Best Hotel Credit Cards

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 looking at the best travel credit cards that may let 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.

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 looking at the best travel credit cards that may let 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.

By: Laura Mohammad

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November 4, 2020

CreditCards.com’s Best Hotel Credit Cards of 2020:

Citi Premier® Card

Excellent

Credit Recommended (740-850)

CreditCards.com credit ranges are a variation of FICO® Score 8, one of many types of credit scores lenders may use when considering your credit card application.
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Rewards Rate

3X
New! Earn 3 Points at Restaurants and Supermarkets
3X
Earn 3 Points at Gas Stations, Air Travel and Hotels
1X
Earn 1 Point per $1 spent on all other purchases

At A Glance

Intro Bonus
60,000 points

Earn 60,000 bonus ThankYou® Points after you spend $4,000 in purchases within the first 3 months of account opening

Annual Fee
$95
Regular APR
15.99% - 23.99% variable

Editorial disclosure: All reviews are prepared by CreditCards.com staff. Opinions expressed therein are solely those of the reviewer and have not been reviewed or approved by any advertiser. The information, including card rates and fees, presented in the review is accurate as of the date of the review. Check the data at the top of this page and the bank's website for the most current information.

All information about Wells Fargo Propel American Express® card and Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card has been collected independently by CreditCards.com and has not been reviewed by the issuer.


Comparing Credit Cards for Hotel Points

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:


best hotel credit cards

Best Hotel Credit Cards

Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card

Why this is the best hotel credit card for a sign-up bonus

With this card, you’ll have the opportunity to earn 60,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 within the first 3 months of opening your account – that’s a whopping $750 if you redeem for travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards®. If you’re planning to get out of the house this fall or travel more frequently this holiday season, this card is a good way to rack up points through its generous sign-up bonus.

Pros

Its generous 2X points per $1 spent rewards rate coupled with Ultimate Rewards’ 25% booking boost make Chase’s 1:1 point transfer to hotel partners a choice value for travelers loyal to IHG, Hyatt or Marriott.

Cons

This card offers limited rewards above 1X point on categories other than worldwide travel and dining. However, because all points get a 25% boost when booking through Ultimate Rewards, that 1X point becomes 1.25X point, meaning you can be earning points now on everyday purchases that you’ll be able to use later in the year.

Bottom line: The Chase Sapphire Preferred is at the top in flexibility, with a 25% bonus on travel bookings through the Chase Ultimate Rewards portal, and 1:1 redemption on many travel partners. Ultimately, Sapphire Preferred is a great long-term rewards card, should you be saving rewards for a future getaway.

Wells Fargo Propel American Express® card

Why this is the best hotel credit card for flexible travel rewards

The Wells Fargo Propel American Express offers exceptional rewards for hotels, flights, homestays and car rentals – making it a favorite for travel features.

Pros

With super high rewards for such quirky categories as homestays, popular streaming services and rideshares, this is a millennial’s dream come true. Also, the sign-up bonus is good for a card with no annual fee.

Cons

It’s hard not to love this card with its general travel rewards, including hotels, but it is not the best for everyday purchases such as groceries.

Bottom line: If you are on the hunt for flexible travel rewards, the Wells Fargo Propel American Express is a fine option, but you may not get the everyday categories you could get with another kind of rewards card.

Hilton Honors American Express Surpass® Card

Why this is the best hotel credit card for Hilton bonus points

Hilton Honors American Express Surpass Card is our top pick for Hilton bonus points. You’ll be awarded a weekend night reward after spending $15,000 in a calendar year, and the opportunity to upgrade to Diamond status after a $40,000 spend in a calendar year. You can also earn 130,000 Hilton Honors bonus points after making $2,000 in eligible purchases within the first 3 months of membership.

Pros

The Hilton Honors American Express Surpass Card is just full of surprises, including a weekend night reward after spending $15,000 in a calendar year, and upgrade to Diamond status after a $40,000 spend in a calendar year. You can also earn 130,000 Hilton Honors Bonus Points after making $2000 in eligible purchases within the first three months of membership.

