Best hotel credit cards of 2021

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 cards offers below from our partners.

Best for travel insurance

Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card

TPG Editor's Rating
tooltip

4.5/5
at Chase's secure site

Rewards

1 - 2X points
more info

Intro Bonus

80,000 points
details

Annual Fee

$95

Recommended Credit

670-850
Excellent/Good
more info
Why we chose it

The Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card is one of the most popular travel rewards credit card on the market. Sporting an all-time-high sign-up bonus and offering an excellent 2x points on all 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 13 valuable airline and hotel partners.

Pros

  • You’ll earn 2x Ultimate Rewards points on travel and dining including eligible delivery services and takeout
  • The current welcome bonus on this card is quite generous. TPG values it at up to $1,650
  • Premium travel protection benefits including trip cancellation insurance, primary car rental insurance and lost luggage insurance

Cons

  • The card comes with a $95 annual fee
  • Earn 80,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $1,000 when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®. Plus earn up to $50 in statement credits towards grocery store purchases within your first year of account opening.
  • Earn 2X points on dining including eligible delivery services, takeout and dining out and travel. Plus, earn 1 point per dollar spent on all other purchases.
  • Get 25% more value when you redeem for airfare, hotels, car rentals and cruises through Chase Ultimate Rewards®. For example, 80,000 points are worth $1,000 toward travel.
  • With Pay Yourself Back℠, your points are worth 25% more during the current offer when you redeem them for statement credits against existing purchases in select, rotating categories.
  • Get unlimited deliveries with a $0 delivery fee and reduced service fees on eligible orders over $12 for a minimum of one year with DashPass, DoorDash's subscription service. Activate by 12/31/21.
  • Count on Trip Cancellation/Interruption Insurance, Auto Rental Collision Damage Waiver, Lost Luggage Insurance and more.
  • Get up to $60 back on an eligible Peloton Digital or All-Access Membership through 12/31/2021, and get full access to their workout library through the Peloton app, including cardio, running, strength, yoga, and more. Take classes using a phone, tablet, or TV. No fitness equipment is required.
Best for travel insurance

Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card

TPG Editor's Rating

tooltip
4.5/5
  • 2X 2X points on dining at restaurants including eligible delivery services, takeout and dining out and travel.
  • 1X 1 point per dollar spent on all other purchases.

Intro Bonus
tooltip

80,000 points

Annual Fee

$95

Recommended Credit
tooltip

670-850
Excellent/Good
Why we chose it

The Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card is one of the most popular travel rewards credit card on the market. Sporting an all-time-high sign-up bonus and offering an excellent 2x points on all 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 13 valuable airline and hotel partners.

Pros

  • You’ll earn 2x Ultimate Rewards points on travel and dining including eligible delivery services and takeout
  • The current welcome bonus on this card is quite generous. TPG values it at up to $1,650
  • Premium travel protection benefits including trip cancellation insurance, primary car rental insurance and lost luggage insurance

Cons

  • The card comes with a $95 annual fee
  • Earn 80,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $1,000 when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®. Plus earn up to $50 in statement credits towards grocery store purchases within your first year of account opening.
  • Earn 2X points on dining including eligible delivery services, takeout and dining out and travel. Plus, earn 1 point per dollar spent on all other purchases.
  • Get 25% more value when you redeem for airfare, hotels, car rentals and cruises through Chase Ultimate Rewards®. For example, 80,000 points are worth $1,000 toward travel.
  • With Pay Yourself Back℠, your points are worth 25% more during the current offer when you redeem them for statement credits against existing purchases in select, rotating categories.
  • Get unlimited deliveries with a $0 delivery fee and reduced service fees on eligible orders over $12 for a minimum of one year with DashPass, DoorDash's subscription service. Activate by 12/31/21.
  • Count on Trip Cancellation/Interruption Insurance, Auto Rental Collision Damage Waiver, Lost Luggage Insurance and more.
  • Get up to $60 back on an eligible Peloton Digital or All-Access Membership through 12/31/2021, and get full access to their workout library through the Peloton app, including cardio, running, strength, yoga, and more. Take classes using a phone, tablet, or TV. No fitness equipment is required.
Terms & restrictions apply. See rates & fees

TPG Editor's Rating
tooltip

3.5/5
at American Express's secure site Terms & restrictions apply. See rates & fees

Rewards

2 - 6X points
more info

Intro Bonus

125,000 points
details

Annual Fee

$450

Recommended Credit

670-850
Excellent/Good
more info
Why we chose it

The Bonvoy Brilliant is ideal for travelers who are loyal to the Marriott brand. You’ll get a solid return on Marriott stays and a number of premium perks that can help you upgrade your trips. However, with high-end perks comes a high annual fee.

Pros

  • Earn up to $300 in statement credits each year for eligible at Marriott Bonvoy hotels
  • 1 free night award (up to 50,000 points) on each cardmember anniversary
  • Priority Pass Select membership (enrollment required)
  • Automatic Gold status with the ability to earn Platinum

Cons

  • $450 annual fee isn't insignificant
  • May not make sense if you don't stay at Marriott properties
  • Earn 125,000 bonus Marriott Bonvoy points after you use your new Card to make $5,000 in purchases within the first 3 months. Plus, earn up to $200 in Statement Credits for eligible purchases at U.S. Restaurants within the first 6 months of Card Membership. Offer Expires 5/12/2021.
  • Enjoy up to $300 in statement credits each year of Card Membership for eligible purchases at participating Marriott Bonvoy hotels.
  • Earn 6 Marriott Bonvoy points for each dollar of eligible purchases at participating Marriott Bonvoy Hotels. 3 points at U.S. restaurants and on flights booked directly with airlines. 2 points on all other eligible purchases.
  • Receive 1 free Night Award every year after your Card account anniversary. Award can be used for one night (redemption level at or under 50,000 Marriott Bonvoy Points) at a participating hotel. Certain hotels have resort fees.
  • Enjoy unlimited airport lounge visits when you enroll in Priority Pass™ Select membership.
  • No Foreign Transaction Fees.
  • $450 Annual Fee.
  • Terms Apply.
  • See Rates & Fees
Best card for Marriott

Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant™ American Express® Card

TPG Editor's Rating

tooltip
3.5/5
  • 6X Earn 6 Marriott Bonvoy points for each dollar of eligible purchases at participating Marriott Bonvoy Hotels.
  • 3X 3 points at U.S. restaurants and on flights booked directly with airlines.
  • 2X 2 points on all other eligible purchases.

