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.
- The Platinum Card® from American Express — New Platinum Exclusive Offer
- Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card — Best for travel insurance
- Capital One Venture X Rewards Credit Card — Best new premium travel credit card
- Hilton Honors American Express Surpass® Card — Best low-cost card for Hliton
- IHG® Rewards Club Premier Credit Card — Best card for IHG
- The World of Hyatt Credit Card — Best card for Hyatt
- Marriott Bonvoy Boundless® Credit Card — Best low-cost card for Marriott
- Hotels.com® Rewards Visa® Credit Card — Best for booking cheap hotels across multiple brands
- Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant™ American Express® Card — Best card for Marriott
- Wyndham Rewards Earner® Plus Card — Best card for Wyndham
- 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.
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. Read our full review of the Platinum Card from American Express.
- 5x 5x on travel purchased through Chase Ultimate Rewards®
- 3x 3x on dining.
- 2x 2x on all other travel purchases, plus more.
Why we chose it
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.
- 10X Earn unlimited 10X miles on hotels and rental cars booked through Capital One Travel and 5X miles on flights booked through Capital One Travel.
- 2X Earn unlimited 2X miles on all other purchases
Why we chose it
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.
- 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
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 reasonable annual fee. New cardholders can earn up to a generous 180,000 bonus points after spending $10,000 on eligible purchases within the first six months of card membership. Read our full review of the Hilton Honors American Express Surpass Card.
- 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.
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. Read our full review of the IHG Rewards Premier 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
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. Read our full review of the World oh Hyatt card.
- 17X Earn up to 17X total Bonvoy points per $1 spent at over 7,000 hotels participating in Marriott Bonvoy® with the Marriott Bonvoy Boundless® Card.
- 10X 10X total points per $1 spent on up to $2,500 in combined purchases at gas stations, restaurants, and grocery stores within 6 months from account opening with the Marriott Bonvoy Boundless® Credit Card!
- 2X 2X Bonvoy points for every $1 spent on all other purchases.
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. Read our full review of the Marriott Bonvoy Boundless Credit Card.
- Collect 1 stamp each time you spend $500 on purchases with your card and collect 1 stamp for every night you stay at any eligible property booked on Hotels.com
Why we chose it
The Hotels.com Credit Card is the perfect match for those who are deal hunters and tend to stay across multiple hotel properties and brands when traveling. With no annual fee and hotel perks aplenty, you’re only gaining from owning this card. You’ll collect a reward nights easily and Silver membership for the first year of card ownership, which gets you perks such as free breakfast and airport transfers. Read our full review of the Hotels.com Credit card.
- 6X Earn 6 Marriott Bonvoy points for each dollar of eligible purchases at hotels participating in the Marriott Bonvoy™ program.
- 3X 3 points at U.S. restaurants and on flights booked directly with airlines.
- 2X 2 points on all other eligible purchases.
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. Read our full review of the Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant American Express Card.
- 6X Earn 6X points on eligible purchases made at Hotels by Wyndham as well as on qualifying gas purchases.
- 4X Earn 4X points on eligible dining and grocery store purchases (excluding Target® and Walmart®).
- 1X Earn 1X points on all other purchases (excluding Wyndham Vacation Club down payments).
Why we chose it
The Wyndham Rewards Earner Plus Card offers automatic Platinum elite status — making top-tier Diamond status within arm’s reach which comes with guaranteed suite upgrades on award stays and more. For just a $75 annual fee, this is an underrated hotel card that will jumpstart your loyalty into the Wyndham hotel portfolio.
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|Card||Best for||Welcome Offer/Sign Up Bonus||Earning Rate||Annual Fee|
|The Platinum Card® from American Express||New Platinum Exclusive Offer||100,000 points||
|Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card||Best for travel insurance||60,000 points||
|Capital One Venture X Rewards Credit Card||Best new premium travel credit card||100,000 miles||
|Hilton Honors American Express Surpass® Card||Best low-cost card for Hilton||Up to 180,000 Points||
|IHG® Rewards Club Premier Credit Card||Best card for IHG||125,000 points||
|The World of Hyatt Credit Card||Best card for Hyatt||Earn up to 60,000 points||
|Marriott Bonvoy Boundless® Credit Card||Best low-cost card for Marriott||Earn 3 Free Nights||
|Hotels.com® Rewards Visa® Credit Card||Best for booking cheap hotels across multiple brands||Get 2 Reward Nights Worth $250 Total||
|Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant™ American Express® Card||Best card for Marriott||75,000 points||
|Wyndham Rewards Earner® Plus Card||Best card for Wyndham||45,000 points||
Best hotel credit cards
Annual fee: $0
Sign-up bonus: Earn two hotel reward nights worth $250 total (max. $125 per night) after spending $1,000 on purchases in the first three months of account opening.
