If you’re a traveler that is often loyal to a particular hotel chain, having a cobranded hotel credit card can be a no-brainer. Unlike airline credit cards that don’t always offer strong enough perks to justify paying an annual fee, most hotel cards offer extremely valuable benefits packages. Perks can include an anniversary free night certificate, complimentary elite status (that may score you free breakfast), bonus points and potentially even on-property credits.
Some hotel credit cards are also currently offering increased welcome bonuses, making this a great opportunity to rack up points and perks for future getaways. See best credit card offers below from our partners.
- 5x 5x on travel purchased through Chase Ultimate Rewards®
- 3x 3x on dining.
- 2x 2x on all other travel purchases, plus more.
The Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card is one of the most popular travel rewards credit card on the market. Offering an excellent return on travel and dining purchases, the card packs a ton of value that easily offsets its $95 annual fee. Cardholders can redeem points at 1.25 cents each for travel booked through Chase or transfer points to one of Chase’s 14 valuable airline and hotel partners. Read our full review of the Chase Sapphire Preferred Card.
- 5X Earn 5X Membership Rewards® Points for flights booked directly with airlines or with American Express Travel up to $500,000 on these purchases per calendar year.
- 5X Earn 5X Membership Rewards® Points on prepaid hotels booked with American Express Travel.
The Amex Platinum is unmatched when it comes to travel perks and benefits. If lounge access, hotel elite status and annual statement credits are important to you, this card is well worth the high annual fee. Read our full review of the Platinum Card from American Express.
- 5X Earn 5X miles on hotels and rental cars booked through Capital One Travel, where you'll get Capital One's best prices on thousands of trip options
- 2X Earn unlimited 2X miles on every purchase, every day.
When it comes to simplicity and strong rewards, the Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card is a solid choice for most travelers. You’ll earn earns 2 miles per dollar on every purchase with no bonus categories to memorize, making it an ideal card for those with busy lives. Read our full review of the Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card.
- 12X Earn 12X Hilton Honors Bonus Points for each dollar of eligible purchases charged on your Card directly with hotels and resorts within the Hilton portfolio.
- 6X Earn 6X Hilton Honors Bonus Points for each dollar of eligible purchases on your Card at U.S. restaurants, at U.S. supermarkets, and at U.S. gas stations.
- 3X Earn 3X Hilton Honors Bonus Points for all other eligible purchases on your Card
The Hilton Honors Surpass Card stands out in the crowded mid-tier category of cobranded hotel credit cards. It comes with elite-like perks at a reasonable annual fee. New cardholders can earn up to a generous 130,000 Hilton Honors bonus points after you spend $2,000 in purchases on the card in the first three months of card membership. Read our full review of the Hilton Honors American Express Surpass Card.
- 10X Earn unlimited 10X miles on hotels and rental cars booked through Capital One Travel
- 5X 5X miles on flights booked through Capital One Travel.
- 2X 2 Miles per dollar on every purchase, every day
If you can maximize the up to $300 statement credit toward Capital One Travel, the Venture X’s annual fee effectively comes down to $95, the same annual fee pegged to the Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card. Add in a 10,000-mile bonus every account anniversary (worth $185, according to TPG valuations) and lounge access, and the card may become the strongest option out there for a lot of travelers. Read our full review of the Capital One Venture X Rewards Credit Card.
- 26X Earn up to 26 points total per $1 spent when you stay at an IHG hotel.
- 5X Earn 5 points per $1 spent on purchases on travel, gas stations, and restaurants.
- 3X Earn 3 points per $1 spent on all other purchases
The IHG® Rewards Premier Credit Card is hotel chain’s top-tier cobranded card. The card delivers strong earning rates on IHG purchases, a free anniversary award night and generous sign-up bonus. Read our full review of the IHG Rewards Premier Credit Card.
- 17X Earn up to 17X total points per $1 spent at over 7,000 hotels participating in Marriott Bonvoy® with the Marriott Bonvoy Boundless® Card.
- 3X Earn 3X points per $1 on the first $6,000 spent in combined purchases each year on grocery stores, gas stations, and dining.