Intro Bonus
tooltip

125,000 points

Annual Fee

$450

Recommended Credit
tooltip

670-850
Excellent/Good
Why we chose it

The Bonvoy Brilliant is ideal for travelers who are loyal to the Marriott brand. You’ll get a solid return on Marriott stays and a number of premium perks that can help you upgrade your trips. However, with high-end perks comes a high annual fee.

Pros

  • Earn up to $300 in statement credits each year for eligible at Marriott Bonvoy hotels
  • 1 free night award (up to 50,000 points) on each cardmember anniversary
  • Priority Pass Select membership (enrollment required)
  • Automatic Gold status with the ability to earn Platinum

Cons

  • $450 annual fee isn't insignificant
  • May not make sense if you don't stay at Marriott properties
  • Earn 125,000 bonus Marriott Bonvoy points after you use your new Card to make $5,000 in purchases within the first 3 months. Plus, earn up to $200 in Statement Credits for eligible purchases at U.S. Restaurants within the first 6 months of Card Membership. Offer Expires 5/12/2021.
  • Enjoy up to $300 in statement credits each year of Card Membership for eligible purchases at participating Marriott Bonvoy hotels.
  • Earn 6 Marriott Bonvoy points for each dollar of eligible purchases at participating Marriott Bonvoy Hotels. 3 points at U.S. restaurants and on flights booked directly with airlines. 2 points on all other eligible purchases.
  • Receive 1 free Night Award every year after your Card account anniversary. Award can be used for one night (redemption level at or under 50,000 Marriott Bonvoy Points) at a participating hotel. Certain hotels have resort fees.
  • Enjoy unlimited airport lounge visits when you enroll in Priority Pass™ Select membership.
  • No Foreign Transaction Fees.
  • $450 Annual Fee.
  • Terms Apply.
  • See Rates & Fees
Best low-cost card for Marriott

Marriott Bonvoy Boundless™ Credit Card

TPG Editor's Rating
tooltip

4/5
at Chase's secure site

Rewards

2 - 17X points
more info

Intro Bonus

100,000 Points
details

Annual Fee

$95

Recommended Credit

670-850
Excellent/Good
more info
Why we chose it

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

Pros

  • Annual free night certificate (up to 35,000 points) each cardmember anniversary
  • Automatic Silver elite status with pathway to Gold
  • 15 elite night credits annually to help earn mid or high tier Bonvoy status

Cons

  • There are better Marriott cards if you want higher tier status or no annual fee
  • Doesn't make sense if you don't stay at Marriott properties
  • Limited Time Offer! Earn 100,000 Bonus Points after you spend $3,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening.
  • 1 Free Night Award (valued up to 35,000 points) every year after account anniversary.
  • Earn up to 17X total Bonvoy points per $1 spent at over 7,000 hotels participating in Marriott Bonvoy™.
  • 2X Bonvoy points for every $1 spent on all other purchases.
  • Automatic Silver Elite Status each account anniversary year. Path to Gold Status when you spend $35,000 on purchases each account year.
  • 15 Elite Night Credits each calendar year.
  • No Foreign Transaction Fees.
  • Earn unlimited Marriott Bonvoy points and get Free Night Stays faster.
Best low-cost card for Marriott

Marriott Bonvoy Boundless™ Credit Card

TPG Editor's Rating

tooltip
4/5
  • 17X Earn up to 17X total Bonvoy points per $1 spent at over 7,000 hotels participating in Marriott Bonvoy™
  • 2X 2X Bonvoy points for every $1 spent on all other purchases.

Intro Bonus
tooltip

100,000 Points

Annual Fee

$95

Recommended Credit
tooltip

670-850
Excellent/Good
Why we chose it

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

Pros

  • Annual free night certificate (up to 35,000 points) each cardmember anniversary
  • Automatic Silver elite status with pathway to Gold
  • 15 elite night credits annually to help earn mid or high tier Bonvoy status

Cons

  • There are better Marriott cards if you want higher tier status or no annual fee
  • Doesn't make sense if you don't stay at Marriott properties
  • Limited Time Offer! Earn 100,000 Bonus Points after you spend $3,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening.
  • 1 Free Night Award (valued up to 35,000 points) every year after account anniversary.
  • Earn up to 17X total Bonvoy points per $1 spent at over 7,000 hotels participating in Marriott Bonvoy™.
  • 2X Bonvoy points for every $1 spent on all other purchases.
  • Automatic Silver Elite Status each account anniversary year. Path to Gold Status when you spend $35,000 on purchases each account year.
  • 15 Elite Night Credits each calendar year.
  • No Foreign Transaction Fees.
  • Earn unlimited Marriott Bonvoy points and get Free Night Stays faster.

TPG Editor's Rating
tooltip

4/5
at Chase's secure site

Rewards

1 - 25X points
more info

Intro Bonus

125,000 points
details

Annual Fee

$89

Recommended Credit

670-850
Excellent/Good
more info
Why we chose it

The IHG® Rewards Club 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.

Pros

  • Earn up to 25x points per dollar on IHG hotel stays (10 points as a cardholder in addition to 15 points per dollar earned as an IHG Rewards Club member)
  • 2x points per dollar on gas station, grocery store and restaurant purchases
  • Up to $100 statement credit for Global Entry/TSA Precheck application every 4 years

Cons

  • Redemption options outside of IHG properties provide low value
  • Poor transfer rates to airline partners
  • Earn 125,000 bonus points plus a Reward Night after spending $3,000 on purchases within the first three months of account opening
  • Enjoy a Reward Night after each account anniversary year at eligible IHG hotels worldwide. Plus, enjoy a reward night when you redeem points for any stay of 4 or more nights
  • Earn up to 25 points total per $1 spent when you stay at an IHG hotel
  • Earn 2 points per $1 spent on purchases at gas stations, grocery stores, and restaurants. Earn 1 point per $1 spent on all other purchases
  • Platinum Elite status as long as you remain a Premier card member
  • Global Entry or TSA Pre✓® Fee Credit of up to $100 every 4 years as reimbursement for the application fee charged to your card
  • IHG Rewards Club Bonus points are redeemable at hotels such as InterContinental®, Crowne Plaza®, Kimpton®, EVEN® Hotels, Indigo® Hotels & Holiday Inn®
Best card for IHG

IHG® Rewards Club Premier Credit Card

TPG Editor's Rating

tooltip
4/5
  • 25X Earn up to 25 points total per $1 spent when you stay at an IHG hotel.
  • 2X Earn 2 points per $1 spent on purchases at gas stations, grocery stores, and restaurants.
  • 1X Earn 1 point per $1 spent on all other purchases.

