My top 3 picks for the best cobranded hotel credit card

May 9, 2022

This post contains references to products from one or more of our advertisers. We may receive compensation when you click on links to those products. Terms apply to the offers listed on this page. For an explanation of our Advertising Policy, visit this page.

Editor’s note: This story has been updated with the latest information.


I have five hotel credit cards. But, I believe each of my cards provides enough perks to justify me paying its annual fee for the foreseeable future. In particular, most of my hotel credit cards offer an annual free night that can more than justify the annual fee before even considering any other perks.

However, readers and friends often ask me what hotel card is best. My answer typically depends on the person’s preferred hotel loyalty program loyalty, budget and travel style. After all, the best hotel card for me may not be the best hotel credit card for you.

Each year at the TPG Awards, our readers select one best hotel credit card, but there are several worthy candidates for this title. So, today I’ll discuss three hotel credit cards I believe could reasonably be considered the “best” hotel credit card. In doing so, I’ll present arguments for why each of these cards is best.

Get the latest points, miles and travel news by signing up for TPG’s free daily newsletter.

In This Post

My picks for the best hotel credit card

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.

Before diving into why I think each of these three cards could be named the best hotel credit card, let me first discuss why I didn’t list any Marriott Bonvoy cards above. I have two Marriott Bonvoy cards and I get great value from the annual free night award and elite-qualifying night credits my cards provide each year. Indeed, earning 30 elite-qualifying nights from Marriott credit cards each year helps me maintain high-tier Marriott Bonvoy elite status.

But, the three cards discussed in this article all have key aspects that could justify the card being named “best.” And although having at least one Marriott Bonvoy card is undoubtedly recommendable for Marriott loyalists, I don’t believe any Marriott Bonvoy cards offer showstopper benefits that would justify the title of the best hotel card.

Related: Why I’m keeping my Marriott Bonvoy Boundless for the long term

Hilton Honors American Express Aspire Card

Hilton Cancun
(Photo by Benji Stawski/The Points Guy)

The Hilton Aspire is easily the best hotel credit card, at least in my eyes. After all, the card offers top-tier Hilton Diamond status as long as you hold the card. The card also offers other perks, including annual statement credits and one weekend night reward each year that can more than offset its $450 annual fee (see rates and fees).

In this section, I’ll discuss why I believe the Hilton Aspire is the top hotel credit card.

Earning rates

Based on TPG’s valuation of Hilton Honors points at 0.6 cents each and the card’s massive earning rate of 14 points per dollar spent at Hilton properties, the Hilton Aspire Card offers an excellent 8.4% return on hotel spending.

That’s better than the what I’d earn with my typical go-to card for booking hotels, the Ink Business Preferred Credit Card, which awards 3 points per dollar spent on the first $150,000 spent in combined purchases each account anniversary year across a number of categories, including travel.

Related: 7 reasons to get the Amex Hilton Aspire card

Top-tier Hilton Diamond status

Hilton Resorts World Suite
Hilton Diamond status can snag you some impressive upgrades. (Photo by Benji Stawski/The Points Guy)

Many hotel credit cards can help you earn elite status or provide low to mid-tier status. But, the Hilton Aspire provides top-tier Hilton Honors Diamond status. And Hilton Diamond status offers some excellent benefits when staying with Hilton, including:

  • Daily food and beverage credit at U.S. hotels and continental breakfast at non-U.S. hotels.
  • Space-available room upgrades (up to one-bedroom suites).
  • Executive lounge access when available.
  • 100% elite status bonus on all the Hilton Honors base points you earn.

My husband and I have enjoyed excellent upgrades and buffet breakfasts due to his Diamond status, including during stays at the DoubleTree Resort by Hilton in Penang, Malaysia and the DoubleTree Resort by Hilton Fiji.

Related: 3 reasons why Hilton should add a new elite tier above Diamond

Annual weekend night reward

Hilton Aspire cardholders get one weekend night reward each year to use at almost any property worldwide, and cardholders can earn a second weekend night reward each year after spending $60,000 on purchases in a calendar year. In addition, all free-night rewards issued in 2022 can be used on any night of the week.

Many hotel credit cards offer annual free night certificates. But, most programs cap annual free night rewards to particular point ranges or categories. The Hilton Aspire free night reward is unique and extremely valuable because you can use it at almost any Hilton property.

Related: Hilton to open the country’s first net-zero hotel

Other perks

Hilton Rose Hall Resort
Hilton Rose Hall Resort. (Photo by Benji Stawski/The Points Guy)

The Hilton Aspire also provides many other benefits that can help justify the card’s $450 annual fee (see rates and fees), including:

  • Up to $250 Hilton resort credit each card member year for eligible purchases made directly with participating Hilton Resorts using your card.
  • Up to $250 airline fee credit each calendar year for incidental charges charged by an airline of your choice to your card (enrollment required).
  • Up to $100 Hilton on-property credit when you use your card to book an eligible two-night minimum stay at participating Waldorf Astoria Hotels & Resorts and Conrad Hotels & Resorts through HiltonHonorsAspireCard.com or by calling Hilton Honors at (855) 292-5757 and referencing ZZAAP1.
  • Priority Pass Select membership (enrollment required).

