The best hotel credit cards that offer on-property credits

5d ago

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Although hotel elite status is a great way to secure benefits such as upgrades and free breakfast, it is by no means the only avenue available to frequent travelers for enjoying value-added perks and on-property credits. Another option would be to open a hotel credit card. While annual fees can range greatly, you can find perks such as airline or travel statement credits, hotel purchase credits and on-property credits specifically for stays at luxury brands within their chains.

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Premium hotel cards such as the Hilton Honors American Express Aspire Card and the Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant™ American Express® Card aren’t the only credit cards that offer credits during hotel stays. Many others, including the full family of Visa Infinite and Visa Signature cards and World Mastercard and World Elite Mastercard, also offer cardholders the opportunity to book stays with such credits tacked on.

Here are some of the best credit cards that offer on-property credits for hotel stays.

In This Post

Hilton Honors American Express Aspire Card

(Photo by Eric Helgas/The Points Guy)
(Photo by Eric Helgas/The Points Guy)

This card is Hilton’s top-tier offering and comes with some of the best ways to save on additional charges during stays. Here are the details:

On-property benefits: Enjoy up to $250 in statement credits each year of card membership for eligible purchases at participating Hilton Resorts. Additionally, book a two-night-minimum stay at hiltonhonorsaspirecard.com and get up to $100 in credits for qualifying charges at participating Waldorf Astoria Hotels & Resorts and Conrad Hotels & Resorts.

Current welcome bonus: Earn 150,000 Hilton Honors bonus points after you spend $4,000 in purchases on the card within the first three months of card membership.

Annual fee: $450 (see rates & fees).

Other benefits: In addition to the Hilton Resorts credit, cardholders get up to $250 back each calendar year for airline incidentals such as checked bags or seat selection. The card earns 14x points on Hilton purchases, 7x points on flights booked through Amex Travel or directly through airlines, at select car rental companies and at U.S. restaurants and 3x points per dollar on other eligible purchases. It also comes with automatic top-tier Hilton Honors Diamond status, an annual free weekend night and Priority Pass Select membership. Enrollment required for select benefits.

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.

(Photo courtesy of Conrad Koh Samui)
Use your $100 statement credit at the Conrad Koh Samui in Thailand. (Photo courtesy of Conrad Koh Samui)

Takeaways: This card has several savings benefits, including two distinct $250 statement credit opportunities: airline incidentals or purchases at Hilton Resorts. That amounts to up to $500 in savings each year. However, depending on how often you use it, this card’s most impressive benefit might be the up-to-$100 statement credit for qualifying stays of two nights or more at Waldorf Astoria and Conrad properties. Although the credit cannot be applied to room charges, taxes, property fees or gratuities, it can be used for purchases like dining, spa, golf or other services charged through the hotel. If your travel plans include frequent stays at Conrad or Waldorf Astoria properties, this single benefit can amount to huge savings over the course of a year.

Related: Hilton Honors Aspire review

Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant American Express Card

(Photo by Eden Batki / The Points Guy)
(Photo by Eden Batki/The Points Guy)

On-property benefits: Enjoy up to $300 in statement credits each year of card membership for eligible purchases at participating Marriott Bonvoy hotels. With your Brilliant card, book direct using a special rate for a two-night-minimum stay at The Ritz-Carlton or St. Regis and get up to $100 in credit for qualifying charges.

Current welcome bonus: Earn 75,000 bonus points after you spend $3,000 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.

Annual fee: $450 (see rates & fees).

Other benefits: There are almost too many to mention. The card earns 6x points on Marriott purchases, 3x points at restaurants and on flights booked directly with airlines, and 2x points on other eligible purchases. It comes with Priority Pass Select membership for lounge access (enrollment required). Cardholders will be reimbursed for a Global Entry or TSA PreCheck application once every 4 1/2 years (up to $100). Earn automatic Marriott Gold status (and Platinum status for hitting $75,000 in calendar-year spending), complimentary premium in-room internet and a free anniversary award worth up to 50,000 points each year.