Intro Bonus
tooltip

125,000 points

Annual Fee

$89

Recommended Credit
tooltip

670-850
Excellent/Good
Why we chose it

The IHG® Rewards Club 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.

Pros

  • Earn up to 25x points per dollar on IHG hotel stays (10 points as a cardholder in addition to 15 points per dollar earned as an IHG Rewards Club member)
  • 2x points per dollar on gas station, grocery store and restaurant purchases
  • Up to $100 statement credit for Global Entry/TSA Precheck application every 4 years

Cons

  • Redemption options outside of IHG properties provide low value
  • Poor transfer rates to airline partners
  • Earn 125,000 bonus points plus a Reward Night after spending $3,000 on purchases within the first three months of account opening
  • Enjoy a Reward Night after each account anniversary year at eligible IHG hotels worldwide. Plus, enjoy a reward night when you redeem points for any stay of 4 or more nights
  • Earn up to 25 points total per $1 spent when you stay at an IHG hotel
  • Earn 2 points per $1 spent on purchases at gas stations, grocery stores, and restaurants. Earn 1 point per $1 spent on all other purchases
  • Platinum Elite status as long as you remain a Premier card member
  • Global Entry or TSA Pre✓® Fee Credit of up to $100 every 4 years as reimbursement for the application fee charged to your card
  • IHG Rewards Club Bonus points are redeemable at hotels such as InterContinental®, Crowne Plaza®, Kimpton®, EVEN® Hotels, Indigo® Hotels & Holiday Inn®
Best no-annual-fee card for IHG

IHG® Rewards Club Traveler Credit Card

TPG Editor's Rating
tooltip

2.5/5
at Chase's secure site

Rewards

2 - 15X points
more info

Intro Bonus

60,000 points
details

Annual Fee

$0

Recommended Credit

670-850
Excellent/Good
more info
Why we chose it

The IHG Rewards Club Traveler card is the no-annual-fee option in the IHG portfolio of cards and features a solid rewards rate on IHG hotel purchases. The card is a viable option for those who occasionally stay with IHG hotel brands such as Kimpton, Intercontinental and Holiday Inn, but are not exclusive to the brand.

Pros

  • You'll earn up to 15x points total per $1 spent when you stay at an IHG hotel
  • 2x points per $1 spent on purchases at gas stations, grocery stores, and restaurants
  • No Foreign Transaction Fees
  • Fourth night reward on award stays

Cons

  • Points value is low unless you’re redeeming for IHG stays
  • Superior IHG cards come with a free anniversary award night and $100 Global Entry or TSA PreCheck application fee credit making it a better value proposition
  • Earn 60,000 bonus points after spending $2,000 on purchases within the first three months of account opening
  • No Annual Fee
  • Earn up to 15 points total per $1 spent when you stay at an IHG hotel
  • Earn 2 points per $1 spent on purchases at gas stations, grocery stores, and restaurants. Earn 1 point per $1 spent on all other purchases
  • No Foreign Transaction Fees
  • Fourth Reward Night Free
  • IHG Rewards Club Bonus points are redeemable at hotels such as InterContinental®, Crowne Plaza®, Kimpton®, EVEN® Hotels, Indigo® Hotels & Holiday Inn®
Best no-annual-fee card for IHG

IHG® Rewards Club Traveler Credit Card

TPG Editor's Rating

tooltip
2.5/5
  • 15X Earn up to 15 points total per $1 spent when you stay at an IHG hotel.
  • 2X Earn 2 points per $1 spent on purchases at gas stations, grocery stores, and restaurants. Earn 1 point per $1 spent on all other purchases.

Intro Bonus
tooltip

60,000 points

Annual Fee

$0

Recommended Credit
tooltip

670-850
Excellent/Good
Why we chose it

The IHG Rewards Club Traveler card is the no-annual-fee option in the IHG portfolio of cards and features a solid rewards rate on IHG hotel purchases. The card is a viable option for those who occasionally stay with IHG hotel brands such as Kimpton, Intercontinental and Holiday Inn, but are not exclusive to the brand.

Pros

  • You'll earn up to 15x points total per $1 spent when you stay at an IHG hotel
  • 2x points per $1 spent on purchases at gas stations, grocery stores, and restaurants
  • No Foreign Transaction Fees
  • Fourth night reward on award stays

Cons

  • Points value is low unless you’re redeeming for IHG stays
  • Superior IHG cards come with a free anniversary award night and $100 Global Entry or TSA PreCheck application fee credit making it a better value proposition
  • Earn 60,000 bonus points after spending $2,000 on purchases within the first three months of account opening
  • No Annual Fee
  • Earn up to 15 points total per $1 spent when you stay at an IHG hotel
  • Earn 2 points per $1 spent on purchases at gas stations, grocery stores, and restaurants. Earn 1 point per $1 spent on all other purchases
  • No Foreign Transaction Fees
  • Fourth Reward Night Free
  • IHG Rewards Club Bonus points are redeemable at hotels such as InterContinental®, Crowne Plaza®, Kimpton®, EVEN® Hotels, Indigo® Hotels & Holiday Inn®
Best card for Hyatt

World of Hyatt Credit Card

TPG Editor's Rating
tooltip

4/5
at Chase's secure site

Rewards

2 - 9X points
more info

Intro Bonus

Earn up to 60,000 points
details

Annual Fee

$95

Recommended Credit

670-850
Excellent/Good
more info
Why we chose it

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.