- 2X 2X points for every $1 spent on all other purchases.
The Marriott Bonvoy Boundless card is an entry-level card that can help travelers dip their toes into the Bonvoy program. The card is best for those who stay at Marriotts, but not enough to take full advantage of Marriott’s higher-tier cards. Read our full review of the Marriott Bonvoy Boundless Credit Card.
- 9X Earn up to 9 points total for Hyatt stays – 4 Bonus Points per $1 spent at Hyatt hotels & 5 Base Points per $1 from Hyatt as a World of Hyatt member
- 2X Earn 2 Bonus Points per $1 spent at restaurants, on airline tickets purchased directly from the airlines, on local transit and commuting and on fitness club and gym memberships
If you’re a fan of Hyatt hotels, the World of Hyatt card is one of the top choices for hotel cobranded cards. You’ll earn valuable hotel points, automatic elite status and a free night certificate every anniversary year. Read our full review of the World oh Hyatt card.
- 5X Get 5X Membership Rewards® points on flights and prepaid hotels on amextravel.com
- 1.5X Earn 1.5X points on eligible purchases at US construction material & hardware suppliers, electronic goods retailers and software & cloud system providers, and shipping providers, as well as on purchases of $5,000 or more everywhere else, on up to $2 million of these purchases per calendar year
- 1X 1X points for each dollar you spend on eligible purchases.
The Business Platinum Card from American Express is a great card for frequent travelers looking to add a touch of luxury to their business trips. While the card does come with a high annual fee, you’re also getting a ton of valuable benefits in return. They include generous annual travel credits, unparalleled lounge access that includes Amex Centurion Lounges and more. Read our full review on The Business Platinum Card from American Express.
- 10x Earn 10x total points on hotels and car rentals when you purchase travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards®.
- 5x Earn 5x total points on flights through Chase Ultimate Rewards®.
- 3x Earn 3x points on other travel and dining.
- 1x Earn 1 point per $1 spent on all other purchases
The Chase Sapphire Reserve is one of our top premium travel cards. With a $300 travel credit, bonus points on dining and travel purchases and other benefits, you can get excellent value that far exceeds the annual fee on the card. Read our full review of the Chase Sapphire Reserve card.
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|Card||Best for||Welcome Offer/Sign Up Bonus||Earning Rate||Annual Fee|
|Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card||Best for travel insurance||60,000 points||
|Capital One Venture X Rewards Credit Card||Best premium travel credit card||75,000 miles||
|Hilton Honors American Express Surpass® Card||Best low-cost card for Hilton||Earn 130,000 Points||
|IHG® Rewards Premier Credit Card||Best card for IHG||175,000 points||
|Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card||Best rewards card for non-bonus spending||75,000 miles||
|The Business Platinum Card® from American Express||Best business card||120,000 points||
|Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant® American Express® Card||Best card for Marriott||95,000 points||
|The Platinum Card® from American Express||Best for luxury benefits||Earn 80,000 points||
|The World of Hyatt Credit Card||Best card for Hyatt||Earn up to 60,000 points||
|Chase Sapphire Reserve®||Best for travel credits||60,000 points||
Best hotel credit cards
The Platinum Card from American Express
Annual fee: $695 (see rates and fees).
Welcome offer: Earn 80,000 bonus points after you spend $6,000 on purchases on the card in the first six months of card membership. Check the CardMatch tool to see if you’re targeted for a higher bonus (offer subject to change at any time).
Earning rates: Earn 5 points per dollar on flights booked directly with airlines and through Amex Travel (on up to $500,000 on these purchases per calendar year) and 5 points per dollar on prepaid hotels stays through Amex Travel. Earn 1 point per dollar on everything else.
Other benefits: Almost too many to include. Access to the American Express Global Lounge Collection, which includes Centurion Lounges, Priority Pass, Escape and Airspace lounges, plus Delta Sky Clubs on same-day Delta flights. Up to a $100 fee credit for Global Entry or TSA PreCheck every four years. More than $1,400 in annual statement credits, including up to $200 in annual hotel statement credits for Fine Hotels + Resorts® or The Hotel Collection bookings with Amex Travel (two night minimum stay required), up to $200 in annual airline fee statement credits, up to $189 in Clear credits each year, up to $300 in annual Equinox credits and up to $240 in annual digital entertainment credit. Enrollment is required for select benefits.