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 the first year, which gets you perks like free 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 foregin transaction fees.
Further reading: Hotels.com credit card review
APPLY HERE: Hotels.com credit card
Annual fee: $95
Sign-up bonus: Earn 60,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first three months of account opening.
Earning rates: Earn 5x on travel when booked through Chase ultimate reward portal, 3x dining, 3x on select streaming services, 3x points on online grocery purchases (excluding Target and Walmart), 2x points on all other travel and 1x on all other purchases worldwide. Plus, earn 5x 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 (until March 31, 2022) and fans of DoorDash food delivery service can take advantage of at least 12 months of DashPass membership (activate by March 31, 2022).
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 airlines and three hotel loyalty programs.
Further reading: Chase Sapphire Preferred Card review
APPLY HERE: Chase Sapphire Preferred
Annual fee: $450 (see rates and fees)
Welcome offer: Earn 75,000 bonus points after you spend $3,000 in purchases within the first three months of card membership. Plus, earn up to $200 in statement credits for eligible purchases made on your new card at U.S. restaurants within the first six months of card membership.
Earning rates: You’ll earn 6x at hotels participating in the Marriott Bonvoy program., 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 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 (including room rates) at hotels participating in the Marriott Bonvoy program. 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.
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.
Further reading: Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant card review
APPLY HERE: Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant Amex
Annual fee: $95
Sign-up bonus: Earn three free nights (each night valued up to 50,000 points) after spending $3,000 on purchases in your first three months from account opening. Plus, earn 10X total points per $1 spent on up to $2,500 in combined purchases at gas stations, restaurants, and grocery stores within six months from account opening.
Earning rates: You’ll earn up to 17 Bonvoy points per $1 spent (6x with the card, up to 10x for being a Marriott Bonvoy member and 1x from Silver Elite status) 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.
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 is awarding 75,000 Bonus Marriott Bonvoy Points after you use your new card to make $3,000 in purchases within the first three months. Plus, earn up to $150 back in statement credits on eligible purchases made on your new card within the first three months of card membership.
Further reading: Marriott Bonvoy Boundless Card review
APPLY HERE: Marriott Bonvoy Boundless Credit Card
Annual fee: $89
Sign-up bonus: Earn 125,000 bonus points, plus a reward night after you spend $3,000 on purchases in the first three months of account opening.
Earning rates: You earn up to 25x 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.
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
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 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 total on purchases that normally earn 1x 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 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 3x 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.
Further reading: World of Hyatt Credit Card review
APPLY HERE: World of Hyatt Credit Card
Annual fee: $550
Sign-up bonus: Earn 50,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening.
Earning rates: Earn 10x on hotels, car rentals and Chase Dining purchases through the Ultimate Rewards portal, 5x on flights booked through the Ultimate Rewards portal, 3x on all other travel and dining and 1x on everything else. You’ll also earn 10x on Lyft rides through March 2022.
Elite status: N/A
Other benefits: Get an up-to-$300 annual travel credit, 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.
Analysis: The Chase Sapphire Reserve has the same bonus categories of travel and dining as the Chase Sapphire Preferred, but it earns 3x 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 offering the Pay Yourself Back tool for 1.5 cents of value on select redemptions, there’s something for everyone.
Further reading: Chase Sapphire Reserve review
APPLY HERE: Chase Sapphire Reserve
Annual fee: $695 (see rates and fees)
Welcome offer: Earn 100,000 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 5x on flights booked directly with airlines and prepaid hotel bookings and through Amex Travel (on up to $500,000 on these purchases per calendar year). Earn 1x 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, up to $200 in annual airline fee statement credits, up to $179 in CLEAR® credits each year, up to $300 in annual Equinox credits and up to $240 in annual digital entertainment credit. Enrollment 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 required for select benefits.
Analysis: 5x 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
Annual fee: $95 (see rates & fees)
Welcome offer: 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.
Earning rates: You’ll earn 6x 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.
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.
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
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 Amex Travel, 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 (enrollment 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 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 (14x) 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.
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 Stella Shon, 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.