Pros

  • Annual free night stay on card anniversary
  • Free World of Hyatt Discoverist status
  • 9x points per dollar spent on Hyatt hotels and resorts, including participating restaurants and spas
  • Ability to earn an additional free night award and higher elite status with certain spend threshold

Cons

  • $95 annual fee
  • Limited number of Hyatt hotels globally compared to other large hotel brands
  • Earn 30,000 Bonus Points after you spend $3,000 on purchases in your first 3 months from account opening. Plus, up to 30,000 More Bonus Points by earning 2 Bonus Points total per $1 spent in the first 6 months from account opening on purchases that normally earn 1 Bonus Point, on up to $15,000 spent
  • Get 1 free night each year after your Cardmember anniversary at any Category 1-4 Hyatt hotel or resort
  • Enjoy complimentary World of Hyatt Discoverist status for as long as your account is open
  • Receive 5 tier qualifying night credits towards status after account opening, and each year after that for as long as your account is open
  • Earn an extra free night at any Category 1-4 Hyatt hotel if you spend $15,000 in a calendar year
  • Earn 2 qualifying night credits towards tier status every time you spend $5,000 on your card
  • 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
  • Earn 2 Bonus Points per $1 spent at restaurants, on airlines tickets purchased directly from the airlines, on local transit and commuting and on fitness club and gym memberships
Best card for Hyatt

World of Hyatt Credit Card

TPG Editor's Rating

tooltip
4/5
  • 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 qualifying night credits towards tier status every time you spend $5,000 on your card.

Intro Bonus
tooltip

Earn up to 60,000 points

Annual Fee

$95

Recommended Credit
tooltip

670-850
Excellent/Good
Why we chose it

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.

Pros

  • Annual free night stay on card anniversary
  • Free World of Hyatt Discoverist status
  • 9x points per dollar spent on Hyatt hotels and resorts, including participating restaurants and spas
  • Ability to earn an additional free night award and higher elite status with certain spend threshold

Cons

  • $95 annual fee
  • Limited number of Hyatt hotels globally compared to other large hotel brands
  • Earn 30,000 Bonus Points after you spend $3,000 on purchases in your first 3 months from account opening. Plus, up to 30,000 More Bonus Points by earning 2 Bonus Points total per $1 spent in the first 6 months from account opening on purchases that normally earn 1 Bonus Point, on up to $15,000 spent
  • Get 1 free night each year after your Cardmember anniversary at any Category 1-4 Hyatt hotel or resort
  • Enjoy complimentary World of Hyatt Discoverist status for as long as your account is open
  • Receive 5 tier qualifying night credits towards status after account opening, and each year after that for as long as your account is open
  • Earn an extra free night at any Category 1-4 Hyatt hotel if you spend $15,000 in a calendar year
  • Earn 2 qualifying night credits towards tier status every time you spend $5,000 on your card
  • 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
  • Earn 2 Bonus Points per $1 spent at restaurants, on airlines tickets purchased directly from the airlines, on local transit and commuting and on fitness club and gym memberships
Best non-hotel card for earning

Chase Sapphire Reserve®

TPG Editor's Rating
tooltip

4.5/5
at Chase's secure site

Rewards

1 - 3X points
more info

Intro Bonus

60,000 points
details

Annual Fee

$550

Recommended Credit

740-850
Excellent
more info
Why we chose it

The Chase Sapphire Reserve is one of our top premium travel cards. With a $300 travel credit, generous 3x points on dining and travel purchases and other benefits, you can get excellent value that far exceeds the annual fee on the card.

Pros

  • $300 Annual Travel Credit as reimbursement for travel purchases charged to your card each account anniversary year
  • Access to Chase Ultimate Rewards hotel and airline travel partners - Unlimited 3x points on the broad category of travel and dining
  • 50% more value when you redeem your points for travel directly through Chase Ultimate Reward

Cons

  • Steep initial $550 annual fee
  • May not make sense for people that don't travel frequently
  • Earn 60,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $900 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®
  • $300 Annual Travel Credit as reimbursement for travel purchases charged to your card each account anniversary year. Through December 31, 2021, gas station & grocery store purchases will also count towards earning your Travel Credit
  • 3X points on travel immediately after earning your $300 travel credit. 3X points on dining at restaurants including eligible delivery services, takeout and dining out & 1 point per $1 spent on all other purchases
  • Get 50% more value when you redeem your points for travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards®. For example, 60,000 points are worth $900 toward travel
  • With Pay Yourself Back℠, your points are worth 50% more during the current offer when you redeem them for statement credits against existing purchases in select, rotating categories
  • 1:1 point transfer to leading airline and hotel loyalty programs
  • Access to 1,300+ airport lounges worldwide after an easy, one-time enrollment in Priority Pass™ Select and up to $100 application fee credit for Global Entry or TSA Pre✓®
  • Count on Trip Cancellation/Interruption Insurance, Auto Rental Collision Damage Waiver, Lost Luggage Insurance and more
Best non-hotel card for earning

Chase Sapphire Reserve®

TPG Editor's Rating

tooltip
4.5/5
  • 3X 3X points on travel immediately after earning your $300 travel credit.
  • 3X 3X points on dining at restaurants including eligible delivery services, takeout and dining out.
  • 1X 1 point per $1 spent on all other purchases

Intro Bonus
tooltip

60,000 points

Annual Fee

$550

Recommended Credit
tooltip

740-850
Excellent
Why we chose it

The Chase Sapphire Reserve is one of our top premium travel cards. With a $300 travel credit, generous 3x points on dining and travel purchases and other benefits, you can get excellent value that far exceeds the annual fee on the card.

Pros

  • $300 Annual Travel Credit as reimbursement for travel purchases charged to your card each account anniversary year
  • Access to Chase Ultimate Rewards hotel and airline travel partners - Unlimited 3x points on the broad category of travel and dining
  • 50% more value when you redeem your points for travel directly through Chase Ultimate Reward

Cons

  • Steep initial $550 annual fee
  • May not make sense for people that don't travel frequently
  • Earn 60,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $900 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®
  • $300 Annual Travel Credit as reimbursement for travel purchases charged to your card each account anniversary year. Through December 31, 2021, gas station & grocery store purchases will also count towards earning your Travel Credit
  • 3X points on travel immediately after earning your $300 travel credit. 3X points on dining at restaurants including eligible delivery services, takeout and dining out & 1 point per $1 spent on all other purchases
  • Get 50% more value when you redeem your points for travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards®. For example, 60,000 points are worth $900 toward travel
  • With Pay Yourself Back℠, your points are worth 50% more during the current offer when you redeem them for statement credits against existing purchases in select, rotating categories
  • 1:1 point transfer to leading airline and hotel loyalty programs
  • Access to 1,300+ airport lounges worldwide after an easy, one-time enrollment in Priority Pass™ Select and up to $100 application fee credit for Global Entry or TSA Pre✓®
  • Count on Trip Cancellation/Interruption Insurance, Auto Rental Collision Damage Waiver, Lost Luggage Insurance and more
Terms & restrictions apply. See rates & fees

TPG Editor's Rating
tooltip

4.5/5
at American Express's secure site Terms & restrictions apply. See rates & fees

Rewards

5 - 10X points
more info

Intro Bonus

75,000 points
details

Annual Fee

$550

Recommended Credit

670-850
Excellent/Good
more info
Why we chose it

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.