St. Regis Maldives. Photo by the author
Use your $100 credit for The St. Regis Maldives. (Photo by Ethan Steinberg/The Points Guy)

Takeaways: Although the card’s annual $300 benefit for Marriott purchases is easier to use, its recurring stay-based $100 credit for St. Regis and Ritz-Carlton reservations is potentially the more valuable of the two. You can use it for on-property purchases such as dining and spa treatments, but not for room rates, property fees, gratuities or taxes. However, if you tend to stay at Marriott’s luxury brands for two nights or more at a time, you can get hundreds or even thousands of dollars worth of value out of this single benefit several times per year.

Related: Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant review

American Express Fine Hotels & Resorts

(Screenshot courtesy of American Express)

Aside from on-property credits offered by cobranded cards specifically at their associated hotel chains, folks with several other types of credit cards can still take advantage of unique partnerships and portals to save on expenses with their reservations.

Perhaps the best known of these portals is the American Express Fine Hotels & Resorts program. Cardholders of Amex’s premium cards, including The Platinum Card® from American Express and The Business Platinum Card® from American Express, can use the program to book stays at more than 1,000 luxury hotels worldwide, earning 5x points per dollar. Participating properties include stunners like Amanjena in Marrakech and The Langham, Sydney.

Reservations include benefits such as:

  • A room upgrade at check-in (upon availability).
  • Noon check-in (upon availability).
  • 4 p.m. guaranteed late checkout.
  • Complimentary Wi-Fi.
  • Daily breakfast for two.
  • A unique amenity valued at $100 (varies by property).
Photo courtesy of Ritz Paris.
The Ritz-Carlton in Paris is part of the American Express Fine Hotels & Resorts Collection. (Photo courtesy of Ritz Paris)

Those final three, in particular, are when the savings really kick in, considering breakfast for two can cost north of $100 at many of the hotels bookable through this service. Wi-Fi can top $20 per day, and you’re guaranteed some type of on-property benefit valued at $100, such as a food and beverage credit, a discount on spa services or an airport transfer, for example. What’s more, although you are not booking directly through a hotel or chain, you should still be able to earn points with a hotel’s loyalty program on Fine Hotels & Resorts Program bookings.

Again, these benefits only amount to huge savings if you actually stay at hotels like the ones that participate in the program and use the benefits frequently enough to justify the annual fees of the eligible Amex cards.

Visa Signature hotels and Visa Infinite hotels

(Screenshot courtesy of Visa)

You don’t need a credit card with an annual fee of $500 (or greater) to enjoy similar perks though. Visa fields two distinct hotel-booking sites for its various cardholders.

The first is the Visa Signature Luxury Hotel Collection, which includes over 900 properties worldwide, such as the Rosewood London and the Fairmont Peace Hotel in Shanghai. When you book through the Visa Signature hotels portal, you can expect perks including:

  • Automatic room upgrade upon arrival (upon availability).
  • Complimentary in-room Wi-Fi (upon availability).
  • Late checkout upon request (upon availability).
  • Complimentary breakfast for two.
  • A $25 food or beverage credit.

Although not as comprehensive as Amex Fine Hotels & Resorts, the benefits are still notable, including the possibility of a room upgrade, free Wi-Fi and daily breakfast for two, which again, can easily amount to hundreds of dollars per stay. The $25 food and beverage credit is not as impressive, but at least it will be good for a small meal or a fancy cocktail.

The Langham, Sydney is a participating hotel in this program. (Photo by Eric Rosen)

The downside to booking through the Visa Signature hotels portal is that you do not earn hotel points on stays. However, there are several positives to consider. First, many participating hotels, like Peninsula and Mandarin Oriental properties, are not large chains, so you wouldn’t earn hotel points anyway. The second is the sheer number of Visa Signature cards that are eligible for these bookings. You probably are already carrying one without even realizing it.

Among the most popular travel rewards Visa Signatures are:

The information for the Choice Privileges Visa Signature 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.

Most have annual fees between $0 and $95, making them relative bargains, though there are some more expensive Visa Signature cards, too.

Visa offers a small collection of credit cards with a higher level of Visa Infinite benefits, with its own portal for booking hotels. The perks are largely the same as those with Visa Signature hotels, though bookings usually include an additional on-property credit for things like food and beverage charges or spa purchases.

