Do you live for continental breakfast and mints on your pillow? Earn complimentary stays and room upgrades at your favorite hotel chain with a hotel credit card. Like to hotel hop? If you aren't loyal to one hotel brand, consider a flexible travel rewards card that lets you redeem points for hotel expenses. We researched and analyzed 42 hotel cards and 300 general travel credit cards to find you the best recommendations - here are the 10 best hotel credit cards from our partners.
See the best hotel rewards credit card offers from our partners below. If you aren't loyal to one hotel brand, consider a flexible travel rewards card that lets you redeem points for hotel expenses.
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Updated: April 19, 2018
A great hotel card can help you log free hotel nights, add a touch of luxury to your hotel stays and even take the stress out of travel with convenient perks and upgrades. Many hotel cards combine generous rewards programs with ample perks for loyal guests.
Hotel credit cards, like airline cards, pair a travel brand with a bank, encouraging loyalty. They are a great way to build points on a specific loyalty brand. But, it's important to make sure you are going to spend enough to benefit from the card.
We researched more than 40 co-branded hotel cards and more than 300 general travel rewards cards, using a lot of the criteria outlined in this guide, to get down to our list of the best hotel cards. Strong rewards values, sign-up bonuses, and flexible redemption options were a big factor in our choices. Here, we look at:
Whether you are wondering how hotel cards work or you want to know who should get one, we can help.
After analyzing over 40 different hotel rewards credit card offers (and even more general travel cards), here is our list of the 10 best hotel credit cards. The Capital One® Venture® Rewards Credit Card tops our list because of its generous 10x points when you book at hotels.com/venture. For a co-branded hotel credit card, the Hilton Honors Ascend Card from American Express is our top choice.
Top picks for co-branded hotel credit cards:
Top picks for general travel cards with good hotel rewards:
Hotel credit cards analyzed: 42
Criteria used: Rewards rates, rewards categories, sign-up bonuses, size of hotel network, transfer partners, point values, other travel benefits, annual fee, other rates and fees, redemption options and flexibility, customer service, credit needed, elite status, ability to upgrade and downgrade
With the release of their new partnership with Hotels.com earlier this year, the Capital One Venture is easily one of the top hotel rewards cards out there, giving you 10x points when you book with your card at hotels.com/venture. Pair this card with the Hotels.com rewards program and you're essentially getting 20% off all hotel bookings.
With the Chase Sapphire Preferred, you get 2x points on all travel purchases, including hotels. Chase Ultimate Rewards points are valued at over 2 cents per point according to The Points Guy and you get a 1:1 point transfer with some of the top hotel loyalty programs.
If you're a frequent Hilton customer, this card is a good one to have in your wallet. Although Hilton points are not worth as much as some other hotel loyalty programs, their multipliers on certain bonus categories are large. You can also get a free weekend night if you spend $15k on the card per year and it has a big 75,000 point sign-up bonus.
This is the younger, no annual fee sibling of the Venture card. You still get the great 10x miles rate when you book at hotels.com/venture and it comes with a meaningful sign-up bonus of 20,000 miles after $1,000 in spend over the first 3 months.
If you're a Preferred Rewards customer with Bank of America, this card has some lucrative bonuses. You get 1.5 points on every purchase and you can increase that by 25-75% for Preferred Rewards customers. Redemptions are easy - you get your rewards in the form of a statement credit, which you can redeem for hotel stays (among other things).
If you're a frequent Marriott customer, the Marriott Rewards Premier card is worth it for the sign-up bonus, one free night a year, and the 5x points rewards rate at Marriott and SPG hotel locations. This card can also help get you closer to elite status in the Marriott rewards program. Outside of hotel purchases, this card doesn't have a ton of other value.
For frequent stayers at Hyatt hotels, this card has a number of benefits outside of just a good rewards rate when you book. You get a free night each year (at certain categories of hotels), bonus points for adding an authorized user, instant Discoverist status with Hyatt, and bonus points for purchases with airlines and car rental agencies. It also comes with a generous 40,000 point sign-up bonus for $2,000 in spend in the first 3 months.
At a price tag of $89 a year, you get a lot of extra benefits with the IHG Rewards Club Premier card. The sign-up bonus is lucrative at 80,000 points for $2,000 in spend (first 3 months) and it has bonus categories for expenses other than hotel bookings (gas, grocery, restaurants). In addition, you get instant Platinum Elite status with IHG, a Global Entry and TSA Pre-Check fee credit, and an annual free night. If you're a frequent customer at IHG hotels, this card is worth looking into.
The Platinum Card is a great luxury travel card with solid rewards for hotel bookings. It comes with a steep $550 annual fee, but their $200 annual airline credit, $200 annual Uber credit, and other benefits help cut the annual cost down significantly, so it actually makes sense to keep this card in your wallet for the long term. You get 5x points when you book hotels through their portal at amextravel.com and other complimentary benefits with the Fine Hotels & Resorts program.
