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Best hotel credit cards of August 2021

Using the right hotel credit card is a great way to earn room upgrades, free night stays and more. CardRatings editors reveal the best credit cards for popular hotel brands.
Jennifer Doss, CardRatings Editor Last Updated, July 29, 2021

Our credit card articles, reviews and ratings maintain strict editorial integrity; however we may be compensated when you click on or are approved for offers (terms apply) from our partners. How we make money.

best hotel credit cards

TOP HOTEL CREDIT CARD OFFERS

The best hotel credit cards can help you stretch your dollar or upgrade your home-away-from-home experience whether you're a frequent business traveler or an occasional traveler interested in annual trips with your family. The good news is there is a hotel rewards credit card for just about everyone – whether you're a loyal customer of a particular hotel, you use your credit card mostly for everyday purchases, or you want the flexibility to use your points for any travel-related purchases.

You don't have to be a jetsetter to make the most of these hotel credit cards. In fact, many of our favorite options below don't charge an annual fee, making them great complements to your "everyday" cards. Most of these cards also offer bonus rewards on everyday purchases in addition to money spent at hotels, so they make sense to use beyond travel. Every purchase counts when it comes to saving up for your next getaway.

Many of these hotel credit cards can earn you elite status, free night stays, or even just simple perks like complimentary drinks and snacks upon arrival; It's always nice to be appreciated.

BEST HOTEL CREDIT CARD FOR FREE NIGHT REWARDS

5
About Our Ratings
Why We Like It:
Thanks to the joining forces of Marriott, SPG (Starwood) and the Ritz-Carlton rewards programs, hotel guests of these brands now have more opportunities than ever to rack up points and stay where they want to stay. This card helps you collect points for all those hotel brands, plus rewards you with an annual free night.

The Bonus: Earn three free nights (up to 50,000 points each) after you spend $3,000 in the 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 your first six months from account opening. You'll also enjoy an additional Free Night Award (valued up to 35,000 points) every year after your account anniversary.

The Annual Fee: $95

The Rewards: Rack up up to 17 points per $1 spent at more than 7,000 participating Marriott Bonvoy properties. You also earn two points for every $1 spent on all other purchases. Enjoy automatic Silver Elite Status each account anniversary year and earn Gold Status when you spend $35,000 on purchases each account year.

Credit Needed: Excellent, Good

PROS:

  • If you want to maximize your Marriott Bonvoy rewards, this is a great option for you. Cardholders receive up to 17 points per $1 spent at participating Marriott Bonvoy properties as well as two points per $1 spent on other purchases.
  • Automatic Silver Elite Status means you'll get perks such as priority late checkout and free wifi at Marriott brand hotels.
  • You'll receive a free award night every year after your account's anniversary. Plus, cardholders receive 15 elite night credits each year.

CONS:

  • This card does come with a $95 annual fee, although it is easily offset by the card's many benefits.
  • If you don't stay at Marriott properties frequently, the card's benefits may have little value for you.

Read our full Marriott Bonvoy Boundless™ Credit Card review.

Current Scores Past Scores
Overall Score 77.2 82.8
Rewards Program Satisfaction 7.7 8.2
Customer Service 7.8 8.5
Website/App Usability 7.5 8.5
Likelihood of Continuing to Use 8.2 8.3
Recommend to a Friend/Colleague 7.5 8.2

*Scores above reflect the results of surveys with actual cardholders. Full methodology below.

BEST NO-ANNUAL-FEE MARRIOTT BONVOY CREDIT CARD

5
About Our Ratings
Why We Like It:
Most hotel-branded cards come with annual fees, but this one breaks that trend. This card is a solid option for the cardholder who is Marriott-loyal, but maybe doesn't travel enough to justify paying an annual fee. 

The Bonus: Earn 30,000 bonus points after you spend $1,000 on purchases in the first three months from account opening.

The Annual Fee: $0

The Rewards: Earn up to 14 points per $1 spent with participating Marriott Bonvoy properties and two points per $1 spent on travel, including airfare, trains, taxis and more. You earn one point per $1 on your other purchases.

Credit Needed: Excellent, Good

PROS:

  • New cardholders can earn 30,000 bonus points after spending just $1,000 within the first three months of opening an account.
  • There is no annual fee, making this is an ideal way to begin earning Marriott Bonvoy rewards.
  • The Marriott Bonvoy Bold Credit Card comes with 15 elite night credits annually, enough for Silver Elite Status.