Cardholders also receive Uber VIP status and an up-to-$200 annual Uber Cash (for use in the U.S.), split into monthly $15 credits. This is also valid for Uber Eats orders in the U.S. There’s also a $100 Saks Fifth Avenue credit split into two $50 statement credits for the two halves of the year, complimentary memberships in Hertz Gold Plus Rewards, Avis Preferred and National Car Rental Emerald Club Executive and access to Amex Fine Hotels & Resorts bookings. Enrollment is required for select benefits.
Analysis: 5 points per dollar on prepaid hotel stays is an excellent return, but what makes the card stand out is the perks it offers at luxury hotels booked through the Fine Hotels & Resorts program. Every FHR stay comes with benefits such as complimentary room upgrades when available, noon check-in, 4 p.m. checkout, on-site food and beverage credits and more. At select hotels in the Amex FHR program, you can also enjoy a free night — usually the third or fourth — and earn hotel points with most programs as usual.
On other hotel stays, you’ll enjoy the benefits of Gold status from the Hilton Honors and Marriott Bonvoy loyalty programs. Both of these hotel elite statuses entitle you to some solid on-property benefits, such as late checkout and bonus earnings on stays. Just note that prepaid stays booked through Amex Travel (not FHR) typically don’t get hotel points or elite benefits, so you’ll need to book directly to take advantage of your status. For more information, you can read the full review of the American Express Platinum card here.
Official application link: Platinum Card from American Express.
Capital One Venture X Rewards Credit Card
Annual fee: $395.
Welcome bonus: Earn 75,000 bonus miles when you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first three months from account opening.
Earning rates: Earn 10 miles per dollar on hotels and car rentals booked through the Capital One travel portal, 5 miles per dollar on flights booked through the Capital One travel portal and 2 miles per dollar on all other eligible purchases.
Elite status: None, but enjoy up to a $300 annual travel statement credit toward flight, hotel or car rental bookings made through the Capital One travel portal.
Other benefits: Receive 10,000 bonus miles every year, starting on your first cardmember anniversary, Priority Pass and Capital One lounge access and up to a $100 statement credit toward Global Entry or TSA Precheck once every four years.
Analysis: The Capital One Venture X is a well-rounded travel credit card whether you’re a frequent flyer, hotel traveler or vacation home renter — or maybe somewhere in between. If you’re not necessarily loyal to one hotel chain, it helps to diversify and earn a whopping 10 points per dollar on hotel reservations through the Capital One portal. Because you can now transfer Capital One miles to nearly 20 airline and hotel partners – most at a 1:1 ratio – TPG values Capital One miles at 1.85 cents each, so that’s an impressive 18% return on hotel bookings.
Related: Capital One Venture X review
Official application link: Capital One Venture X.
Hilton Honors American Express Surpass Card
Annual fee: $95 annual fee (see rates and fees).
Welcome offer: Earn 130,000 Hilton Honors bonus points after you spend $2,000 in purchases on the card in the first three months of card membership.
Earning rates: You’ll earn 6 points per dollar at U.S. supermarkets. You’ll also earn 12 points per dollar on eligible purchases at Hilton hotels, 6 points per dollar at U.S. restaurants and U.S. gas stations and 3 points per dollar on all other eligible purchases.
Elite status: Automatic Hilton Gold status and the opportunity to earn Diamond status by spending $40,000 a year on the card.
Analysis: This is the card to have if you can’t quite justify the high fee on the Hilton Amex Aspire. Hilton Honors Gold status is among the most valuable mid-tier hotel statuses out there, getting you free breakfast, a fifth night free (plus no resort fees) during award stays, space-available upgrades, free in-room and lobby Wi-Fi, late checkout and more.
