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Family vacations can be expensive, to the tune of an average of $2,076 per year in 2017, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ Consumer Expenditure Survey. However, miles and points are an avenue to stretch your family’s vacation budget. In fact, you could potentially wipe out the cost of your hotel stay entirely by using hotel points.
We’ve looked at many hotel rewards credit cards with a wide variety of different hotel rewards perks to give you our best recommendations for traveling families. Hotel rewards credit cards can earn you free night certificates, hotel points and status elite perks, among other benefits. Below you will find the best hotel credit cards for families from a variety of hotel rewards programs.
If you are looking for the overall best overall travel credit cards for families — check out this guide.
We ranked these cards based on numerous criteria: sign-up bonus, value of the points, overall program, built-in perks, annual fees and more. Some families have strong brand loyalty to a certain hotel chain or program, if you know that you want to build up points to stay at a certain hotel, then that makes your choice easy. However, once you have been at the miles and points approach to travel for a while, you will likely want to diversify a bit. When choosing the best hotel credit card for your family, be certain you can comfortably attain the welcome bonus and note the annual fees.
Best Hotel Credit Cards for Families: Detailed Rankings
Annual fee: $95 (waived the first year)
Welcome bonus: Earn 50,000 miles after you spend $3,000 within three months from account opening.
Earning rates: 10 miles per dollar on Hotels.com bookings, 2 miles per dollar on all other purchases
While the Venture Rewards card offers a decent return of 2% on all spending, it’s become much more exciting for families who don’t want to stick with one specific chain of hotels. The Venture Rewards card provides 10x miles on hotel stays booked and paid through Hotels.com, using the Hotels.com/venture URL. This alone equates to a 10% return. But it gets better than that as the Hotels.com Rewards program offers you a free night for every 10 nights you book through the site. Combined, that means 20% back on hotel stays.
This method of maximizing all sorts of hotel stays is how my in-laws turned a 9,000-mile cross-country trip into over $600 in rewards. The 10x bonus at Hotels.com is scheduled to run through January 2020.
This card won’t be the best choice for everyone booking hotel stays, as making purchases through online travel agencies (OTAs) such as Hotels.com generally disqualifies you from earning night and/or stay credits toward hotel elite status. You also might not enjoy benefits that come with any current elite status tiers you hold on stays booked through OTAs. But if your family is simply looking for the best possible return on hotel bookings without being tied to any particular chair, you really can’t beat the Venture and VentureOne.
Welcome bonus: 40,000 points after you spend $3,000 in the first three months. Plus earn an additional 20,000 points after you spend $6,000 total on purchases within the first six months.
Earning rates: 4 points per dollar at Hyatt properties; 2 points per dollar on local transit and commuting, at restaurants, on airline tickets and on fitness club and gym memberships; 1 point per dollar everywhere else
Over the summer, this card was relaunched with a higher welcome bonus, more built-in perks and additional bonus categories, such as 2x for gym memberships. It offers automatic Discoverist status in the World of Hyatt program, plus 5 qualifying nights toward your next tier status every year, and 2 additional qualifying night credits toward your next tier status for every $5,000 you spend on the card. You’ll receive one free night at any Category 1-4 property every year after your account anniversary, and can earn another free night after you spend $15,000 in a cardmember anniversary year. These free nights are extremely valuable for family vacations and can be used in places like the Andaz Costa Rica, Hyatt Regency Hill Country Resort near San Antonio, the Hyatt Place Keystone and the Hyatt Regency Lake Washington in Seattle.
The Hyatt award chart starts at just 5,000 points per night and tops out at 30,000 points per night. This means your 60,000-point sign-up bonus can get you anywhere from two to 12 award nights. If you don’t mind being tied to a specific family of hotels, the World of Hyatt Credit Card may be my favorite hotel credit card for families at the moment.
Earning rates: 10 points per dollar at IHG hotels; 2 points per dollar at gas stations, grocery stores and restaurants; and 1 point per dollar everywhere else
IHG has a wide variety of award options for families. From the quarterly PointBreaks that start at 5,000 IHG points per night, to high-end resorts like the Kimpton Seafire pictured above, you have thousands of lodging options with IHG.
In addition to the sign-up bonus, this card also offers a free night after each account anniversary at properties costing up to 40,000 points per night. Plus, as a cardholder you also get automatic Platinum elite status, and my favorite perk for families is that the fourth night is free on award stays. This means you can book three nights on points near somewhere like Disney World and enjoy the fourth night on IHG!
Annual fee: $95
Welcome bonus: 125,000 Hilton Honors points after spending $2,000 in the first three months.
Earning rates: Earn 12 points per dollar on Hilton purchases; 6 points per dollar at US restaurants, US supermarkets and at US gas stations; and 3 points per dollar on all other purchases.
Hilton released three new cards with Amex in early 2018, which are all solid options, but the Ascend is my current top pick for families. The card conveys complimentary Hilton Gold status with top-tier Hilton Diamond status available with $40,000 in purchases on the card in a calendar year. Gold status is enough to score your family potential upgrades to rooms with lounge access, as well as complimentary breakfast at some properties. You’ll also enjoy one weekend award night each year after you spend $15,000 on the card in a calendar year.
Hilton has a massive global footprint with 5,000 properties located all around the world. There are family-friendly Hilton Resorts, including all-inclusive properties, available for award stays almost anywhere you could want to travel. The all-suites Embassy Suites chain is within the Hilton Honors family, meaning that families can use the Hilton points earned by this card to book a suite with free hot breakfast and included evening appetizers with drinks all at the standard award rate. With the Hilton Honors Ascend Card, you also are entitled to 10 free Priority Pass Select visits each year.