Cons

The $95 annual fee isn’t waived the first year, which means you are stuck with a bill the first year for the honor of using this card. Also, Hilton Honors points valuation is only 0.6 cent.

Bottom line: Unique to this card – your non-hotel spending is mightily rewarded, meaning that more than travel categories can help you earn points.

Marriott Bonvoy Boundless™ Credit Card

Why this is the best hotel credit card for free night awards

With 15 Elite Night credits per calendar year, a Free Night Award every year after your account anniversary and a generous rewards structure, this card is fantastic for earning free nights – especially if your account anniversary benefits roll over in time for a summer retreat.

Pros

This card currently has an offer where you earn 75,000 points after spending $3,000 in the first 3 months of opening your account. You can enjoy automatic Silver Elite Status each account anniversary year and a path to Gold Status after a $35,000 spend on purchases each account year.

Cons

Like the Surpass, the Marriott Bonvoy Boundless doesn’t waive the $95 annual fee the first year, although the point valuation is a little better at 0.8 cent.

Bottom line: While the Marriott Bonvoy Boundless has a lower rewards value than the Surpass, it still offers excellent rewards for the Marriott enthusiast.

 

Hilton Honors American Express Card

Why this is the best hotel credit card for Hilton Honors Silver Status

The Hilton Honors American Express Card offers the complimentary Silver Elite Status, meaning you can automatically receive a 20% bonus on all the Hilton Honors Base Points you earn. Plus, you get express check-in and late check-out, which is a great perk for any traveler.

Pros

The welcome offer of this card is bodacious, as are the ongoing rewards, and there’s no annual fee.

Cons

You’ll do better with the Surpass if you are willing to put down $95 for the annual fee, which isn’t waived the first year.

Bottom line:This card offers a number of excellent hotel features, including express check-in and late check-out, as well as complimentary Silver Elite Status, all with no annual fee.

The Platinum Card® from American Express

Why this is the best hotel credit card for luxury travel perks

This card is packed with travel features that make it worth your while if you feel the need to travel in style, like airport lounge access.

Pros

From access to the Global Lounge Collection to complimentary benefits with Fine Hotels & Resorts, this card’s benefits are hard to match. There’s the annual $200 airline fee credit and up to $100 on annual purchases at Saks Fifth Avenue (enrollment required).

Cons

The annual fee on The Platinum Card from American Express is a whopping $550, although luxury travel cards can have higher annual fees than that, by far.

Bottom line: This card is packed with travel features that make it worth your while if you feel the need to travel in style.

Discover it® Miles

Why it’s the best hotel credit card for best travel miles

Not only will Discover match all of the miles you earn in the first year of account opening automatically, but you can also earn unlimited 1.5x miles for every dollar spent on all purchases, making this card our top pick for best travel miles.

Pros

With the Discover it Miles card, there are a plethora of ways to redeem the miles that you earn, including airline travel, hotels, car rentals and public transportation.

Cons

This card’s value is truly found in its generous first-year bonus, but after the first 12 months, the benefits decrease greatly. Also, you can’t transfer miles you’ve earned to airline frequent-flier programs.

Bottom line:With no annual fee, a flat rate for cash back and the exclusive Cash Back Match, the Discover it Miles has a lot to offer to the avid traveler.

Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card

Why this is the best hotel credit card for everyday spending

The Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card earns its spot as best for everyday spending due to the generous reward system and the opportunity to earn unlimited miles that won’t expire for the life of the account. Not only that, but Venture Rewards partners with more than ten major airlines, allowing you to transfer your miles.

Pros

The Capital One Venture Rewards‘ 2X miles on all eligible purchases make this card a superior general-purpose hotel card and one of the best travel credit cards.

Cons

This card doesn’t have the 25% boost when redeeming for travel on the Citi ThankYou Rewards and Chase Ultimate Rewards portals that are offered by some cards.

Bottom line: Even with a $95 annual fee that isn’t waived, the limited-time offer is practically unparalleled: Earn 100,000 miles after a $20,000 spend in the first 12 months or earn 50,000 miles after you spend $3,000 in the first 3 months.