Pros

  • The current welcome bonus on this card is quite lucrative. TPG values it at $1,500, not including any points you may earn from the temporary 10x bonus categories.
  • This card comes with a long list of benefits, including access to Centurion Lounges, complimentary elite status with Hilton and Marriott, and at least $500 in assorted annual statement credits and so much more.
  • The Amex Platinum comes with access to a premium concierge service that can help you with everything from booking hard-to-get reservations to finding destination guides to help you plan out your next getaway.

Cons

  • The $550 annual fee is only worth it if you’re taking full advantage of the card’s benefits. Seldom travelers may not get enough value to warrant the cost.
  • Outside of the current welcome bonus, you’re only earning bonus rewards on specific airfare and hotel purchases, so it’s not a great card for other spending categories.
  • The annual airline fee credit can be complicated to take advantage of compared to the broader travel credits offered by competing premium cards.
  • Earn 75,000 Membership Rewards® Points after you spend $5,000 on purchases on your new Card in your first 6 months of Card Membership.
  • Earn 10x points on eligible purchases on your new Card at U.S. Gas Stations and U.S. Supermarkets, on up to $15,000 in combined purchases, during your first 6 months of Card Membership. That’s an additional 9 points on top of the 1 point you earn for these purchases.
  • Enjoy Uber VIP status and up to $200 in Uber savings on rides or eats orders in the US annually. Uber Cash and Uber VIP status is available to Basic Card Member and Additional Centurion Cards only.
  • Earn 5X Membership Rewards® Points for flights booked directly with airlines or with American Express Travel. Starting January 1, 2021, earn 5X points on up to $500,000 on these purchases per calendar year.
  • 5X Membership Rewards® Points on prepaid hotels booked with American Express Travel.
  • Enjoy complimentary 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 through American Express Travel with an average total value of $550 with Fine Hotels & Resorts® program at over 1,100 properties. Learn More.
  • Get up to $100 in statement credits annually for purchases at Saks Fifth Avenue on your Platinum Card®. That’s up to $50 in statement credits semi-annually. Enrollment required.
  • $550 annual fee.
  • Terms Apply.
  • See Rates & Fees
Best for luxury perks

The Platinum Card® from American Express

TPG Editor's Rating

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4.5/5
  • 10X Earn 10x points on eligible purchases on your new Card at U.S. Gas Stations and U.S. Supermarkets, on up to $15,000 in combined purchases, during your first 6 months of Card Membership. That’s an additional 9 points on top of the 1 point you earn for these purchases.
  • 5X Earn 5X Membership Rewards® Points for flights booked directly with airlines or with American Express Travel. Starting January 1, 2021, earn 5X points on up to $500,000 on these purchases per calendar year.
  • 5X 5X Membership Rewards® Points on prepaid hotels booked with American Express Travel.

Intro Bonus
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75,000 points

Annual Fee

$550

Recommended Credit
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670-850
Excellent/Good
Why we chose it

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.

Pros

  • The current welcome bonus on this card is quite lucrative. TPG values it at $1,500, not including any points you may earn from the temporary 10x bonus categories.
  • This card comes with a long list of benefits, including access to Centurion Lounges, complimentary elite status with Hilton and Marriott, and at least $500 in assorted annual statement credits and so much more.
  • The Amex Platinum comes with access to a premium concierge service that can help you with everything from booking hard-to-get reservations to finding destination guides to help you plan out your next getaway.

Cons

  • The $550 annual fee is only worth it if you’re taking full advantage of the card’s benefits. Seldom travelers may not get enough value to warrant the cost.
  • Outside of the current welcome bonus, you’re only earning bonus rewards on specific airfare and hotel purchases, so it’s not a great card for other spending categories.
  • The annual airline fee credit can be complicated to take advantage of compared to the broader travel credits offered by competing premium cards.
  • Earn 75,000 Membership Rewards® Points after you spend $5,000 on purchases on your new Card in your first 6 months of Card Membership.
  • Earn 10x points on eligible purchases on your new Card at U.S. Gas Stations and U.S. Supermarkets, on up to $15,000 in combined purchases, during your first 6 months of Card Membership. That’s an additional 9 points on top of the 1 point you earn for these purchases.
  • Enjoy Uber VIP status and up to $200 in Uber savings on rides or eats orders in the US annually. Uber Cash and Uber VIP status is available to Basic Card Member and Additional Centurion Cards only.
  • Earn 5X Membership Rewards® Points for flights booked directly with airlines or with American Express Travel. Starting January 1, 2021, earn 5X points on up to $500,000 on these purchases per calendar year.
  • 5X Membership Rewards® Points on prepaid hotels booked with American Express Travel.
  • Enjoy complimentary 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 through American Express Travel with an average total value of $550 with Fine Hotels & Resorts® program at over 1,100 properties. Learn More.
  • Get up to $100 in statement credits annually for purchases at Saks Fifth Avenue on your Platinum Card®. That’s up to $50 in statement credits semi-annually. Enrollment required.
  • $550 annual fee.
  • Terms Apply.
  • See Rates & Fees
Terms & restrictions apply. See rates & fees

TPG Editor's Rating
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3.5/5
at American Express's secure site Terms & restrictions apply. See rates & fees

Rewards

3 - 12X points
more info

Intro Bonus

Up to 180,000 Points
details

Annual Fee

$95

Recommended Credit

670-850
Good, Excellent
more info
Why we chose it

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 reaonable $95 annual fee. New cardholders earn a generous 130,000 bonus points after spending $2,000 on eligible purchases within the first three months of card membership.