CONS:

  • The rewards and perks offered by this card aren't as lucrative as those provided by the Marriott Bonvoy Boundless™ Credit Card. While the Boundless™ card offers up to 17 points per dollar spent at participating Marriott properties, the Bold™ card only awards up to 14 points per dollar spent. Still, this isn't bad for a card with no annual fee.
  • You won't get any automatic free award nights with this card.

See our full Marriott Bonvoy Bold™ Credit Card review.

Current Scores Past Scores
Overall Score 86.1 Did not survey
Rewards Program Satisfaction 8.5 n/a
Customer Service 8.6 n/a
Website/App Usability 8.9 n/a
Likelihood of Continuing to Use 8.9 n/a
Recommend to a Friend/Colleague 8.7 n/a

*Scores above reflect the results of surveys with actual cardholders. Full methodology below.

 

EDITOR'S NOTE

The merger of Marriott International and Starwood Hotels & Resorts created one of the largest hotel brands in the world, while also creating a new hotel loyalty program: Marriott Bonvoy.

Bonvoy not only brings together the former Marriott Rewards and Starwood Preferred Guest programs under a single umbrella but it folds in The Ritz-Carlton Rewards as well. The result is a hotel loyalty program that covers more than 7,000 properties across 30 hotel brands.  Check out our Marriott Bonvoy guide to learn all about the program's numerous benefits and perks.


BEST HYATT CREDIT CARD

4
About Our Ratings
Why We Like It:
Chase redesigned the Hyatt card to be a truly impressive addition to your wallet – making it a solid choice for both your hotel stays and some everyday purchases. Plus, that welcome offer could be worth as many as six reward nights!

The Bonus: Earn 30,000 bonus points after you spend $3,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. Plus, earn two points per $1 on up to $15,000 spent in the first six months on purchases that normally earn one bonus point.

The Annual Fee: $95

The Rewards: Earn nine points per $1 spent at Hyatt (that's four bonus points for using your card and five base points per $1 you'll earn as a World of Hyatt member). Earn two points per $1 at restaurants, on airline tickets purchased directly with airlines, on local transit and commuting, and on fitness club/gym memberships.

Credit Needed: Excellent, Good

Additional features: You'll receive a free night at a Category 1-4 Hyatt hotel or resort every year after your account anniversary; earn a second free night if you spend at least $15,000 in your anniversary year on the card. Take advantage of your complimentary World of Hyatt Discoverist status as a cardholder and receive five qualifying nights every year toward your next status tier.

PROS:

  • The 30,000 bonus points offered to new cardholders are enough to redeem for six nights at Category 1 properties depending on travel dates.
  • World of Hyatt members receive nine points per dollar spent on Hyatt properties and experiences when paying with this card. Travel, restaurant and fitness club purchases earn two points per dollar spent and all other spending earns one point per dollar, so it's great for more than just travel.
  • Cardholders receive at least one free night at a Category 1-4 property each year.

CONS:

  • To earn the bonus points, you'll need to spend $3,000 within three months of opening an account. That level of spending may be hard for some households to achieve.
  • Although the cost is reasonable for a rewards card, there is a $95 annual fee.
  • While there is an option to earn a second award night each year, you'll need to spend $15,000 to get it.

Read our full review of World of Hyatt Credit Card.

Current Scores Past Scores
Overall Score 81.2 83.0
Rewards Program Satisfaction 8.2 8.2
Customer Service 8.1 8.6
Website/App Usability 8.3 8.2
Likelihood of Continuing to Use 8.1 8.7
Recommend to a Friend/Colleague 8.0 8.0

*Scores above reflect the results of surveys with actual cardholders. Full methodology below.

BEST IHG® CREDIT CARD

5
About Our Ratings
Why We Like It:
This card offers you a reward night's stay after every card anniversary as well as each time you redeem your points for a stay of four nights or more, which makes it an incredibly valuable card to have on hand if IHG® properties are your hotels of choice.

The Bonus: Earn 150,000 bonus points after spending $3,000 on purchases within the first three months of account opening.  