The Business Platinum card undoubtedly has one of the most attractive sign-up bonuses out there: 75,000 points. This sum of Membership Rewards® points is split into two amounts: 50,000 points for spending $10,000 in your first 3 months and a further 25,000 points if you spend an additional $10,000 in those three months. Furthermore, it comes with
In most cases, hotel credit cards are co-branded cards, which means they are issued by a bank, such as Chase or American Express, then a specific hotel brand is associated with the card. As you can imagine, the hotel card will reward you for loyalty to that brand, as well as reward you for loyalty to airline and car rental partners. In some cases, you are rewarded for using the card on general-purpose purchases, such as grocery stores, gas stations and restaurants.
Typically, hotel credit cards come with sign-up bonuses, ongoing rewards and special benefits, depending on the category of membership that you qualify for. Then, the rewards programs usually offer a different redemption amount depending on the category of hotel property you choose. For example, a Category 1 Marriott property requires 7,500 points for a one-night stay, while a Category 7 property runs 35,000 points.
There are 2 types of hotel credit cards, co-branded cards and general-purpose cards. Each has its advantage.
Hotel credit cards are great for loyalty, whether with a specific brand or its partners. Depending on your category of membership, hotel cards and loyalty programs often offer benefits such as early check-in, late check-out, breakfast and more. There are a number of advantages to these cards, including generous sign-up bonuses, but there can be some downsides as well.
|Build credit||Can impact credit if pay late|
|Great for loyalty||May be limited in how use points|
|Generous sign-up rewards||Points may not be as rewarding as other card types|
|Nice benefits||May require high annual spend|
|Benefit from other brands||Will likely pay an annual fee|
|Point valuations vary|
Here, we take a deeper dive into the advantages of hotel credit cards:
There are a number of reasons, however, why a hotel card may not be the best choice:
When we choose a hotel brand, there are a number of factors at play – location, amenities, convenience. Well, a surprising number of travelers look to technology for inspiration in choice. Software Advice polled travelers to gauge where they stand on technology and choice in hotel:
Source: Software Advice survey
So, technology appears to influence our preferences in hotel choices, but the fact remains that there are other, more traditional issues at hand with your choice in hotel card. Here are top factors to consider when choosing a hotel credit card.
|Card||Intro bonus||Point valuation||Cash value of bonus||Annual fee|
|The Hyatt Credit Card||40,000 pts/$2,000 spend in 3 mths||1.8 cents/point||$720||$75|
|Marriott Rewards Premier Credit Card||75,000 pts/$3,000 spend in 3 mths||0.9 cents/point||$675||$85, waived first year|
|Hilton Honors Ascend from American Express||75,000 pts/$2,000 spend in 3 mths; 25,000 pts/$1,000 in 6 mths (Terms Apply)||0.6 cents/point||$600||$95|
By transferring your hotel card points to an airline partner, you can fly with those points. But do your homework, because the transfer may not be the best you can get. That said, there are advantages to marrying airlines with hotel cards, such as bonuses for points transferred and points earned for airline tickets purchased. Ideally, check the hotel brand's partnerships if that's a deal-breaker for you.
With the Chase Marriott Rewards Premier Credit Card, you can not only earn 5X points for each dollar spent at participating Marriott Rewards & SPG hotels, but you can also earn 2X points per dollar on airline tickets purchased directly from the airline.
You can also convert Marriott Rewards points to United MileagePlus miles with RewardsPlus, allowing you to get 10,000 MileagePlus miles with 24,000 points.
In the case of Chase's Hyatt Credit Card, you can get 2X points for every dollar spent at restaurants, on airline tickets purchased directly at airlines and at rental car companies. You can also convert Hyatt points for miles with partner airlines and car rental awards.
With many hotel loyalty programs out there, it can be hard to decide which is the best. Well, The Points Guy does the heavy lifting for you by establishing criteria on which to assess programs, and ranking them. Here, we reveal popular hotel loyalty programs and what they can offer members:
|Hotel loyalty program||Number of properties||Strongest criteria||Valuation||Select features|
|Wyndham Rewards||8,000||Ease and value of redemption||1.2 cents/per point||10 pts/dollar; free internet; rental upgrade; late check-out; early check-in|
|World of Hyatt||750||Strong co-branded card||1.8 cents/per point||Free internet; late check-out; room upgrade; select complimentary parking|
|Hilton Honors||More than 5,000||Strong co-branded cards||0.6 cents/per point||48-hour room guarantee; 5th night free; free internet; late check-out|
|Marriott Rewards||5,300||Geographic spread||0.9 cents/per point||48-hour room guarantee; late check-out; free internet; breakfast for two|
Typically, points for hotel-brand loyalty programs can expire if you don't keep the account active, but there are a number of ways to make sure that doesn't happen.
For example, you can use a co-branded credit card that earns hotel points, you can transfer points from the American Express' Membership Rewards program for Best Western, Choice, or Hilton, or do the same from Chase Ultimate Rewards for Hyatt, Marriott, Ritz-Carlton or Priority Club.
By keeping your accounts active, the points won't just go away. Here are top brands and their expiration policies:
|Hotel brand||Points expiration policy|
|Wyndham Rewards||18 months with no activity, and 4 years overall|
|World of Hyatt||12 months|
|Hilton Honors||12 months|
|Marriott Rewards/Ritz-Carlton||24 months|
Source: CreditCards.com research
All hotel points are not created equal.
