemption. However, a notable drawback is that bonus points are exclusively applicable to bookings made through Capital One Travel. While this may not be a dealbreaker for some, it is definitely something worth considering before making a decision.
Hilton Honors American Express Aspire Card
The Hilton Honors American Express Aspire Card comes with a $450 annual fee, but it offers impressive rewards for those who frequently stay in Hilton hotels and resorts. The card provides high earn categories that cater to big spenders and loyal Hilton network users.
When it comes to rewards, cardholders can earn 14 Hilton Honors points per $1 spent at Hilton Portfolio hotels or resorts, 7 points per $1 on flights booked directly with airlines or American Express Travel, car rentals from select companies, and U.S. restaurants, and 3 points per $1 on other purchases. This rewards structure makes it attractive for travelers who often stay in hotels and fly.
A welcome bonus of 150,000 Hilton Honors points awaits new cardholders who spend $4,000 on purchases during the first three months of card membership. This is a substantial bonus that can be used for free stays or other rewards within the Hilton Honors program.
One of the major benefits of the Hilton Honors Aspire Amex is the complimentary Diamond status it offers. This is the highest tier in the Hilton program, and it typically requires 60 nights or 30 stays at Hilton properties to achieve. Cardholders get this status automatically, which means they can enjoy perks like room upgrades and executive lounge access without meeting the usual requirements.
Moreover, cardholders receive a Free Night Reward on each account anniversary, and they can earn an additional night by spending $60,000 on purchases throughout the year. This provides a significant incentive to use the card for everyday spending and maximize the rewards.
Additionally, the card offers up to $250 in statement credits for purchases made directly with participating Hilton resorts. This benefit can partially offset the $450 annual fee, especially for those who frequently stay at Hilton resorts.
Another advantage of the Hilton Honors Aspire Card is the Priority Pass Select lounge membership, which provides access to airport lounges worldwide. This is a valuable perk for frequent travelers, as it offers a comfortable and relaxing space to wait during layovers or delays.
IHG One Rewards Premier Credit Card
The IHG One Rewards Premier Credit Card is known for its low annual fee and remarkable potential for earning rewards. Even if you don’t frequently stay at IHG Hotels and Resorts, the rewards you can accumulate easily outweigh the $99 annual fee.
With this credit card, you earn generous rewards on various types of spending. For instance, you get 10 points per $1 spent at IHG Hotels and Resorts, an additional 10 points per $1 as an IHG One Rewards member, 6 points per $1 from IHG with Platinum Elite Status (a benefit of the card), 5 points per $1 on travel, dining, and gas stations, and 3 points per $1 on all other purchases.
As a welcome bonus, the IHG One Rewards Premier offers an opportunity to earn 140,000 points by spending $3,000 on purchases within the first three months of account opening. Additionally, you can receive up to $100 in statement credits on purchases at IHG within the first 12 months of account opening.
One great advantage of this card is the absence of foreign transaction fees, making it an excellent choice for international travelers.
Aside from the rewards and benefits, the IHG One Rewards Premier Credit Card provides other perks that enhance its value. Cardholders have the opportunity to achieve an incredibly high reward potential. The rewards rate on travel, dining, and gas stations is particularly noteworthy, making it an attractive option for those who spend in these categories frequently.
The points earned with this card can be put to good use, especially when redeemed for a four-night consecutive stay, as you’ll get your fourth night free. Moreover, there’s an annual free night offer at IHG hotels worldwide, and cardholders also receive Platinum Elite status, as long as their account remains in good standing. These additional benefits further elevate the card’s appeal for travelers and IHG loyalists.
Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant® American Express® Card
The Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant® American Express® Card is tailored for loyal Marriott customers who frequently stay at Marriott properties. Its benefits extend beyond the hotels, including Priority Pass membership with enrollment required.
The card comes with a substantial annual fee of $650. However, the rewards are attractive, offering 6 Marriott Bonvoy points per $1 spent at participating Marriott Bonvoy hotels, 3 points per $1 at restaurants worldwide and on flights booked directly with airlines, and 2 points per $1 on all other eligible purchases.