The Annual Fee: $0 intro annual fee for the first year, then $89

The Rewards: You earn up to 25 points per $1 spent at IHG® properties. Earn 25 points per $1 spent at IHG® hotels; two points per $1 spent at gas stations, grocery stores and restaurants; and one point per $1 on everything else.

Credit Needed: Excellent, Good

PROS:

  • This card has a top welcome offer right now. New cardholders earn 150,000 bonus points after spending $3,000 on purchases within three months of opening an account.
  • Cardholders can save with a Global Entry or TSA Pre✓® application fee reimbursement every four years.
  • The card comes with valuable perks such as Platinum Elite status, a free reward night on your account anniversary and a free reward night when you redeem points for a stay of four or more nights.

CONS:

  • If you're looking for a free rewards credit card, you'll likely want to keep looking. This card charges an $0 intro annual fee for the first year, then $89 annual fee; however, it does offer a lot of great rewards to help offset this.
  • With popular brands such as Holiday Inn and Crowne Plaza, IHG® hotels are often associated with economy and business travel. That means this card might not be the best option for those who prefer to stay at higher-end, luxury properties.
  • You won't be eligible for the current bonus point offer if you've received a new cardmember bonus from this card in the past 24 months.

Read our full IHG® Rewards Club Premier Credit Card review.

Current Scores Past Scores
Overall Score 79.7 80.4
Rewards Program Satisfaction 8.1 8.0
Customer Service 8.0 8.2
Website/App Usability 7.7 7.9
Likelihood of Continuing to Use 8.0 8.6
Recommend to a Friend/Colleague 7.9 7.9

*Scores above reflect the results of surveys with actual cardholders. Full methodology below.

BEST NO-ANNUAL-FEE HILTON CREDIT CARD

5
About Our Ratings
Why We Like It:
If you like the sound of the Surpass card but don't want to pay an annual fee, this may be the card for you. It earns generous rewards for stays at Hilton properties as well as on everyday purchases, but there's no annual fee to worry about offsetting. American Express is a CardRatings advertiser.

The Bonus: For a limited time earn 100,000 Hilton Honors Bonus Points after you spend $1,000 in purchases on the card in the first three months of card membership. Plus, earn up to $100 in statement credits on eligible purchases made on the card at any of the Hilton family of hotels in the first 12 months of card membership. (Offers expire 8/25/2021.) 

The Annual Fee: $0

The Rewards: Earn 7X Hilton Honors bonus points for each dollar of eligible purchases charged directly with a hotel or resort within the Hilton Honors portfolio of brands. Earn 5X points for each dollar of eligible purchases at U.S. restaurants, U.S. supermarkets, and U.S. gas stations. Earn 3X points for all other eligible purchases on your card.

Credit Needed: Good, Excellent

Added Perks: Enjoy no foreign transaction fees as well as complimentary Hilton Honors Silver status. Plus, spend $20,000 on eligible purchases on your card in a calendar year and you can earn an upgrade to Hilton Honors Gold status through the end of the next calendar year. Enrollment required for select perks. 

PROS:

  • As the entry level Hilton Honors credit card, this card does not charge an annual fee.
  • Cardholders receive complimentary Silver Status and get Gold Status if they spend $20,000 in a year.
  • You'll only have to spend $1,000 within three months of opening your account to earn 100,000 bonus Hilton Honors points (offer expires 8/25/21).
  • Enrollment required for select perks. 

CONS:

  • Earning potential with the Hilton Honors American Express Card is lower than what you'd get with the Surpass® card. For instance, the Surpass® card offers 12 points per dollar spent at Hilton properties while this card offers only seven points per dollar. The Surpass® card, however, charges an annual fee.
  • There is no option to earn a free weekend night reward with this card.

Read our full Hilton Honors American Express Card review.

Current Scores Past Scores
Overall Score 84.6 Did not survey
Rewards Program Satisfaction 8.5 n/a
Customer Service 8.6 n/a
Website/App Usability 8.3 n/a
Likelihood of Continuing to Use 8.9 n/a
Recommend to a Friend/Colleague 8.1 n/a

*Scores above reflect the results of surveys with actual cardholders. Full methodology below.

BEST HOTEL CREDIT CARD FOR BUSINESS TRAVEL

5
About Our Ratings
Why We Like It:
This card is excellent if business takes you on the road often. Not only does it offer points for your Hilton purchases, it also offers you extra points on select business and travel purchases.