For example, both the Marriott Rewards Premier Credit Card and the Hilton Honors Ascend from American Express offer 75,000 points for their welcome bonus. But because of the point valuation of the two, the Marriott card comes out ahead with a cash value of $675, while the Hilton Honors card's bonuses are worth the equivalent of $600.
And there are other factors to consider, such as the annual fee. Take the Hilton Honors Ascend card, which has an annual fee of $95, while the Marriott card's $85 fee is waived the first year.
Then, the Hilton Ascend card offers 12X points for purchases at a participating property and 6X points at U.S. restaurants, U.S. supermarkets and U.S. gas stations. That means if you spend $5,000 a year at Hilton properties, that comes to a cash value of $360, and if you spend $5,000 a year at restaurants, supermarkets and gas stations, the cash value comes to another $180, bringing the total to $540.
Compare that to the Marriott card, which offers 5X points at participating properties and 2X points on airline tickets purchased through the airline, at car rental agencies and at restaurants. That means if you spend $5,000 for the year at Marriott properties, your cash value comes to $225, while by spending $5,000 on airfare, rental cars and restaurants, your cash value is $90, bring the total to $315.
That makes the Hilton Ascend card more valuable with everyday spending, but the Marriott card's sign-up bonus is more valuable. That's why it's a good idea to factor in which brand works best for you.
Translating hotel points to airline miles may not be the most efficient use of your points. But, it's worth a look.
For example, if you have 70,000 Marriott Rewards points, you'll be able to get 25,000 Delta SkyMiles, which on April 15, 2017, would have gotten you a flight from LAX to JFK in the main cabin.
Now, if you back things up and look at what it took to earn those Marriott Rewards points, with a Marriott Rewards Premier Credit Card, you could put most of the sign-up bonus toward the flight. (The sign-up bonus is 75,000 points after a $3,000 spend within the first 3 months of card membership.)
Because the flight would have cost $301 in cash, that translates to a value of 0.43 cents by our estimation. That may not be the most generous use of your points. For example, you can put those 75,000 points toward 2 nights at a Tier 7 property, which requires 35,000 points each night. Also, when you redeem 4 nights, you get a 5th complimentary night.
That said, the Marriott card can be a good card for the traveler who frequents Marriott properties, in part because of the 1 free night at Category 1-5 properties at the end of each of your anniversaries.
Choosing a hotel card is a deeply personal experience, because where you travel and which brands you favor informs your decision about which card to get. But no matter which card you use, there are a few basic ground rules for how to maximize your rewards, such as:
An incredible 40% of cardholders have always used the same card or haven't changed cards in at least 10 years, our March 2018 survey shows. That's a lot of points, miles and cash we are leaving on the table, including those from hotel cards.
When consumers did switch, it looks like it was for the right reason, with people on the hunt for rewards at the top of the list.
Source: CreditCards.com survey
If you make the choice to transition to a rewards card, keep in mind that with the right hotel card, you can maximize points through business and personal travel alike. Also, they are worth your while if you like to play the points game.
Wondering if a hotel credit card is right for you? If you are one of these 4 types of people, they might be a good choice.
Hotel cards come in a choice of flavors, with widely varying benefits, different point valuations and differing expiration rules. Curious how to make it work for you? Here, we look at the different factors to consider, then we compare hotel cards as an example.
For more information and to see more cards, see our hotel credit card reviews.
|Credit Card||Best For:||CreditCards.com Rating||Annual Fee||Hotel Rewards Rate|
|Capital One® Venture® Rewards Credit Card||Best for Hotels.com purchases||4.3 / 5||$0 first year, then $95||10 miles per dollar spent at hotels.com/venture|
|Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card||Best for flexible travel rewards||4.1 / 5||$0 first year, then $95||2x points on travel|
|Hilton Honors Ascend Card from American Express||Best for Hilton customers||4.3 / 5||$95||12x points at Hilton properties|
|Capital One® VentureOne® Rewards Credit Card||Best for no annual fee||3.6 / 5||$0||10 miles per dollar spent at hotels.com/venture|
|Bank of America® Travel Rewards Credit Card||Best for easy to hit sign-up bonus||3.4 / 5||$0||1.5 points per dollar on all purchases|
|Marriott Rewards® Premier Credit Card||Best for hotel redemption variety||3.4 / 5||$0 first year, then $85||5 points per dollar at Marriott and SPG hotels|
|The Hyatt Credit Card||Best for Hyatt stays||3.8 / 5||$75||3 Bonus Points for every dollar spent at Hyatt hotels|
|IHG® Rewards Club Premier Credit Card||Best for IHG stays||N/A||$89||10 points per $1 spent when you stay at an IHG hotel|
|The Platinum Card® from American Express||Best for Membership Rewards® points multiplier||2.8 / 5||$550||5x Membership Rewards® points on hotels booked on amextravel.com|
|The Business Platinum® Card from American Express OPEN||Best for business travelers||2.3 / 5||$450||5x Membership Rewards® points on hotels booked on amextravel.com|
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