The weekend night reward can easily get you a few hundred dollars of value, and the 10 free visits to Priority Pass lounges are just enough for occasional travelers. Plus, you’re still getting a very solid return of 7.2% on your Hilton stays and 3.6% back on your restaurant, supermarket and gas station purchases in the U.S. (all based on TPG’s most recent valuations). Enrollment is required for select benefits.
Official application link: Hilton Honors Surpass Card.
Chase Sapphire Preferred Card
Annual fee: $95.
Sign-up bonus: Earn 60,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first three months from account opening.
Earning rates: Earn 5 points per dollar on travel when booked through Chase ultimate reward portal, 3 points per dollar dining, 3 points per dollar on select streaming services, 3 points per dollar on online grocery purchases (excluding Target and Walmart), 2 points per dollar on all other travel and 1x on all other purchases worldwide. Plus, earn 5 points per dollar on Lyft rides through March 2025.
Elite status: N/A.
Other benefits: In addition to waiving foreign transaction fees, this card offers primary rental car coverage, up to $500 in trip delay reimbursement if you’re delayed more than 12 hours or overnight, up to $10,000 in trip cancellation and interruption insurance and up to $100 per day for up to five days in baggage delay reimbursement if your bag is delayed more than six hours.
Analysis: If you frequently spend on travel — in general, not just at hotels — and dining, and you want to use your points to book travel with its airline and hotel partners, including United and Hyatt, a Chase Sapphire card is a no-brainer. The Chase Sapphire Preferred Card is a great pick for newbies since it has a lower annual fee and still earns valuable bonus points on broad travel and dining categories. It allows you to transfer the points you earn to 11 airline and three hotel loyalty programs. For more information, you can read the full review of Chase Sapphire Preferred Card here.
Official application link: Chase Sapphire Preferred.
Marriott Bonvoy Boundless Credit Card
Annual fee: $95.
Sign-up bonus: Earn 3 Free Night Awards (each night valued up to 50,000 points) after you spend $3,000 on purchases in your first three months from your account opening. Certain hotels have resort fees.
Earning rates: You’ll earn up to 17 Bonvoy points per dollar (6 points per dollar with the card, up to 10 points per dollar for being a Marriott Bonvoy member and an additional point from Silver Elite status) at over 7,000 participating Marriott Bonvoy hotels, 3 points per dollar on the first $6,000 spent in combined purchases each year on gas stations, grocery stores and dining, and 2 points per dollar on all other eligible purchases.
Elite status: Automatic Silver elite status, plus 15 elite night credits each calendar year toward reaching higher status. Reach Gold status by spending $35,000 or more on your card in a calendar year.
Other benefits: Receive a free night award every year on your account anniversary when you renew your card, worth up to 35,000 points. Enjoy free premium in-room Wi-Fi.
Analysis: While you are more limited to where you can use the annual award night, you can still get terrific value from it. Just don’t expect benefits such as suite upgrades and free breakfast with the Silver elite status that comes with the card.
Last but not least, when it comes to Marriott cards, don’t discount having both a personal and small-business Marriott card since you can earn 30 elite qualifying nights each year just by having two Marriott cards. If you don’t yet have the Marriott Bonvoy Business® American Express® Card, it has a welcome offer where you can earn 75,000 bonus points after you use your new card to make $3,000 in purchases within the first three months of card membership.
Official application link: Marriott Bonvoy Boundless Credit Card.
World of Hyatt Credit Card
Annual fee: $95.
Sign-up bonus: Earn up to 60,000 bonus points: 30,000 bonus points after spending $3,000 on purchases within the first three months from account opening. Plus, up to 30,000 more bonus points by earning two bonus points total per $1 spent on purchases that normally earn one bonus point, on up to $15,000 in the first six months of account opening.
Earning rates: You earn 4 points per dollar at Hyatt properties; 2 points per dollar on local transit and commuting (including ride-hailing services), restaurants, airline tickets purchased directly and on fitness club and gym memberships; and then 1 point per dollar on all other purchases.
Elite status: Automatic Discoverist status. You also receive five qualifying night credits toward the next level of elite status each year and the opportunity to earn two additional night credits for each $5,000 spent on the card in case you are pushing for earning valuable Globalist status in 2022.