As a welcome bonus, new cardholders can earn 150,000 Marriott Bonvoy points after spending $6,000 on purchases in the first six months, along with an additional 50,000 points after staying six eligible paid nights at participating Marriott Bonvoy hotels by 1/31/24.
One significant advantage of the Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant card is the absence of foreign transaction fees, making it suitable for international travelers.
Beyond the rewards, cardholders can enjoy various other benefits, such as up to $25 per month (up to $300 annually) in dining statement credits for purchases at restaurants worldwide. After the card renewal month, they receive a Free Night Award, redeemable for up to 85,000 Marriott Bonvoy points. Moreover, a statement credit of up to $100 is available for purchases at the Ritz-Carlton or St. Regis during a two-night consecutive stay. Additionally, cardholders automatically receive Platinum Elite status.
The World of Hyatt Credit Card
The World of Hyatt Credit Card is an excellent choice for those who are loyal to Hyatt and desire elite benefits without a high cost. The rewards program offers a compelling rate on Hyatt purchases and also provides decent earnings on various useful categories like dining and local transit.
With an annual fee of $95, the card offers attractive rewards. You can earn a total of 9 points per $1 spent at Hyatt, comprising 4 points at Hyatt hotels and 5 base points per $1 as a World of Hyatt member. Additionally, you’ll earn 2 points per $1 at restaurants, on airline tickets purchased directly from the airlines, on local transit and commuting, and on fitness club and gym memberships. For all other purchases, you’ll get 1 point per $1.
As a welcome bonus, the card allows you to earn 30,000 points after spending $3,000 on purchases in the first three months. Moreover, you can earn up to 30,000 more points by earning 2 points per $1 on up to $15,000 in the first six months of account opening (then 1 point).
The World of Hyatt Credit Card comes with no foreign transaction fees, which is an added benefit for international travelers.
Among its benefits, the card offers automatic Discoverist elite status, providing premium internet, a late checkout, and more. Additionally, you’ll receive a free night each year that can be redeemed at a category 1-4 Hyatt hotel or resort. Plus, another free night awaits you after spending $15,000 on your card within the calendar year.
Marriott Bonvoy Boundless® Credit Card
Consider the Marriott Bonvoy Boundless® Credit Card if you want to earn Marriott points but prefer a card with a lower annual fee. At just $95 per year, this card provides valuable benefits without the cost of a premium card.
With the Marriott Bonvoy Boundless® Credit Card, you can earn rewards at an attractive rate. Enjoy 6 points per $1 spent at hotels participating in the Marriott Bonvoy program, 3 points per $1 on combined purchases at grocery stores, gas stations, and dining (up to $6,000 spent), and 2 points per $1 on all other purchases.
As a welcome bonus, you can earn 75,000 points after spending $3,000 on purchases within the first six months of account opening. Additionally, get 50,000 bonus points after staying six eligible paid nights at Marriott Bonvoy program hotels through 1/31/24.
One of the significant advantages of this card is its $0 foreign transaction fees, making it an excellent choice for international travelers.
While the Marriott Bonvoy Boundless® Credit Card may not offer all the benefits of a premium card, it still provides attractive perks at a more affordable price. Cardholders receive a free night each year after their account anniversary, although it’s redeemable on stays up to 35,000 points compared to 85,000 with the Bonvoy Brilliant.
Moreover, cardholders enjoy automatic Silver Elite status and receive ample travel and purchase coverage. However, it’s worth noting the limitation on bonus points for groceries, gas, and dining. If you anticipate hitting the bonus point limit, you might want to consider having an alternative card to switch to for those purchases.
Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card
The Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card has gained immense popularity in the market, mainly due to its attractive benefits for travelers without burdening them with a high annual fee. Whether you’re a frequent or occasional traveler, this card offers substantial advantages that appeal to a wide range of users.