There are only a few U.S. cards that are part of this collection:

Visa Infinite also has a partnership specifically with Relais & Châteaux, a group of around 500 luxury properties around the globe. When booking through Visa Infinite’s Relais & Châteaux landing page, cardholders secure perks like a VIP welcome amenity such as a bottle of champagne in their room, plus complimentary breakfast for each member of their party during stays of up to seven consecutive days at 180 or so participating hotels.

World Mastercard and World Elite Mastercard

(Screenshot courtesy of Mastercard)

Mastercard offers holders of World Mastercard and World Elite Mastercard the possibility of booking stays with value-added benefits at thousands of hotel partners around the world, such as the Anantara Dhigu Maldives Resort and Belmond El Encanto in Santa Barbara, California.

In addition to benefits like early check-in, late checkout and space-available upgrades, cardholders who reserve through this channel can typically expect daily breakfast and a special amenity credit of up to $100, room upgrades (upon availability) and early check-in or late checkout upgrades.

Eligible cards include popular travel products such as:

The information for the Aviator Red card, Hawaiian Airlines Mastercard and the JetBlue Plus 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.

Chase Luxury Hotel & Resort Collection

(Screenshot courtesy of Chase)

Chase launched its own Luxury Hotel & Resort Collection for participating credit cards, offering an impressive portfolio of over 1,000 participating properties throughout the world, such as the Como Metropolitan Miami Beach and the landmark Baur au Lac in Zurich.

Cardholders who book through here receive benefits including:

  • A room upgrade (upon availability).
  • Early check-in and late checkout (upon availability).
  • Complimentary Wi-Fi.
  • Daily breakfast for two.
  • A special benefit unique to each property such as a meal, afternoon tea, complimentary spa services or on-property credits in the $100 range.

Rather than a straightforward dollar amount of on-property credit, many participating hotels offer services or experiences to be enjoyed during a guest’s stay, such as a specific meal or spa treatment. Though this benefit is not as transparent as those offered by some other programs, it can be worth quite a lot of money at certain hotels with world-class restaurants and spas. As with all these portals, the key is whether you actually take advantage of these benefits and plan to maximize them during your stay.

Although Chase does not publish an official list of eligible cards, based on our own and anecdotal evidence, the cards eligible for making these types of bookings are:

Many of these cards participate in one of the other portals listed above, so you might have to compare benefits via various booking channels and choose the one that best suits your needs.

How TPG staff used their on-property credits

To give you an idea of how you can utilize your on-property credits, we surveyed our very own staff. Here’s what we found:

Use your Hilton Honors points for an incredible vacation to Hawaii. (Photo courtesy of Grand Wailea Maui, A Waldorf Astoria Resort)

TPG’s credit cards editor, Juan Ruiz, took advantage of the $250 resort credit on his Hilton Aspire card on a recent trip to Hawaii. His family stayed at the Grand Wailea in Maui. As a Hilton Diamond member, he already received a $40 room credit for breakfast, but the $250 on-property credit secured breakfast for his entire family of four.

Meanwhile, TPG’s senior writer, Katie Genter, used her husband’s Hilton Aspire credit at the DoubleTree Resort in Penang, Malaysia, in 2019, which covered the room cost for two nights and some food that they charged to their room. In 2020, they used the $250 credit for eligible restaurant purchases instead, as this was an option due to the pandemic. As they look toward 2021 travel, they’re looking at inexpensive Hilton resorts (such as the Hilton Luxor Resort & Spa and Hilton Sharks Bay Resort) to cover room rates and food.

Bottom line

In addition to ultra-premium hotel credit cards like the Hilton Honors American Express Aspire Card and the Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant American Express Card, folks with Amex’s high-end cards or any number of Visa Signature, Visa Infinite, World Mastercard and World Elite Mastercard travel rewards credit cards all have great options for scoring on-property credits when booking stays at many luxury hotels around the world. In fact, your travel rewards card might be eligible for more than one of these portals. In that case, cross-check your options, find the best rate and best perks for your needs or habits, and book that way to maximize your savings and enjoyment.

Additional reporting by Stella Shon.

For rates and fees of the Hilton Aspire Card, click here.
For rates and fees of the Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant Card, click here.

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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.

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