Pros

  • Reasonable $95 annual fee; 12x points on eligible Hilton purchases; 6x at U.S. restaurants, U.S. supermarkets and U.S. gas stations; 3x on all other eligible purchases
  • Hilton Honors Gold status with an upgrade to Diamond by spending $40,000 in a calendar year
  • Solid perks including 10 Priority Pass visits a year, no foreign transaction fees, secondary car rental insurance, extended warranty, return protection and theft and accidental damage purchase protection. Enrollment required for select benefits.

Cons

  • No travel credits
  • No chart to redeem points at Hilton properties and ties you to Hilton properties
  • Earn 130,000 Hilton Honors Bonus Points after you spend $2,000 in purchases on the Hilton Honors American Express Surpass® Card in the first 3 months of Card Membership.
  • Plus, you can earn an additional 50,000 Hilton Honors Bonus Points after you spend a total of $10,000 in purchases on the Card in the first 6 months.
  • Earn a Weekend Night Reward from Hilton Honors after you spend $15,000 on purchases on your Card in a calendar year.
  • Earn 12X Hilton Honors Bonus Points for each dollar of eligible purchases charged on your Card directly with a hotel or resort within the Hilton portfolio.
  • 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.
  • Earn 3X Hilton Honors Bonus Points for all other eligible purchases on your Card.
  • Spend $40,000 on eligible purchases on your Card in a calendar year and you can earn Hilton Honors Diamond status through the end of the next calendar year.
  • $95 annual fee.
  • Terms Apply.
  • See Rates & Fees
Best low-cost card for Hliton

Hilton Honors American Express Surpass® Card

TPG Editor's Rating

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3.5/5
  • 12X Earn 12X Hilton Honors Bonus Points for each dollar of eligible purchases charged on your Card directly with a hotel or resort 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

Intro Bonus
tooltip

Up to 180,000 Points

Annual Fee

$95

Recommended Credit
tooltip

670-850
Good, Excellent
Why we chose it

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 reaonable $95 annual fee. New cardholders earn a generous 130,000 bonus points after spending $2,000 on eligible purchases within the first three months of card membership.

Pros

  • Reasonable $95 annual fee; 12x points on eligible Hilton purchases; 6x at U.S. restaurants, U.S. supermarkets and U.S. gas stations; 3x on all other eligible purchases
  • Hilton Honors Gold status with an upgrade to Diamond by spending $40,000 in a calendar year
  • Solid perks including 10 Priority Pass visits a year, no foreign transaction fees, secondary car rental insurance, extended warranty, return protection and theft and accidental damage purchase protection. Enrollment required for select benefits.

Cons

  • No travel credits
  • No chart to redeem points at Hilton properties and ties you to Hilton properties
  • Earn 130,000 Hilton Honors Bonus Points after you spend $2,000 in purchases on the Hilton Honors American Express Surpass® Card in the first 3 months of Card Membership.
  • Plus, you can earn an additional 50,000 Hilton Honors Bonus Points after you spend a total of $10,000 in purchases on the Card in the first 6 months.
  • Earn a Weekend Night Reward from Hilton Honors after you spend $15,000 on purchases on your Card in a calendar year.
  • Earn 12X Hilton Honors Bonus Points for each dollar of eligible purchases charged on your Card directly with a hotel or resort within the Hilton portfolio.
  • 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.
  • Earn 3X Hilton Honors Bonus Points for all other eligible purchases on your Card.
  • Spend $40,000 on eligible purchases on your Card in a calendar year and you can earn Hilton Honors Diamond status through the end of the next calendar year.
  • $95 annual fee.
  • Terms Apply.
  • See Rates & Fees

More on the best hotel credit cards of 2021

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Card Best for Welcome Offer/Sign Up Bonus Earning Rate Annual Fee
Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card Best for travel insurance 80,000 points
  • 2X points on dining at restaurants including eligible delivery services, takeout and dining out and travel.
  • 1 point per dollar spent on all other purchases.
$95
Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant™ American Express® Card Best card for Marriott 125,000 points
  • Earn 6 Marriott Bonvoy points for each dollar of eligible purchases at participating Marriott Bonvoy Hotels.
  • 3 points at U.S. restaurants and on flights booked directly with airlines.
  • 2 points on all other eligible purchases.
$450
IHG® Rewards Club Premier Credit Card Best card for IHG 125,000 points
  • Earn up to 25 points total per $1 spent when you stay at an IHG hotel.
  • Earn 2 points per $1 spent on purchases at gas stations, grocery stores, and restaurants.
  • Earn 1 point per $1 spent on all other purchases.
$89
IHG® Rewards Club Traveler Credit Card Best no-annual-fee card for IHG 60,000 points
  • Earn up to 15 points total per $1 spent when you stay at an IHG hotel.
  • Earn 2 points per $1 spent on purchases at gas stations, grocery stores, and restaurants. Earn 1 point per $1 spent on all other purchases.
$0
World of Hyatt Credit Card Best card for Hyatt Earn up to 60,000 points
  • 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
  • Earn 2 qualifying night credits towards tier status every time you spend $5,000 on your card.
$95
Chase Sapphire Reserve® Best non-hotel card for earning 60,000 points
  • 3X points on travel immediately after earning your $300 travel credit.
  • 3X points on dining at restaurants including eligible delivery services, takeout and dining out.
  • 1 point per $1 spent on all other purchases
$550
The Platinum Card® from American Express Best for luxury perks 75,000 points
  • Earn 10x points on eligible purchases on your new Card at U.S. Gas Stations and U.S. Supermarkets, on up to $15,000 in combined purchases, during your first 6 months of Card Membership. That’s an additional 9 points on top of the 1 point you earn for these purchases.
  • Earn 5X Membership Rewards® Points for flights booked directly with airlines or with American Express Travel. Starting January 1, 2021, earn 5X points on up to $500,000 on these purchases per calendar year.
  • 5X Membership Rewards® Points on prepaid hotels booked with American Express Travel.
$550
Hilton Honors American Express Surpass® Card Best low-cost card for Hilton Up to 180,000 Points
  • Earn 12X Hilton Honors Bonus Points for each dollar of eligible purchases charged on your Card directly with a hotel or resort within the Hilton portfolio.
  • 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.
  • Earn 3X Hilton Honors Bonus Points for all other eligible purchases on your Card
$95
Marriott Bonvoy Boundless™ Credit Card Best low-cost card for Marriott 100,000 Points
  • Earn up to 17X total Bonvoy points per $1 spent at over 7,000 hotels participating in Marriott Bonvoy™
  • 2X Bonvoy points for every $1 spent on all other purchases.
$95

Best hotel credit cards

Chase Sapphire Preferred Card

Annual fee: $95

Sign-up bonus: Earn 80,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 in the first three months from account opening. Plus earn a $50 statement credit on grocery purchases in the first year of account opening.

