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The Best Hotel Credit Cards

The Best Hotel Credit Cards

Outside hotel bed

When shopping for a new travel rewards credit card, it’s easy to be overwhelmed by the choices available.  General credit cards, like the Chase Sapphire Preferred can let you earn points from travel.  Then you have airline credit cards that let you earn miles with your fave airline.  Alternately, you can apply for a co-branded hotel credit card and earn points with a specific brand of hotels.  If you have ever signed up for a hotel’s loyalty program, hotel credit cards can give you extra perks, such as free nights or elite status.  They are geared for a specific type of traveler.

Should you apply for a hotel credit card?

Maybe.  Hotel points tend to be less flexible than other types of rewards, so only apply if you know for sure you will use them.  If you are looking for more flexibility, such as how you redeem the points or with whom, then a general rewards card like the Amex Platinum might be better for you.  Hotel credit cards can help frequent travellers with larger families by reducing hotel costs.  Additionally, travellers with a favorite hotel can maximize their rewards by choosing that brand’s credit card.  For example, if you sign up for the Hilton Honors Amex Surpass credit card and use it to book a stay at a Hilton hotel, you will earn 12 points for each $1 spent.

Who shouldn’t get hotel credit cards?

Those who prefer to stay at airbnbs or rent apartments during their vacation.  Similarly, budget travelers who prefer to shop around for hotels and stay in different chains.  Hotel credit cards allow for maximum rewards on hotel spending and points are less flexible.  To illustrate, points earned with the World of Hyatt card will have to be redeemed with hotels under the Hyatt umbrella.  If you want to book a Hilton hotel, you will be fresh out of luck.  On the other hand, if you prefer to spend your points however you choose, a general travel credit card might be a better option.  Other disadvantages can include (high) annual fees and limited award availability.

What are the Pros and Cons of Hotel Credit Cards?

PROS

Very good sign-up bonuses

Points can be converted to free nights

Ability to gain Elite Status for some

Additional benefits like free nights, room upgrades, travel insurance

CONS

Maximum rewards reserved ONLY for hotel stays

High APRs

Annual Fees

For fans of Marriott hotels

Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant™ American Express® Card

Regular APR: 15.74% – 24.74%

Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant

Current Offer: Earn 125,000 Bonus Marriott Bonvoy points and Platinum Elite Status for One Year

Annual Fee: $450

Foreign Transaction Fee: 0%

Recommended Credit Score: 670-850

The Basics

  • Earn 6x points for every $1 at participating Marriott Bonvoy hotels
  • 3x points at U.S restaurants and flights booked with the airline; 2x points on everything else
  • $300 annual Marriott Bonvoy statement credit for eligible purchases
  • Free night on card anniversary
  • $100 Marriott Bonvoy property credit on eligible stays

For fans of Hyatt hotels

World of Hyatt credit card

Regular APR: 15.99% – 22.99%

World of Hyatt

Current Offer: Earn 25,000 bonus points after spending $3,000 within the first 3 months; earn another 25,000 points if you spend $6,000 in 6 months

Annual Fee: $95

Foreign Transaction Fee: 0%

Recommended Credit Score: 670-850

The Basics

  • 4x points for every $1 at all Hyatt hotels, eligible restaurants, and Exhale locations
  • 2x points at restaurants, gym memberships, eligible transit, airfare purchased directly from airline; 1x point for every other purchase
  • 1 Free stay each year

For fans of Hilton hotels

hilton honors credit card

Regular APR: 15.74% – 24.74%

Hilton Honors Amex Surpass

Current Offer: Spend $3,000 the first 3 months and earn 150,000 bonus points

Annual Fee: $95

Foreign Transaction Fee: 0%

Recommended Credit Score: 670-850

The Basics

  • 12x Hilton Honors bonus points for every $1 spent at Hilton hotels
  • 6x at U.S restaurants, supermarkets, gas stations; 3x everything else
  • Priority Pass Select membership for lounge access
  • Automatic Hilton Honors Gold Status

For fans of IHG hotels

IHG credit card

Regular APR: 15.99% – 22.99%

IHG Rewards Club Premier Credit Card

Current Offer: Spend $3,000 the first 3 months and earn 140,000 bonus points

Intro Annual Fee: $0

Regular Annual Fee: $89

Foreign Transaction Fee: 0%

Recommended Credit Score: 670-850

The Basics

  • Earn up to 25 total points per $1 spent at IHG hotels
  • 2x points at gas stations, restaurants, grocery stores; 1x point on everything else
  • Platinum Elite status
  • Reward night each account anniversary at IHG hotels
  • Reward night for any stay of at least 4 nights
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