Check out our full Hilton Aspire card review for more information.

IHG Rewards Premier Credit Card

The IHG Rewards Premier Credit Card provides many benefits that can justify the card’s modest $99 annual fee (for cardholders who applied prior to March 24, 2022, you’ll pay $89 until your 2023 renewal date). And combining these benefits makes the IHG Premier Card a solid contender for the best hotel card.

Here’s a quick look at the most valuable aspects of the IHG Premier Card.

Anniversary reward night

InterContinental Phu Quoc Long Beach Resort in Vietnam
The InterContinental Phu Quoc Long Beach Resort in Vietnam is a beautiful property where you can use your anniversary night on select dates. (Photo by Katie Genter/The Points Guy)

The benefit that most easily justifies the card’s annual fee is the anniversary reward night with a redemption value of 40,000 points or less for one standard room night. However, now you can add on points from your IHG One Rewards account to redeem your anniversary night at hotels above the 40,000-point redemption level.

Based on TPG’s valuations, 40,000 IHG One Rewards points are worth $200. So, even if you use your anniversary night for a night that would otherwise cost 20,000 IHG points, you’ll effectively recoup the card’s annual fee. But, especially now that you can top off your anniversary night with points, it should be easy to get much higher value from your anniversary night.

Related: Why I’m happy to pay the annual fee on the IHG Rewards Premier Credit Card

IHG One Rewards Platinum Elite status

You’ll also get Platinum Elite status as an IHG Premier cardholder. Platinum Elite status is the second-highest level of elite status with IHG One Rewards and provides benefits including:

  • Complimentary room upgrades.
  • Late checkout (2 p.m., if available, starting in early June).
  • Elite rollover nights.
  • 60% bonus earnings on top of base points.
  • Exclusive access to discounts on reward nights at participating hotels (starting in early June).

With the new IHG One Rewards elite perks coming in June, I’ll happily keep Platinum Elite status as a perk of my IHG Premier Card instead of striving to earn Diamond Elite status. However, I plan to hit some of the elite night thresholds to earn specific milestone rewards under the new IHG One Rewards program.

Related: IHG One Rewards’ status tracker is now live; Here’s my plan for IHG status and nights in 2022

Fourth-night reward

Holiday Inn Resort Maldives
You could get a fourth-night reward in the Maldives. (Photo by Katie Genter/The Points Guy)

The fourth-night reward perk of the IHG Premier card allows you to pay zero points for every fourth night on reward stays of four nights or longer. Although this perk isn’t helpful if you don’t redeem IHG points for stays of four nights or longer, this benefit provides significant value to me since I live on the road as a digital nomad.

My husband and I each have IHG Premier Cards. In 2019, we used the fourth-night reward perk provided by these cards on 11 award stays. We saved 185,000 points thanks to this perk, which TPG values at $925.

If you’re doing the math, this means we redeemed about 555,000 IHG points in 2019. Of course, there are many ways to earn IHG Rewards points. But, to fuel this level of spending, we often take advantage of IHG promotions and buy points during periodic IHG buy points promotions that offer a 100% bonus.

Related: My Miami hotel didn’t open in time: Here’s how IHG handled my reservation

Other perks

The IHG Premier Card also offers some other valuable benefits, including:

  • 10 points per dollar spent at IHG properties when you pay with your IHG Premier Card.
  • A Global Entry, TSA Precheck or Nexus application fee credit every four years.
  • Earn a $100 statement credit and 10,000 bonus points after spending $20,000 and making one additional purchase each calendar year.
  • Get up to $50 in United TravelBank Cash each calendar year after registering your IHG Premier Card with your MileagePlus account.

Check out our full IHG Premier credit card review and apply for the IHG Rewards Premier Credit Card.

World of Hyatt Credit Card

Hyatt Zilara and Ziva Monetgo Bay, Jamaica
(Photo by Clint Henderson/The Points Guy)

The primary argument for the World of Hyatt Credit Card is that you can spend on the card to reach top-tier status. I don’t think this perk is enough to beat out the Hilton Aspire Card, which provides top-tier Hilton Diamond status as a cardmember benefit without requiring extra spending. Even so, in this section, I’ll discuss how you can use the World of Hyatt Card to reach Globalist status.

Earn World of Hyatt Globalist status through spending

One perk of the World of Hyatt Credit Card is five qualifying night credits toward your next tier status every year. You can also earn two additional qualifying night credits toward your next tier status every time you spend $5,000 on your card.