Families who are more frequent Hilton guests may be better served by the pricier Hilton Honors American Express Aspire Card with its Hilton Diamond status, increased earnings at Hilton properties, $250 annual Hilton Resort statement credit, $250 annual airline fee credit, ability to earn two weekend award nights per year and more.
Annual fee: $75
Welcome bonus: Earn 15,000 points after your first purchase or balance transfer. Earn an additional 15,000 points after you spend $1,000 on the card in the first 90 days.
Earning rates: Earn 5 Wyndham Rewards points per $1 spent on Wyndham hotel stays, on-property spending, for Wyndham Vacation Rental North America properties and maintenance fees at Wyndham timeshare properties. Earn 2 points per $1 spent on eligible gas, utility and grocery store purchases (excluding Target and Walmart), 1x most everywhere else.
The Wyndham Rewards program is unique in that it utilizes a flat award chart where all one-bedroom properties are 15,000 points per night. While this makes some properties a bad deal, it makes others a very nice option for families, such as the family room at the TRYP Times Square South that can sleep larger families with two queen beds as well as bunk beds for just 15,000 points per night! Wyndham Rewards also makes all-inclusive resorts available for 15,000 points per night (though inquire for charges beyond double occupancy).
The Wyndham Rewards Visa Signature awards 6,000 points at each renewal and conveys Wyndham Platinum elite status.
Annual fee: $450
Welcome bonus: 100,000 points after you spend $5,000 in the first three months. (Offer ends October 31, 2018)
Earning rates: 6 points per dollar at Marriott and SPG properties; 3 points per dollar at US restaurants and on flights booked directly with the airlines; 2 points per dollar on everything else.
This recently launched premium credit card can be quite valuable for families who want to book stays at properties in the newly combined Marriott program. I know this is an outlier in the line-up because of the $450 annual fee that doesn’t scream family-friendly, but I’ll argue that it is for those families who plan to vacation at Marriott or SPG properties. Yes, there is a $450 fee, but the card carries with it $300 in statement credits each year of cardmembership for eligible purchases at Marriott and SPG hotels.
It also provides your family a free award night every year after your account anniversary for properties that cost up to 50,000 points. This includes places like the Westin Grand Cayman, Walt Disney World Swan and Dolphin and the ski-in hotel Talisa in Vail. On top of the cards and anniversary award nights, the SPG Luxury Card also gives you a $100 Global Entry or $85 TSA PreCheck fee credit and Priority Pass Select membership (including two guests), which is very helpful when feeding a family at an airport.
If even with the credits and perks the $450 annual fee makes this card a no-go for your family, look at the Starwood Preferred Guest® Credit Card from American Express with a $95 annual fee (waived the first year), as it is also a good choice for families. It currently comes with a 75,000-point welcome bonus after $3,000 in spending in the first three months and awards an annual anniversary award night valid at properties costing up to 35,000 points per night.
Best Hotel Credit Cards for Families
If you want to learn more about hotel award programs and elite status perks, check out our in-depth analysis of The Best Hotel Loyalty Programs in the World. But, you don’t have to get a degree in hotel points to maximize the value of a hotel credit card on family vacations. You can start with a very simple card like Capital One Venture Card and ability to earn 10x miles on Hotels.com bookings and one free night for every 10 nights through Hotels.com Rewards.
You can also decide to not commit to one hotel chain by using a card that earns transferable points, such as the Chase Sapphire Preferred Card. It earns Ultimate Rewards points, which you can move over to Hyatt, IHG and Marriott to redeem toward award stays, so you have plenty of options when it comes time to book your family vacation. You’ll also 2 points per dollar on the card for a wide range of travel purchases and dining purchases, which equals a 4% return based on current TPG valuations.
To recap our selections…
Here are the Best Hotel Credit Cards for Family Vacations
- Best for Hotels.com or non-chain hotels: Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card
- Best for Hyatt loyalists: World of Hyatt Credit Card
- Best for IHG loyalists: IHG Rewards Club Premier Credit Card
- Best for Hilton loyalists: Hilton Honors American Express Ascend Card
- Best for Wyndham loyalists: Wyndham Rewards Visa Signature
- Best for Marriott/SPG loyalists: Starwood Preferred Guest American Express Luxury Card
- Best for earning on hotels and travel: Chase Sapphire Preferred Card
Set your own sign-up bonus with the Discover It Miles card. Any rewards you earn in the first year will automatically be matched at the end of the year and you'll earn an unlimited 1.5 miles on all purchases with no annual fee.
- Intro Offer: Discover will match all the Miles you've earned at the end of your first year, automatically. For example, if you earn 30,000 Miles, you get 60,000 Miles. That's $600 towards travel!
- Earn unlimited 1.5x Miles for every dollar spent on all purchases all with no annual fee.
- No Blackout Dates – fly any airline, stay at any hotel.
- Redeem your Miles as a statement credit towards travel purchases.
- Freeze your account in seconds with an on/off switch either on the mobile app or website to prevent new purchases, cash advances, and balance transfers.
- Get your free Credit Scorecard with your FICO® Credit Score, number of recent inquiries and more.
- Receive Free Social Security number alerts— Discover will monitor thousands of risky websites when you sign up.
- No Annual Fee.
- Rates & Fees