The Bonus: For a limited time, earn 130,000 Hilton Honors bonus points after you spend $3,000 in the first three months and earn up to $100 statement credit for eligible purchases at the Hilton family of hotels during your first year (offer ends 8/25/21).

The Annual Fee: $95

The Rewards: You pick up 12 points for every $1 spent on eligible purchases at participating Hilton properties, six points for every $1 spent on select business and travel purchases, and three points for every $1 spent on all other purchases. 

Credit Needed: Good, Excellent

Added Perks: You can earn up to two weekend night stays each calendar year. Earn your first night after spending $15,000 in a calendar year and earn another weekend night after spending an additional $45,000 in the same calendar year. Additionally, you'll also enjoy 10 complimentary airport lounge visits each calendar year after a one-time signup with Priority Pass™ Select.

PROS:

  • This card provides extra bonus points for popular business categories. For instance, cardholders receive six points per dollar spent on travel, car rentals, gas stations, restaurants, wireless service and shipping.
  • Business travelers are sure to appreciate the 10 free visits to Priority Pass™ airport lounges that come with this card (enrollment required)
  • All cardholders receive complimentary Gold Elite Status which comes with perks such as room upgrades and a free fifth night on standard room reward stays of five nights or more.

CONS:

  • This card comes with a $95 annual fee.
  • While you can earn an upgrade to Diamond Elite Status, it is only available after spending $40,000 in a year.
  • Those who don't stay frequently at Hilton properties may find the benefits of this card to be limited.

Read our full review of The Hilton Honors American Express Business Card.

We have not polled this card yet, but would love to hear your thoughts on it if you are a cardholder. Comment below or email us at editor@cardratings.com to share more about your experience.

 

EDITOR'S NOTE

Hilton Honors points can then be redeemed for free stays at more than 4,800 Hilton properties or for other travel services or entertainment options. While Hilton Honors points can be earned on hotel stays and through select Hilton purchases, the quickest way to rack up Hilton Honors points is by using a Hilton Honors credit card. 

Hilton Honors credit cards automatically help you achieve elite Hilton Honors status, which only adds to point earning ease. Learn more about earning and using Hilton Honors points in our Hilton Honors rewards program guide. 


BEST HOTEL CARD WITH AIRLINE REWARDS

5
About Our Ratings
Why We Like It:
This card is packed full of benefits that make it worthy for any serious traveler. If you frequently fly in addition to frequently staying in hotels you're likely to love what this card has to offer. In fact, if you're looking hotel-specific benefits, you'll appreciate that this card offers you up to $200 in statement credit annually on prepaid bookings made with your card with American Express Travel at Fine Hotels + Resorts or The Hotel Collection.

The Bonus: Earn 100,000 Membership Rewards® points after you spend $6,000 on purchases on your new card in your first six months of card membership.

The Annual Fee: $695

The Rewards: Earn 10x points on eligible purchases on your new card (up to a combined $25,000 in spending) at restaurants worldwide and when you Shop Small in the U.S. during your first 6 months of card membership. That's an additional nine points on top of the one point you earn for these purchases normally. Long term, earn 5X Membership Rewards® Points for flights booked directly with airlines or with American Express Travel (up to $500,000 spent on these purchases per calendar year) and 5X Membership Rewards® Points on prepaid hotels booked on amextravel.com.

Credit Needed: Good, Excellent

Added Perks: Enjoy complimentary access to the Global Lounge Collection®, the only credit card airport lounge access program that includes proprietary lounge locations around the world; enjoy Uber VIP status and up to $200 in Uber savings on rides or eats orders in the U.S. annually; and much more. Enrollment required for select benefits. 

PROS:

  • Complimentary access to the Global Lounge Collection® is an awesome perk for anyone who spends a lot of time in airports.
  • There are available benefits worth more than $1,400 for new cardholders in the first year.
  • Enjoy complimentary status with Marriott Bonvoy and Hilton Honors.
  • Receive either a statement credit available every four years after you apply for Global Entry ($100) or a statement credit available every 4.5 years after you apply for a five-year membership through any Authorized Enrollment Provider for TSA Pre✓® (up to $85).
  • Enrollment required for select benefits. 