Hyatt’s top-tier Globalist status requires 60 tier-qualifying nights, 100,000 base points or 20 meetings or events. So, if you want to qualify for Hyatt Globalist on nights and have the World of Hyatt Card, you could:

  • Stay 55 nights.
  • Stay 49 nights and spend $15,000 on your card.
  • Stay 39 nights and spend $40,000 on your card.
  • Stay 19 nights and spend $90,000 on your card.
  • Stay zero nights and spend $140,000 on your card.

So, if you have the World of Hyatt Card and are working toward earning Globalist status, you can see where you stand near the end of each year and get the remaining nights you need through spending.

Related: Why the World of Hyatt credit card is great for family travelers

Other perks

Hyatt House Davis lobby workspace
Public workspace at Hyatt House Davis. (Photo by Ariana Arghandewal/The Points Guy)

The World of Hyatt Card has other benefits that may provide value and justify its $95 annual fee:

  • 4 points per dollar spent with Hyatt hotels, participating Small Luxury Hotels of the World and eligible Lindblad Expeditions when you use your Hyatt card to pay.
  • One free night at any Category 1-4 Hyatt hotel or resort every year after your cardmember anniversary, and earn an extra free night at any Category 1-4 Hyatt hotel or resort if you spend $15,000 during a calendar year.
  • Complimentary World of Hyatt Discoverist status.

Check out our World of Hyatt credit card review and apply for the World of Hyatt Credit Card

Bottom line

Many hotel cobranded cards can offer tremendous value, but the three cards highlighted above offer the best bang for your buck. Sure, the Hilton Aspire Card has the highest annual fee of the trio in this story, but the Hilton Aspire comes packed with benefits that can pay off even if you only stay at Hilton properties a few times each year. Combined with the weekend free night each year that you can use at almost any property and top-tier Diamond status, this fact makes the Hilton Aspire Card the best hotel card in my book.

But, you should be able to get more value than the annual fee from any of the hotel credit cards discussed in this guide. So, the best hotel credit card for you depends on your preference. In particular, if you prefer to stay with a specific hotel loyalty program, you should consider whether getting a cobranded card with this program would be beneficial since many provide elevated earning, free nights, elite benefits and on-site credits.

For rates and fees of the Hilton Aspire Card, please click here.

Featured photo by Benji Stawski/The Points Guy.

Delta SkyMiles® Platinum American Express Card

Earn 90,000 bonus miles after you spend $3,000 in purchases on your new Card in your first 3 months. Offer ends 8/3/2022.

With Status Boost™, earn 10,000 Medallion Qualification Miles (MQMs) after you spend $25,000 in purchases on your Card in a calendar year, up to two times per year getting you closer to Medallion Status. Earn 3X Miles on Delta purchases and purchases made directly with hotels, 2X Miles at restaurants and at U.S. supermarkets and earn 1X Mile on all other eligible purchases. Terms Apply.

Apply Now
More Things to Know
  • Limited Time Offer: Earn 90,000 bonus miles after you spend $3,000 in purchases on your new Card in your first 3 months. Offer ends 8/3/2022.
  • Earn up to 20,000 Medallion® Qualification Miles (MQMs) with Status Boost® per year. After you spend $25,000 in purchases on your Card in a calendar year, you can earn 10,000 MQMs up to two times per year, getting you closer to Medallion® Status. MQMs are used to determine Medallion® Status and are different than miles you earn toward flights.
  • Earn 3X Miles on Delta purchases and purchases made directly with hotels.
  • Earn 2X Miles at restaurants worldwide including takeout and delivery in the U.S., and at U.S. supermarkets.
  • Earn 1X Miles on all other eligible purchases.
  • Receive a Domestic Main Cabin round-trip companion certificate each year upon renewal of your Card. Payment of the government imposed taxes and fees of no more than $80 for roundtrip domestic flights (for itineraries with up to four flight segments) is required. Baggage charges and other restrictions apply. See terms and conditions for details.
  • Enjoy your first checked bag free on Delta flights.
  • Fee Credit for Global Entry or TSA PreCheck® after you apply through any Authorized Enrollment Provider. If approved for Global Entry, at no additional charge, you will receive access to TSA PreCheck.
  • Enjoy an exclusive rate of $39 per person per visit to enter the Delta Sky Club® for you and up to two guests when traveling on a Delta flight.
  • No Foreign Transaction Fees.
  • $250 Annual Fee.
  • Terms Apply.
  • See Rates & Fees
Regular APR
17.24%-26.24% Variable
Annual Fee
$250
Balance Transfer Fee
N/A
Recommended Credit
Excellent/Good
Terms and restrictions apply. See rates & fees.

Editorial Disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airlines or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

Disclaimer: The responses below are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser’s responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.