Earning rates: Earn 2x points on travel and dining and 1x on all other purchases worldwide. Plus, earn 5x points on Lyft rides through March 2022.

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. Frequent Lyft customers will enjoy the 5x on Lyft rides and fans of DoorDash food delivery service can take advantage of at least 12 months of DashPass membership.

Related: 5 Chase Sapphire Preferred benefits you might not know about

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 10 airlines and three hotel loyalty programs.

Further reading: Chase Sapphire Preferred Card review

APPLY HERE: Chase Sapphire Preferred

Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant Amex

Annual fee: $450 (see rates and fees)

Welcome offer: Earn 125,000 bonus Marriott Bonvoy points after you use your new card to make $5,000 in purchases within the first three months. Plus, earn up to $200 in statement credits for eligible purchases at U.S. restaurants within the first six months of card membership. Offer ends 5/12/2021.

Earning rates: You’ll earn 6x points at participating Marriott properties, 3x at U.S. restaurants and on flights booked directly with the airline, and 2x on all other eligible purchases.

Elite status: Enjoy complimentary automatic Marriott Gold elite status with the ability to earn Marriott Bonvoy Platinum status after making $75,000 in eligible purchases on your card in a calendar year. Each calendar year, you also receive credit for 15 nights toward the next level of Marriott Bonvoy elite status.

Other benefits: Each year on your cardmember anniversary, you’ll receive a free night award worth up to 50,000 points, good for up to a standard Category 6 hotel. Each year you also receive up to $300 in statement credits for eligible purchases (including room rates) at participating Marriott Bonvoy hotels. 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 required for select benefits.

All free night awards set to expire in 2020 have been extended until Aug. 1, 2021.

Related: Marriott Bonvoy extending all members’ elite status through February 2022

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 $450 annual fee (see rates and fees), but the annual Marriott statement credit of up to $300 essentially lowers that to $150.

In addition to earning you 6x points on eligible Marriott stays, this card offers a free night award at properties that cost up to 50,000 points per night each year after your account anniversary. You’ll get complimentary Gold elite status, which comes with benefits such as a 25% bonus on points and space-available upgrades to enhanced rooms. You can also upgrade to Platinum status after spending $75,000 on the card in a calendar year.

On top of all of those perks, for each month in 2021, this card also offers $20 back at U.S. restaurants.

Further reading: Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant card review

APPLY HERE: Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant Amex

Marriott Bonvoy Boundless Credit Card

Annual fee: $95

Sign-up bonus: Earn 100,000 bonus points after you spend $3,000 on purchases in the first three months from account opening.

Earning rates: You’ll earn up to 17x Bonvoy points per $1 spent at over 7,000 participating Marriott Bonvoy hotels and 2x 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. Enrollment required for select benefits.

All free night awards set to expire in 2020 have been extended until Aug. 1, 2021.

Related: What credit score do you need to get the Marriott Bonvoy Boundless credit card?

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, now is a pretty good time to get it since it is awarding 100,000 Marriott Bonvoy bonus points after you use your new Card to make $5,000 in eligible purchases within the first 3 months of Card Membership. Plus, earn up to $150 back in statement credits on eligible purchases made on your new Card within the first 3 months of Card Membership. Offer ends 5/12/21.

Further reading: Marriott Bonvoy Boundless Card review

APPLY HERE: Marriott Bonvoy Boundless Credit Card

IHG Rewards Club Premier Credit Card

Annual fee: $89

Sign-up bonus: Earn 125,000 bonus points plus a Reward Night after spending $3,000 on purchases within the first three months of account opening. 

Earning rates: You earn up to 25x points at IHG properties; 2x at gas stations, grocery stores and restaurants; and 1x 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 Global Entry/TSA PreCheck fee credit of up to $100 and no foreign transaction fees.

Related: Maximizing redemptions with the IHG Rewards Club program

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. Stack that with the automatic Platinum elite status and you’re sure to come out ahead.

Further reading: IHG Rewards Premier Credit Card review

APPLY HERE: IHG Rewards Club Premier Credit Card

IHG  Rewards Club Traveler Credit Card

Annual fee: $0

Sign-up bonus: Earn 60,000 points after you spend $2,000 on purchases in the first three months after opening your new card.

Earning rates: You earn up to 15x points at IHG properties (10x points for being an IHG Rewards member and 5x points for paying with the card); 2x at gas stations, grocery stores and restaurants; and 1x everywhere else.

Elite status: You can buy your way to Gold elite status when you spend $10,000 on your card each calendar year.

Other benefits: A fourth-night reward on award stays of four or more nights, a 20% bonus whenever you buy IHG points with your card and no foreign transaction fees.

Analysis: As expected from a no-annual-fee card, the IHG Traveler doesn’t offer a ton of perks, but it does provide a solid return on IHG spending. Getting a fourth night free on award stays can be incredibly valuable for travelers who stay around long enough to utilize this perk.

Further reading: IHG Rewards Traveler Credit Card review

APPLY HERE: IHG  Rewards Club Traveler 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 4x points at Hyatt properties; 2x on local transit and commuting (including ride-hailing services), restaurants, airline tickets purchased directly and on fitness club and gym memberships; plus 2x points total on purchases that normally earn 1x bonus points on up to $15,000 in the first six months, and then 1x 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 2021.

Keep in mind, Hyatt has cut the normal elite qualification thresholds in half for 2021. If you’re strategic, you may be able to leverage the World of Hyatt Credit Card to fast-track top-tier Hyatt elite status after a much smaller than normal number of nights.

Related: All of the elite qualification changes you need to know about for 2021

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 4x 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 3x 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 4x Hyatt points.