Other benefits: One free night at a Category 1-4 hotel each year after your cardmember anniversary, plus a second free night at a Category 1-4 hotel each year when you spend $15,000 on the card during your cardmember year.
Analysis: This card comes with a modest annual fee, which you can easily recoup when you redeem the anniversary free night, valid at Category 1-4 hotels. Even most of Hyatt’s low-tier properties can go for $100-plus a night, so you should be able to break even with the card easily.
When it comes to bonus categories, you’ll earn 4 points per dollar on purchases at Hyatt. TPG values Hyatt points quite highly at 1.7 cents each, making this return worth a solid 6.8%. That’s a great return, though I personally would still opt to use a Chase Sapphire Reserve instead. Earning 3 points per dollar that could be transferred to Hyatt (or United, or British Airways, or Singapore … get the idea?) is a better return to me than simply earning 4 points per dollar.
Related: World of Hyatt Credit Card review
Official application link: World of Hyatt Credit Card.
IHG Rewards Premier Credit Card
Annual fee: $99.
Sign-up bonus: Earn 175,000 bonus points after spending $3,000 on purchases within the first three months of account opening.
Earning rates: You earn up to 26 points per dollar at IHG properties (10 points from this card, 10 points for being an IHG Rewards member and 6 points from being a Platinum Elite, a benefit from this card); 5 points per dollar on travel, gas station, and restaurant purchases; and 3 points per dollar everywhere else.
Elite status: Enjoy automatic IHG Rewards Platinum elite status.
Other benefits: A fourth-night reward on award stays of four or more nights, an annual award night certificate worth up to 40,000 points, a NEXUS, Global Entry, or TSA PreCheck fee credit of up to $100 and no foreign transaction fees.
Analysis: Even if you only stay at IHG properties once each year, the award night certificate alone can usually justify the card’s annual cost — especially since they can now be topped up with points. Stack that with the automatic Platinum elite status and you’re sure to come out ahead.
Official application link: IHG Rewards Premier Credit Card.
Hotels.com® Rewards Visa® Credit Card
The information for the Hotels.com Rewards Visa has been collected independently by The Points Guy. The card details on this page have not been reviewed or provided by the card issuer.
Annual fee: $0.
Sign-up bonus: Earn three reward nights worth $375 total (max $125 per night)* with qualifying purchases. Earn two rewards nights worth $250 total (max $125 per night)*, when you spend $1,000 on purchases in the first three months. Plus, earn another rewards night worth $125 when you spend $4,000 in total purchases within the first six months. *Excludes taxes and fees.
Earning rates: Collect one stamp for every night you stay at any eligible property booked on Hotels.com and collect one stamp each time you spend $500 on purchases with your card.
Elite status: Enjoy Silver membership for as long as the card is open, which gets you perks like complimentary breakfast, airport transfers and more.
Other benefits: This card also comes with notable travel and everyday protections from cellphone insurance coverage, trip cancellation, interruption or delay coverage, travel accident insurance, and secondary rental car coverage.
Analysis: Sure, you could apply for a hotel credit card with your preferred hotel chain, but that means you’re locked into that program. For pure flexibility, the Hotels.com credit card offers something unique — the opportunity to earn rewards nights based on eligible stays. Once you accrue 10 stamps, you’ll get one reward night — a pretty fantastic deal for a card with no annual fee or foreign currency conversion fees.
Related: Hotels.com credit card review
Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant Amex
Annual fee: $650 (see rates and fees).
Welcome offer: Earn 95,000 Marriott Bonvoy bonus points after you use your new card to make $5,000 in eligible purchases within the first three months of card membership.
Earning rates: You’ll earn 6 points per dollar at hotels participating in the Marriott Bonvoy program, 3 points per dollar at restaurants worldwide and on flights booked directly with the airline and 2 points per dollar on all other eligible purchases.
Elite status: Enjoy complimentary automatic Marriott Bonvoy Platinum status.
