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A big trend with hotel credit cards is to offer free nights annual- whether it be after hitting a certain spend threshold or simply for renewing the card. These annual free nights can easily justify holding onto the card, even if you don’t spend on it since most hotel cards don’t offer the best bonus categories for non-hotel spend. For example, I just hit the $10,000 threshold on my Citi Hilton Reserve card and got the following email from Citibank and Hilton (I’ll get the certificate by e-mail in the next 6-8 weeks):
I haven’t decided where I am going to spend my free night yet, but I’m going to try to maximize its value by spending it at a hotel where rates are typically high over weekends or one where the local currency makes paying for a hotel particularly expensive, such as Europe.
In the meantime, it inspired me to take a look at the other hotel credit cards out there that offer cardholders a free hotel night annually either just based on carrying the card itself, or using it hit a certain annual spending threshold. Here are the top hotel credit cards out there that do so.
Free Night Benefit:
- Receive 1 free night when you spend $10,000 or more on eligible purchases each cardmembership year. Weekend night certificate is valid for one (1) weekend night standard accommodation, double occupancy, subject to availability, at any property in the Hilton HHonors portfolio, excluding those listed at HHonors.com/weekendcertificate.
- Earn 2 weekend night certificates good at select hotels and resorts within the Hilton Portfolio after you make $2,500 in purchases within 4 months of account opening*
- Earn 10 Hilton HHonors Bonus Points per $1 spent on hotel stays within the Hilton Portfolio*
- Earn 5 Hilton HHonors Bonus Points per $1 spent on airline and car rental purchases*
- Earn 3 Hilton HHonors Bonus Points per $1 spent on all other eligible purchases*
- Enjoy the benefits of HHonors Gold status as long as you are a cardmember*
- No foreign transaction fees on purchases*
- Travel with ease and enjoy global acceptance with your Citi chip credit card
Annual Fee: $95
For more information on the Citi Hilton HHonors Reserve card, check out these posts:
Free Night Benefit:
Receive 1 free night every year on your cardmember anniversary at any Category 1-4 property. No spending requirement. Some properties where that certificate’s value is maximized to far outweigh the card’s $75 annual fee include higher-end properties within categories 1-4 such as the Andaz West Hollywood in Los Angeles, Park Hyatt Toronto, Hyatt Escala Lodge Park City and the Grand Hyatt Shanghai. To qualify for this, your account must be open and in good standing. The award night is good for one night in any available standard room within 12 months from the issue date of the certificate.
- Receive 2 free nights after spending $1,000 within the first 3 months with the Hyatt Credit Card (for first time Hyatt Credit cardmembers)
- Receive automatic Hyatt Gold Passport Platinum elite membership
- Earn 3 points for every $1 spent at all Hyatt properties with your Hyatt Credit Card. Earn 2 points for every $1 spent at restaurants, on airline tickets purchased directly from the airline and at car rental agencies, and earn 1 point for every $1 spent anywhere else you use your card.
- No foreign transaction fees. Smart Chip technology and extra protections
- Redeem for free nights with no resort fees, and with as few as 5,000 points at any Category 1 property
Annual Fee: $0 introductory fee for the first year, $75 thereafter.
For more information on the Hyatt Visa and its benefits, check out these posts:
Free Night Benefit:
- 1 free night stay at any Fairmont hotel or resort worldwide every year when you spend $12,000 or more. This free night can be used at any Fairmont property such as the The Plaza in New York, or the Fairmont Orchid in Hawaii, where rooms can get up to nearly $1,000 a night, meaning this benefit easily negates the $95 annual membership if you plan strategically. The free night certificate may even be used in conjunction with Fairmont President’s Club Platinum room or suite upgrade certificates.
- Sign-up bonus of 2 free nights with breakfast for two when you spend $1,000 or more within the first three months
- Earn 5 Fairmont Rewards per dollar spent on Fairmont stays. Earn 2 Fairmont Rewards per dollar spent on airline tickets purchased directly with airlines, at car rental agencies, and on transit and commuting, and earn 1 Fairmont Reward per dollar spent on all other purchases
- No foreign transaction fees
- Airport lounge access with 2 free lounge visits
- For each $7,500 of net purchases you make in a calendar year, you will receive 1 stay credit towards the next Fairmont President’s Club status level (up to 2 stay credits per calendar year).
Annual Fee: $0 introductory fee for the first year, $95 thereafter.
For more information on the Fairmont Visa check out these posts:
Marriott Rewards Premier Visa
Free Night Benefit: Receive 1 free night upon approval and every year on cardmember anniversary. No spending requirement. After your account approval, you receive a free night stay at a category 1-4 hotel. Every account anniversary, you’ll also receive a free night stay in category 1-5 hotel.
- Sign-up bonus of 50,000 points with $1,000 spend in the first 3 months (some readers have reported targeted offers of 60,000-70,000 points)
- Earn 5 points per dollar spent at Marriott locations
- 2 points per dollar spent on airfare, car rentals and dining and 1 point per dollar on everything else.
- Receive 1 credit toward elite status for every $3,000 spent. No foreign transaction fees.
Annual Fee: $85 waived the first year.
There have been targeted offers that are higher than 50,000 points so check Marriott.com and log-in to your account to see if you’re eligible for a higher offer.
Club Carlson Visa
Free Night Benefit: Receive 40,000 points (good enough for one free night at a top tier property) each year when you renew your card. No spending requirement.
- Sign-up bonus of 50,000 points after first purchase and 35,000 more after $2,500 spent within 90 days
- Get a free award night every time you redeem points for at least 2 nights or more (this comes out to 50% off award stays when you stay for two nights!)
- Earn 10 points per dollar spent at Club Carlson properties (Radisson, Radisson Blu, Country Inn and Suites, Park Inn)
- 5 points per dollar on everything else.
- Instant Gold Status
Annual Fee: $75
- 1 free night stay every year of membership. No spending requirement. Cardholders can use their free night at any Priority Club property, including Intercontinentals, without category restrictions, so that’s like getting a 50,000-point bonus every year since high-end Intercontinental properties like the Intercontinental Hong Kong require 50,000 Priority Club points for free night redemptions and room rates can easily run well into the $400-500 range, more than making up for the card’s $49 annual fee, which is waived for the first year anyway.
- Earn 5X points per dollar spent at participating hotels
- Earn 2X points per dollar spent on purchases at gas stations, grocery stores and restaurants
- Earn 1X point per dollar spent spent on all other purchases
- Automatic 10% point rebate
- No foreign transaction fees
Annual Fee: $0 introductory fee for the first year, $49 thereafter.
Always remember that before getting a new card, always make sure you can meet the minimum spending requirements and pay your cards off on time, or else the interest and fees will likely negate the points and benefits you earn as a cardholder.
For more information on hotel credit cards, check out these previous posts:
Top 10 Hotel Credit Card Perks This card is one of several solid options for Hilton guests, and it offers some outstanding benefits like no annual fee, complimentary HHonors Silver status and getting the fifth night free on award redemptions. This card also lets you upgrade to HHonors Gold status when you $20,000 on the card in a calendar year or complete four eligible stays within the first 90 days of account opening.
Maximizing Travel Credit Cards Calendar Year Spending Threshold Bonuses
This card is one of several solid options for Hilton guests, and it offers some outstanding benefits like no annual fee, complimentary HHonors Silver status and getting the fifth night free on award redemptions. This card also lets you upgrade to HHonors Gold status when you $20,000 on the card in a calendar year or complete four eligible stays within the first 90 days of account opening.