Let’s take a closer look at what the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card has to offer. Firstly, it comes with a reasonable annual fee of $95. Considering the rewards and perks it provides, this fee seems quite justified.
Speaking of rewards, the card offers an impressive points system. You can earn 5 points per $1 on travel purchases made through Chase Ultimate Rewards®, 3 points per $1 on dining, select streaming services, and online grocery purchases (excluding Walmart, Target, and wholesale clubs), 2 points per $1 on all other travel purchases, and 1 point per $1 on all other purchases. This multi-tiered rewards structure makes it enticing for various spending categories.
To sweeten the deal, the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card offers a generous welcome bonus of 60,000 points after spending $4,000 on purchases during the first three months of account opening. It’s a substantial boost to your points balance from the get-go.
One notable advantage of this card is the absence of foreign transaction fees. So, if you frequently travel abroad or make international purchases, you won’t have to worry about incurring additional charges.
Additionally, if you’re someone who values the flexibility to transfer points, but isn’t keen on paying the higher annual fee of the Sapphire Reserve, then the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card is a great alternative. It provides the ability to transfer points to IHG One Rewards, Marriott Bonvoy, and World of Hyatt at a 1:1 ratio, along with several airline partners. This opens up a world of possibilities for redeeming your points for stays and flights.
One of the key perks offered by the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card is the annual $50 statement credit for hotel stays purchased through Chase Ultimate Rewards. It’s a valuable benefit that can be utilized each account anniversary year.
The only area where the card falls slightly short is in non-bonus purchase categories, where you only earn 1 point per dollar spent. However, this limitation can easily be overcome by strategically incorporating the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card into a broader points and miles plan.
Bilt World Elite Mastercard
The Bilt World Elite Mastercard® is an exceptional no-annual-fee card tailored for renters, offering various rewards on different spending categories. One of its key features is the ability to earn points on rent payments each month, without any transaction fees, up to 100,000 points per year. Additionally, it provides elevated rewards on dining and travel expenses.
When it comes to rewards, the Bilt Card offers a versatile earning structure. You’ll receive 1 point per $1 spent on rent payments, 2 points per $1 on travel (when booked through Bilt Travel Portal or directly with travel companies), and 3 points per $1 on dining. For all other purchases, you’ll get 1 point per $1 spent. However, to qualify for these rewards, you need to make at least five transactions per statement period.
One of the card’s strengths lies in its partnership with various reward programs, enabling you to transfer your points at a 1:1 ratio to partners like IHG One Rewards and World of Hyatt. This feature provides renters with the flexibility to use their points for hotel stays.
The Bilt Card has no foreign currency conversion fee, making it a suitable companion for international travelers.
Cardholders of the Bilt Mastercard can enjoy additional benefits, such as double points on all non-rent purchases at the beginning of each month. This means you earn double points on dining, travel, and other expenses (excluding rent) during this time frame. Furthermore, when linking your Lyft and Bilt accounts and using the Bilt Mastercard for Lyft rides, you can earn up to 5 points per dollar.
Despite its many advantages, one potential drawback of the Bilt Card is the requirement to use it at least five times per month to be eligible for rewards. However, considering the unique rewards program and the opportunity to transfer points to reputable airline and hotel partners at a 1:1 ratio, this condition seems manageable.
The Bilt World Elite Mastercard® comes with several valuable benefits for renters. Alongside its attractive rewards structure, it offers protection in the form of an auto rental collision damage waiver, trip delay reimbursement, and trip cancellation and interruption reimbursement. These robust protections are remarkable, especially considering that the card has no annual fee.
Should you get a hotel credit card?
When considering whether to get a hotel credit card, the answer isn’t always clear-cut. Even if you don’t travel frequently, there might be a suitable card to add to your wallet.
For those who are infrequent travelers or prefer vacation homes over hotels, a general travel rewards card or a hotel card with no annual fee might be more suitable. However, if you find yourself traveling for work or staying in hotels often, a card with better rewards potential could be beneficial. Some hotel cards even offer status perks, such as upgrades and on-site amenities.