CONS:

  • The annual fee is sizable so this card is only worth it for frequent travelers who can take advantage of the card's numerous perks.
  • This is a more general travel rewards card so it doesn't earn quite as heavily on hotel rewards. However, because it's not a co-branded card, it does offer you some added flexiblity in how you travel.

Read our full The Platinum Card® from American Express review.

Current Scores Past Scores
Overall Score 87.8 88.1
Rewards Program Satisfaction 8.7 8.8
Customer Service 8.8 9.1
Website/App Usability 8.5 8.2
Likelihood of Continuing to Use 9.0 8.8
Recommend to a Friend/Colleague 9.1 8.8

*Scores above reflect the results of surveys with actual cardholders. Full methodology below.

BEST HOTEL CREDIT CARD FOR EVERYDAY SPENDING

5
About Our Ratings
Why We Like It:
Cardholders can earn two miles per $1 spent on all purchases, making this a lucrative card for hotel bookings and, since it isn't a branded hotel card, you can redeem your all those miles for travel-related purchases, including hotel stays, regardless of the company/brand.

The Bonus: Enjoy a one-time bonus of 60,000 miles once you spend $3,000 on purchases within three months from account opening, equal to $600 in travel.

The Annual Fee: $95

The Rewards: This card gives you two miles for every $1 you spend, so you never have to plan your purchases to maximize your miles. Then, you can redeem your miles for hotels, flights, car rentals, cruises and other travel-related purchases. So, for example, you can fly any airline, stay at any hotel, anytime and not have to worry about blackout dates. Plus, you can transfer your miles to multiple leading travel loyalty programs if you choose.

Credit Needed: Excellent, Good

PROS:

  • While not specifically for hotels, this is a solid all-purpose travel rewards card offering two miles per dollar spent.
  • Venture Miles come with several flexible redemption options including the opportunity to transfer miles to the hotel loyalty programs.
  • The card comes with additional perks such as 24-hour travel assistance services and travel accident insurance.

CONS:

  • You won't get any complimentary hotel elite status with this card.
  • The card comes with a $95 annual fee but it can be easily offset by its valuable benefits.

Read our full Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card review.

Current Scores Past Scores
Overall Score 81.6 84.4
Rewards Program Satisfaction 7.9 8.2
Customer Service 8.3 8.4
Website/App Usability 8.5 8.4
Likelihood of Continuing to Use 8.8 9.1
Recommend to a Friend/Colleague 8.1 8.6

*Scores above reflect the results of surveys with actual cardholders. Full methodology below.

BEST HOTEL CREDIT CARD FOR TRANSFERRING REWARDS

5
About Our Ratings
Why We Like It:
Unlike hotel cards that are tied to specific properties and brands, you can transfer your Ultimate Rewards® points to several frequent flyer and hotel loyalty programs. Plus, your points are worth 25% more when you redeem them for travel through Chase's Ultimate Rewards® portal.

The Bonus: Cardholders earn 100,000 Chase Ultimate Rewards® points after spending $4,000 in the first three months. That equals up to $1,250 in travel when redeemed through the portal.

The Annual Fee: $95

The Rewards: You earn two points for every $1 spent for travel and restaurants and 1 point for all other purchases. Plus earn five points on Lyft rides through March 2022. That's three points in addition to the two points you already earn on travel. You can transfer Chase Ultimate Rewards® points to numerous frequent flyer and hotel loyalty programs.

Credit Needed: Excellent, Good

PROS:

  • By spending $4,000 within three months of opening an account, new cardholders can earn 100,000 bonus points worth $1,250 in travel, which is the highest-ever bonus offer for this card.
  • Dining and travel purchases, including hotel stays, earn two points per dollar. All other purchases earn one point per dollar spent.
  • Points can be transferred to the IHG® Rewards Club, Marriott Bonvoy and World of Hyatt programs.

CONS:

  • To get this card's great benefits, you must pay a $95 annual fee.
  • Unlike co-branded hotel credit cards, there are no brand specific perks such as complimentary elite status or free nights.
  • Hilton fans will be disappointed to see there is no option to transfer points to the Hilton Honors program.

Read our full Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card review.