Further reading: World of Hyatt Credit Card review

APPLY HERE: World of Hyatt Credit Card

Chase Sapphire Reserve

Annual fee: $550

Sign-up bonus: Earn 60,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 in the first 3 months from account opening.

Earning rates: You’ll earn 3x points on travel and dining at restaurants and 1x on all other purchases worldwide. You’ll also earn 10x points on Lyft rides through March 2022.

Related reading: Sapphire showdown: Chase Sapphire Preferred vs. Chase Sapphire Reserve

Elite status: N/A

Other benefits: Get an up-to-$300 annual travel credit that can be used toward a wide variety of purchases, Priority Pass lounge access and an application fee credit for Global Entry or TSA PreCheck (up to $100) every four years. Enjoy numerous protections such as primary rental car insurance, industry-leading trip cancellation and delay coverage, lost luggage reimbursement, a concierge service and access to the Luxury Hotel & Resort Collection.

You’ll also receive up to $60 in DoorDash credits in 2021, complimentary Door Dash DashPass membership and a Lyft Pink membership, including ride discounts and priority airport pickups.

Analysis: The Chase Sapphire Reserve has the same bonus categories of travel and dining as the Chase Sapphire Preferred, but it earns 3x points on these purchases (excluding the $300 travel credit). Other perks include an application fee credit for TSA PreCheck or Global Entry every four years. Unlike the Chase Sapphire Preferred — which allows you to redeem points for 1.25 cents apiece through the Chase travel portal — the Reserve lets you redeem points for 1.5 cents apiece. It has a $550 annual fee, but that’s effectively lowered to $250 when you factor in the $300 travel credit.

Chase is also offering a host of limited-time perks because of the ongoing pandemic. From using points to pay yourself back to Instacart Express statement credits and increased earnings, there’s something for everyone.

Further reading: Chase Sapphire Reserve review

APPLY HERE: Chase Sapphire Reserve

American Express Green Card

Annual fee: $150 (see rates and fees)

Welcome offer: Earn 30,000 Membership Rewards points after you spend $2,000 on purchases within three months from account opening. Current TPG valuations put Membership Rewards points at 2 cents, making this welcome offer worth $600.

Earning rates: 3x points on travel, including flights, hotels, transit, taxis and ride-hailing services; 3x points at restaurants worldwide; 1x points on all other purchases.

Elite status: N/A

Other benefits: Get up to $100 per calendar year for a Clear membership and up to $100 for lounge access through LoungeBuddy. You’ll also get various travel protections and pay no foreign transaction fees (see rates and fees).

Related: Why the Amex Green is my favorite card for points-and-miles beginners

Analysis: The venerable American Express Green Card got a major upgrade and a new annual fee in 2019. Cardholders earn 3x points for a broad definition of travel — including airfare, hotel rooms, car rentals, tour operators, travel agencies, campsites and home shares, plus transit covering ride-hailing, buses, taxis, metros, subways, tolls and more. You’ll also earn 3x points for dining worldwide and 1x on everything else. The 3x for hotels, travel and transit is equal to what’s offered by the Chase Sapphire Reserve.

Beyond the earning potential, the card comes with extended warranty protection and purchase protection. When you’re on the road, you have a baggage insurance plan and secondary car rental loss and damage insurance, with the option to upgrade to primary coverage through Amex’s Premium Car Rental Protection. For travel purchases made with the card, you’ll be covered with trip delay insurance.

Further reading: American Express Green Card review

The Platinum Card from American Express

Annual fee: $550 (see rates and fees)

Welcome offer: Earn 75,000 Membership Rewards points after you spend $5,000 on purchases on your new card in your 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 5x points on flights booked directly with airlines and through American Express Travel (on up to $500,000 on these purchases per calendar year). Plus, earn 5x points on prepaid hotel bookings with American Express Travel and Fine Hotels & Resorts. Earn 1x on everything else.

Elite status: Cardmembers can register for both automatic Hilton Honors Gold status and Marriott Bonvoy Gold status.

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. Get up to $200 in annual airline fee statement credits on incidental fees charged by the airline you select. Enrollment required for select benefits.

Related: Is the Amex Platinum worth the annual fee?

Cardholders also receive Uber VIP status and an up-to-$200 annual Uber credit (for use in the U.S.), split into monthly $15 credits. This is also valid for Uber Eats orders. 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, access to Amex Fine Hotels & Resorts bookings and perks and discounted premium tickets via the Amex International Airlines Program. Enrollment required for select benefits.

Analysis: 5x points on 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.

Further reading: American Express Platinum review

APPLY HERE: Platinum Card from American Express

Hilton Honors American Express Surpass Card

Annual fee: $95 (see rates and fees)

Welcome offer: Earn 130,000 points after you spend $2,000 in purchases in the first three months of card membership. Plus, you earn an additional 50,000 Points after spending a total of $10,000 in purchases on the card in the first six months.

Earning rates: You’ll earn 6x points at U.S. supermarkets. You’ll also earn 12x on eligible purchases at Hilton hotels, 6x at U.S. restaurants and U.S. gas stations, and 3x 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.

Other benefits: Earn a weekend night reward from Hilton Honors after you spend $15,000 on purchases on your card in a calendar year. Get 10 Priority Pass lounge visits every year.

In light of the pandemic, all newly issued free weekend night reward certificates are valid through Dec. 31, 2022. Additionally, their validity has been expanded to cover any night of the week — providing valuable flexibility for cardholders.

Related: The 5 ways I use my hotel card benefits to travel in luxury

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 required for select benefits.

Further reading: Hilton Honors American Express Surpass Card review

APPLY HERE: Hilton Honors Surpass 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 14x points at participating Hilton hotels; 7x on flights booked directly with airlines or amextravel.com, car rentals booked directly from select car rentals and at U.S. restaurants; and 3x 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.

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 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.

Related: 7 reasons to get the Amex Hilton Aspire Card

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 (14x points) 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.

Further reading: 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.

Bottom line

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, a card that earns transferable points like the Chase Sapphire Preferred could be the best option for you. It earns Ultimate Rewards points, which you can transfer to Hyatt, IHG and Marriott to redeem for award stays.

You’ll also earn two 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.
For rates and fees of the Amex Green card, 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.

Benji Stawski
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