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It’s been an exciting year for hotel credit cards. With the launch of Marriott Bonvoy in February, we saw the debut of several new and rebranded cards, and Hilton took the opportunity to overhaul its card slate last year.

Among the most appealing developments was the creation of new premium credit cards from two loyalty programs: namely, the Hilton Honors Aspire American Express Card and the Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant™ American Express® Card. Both these products offered historically high welcome bonuses, plus multiple new perks such as airline or travel statement credits, hotel purchase credits and on-property credits specifically for stays at luxury brands within their chains.

They are not the only credit cards that offer credits during hotel stays. Many others, including the full family of Visa Infinite and Visa Signature cards, as well as, World Mastercard and World Elite Mastercard, also offer card holders the opportunity to book stays with such credits tacked on. Here are some of the best programs and credit cards that offer on-property credits for hotel stays:

Hilton Honors Aspire American Express Card

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

This card is one of several introduced by Hilton and American Express at the beginning of 2018, and offers 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. Book a two-night-minimum stay at HiltonHonors.com/aspirecard 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, card holders get up to $250 back each year for airline incidentals such as checked bags or seat selection. The card earns 14 points per dollar on Hilton purchases; 7 points per dollar on flights booked through Amex Travel or directly through airlines, on car rentals and at US restaurants, and 3 points per dollar on everything else. It also comes with automatic top-tier Hilton Honors Diamond status, an annual free weekend night, Priority Pass Select membership and lounge access.

(Photo courtesy of Conrad Koh Samui)
(Photo courtesy of Conrad Koh Samui)

Takeaway: This card has several savings benefits including two distinct $250 statement credit opportunities: for airline incidentals or for purchases at Hilton Resorts. That amounts to up to $500 in savings each year. Depending on how often you can use it, however, 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 Conrads or Waldorf Astorias, this single benefit can amount to huge savings over the course of a year.

Read our full card review for more details on the Hilton Honors Aspire American Express Card and its other benefits.

Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant American Express Card

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

Formerly the Starwood Preferred Guest Luxury Card, this new version launched with the unveiling of Marriott Bonvoy in February.

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 Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant American Express 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 Marriott Bonvoy points after you make $3,000 in purchases within the first three months. (This card’s bonus was once 100,000 points, so you might want to hold off on applying in case it is raised again.)

Annual fee: $450 (see rates & fees)

Other benefits: There are almost too many to mention. The card earns 6 points per dollar on Marriott purchases, 3 points at US restaurants and on flights booked directly with airlines, and 2 points per dollar on everything else. It comes with Priority Pass Select membership and lounge access. Card holders will be reimbursed for a Global Entry or TSA PreCheck application once every 4.5 years (up to $100). They also receive automatic Marriott Bonvoy Gold status (and Platinum status for hitting $75,000 in calendar-year spend), 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
St. Regis Maldives. (Photo by Ethan Steinberg/The Points Guy)

Takeaways: Although this 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, several times per year, you can get hundreds or even thousands of dollars’ worth of value out of this single benefit.

Read our full card review for more details on the Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant American Express Card and its many benefits.

Aside from on-property credits offered by co-branded 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.

American Express Fine Hotels & Resorts

Perhaps the best known of these portals is American Express’ Fine Hotels & Resorts program. Card holders 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 when available
  • Noon check-in when available
  • 4pm guaranteed late checkout
  • Occasional third- or fourth-night-free
  • Complimentary Wi-Fi
  • Daily breakfast for two
  • A unique amenity valued at $100 (which varies by property)

Although a free third or fourth night can be worth more than $1,000 at properties like the Ritz Paris, this type of offer is not consistently available.

Photo courtesy of Ritz Paris.
(Photo courtesy of Ritz Paris)

You can count on the other benefits. 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 are 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 (FHR) bookings.

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

For more information on The Platinum Card from American Express and its other benefits, read our full review. We also have a detailed review of The Business Platinum Card from American Express.

Visa Signature Hotels and Visa Infinite Hotels

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

The first is Visa Signature Hotels, 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, when available
  • Complimentary in-room Wi-Fi
  • Late check-out upon request, when available
  • Complimentary breakfast for two
  • A $25 USD 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 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. (Photo by Eric Rosen)

The downside to booking through Visa Signature Hotels is that you do not earn hotel points on stays. However, there are several positives to consider. First is that many participating hotels, like Peninsula and Mandarin Oriental properties, are not members of the 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:

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

Visa fields a small collection of credit cards with a higher level of benefits called Visa Infinite 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 worth $75-$100 for things like food and beverage charges or spa purchases.

The handful of cards that are part of this collection include:

Visa Infinite also has a partnership specifically with Relais & Châteaux, which is a group of around 500 luxury properties around the globe. When booking through Visa Infinite’s Relais & Châteaux landing page, card holders 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 140 or so participating hotels.

World Mastercard and World Elite Mastercard

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

In addition to benefits like early check-in, late checkout and space-available upgrades, card holders, who reserve through this channel, can typically expect daily breakfast and a credit of $50-$100 for things like meals, spa treatments and a round of golf.

Eligible cards include popular travel products such as:

Chase Luxury Hotels & Resorts Collection

Chase launched its own Luxury Hotels & Resorts Collection booking portal a few years ago, and now counts over 900 participating properties throughout the world, such as the COMO Metropolitan Miami Beach and the landmark Baur au Lac in Zurich.

Card holders, who book through here, receive benefits including:

  • A room upgrade, if available
  • Early check-in and late checkout
  • 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 of the 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 of the other programs, it can be worth quite a lot of money at certain hotels with world-class restaurants and spas. The key, as with all these portals, 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.

Bottom Line

Although hotel elite status is a great way to secure on-property benefits during stays, 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.

In addition to new premium hotel credit cards like the Hilton Honors Aspire American Express 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 hundreds of 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.

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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Intro APR on Purchases
N/A
Regular APR
18.24% - 25.24% Variable
Annual Fee
$95
Balance Transfer Fee
Either $5 or 5% of the amount of each transfer, whichever is greater.
Recommended Credit
Excellent/Good

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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