Current Scores Past Scores
Overall Score 82.3 84.4
Rewards Program Satisfaction 8.3 8.3
Customer Service 8.4 8.7
Website/App Usability 8.2 8.1
Likelihood of Continuing to Use 8.7 9.0
Recommend to a Friend/Colleague 7.8 8.4

*Scores above reflect the results of surveys with actual cardholders. Full methodology below.

BEST HOTEL CREDIT CARD FOR FLEXIBLE HOTEL REWARDS

5
About Our Ratings
Why We Like It:
In addition to three points earned on hotel stays, this card offers $100 off a single hotel stay of $500 or more (excluding taxes and fees) through thankyou.com once per calendar year. Plus, it also offers bonus rewards on air travel, and at gas stations, restaurants and supermarkets. Citi is a CardRatings advertiser.

The Bonus: Earn 80,000 bonus ThankYou® Points after you spend $4,000 in purchases within the first three months of account opening, worth $800 in gift cards when redeemed at thankyou.com.

The Annual Fee: $95

The Rewards: Earn three points per $1 spent at gas stations, air travel and hotels; three points per $1 spent at restaurants and supermarkets; and one point per $1 spent on all other purchases.

Credit Needed: Excellent, Good

PROS:

  • Travel internationally with this card without worrying about the added cost of foreign transaction fees.
  • Transfer ThankYou® Points to participating airline loyalty programs to get flights fast. There is no fee, and the minimum transfer is only 1,000 points.
  • Outside of transferring rewards for flights, points can also be redeemed for gift cards including for department and home stores, and restaurants, or use ThankYou® Points to shop online at Amazon.com or BestBuy.com.
  • The perk of $100 off a single hotel stay of $500 or more through thankyou.com once per calendar year offsets the annual fee.

CONS:

  • Though it can easily be offset, there is an annual fee to take into consideration.
  • This card offers a lot of flexibility in how you can earn rewards, but reward redemption with hotels is a bit limited. If you want to use your rewards strictly for hotel stays and there's a hotel you love, a co-branded hotel credit card might be the better fit for you.

Read our full Citi Premier® Card review.

We have not polled this card yet, but would love to hear your thoughts on it if you are a cardholder. Comment below or email us at editor@cardratings.com to share more about your experience.

BEST CREDIT CARD FOR HOTELS.COM USERS

4
About Our Ratings
Why We Like It:
This is a good card for anyone who wants flexiblity with their hotel options, and who enjoys using the hotel-booking site, Hotels.com, to make hotel reservations.

The Bonus:  For a limited time receive two reward nights worth $250 total (max $125 per night)*, when you spend $1,000 on purchases in the first three months. *Excludes taxes and fees. If a night costs less than $125, you won't get the difference.

The Annual Fee: $0

The Rewards: 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. When you collect 10 stamps, you'll get one reward night to redeem on future bookings through Hotels.com.

Credit Needed: Excellent, Good

Added Perks: For the first year enjoy perks such as free breakfast, airport transfers, free WiFi and more at select properties. Additionally, this card offers reimbursement for non-refundable passenger fare if your trip is interrupted or cancelled for a covered reason, when your passenger fare is booked with your card.

PROS:

  • Pay your monthly cell phone bill with your card and get up to $600 protection against damage or theft (subject to a $25 deductible).
  • Enjoy perks like free breakfast, airport transfers and free WiFi your first year as a cardholder.
  • Rest easy if your trip is interrupted or cancelled for a covered reason. This card offers reimbursement for non-refundable passenger fare when your fare is booked with your card.

CONS:

  • Any free night rewards your earn with this card exclude taxes and fees. Also, if a night costs less than $125, you won’t get the difference.
  • This card doesn't earn rewards on purchases outside of Hotels.com purchases. If you're looking for a credit card that rewards every day purchases in additional to hotel purchases, this might not be the best fit for you.

Read our full Hotels.com® Rewards Visa® Credit Card review.

We have not polled this card yet, but would love to hear your thoughts on it if you are a cardholder. Comment below or email us at editor@cardratings.com to share more about your experience.

WHAT IS THE BEST HOTEL REWARDS CREDIT CARD?

Because the Marriott Bonvoy portfolio houses so many different hotel chains, from extended stay options such as TownePlace Suites to luxury properties like The Ritz-Carlton, the Marriott Bonvoy Boundless™ Credit Card tops our list for the best credit cards for hotel rewards.