Capital One VentureOne Rewards Credit Card

Why this is the best hotel credit card for no annual fee

Earning travel rewards without having to fork over an annual fee is one of this card’s greatest perks. The Capital One VentureOne Rewards Credit Card is just right for the occasional traveler who wants to enjoy some of the benefits of the Capital One Venture Rewards.

Pros

The Capital One VentureOne Rewards comes in beside the Sapphire Preferred in rewards flexibility for general purchases, with travel without blackout dates and stays at any hotel at any time. But with no annual fee and no foreign transaction fees, this card is a keeper.

Cons

While you can earn rewards on all types of spending with this card, you can’t count on the rewards racking up quickly.

Bottom line: This card is just right for the occasional traveler who wants to enjoy some of the benefits of the Capital One Venture Rewards.

Compare the top hotel credit card offers:

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 for 2020. The Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card tops our list because of its generous 2X miles per dollar on all purchases. For a co-branded hotel credit card, the Hilton Honors American Express Surpass® Card is our top choice.

Credit CardBest For:Hotel Rewards RateAnnual FeeCreditCards.com Rating
Chase Sapphire Preferred® CardSign-up bonus2X points on travel, including hotels$953.9 / 5
Wells Fargo Propel American Express® cardFlexible travel rewards3X points on travel, including hotels$03.5 / 5
Hilton Honors American Express Surpass® CardHilton bonus points12X points at Hilton properties$954.2 / 5
Marriott Bonvoy Boundless™ Credit CardFree night awards6X points at participating Marriott Bonvoy hotels$95 4.0 / 5
Hilton Honors American Express CardHilton Honors Silver status7X points at Hilton properties$03.9 / 5
The Platinum Card® from American ExpressLuxury travel perks5X points on Amextravel.com On up to $500,000 in purchases per calendar year beginning Jan 1, 2021 $5504.5 / 5
Discover it® MilesTravel Miles1.5X miles for every dollar spent$04 / 5
Capital One Venture Rewards Credit CardEveryday spending2X miles per dollar on all purchases$954.2 / 5
Capital One VentureOne Rewards Credit CardNo annual fee1.25X miles per dollar on all purchases$03.5 / 5

Research methodology: how we chose the best cards

With so many branded options to check into, selecting which hotel card best accommodates your spending habits can be difficult. That’s why we analyzed 42 cards to bring you the 10 highest-rated hotel cards. For a list of detailed criteria and more information on our review scores, see our ratings process for hotel credit cards.
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.

What are hotel credit cards and how do they work?

What are hotel credit cards?

Hotel credit cards are often co-branded cards (but not always). That means they are issued by a bank, such as Chase or American Express, and partner with a specific hotel brand. 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 everyday purchases, such as grocery stores, gas stations and restaurants.

How hotel credit cards work

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.

Credit cards that redeem for hotel stays include co-branded cards and general-purpose cards. While co-branded cards reward for loyalty, general-purpose travel cards reward you for a variety of spending on a number of airline and hotel brands.

Which credit cards offer free hotel stays?

There are a number of ways to earn free hotel stays, including through earning points via sign-up bonuses and ongoing rewards. In addition, some hotel credit cards reward you with free stays by meeting a minimum spend each year or even for keeping the card in your wallet each year. Here are leading hotel cards that reward you beyond the points you earn.

  • Hilton Honors American Express Surpass® Card: Earn a weekend night reward after $15,000 spend in a calendar year.
  • Marriott Bonvoy Boundless Credit Card: Earn a free night award (up to 35,000 points) every year after account anniversary.
  • Hilton Honors American Express Card: With Hilton Honors Silver Status, you’ll get your 5th standard reward night free.
  • The World Of Hyatt Credit Card: Receive 1 free night at any category 1-4 hotel each year after your cardmember anniversary. Receive an additional free night at a category 1-4 hotel after spending $15,000 in a year.

Who should get a hotel credit card?

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.
Wondering if a hotel credit card is right for you? If you are one of these 3 types of people, they might be a good choice.