Other benefits: Each year after your card renewal month, you’ll receive a free night award worth up to 85,000 points at hotels participating in the Marriott Bonvoy program (certain hotels have resort fees), good for up to a standard Category 6 hotel. Each year you also receive up to $300 in statement credits for eligible purchases (up to $25 per month) at worldwide restaurants. Plus, enjoy up to $100 in credits for on-property charges when booking stays of two nights or more at Ritz-Carlton or St. Regis properties. Cardmembers also claim Priority Pass Select lounge access (enrollment required) and a Global Entry or TSA PreCheck application fee credit, worth up to $100 every four years. Enrollment is required for select benefits.
Analysis: If you want a card that earns you bonus points for booking Marriott stays and some elite perks, the Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant Amex is worth a close look. The card has a $650 annual fee (see rates and fees), but the annual Marriott statement credit of up to $300 essentially lowers that to $350.
In addition to earning you 6 points per dollar on eligible Marriott stays, this card offers a free night award at properties that cost up to 85,000 points per night each year. You’ll also get complimentary Platinum elite status.
Official application link: Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant Amex.
Wyndham Rewards Earner® Plus Card
Annual fee: $75.
Welcome bonus: Earn 45,000 bonus points, enough for up to six free nights, after spending $1,000 on purchases in the first 90 days of account opening.
Earning rates: Earn 6 points per dollar on eligible Wyndham and gas purchases, 4 points per dollar on dining and grocery purchases (excluding Target and Walmart) and 1 point per dollar on all other eligible purchases.
Elite status: Automatic Wyndham Rewards Platinum elite status for perks like early check-in, preferred room choice and car rental upgrades.
Other benefits: Receive 7,500 bonus points each anniversary year after paying the annual fee.
Analysis: The Wyndham Rewards Earner® Plus Card is a must-have for travelers who frequent Wyndham properties, which span more than 9,000 locations worldwide. The card offers a strong return on both Wyndham and everyday purchases, not to mention a considerable sign-up bonus that can get you up to six free nights at Wyndham properties.
Official application link: Wyndham Rewards Earner Plus Card.
Hilton Honors American Express Aspire Card
Annual fee: $450 (see rates and fees).
Welcome offer: Earn 150,000 points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first three months of account opening.
Earning rates: You’ll earn 14 points per dollar at participating Hilton hotels; 7 points per dollar on flights booked directly with airlines or Amex Travel, car rentals booked directly from select car rentals and at U.S. restaurants; and 3 points per dollar on all other eligible purchases.
Elite status: Enjoy automatic Hilton Honors Diamond status.
Other benefits: One weekend night reward every year after renewal plus an additional night at eligible properties after you spend $60,000 on purchases on your card in a calendar year. Enjoy up to $250 in statement credits each year of card membership for eligible purchases at participating Hilton resorts. Select one qualifying airline and receive up to $250 per calendar year in statement credits for incidental fees such as checked baggage and flight change fees (enrollment is required).
Cardholders also get up to $100 in credits for qualifying charges at participating Waldorf Astoria Hotels & Resorts and Conrad Hotels & Resorts on two-night-minimum stays, plus unlimited Priority Pass lounge access for the cardholder and two guests. Enrollment is required for select benefits.
As with the Surpass card, newly issued free weekend night reward certificates are now valid through Dec. 31, 2022, and can be used on any night of the week.
Analysis: The Aspire is the most rewarding option in Hilton’s cobranded card lineup. It earns you the most Hilton points per dollar on eligible paid stays with the brand (14 points per dollar) and offers some pretty sweet annual travel credits. You get an up-to-$250 Hilton resort statement credit each year for eligible on-property purchases, plus an annual credit of up to $250 for incidental airline fees such as baggage charges.
Other benefits include complimentary Hilton Honors Diamond status, a free weekend night each year upon your account renewal and the ability to earn an additional free weekend night by spending $60,000 on the card in a calendar year.
Related: Hilton Honors Aspire Card review
The information for the Hilton Aspire Amex card has been collected independently by The Points Guy. The card details on this page have not been reviewed or provided by the card issuer.
