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.
Update: Some offers mentioned below are no longer available – IHG Rewards Club Select Credit Card
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 Premier Rewards Visa Signature Card, 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.
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 Club Select Credit Card 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 after spending $1,000 in the first 3 months.
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, so I use that card a lot while I’m in Europe.
The American Express Platinum card has some of the best perks out there: cardholders enjoy the best domestic lounge access (Delta SkyClubs, Centurion Lounges, and Priority Pass), a $200 annual airline fee credit as well as up to $200 in Uber credits, and mid-tier elite status at SPG, Marriott, and Hilton. Combined with the 60,000 point welcome offer -- worth $1,140 based on TPG's valuations -- this card is a no-brainer for frequent travelers. Here are 5 reasons you should consider this card, as well as how you can figure out if the $550 annual fee makes sense for you.
- Earn 60,000 Membership Rewards® points after you use your new Card to make $5,000 in purchases in your first 3 months.
- Enjoy Uber VIP status and free rides in the U.S. up to $15 each month, plus a bonus $20 in December. That can be up to $200 in annual Uber savings.
- 5X Membership Rewards® points on flights booked directly with airlines or with American Express Travel.
- 5X Membership Rewards points on prepaid hotels booked on amextravel.com.
- Enjoy access to the Global Lounge Collection, the only credit card airport lounge access program that includes proprietary lounge locations around the world.
- Receive complimentary benefits with an average total value of $550 with Fine Hotels & Resorts. Learn More.
- $200 Airline Fee Credit, up to $200 per calendar year in baggage fees and more at one qualifying airline.
- Get up to $100 in statement credits annually for purchases at Saks Fifth Avenue on your Platinum Card®. Enrollment required.
- $550 annual fee.
- Terms Apply.
- See Rates & Fees