  • The business traveler. If you often travel to a specific area, you may have the opportunity to frequent the same hotels. You can maximize your savings by pulling your hotel card out whenever you travel on business.
  • The loyal traveler. If you are loyal to say, Hilton, then look at the Hilton cards that are available to see which one suits your travel habits best, such as the Hilton Honors suite through American Express.
  • The luxury traveler. With the right card, you can enjoy the finer benefits, such as complimentary breakfast and refreshments, room upgrades, elite status benefits and free night rewards.

You don’t have to be a frequent jetsetter to reap the rewards that these cards can offer; even just spending the night a few times a year at the same chain may be enough to earn luxurious perks with the right card. However, in order to maximize your benefits, it’s important to determine the rewards structure that will best fit your travel and hotel aspirations.

How to compare two hotel credit cards

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. Here are top factors to consider when choosing a hotel credit card.

How to compare 2 hotel credit cards

CardThe World of Hyatt Credit CardHilton Honors American Express Surpass® Card
TPG August 2019 points valuation$0.017$0.006
Welcome Offer25,000 pts / $3,000 spend in 3 mths = $425
25,000 pts / $6,000 spend in 6 mths = $425
130,000 pts / $2,000 spend in 3 mths = $780
Spending at properties$2,000 * 9X pts * $0.017 = $306$2,000 * 12X pts * $0.006 = $144
Various bonus spending$500 * 12 mths * 2X pts * $0.017 = $204$500 * 12 mths * 6X pts * $0.006 = $216
Annual fee$95$95
Total end of first year$1,265$1,045

As you can see, the Hyatt card is the clear winner because of a superior point valuation – that’s even with the Hilton card’s intro offer. Bottom line: Make sure you look at all of the moving parts of the cards you are eyeing before making a decision.

Do hotel points expire?

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. By keeping your accounts active, the points won’t just go away. Fortunately, many hotel loyalty programs have extended their perks for cardholders waiting to use their rewards. Here are top brands and their expiration policies:

Hotel loyalty programs’ points expiration policies

Hotel brandPoints expiration policy
Wyndham Rewards18 months of inactivity, or 4 years after the checkout date when obtained
Hilton Honors12 months of inactivity
Marriott/SPG/Ritz-Carlton24 months of inactivity
World of Hyatt24 months of inactivity

Source: CreditCards.com research

Can hotel credit card points be used for flying?

You can, in certain cases, transfer your hotel points to an airline partner and fly with those points. There are advantages to marrying airlines with hotel cards, such as bonuses for transferring points and purchasing airline tickets. For example, American Airlines AAdvantage® has partnered with the World of Hyatt to provide their elite world of Hyatt members better benefits and flight rewards. As an elite World of Hyatt member, you can earn 1 World of Hyatt bonus point for every eligible $1 USD spent on certain American Airlines flights. For the qualifying traveler interested in this partnership, this may be a great perk. However, using points for flying can come with disadvantages as the transfer may not be the best redemption option for your hard-earned hotel card points. It’s important to research and be fully aware of the hit that your points could take when transferring them for a flight.

Popular hotel loyalty programs

With many hotel loyalty programs out there, it can be hard to decide which is the best. Well, we do the heavy lifting for you with the help of The Points Guy’s monthly point valuations. Here, we reveal a few of the best hotel rewards programs and what they can offer members:

Favorite hotel loyalty programs

Hotel loyalty programNumber of propertiesStrongest criteriaValuationSelect features
Wyndham RewardsMore than 8,000Ease and value of redemption1.1 cents/per pointFree wifi, discounted nights at select properites, late check-out after 5 nights
Hilton HonorsMore than 5,000Strong co-branded cards0.6 cents/per pointLate check-out, at least 10X points on stays, 5th night free
Marriott BonvoyMore than 7,000Geographic spread0.8 cents/per pointAfter 10 nights, get complimentary in-room internet, late check-out, dedicated reservations line
World of HyattMore than 800Percentage of luxury properties1.7 cents/per pointFree standard wifi, 5X points, as well as complimentary breakfast, early check-in and check-out, 1 category upgrade (SLH hotels)

Source: TPG, CreditCards.com research

Detailed card reviews

For more information and to see more cards, see our hotel credit card reviews.

Related Travel and Rewards Card Categories:


All information regarding credit card point valuations is provided by The Points Guy