How we choose the best hotel credit cards
When choosing the right hotel credit card, always consider the spending requirements for the welcome bonus, since you won’t want to miss out on that. You should only apply if you’re able to meet the required spending comfortably and aren’t barred from earning a welcome bonus based on an issuer’s application restrictions.
These card picks are based on numerous criteria: program value, welcome offer, perks and more. Some of these hotel credit cards’ popular features include complimentary elite status, free award nights, and statement credits. Be sure to read the fine print for each offer.
How hotel credit cards work
It’s pretty simple: With hotel credit cards, you typically earn the most points for hotel stays and activities.
Some cards offer more points for categories like restaurants, supermarkets and gas stations. You earn bonus points if you have hotel elite status (which some credit cards give you automatically). Once you earn the points, they can be redeemed for free rooms, room upgrades, flights, rental cars, gift cards, merchandise and special events.
If, however, you choose a card that’s not directly connected with a hotel loyalty program, you’ll have additional redemption options when it’s time to use the points.
Main benefits of a hotel credit card
The main benefits of a hotel credit card include generous welcome bonuses, extra points on hotel spending and annual award nights. Premium cards even offer statement credits that can be used to offset on-property spending or even cover airline incidental fees. Annual free nights ensure that you get your money’s worth for the annual fee, assuming you actually redeem it every year. Many cards also come with some level of automatic elite status.
Who should get a hotel credit card?
Hotel credit cards are typically best for those loyal to one hotel brand, such as Marriott, and who travel enough to earn points that can be redeemed for future stays.
These cards can also be a great fit for a traveler who is loyal to a chain but doesn’t stay enough in a year to earn elite status through the normal qualification requirements. These cards often provide shortcuts to status through spending, so they can be a great way to unlock valuable perks for a leisure traveler.
If you don’t care about earning points for hotel stays or you don’t have elite status, you may want to choose a card that allows greater flexibility, including the ability to use points directly for hotel stays or transfer to hotel programs. For example, Chase Ultimate Rewards points can be transferred to IHG, Marriott or Hyatt, or they can be used for other valuable redemptions.
If you spend even just a few nights per year with a particular hotel chain, it can make sense to carry one of its cobranded credit cards so you can enjoy the perks of elite status when you travel. Many of the cards have reasonable annual fees that are more than made up for by the value cardholders can reap from complimentary status plus additional benefits like annual award nights, discounted award stays and bonus earning opportunities.
Even cards that only confer elite status at the lower rungs — like the Marriott Bonvoy Boundless Card or World of Hyatt Credit Card — might be well worth it for some travelers. These low-tier levels typically take 10-15 nights of actual hotel stays to earn, so grabbing a card and unlocking perks like preferred room upgrades, late checkout and preferential treatment could pay off.
We have detailed guides on the major hotel programs’ various status levels and what benefits you can expect at each tier.
If you don’t want to commit to one hotel chain, you could consider the Hotels.com credit card or a card that earns transferable points like the Chase Sapphire Preferred. It earns Ultimate Rewards points, which you can transfer to Hyatt, IHG and Marriott to redeem for award stays.
You’ll also earn 2 points per dollar on the card for a wide range of travel purchases and dining purchases, which equals a 4% return based on TPG’s valuations. Finally, the card also offers a wide range of travel protection benefits and primary car rental insurance, which can save the day when you’re traveling.
The Chase Sapphire Reserve card could be an even better pick for frequent travelers, thanks to its higher earning rates and additional perks. If you stay at luxury hotels often, you won’t want to overlook The Platinum Card from American Express either — especially since it also provides Marriott and Hilton elite status automatically.
For rates and fees of the Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant Amex, please click here.
For rates and fees of the Hilton Surpass Card, please click here.
For rates and fees of the Hilton Aspire Card, please click here.
For rates and fees of the Platinum Card, please click here.
Additional reporting by Benét J. Wilson and Chris Dong.
Featured photo by Benji Stawski/The Points Guy.
This is The Points Guy’s permanent page with the best currently available hotel credit cards, so you can bookmark it and check back regularly for updates. Keep in mind you may see some reader comments referring to older offers below.