It’s important to note that hotel credit cards are typically targeted at individuals with good-to-excellent credit scores. If you have fair or poor credit, a secured credit card designed to help you build credit might be a more suitable option.
Furthermore, hotel credit cards might not be ideal for carrying balances. If you anticipate making a large purchase that you can’t pay off immediately, you might want to consider applying for a 0% intro APR card.
It’s essential to be aware that co-branded hotel cards often earn the highest rewards within that specific hotel group. If you want to earn bonus points in other spending categories, you may find a different rewards card more suitable.
Ultimately, finding the right hotel credit card depends on narrowing down your specific needs and preferences. Take the time to explore the options available to find a card that works best for you.
Evaluating rewards potential
Using publicly available data and government information, we have estimated the financial profile of an average U.S. household interested in a hotel rewards credit card. These households typically have an annual income of $84,352 and around $25,087 in expenses that can be charged to a credit card.
For illustration, let’s analyze how much this household could earn in a year with a card like the Chase Sapphire Reserve. Based on our calculations:
- They would earn 17,646 points from $5,882 spent on travel at a rate of 3 points per dollar.
- Another 10,578 points from $3,526 spent on dining at 3 points per dollar.
- Additionally, $15,679 spent on other categories would yield 15,679 points at a rate of 1 point per dollar.
- The total points earned annually would be 43,903.
These points can be redeemed for cashback, valued at about $439, or $659 if used for travel through the Chase Ultimate Rewards portal. Alternatively, transferring the points to hotel or airline partners at a 1:1 ratio could result in even more value when booking award travel.
Now, let’s explore the rewards potential of a co-branded card like the Marriott Bonvoy Boundless:
- Spending $868 at Marriott Bonvoy hotels would earn them 14,756 points at a rate of 17 points per dollar spent.
- The first $6,000 spent on gas stations, grocery stores, and dining would yield 18,000 points at 3 points per dollar.
- All other purchases totaling $18,219 would earn 36,438 points at a rate of 2 points per dollar.
- The estimated total points earned annually would be 69,194.
The value of a Marriott point can fluctuate, but it typically ranges between half a cent to 1.2 cents per point. Depending on the property and demand, award stays can be as low as 7,500 points per night or as high as 100,000 points or more per night.
If the estimated annual points fall short for their desired redemption, Marriott offers a Points + Cash feature, allowing cardholders to pay the difference to cover their dream vacation. Additionally, the Free Night Award offered by the card can further reduce the out-of-pocket expenses for a memorable getaway.
Guide to hotel credit cards
Understanding the type of credit card that suits your hotel stays is essential. Hotel credit cards fall into two main categories:
- Hotel-specific cards: If you frequently stay in hotels and have loyalty to a particular hotel group, this type of card might be ideal. You’ll earn more points for purchases within the hotel group and may enjoy benefits like automatic elite status or an annual free night.
- General travel reward cards: These cards are more versatile, catering to individuals without loyalty to one hotel chain. They allow you to earn points for various expenses, not just limited to hotel stays, providing greater flexibility in using your points strategically.
When deciding on a hotel credit card, consider your financial and travel goals. Assess whether you’re comfortable paying an annual fee for perks like travel credits and elite status. Think about how often you stay at hotels and what benefits would enhance your travel experiences. Also, identify the spending categories that dominate your budget.
Once you determine your goals, research the available options. Look for welcome bonuses that can earn you extra points, especially if you have upcoming hotel expenses.
It’s helpful to evaluate your financial situation by creating a budget to understand your spending habits. Find a hotel credit card that rewards you generously in the areas where you spend the most.
If you’re new to the hotel world, consider spending a few nights at different hotel groups to see which one suits you best. Testing out the options will help you choose the co-branded card that offers the most value.
Keep in mind that there are numerous hotel credit cards on the market, so thorough research is essential to find the one that best fits your needs. When used wisely, these cards can offer significant value and benefits.