Reader
Question

Which Credit Cards Are Best for Free Hotel Stays in Europe?

This post contains references to products from one or more of our advertisers. We may receive compensation when you click on links to those products. For an explanation of our Advertising Policy, visit this page.

New offer: The IHG Rewards Club Select Credit Card is a great way to pad your IHG balance with 70,000 points after $1,000 spent within the first 3 months.

I love Europe (I was in London last weekend, and I’m actually filming this week’s reader questions in beautiful Madrid, Spain), and I thought it was topical that TPG reader Anthony tweeted me to ask:

“What are your thoughts on the best credit cards for free hotel stays in Europe?”

Hotels can be expensive in Europe, especially in London. I think there are two ways to look at credit card offers: the sign-up bonus (how many nights it will get you) and ongoing perks.

If you can leverage the Club Carlson Visa, I think that’s one of the best cards out there for travel within Europe. They’ve got tons of properties across the continent, including nice Radisson Blu hotels. (TPG Creative Director Adam Daniel Weiss just stayed at the Radison Blu Le Dokhan in Paris, and I stayed at the Radisson Blue Prado in Madrid, which is in a great part of town).

With the Club Carlson credit card you get one free night whenever you redeem points on stays of two nights or more. So on a two night stay you’re getting one of those nights free and essentially doubling the value of your points. So I think the Club Carlson Visa is a great card if you know to leverage it; just don’t use it abroad because it incurs foreign transaction fees.

Cl
The Club Carlson Visa can double the value of your points with a free night for every award stay of two nights or more (photo by Adam Daniel Weiss).

In terms of other bonuses, the Chase Hyatt card gets two free nights at any Hyatt in the world, so you can really leverage that at upscale properties like the Andaz in London or the Park Hyatt Vendome (and other new hotels) in Paris. The IHG Rewards Visa offers a great benefit in the IHG PointBreaks list, which offers award nights for just 5,000 points, so you can really stretch the value of your IHG Rewards points. This card currently has a sign-up bonus of 60,000 IHG Rewards points, though Chase sometimes offers a bonus of 80,000 points.

Of course, when paying for hotels in Europe I always use my Chase Sapphire Preferred, which has no foreign transaction fees and offers double points on all hotels regardless of brand. With the 7% annual dividend that will get you 2.14 Ultimate Rewards points for all travel and dining expenses, so I use that card a lot while I’m in Europe.

If you have other questions, please message me on Facebook, tweet me @ThePointsGuy, or send me an email at [email protected]

Maximize your rewards, points and cash back. Get a Personalized Recommendation Now