Not only does this card earn users up to 17 points per dollar spent at more than 7,000 participating Marriott Bonvoy properties, but it also earns two points for every dollar spent on everything else, making it great to use on more than just hotel stays. Earning two points on "other" purchases is an excellent rate, even for the best rewards credit cards. So whether you're shopping for groceries, booking plane tickets, or a hotel stay, this card will earn you bonus rewards on it all. Plus, it offers a massive welcome bonus opportunity to new cardholders as well as a Free Night Award every year after your account anniversary. And because so many different hotels fall under the Bonvoy brand, it's great for a wide range of people.

The best credit card for hotel rewards will depend largely on your personal travel habits and preferences though. Families or business travelers could benefit most from a card affiliated with the IHG® Rewards Club since that brand operates properties catering to each of these groups. Meanwhile, luxury travelers may prefer to get a Marriott Bonvoy co-branded card since The Ritz-Carlton, St. Regis, and W Hotels fall under the Marriott umbrella.

We believe all the cards listed above provide good value and excellent benefits. However, the best credit card for hotel rewards will be the one that provides perks you'll actually use. Start by looking for cards affiliated with the hotels you stay at most frequently and then compare the benefits and fees of each one to make your selection.

HOW DO HOTEL CREDIT CARDS WORK?

Hotel credit cards are typically affiliated with a specific brand's loyalty program. For instance, the World of Hyatt, Marriott Bonvoy and Hilton Honors are all hotel loyalty programs that have co-branded credit cards affiliated with them. There are also some travel rewards credit cards, such as the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card, that let you earn points which can be transferred to multiple hotel loyalty programs.

Although each card will have its own terms, all hotel credit cards typically work in the same way. Cardholders earn points for purchases, and those points can be redeemed towards hotel stays, upgrades or other perks through a hotel's loyalty program.

Most co-branded credit cards offer extra points for purchases made at the brand's properties. For example, the Hilton Honors American Express Card offers three points per dollar spent on all purchases outside of bonus categories, but money spent at participating Hilton properties will earn seven points per dollar.

Who should get a hotel credit card infographic

WHAT ARE THE BENEFITS OF HAVING A HOTEL CREDIT CARD?

Each hotel credit card will have its own set of benefits, but these benefits generally fall into the following categories:

  • Rewards points
  • Elite status
  • Travel and purchase perks

Rewards points are offered universally by hotel credit cards. These points are awarded based on how much you spend, and they can be redeemed through a hotel's loyalty program. For example, the IHG® Rewards Club Premier Credit Card earns points for the IHG® Rewards Club while the Marriott Bonvoy Bold™ Credit Card earns points for the Marriott Bonvoy program.

There are also some general travel rewards cards that will earn transferable points. The Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card is a good example. It earns Chase Ultimate Rewards® points which, as of this writing, can be transferred the IHG® Rewards Club, World of Hyatt and Marriott Bonvoy™ programs.

Elite status is the next benefit of having a hotel credit card. Many cards, such as the Marriott Bonvoy Boundless™ Credit Card, provide cardholders with complimentary elite status within a hotel loyalty program and provide a fast-track to higher status levels. Having elite status can mean receiving perks ranging from free water upon check-in to complimentary upgrades to late check-out times.

Beyond rewards points and elite status, hotel credit cards can come with an assortment of other valuable perks. These benefits may vary significantly by card but could include purchase protection, trip delay insurance, free rewards nights and access to airport lounges.

ARE HOTEL CREDIT CARDS WORTH IT?

Yes, hotel credit cards are worth it, that is if you regularly stay in hotels when you travel. If you're more of an Airbnb-er or a prefer to stay in a friend's guest bedroom, you might not befit as much from a hotel credit card, but even if you only stay in a hotel a couple times a year, a no-annual-fee credit card might still be worth it.

Hotel credit cards earn rewards every time you make a purchase so they're a great way to help offset the cost of your next hotel stay. Co-branded cards offer bonus rewards at particular hotel chains, so if you're loyal to a particular brand, a co-branded hotel card can really help you save. Plus, many hotel loyalty programs can help you earn things like room upgrades, complimentary breakfast, service credits, free high-speed internet, late check out and even free night stays. These things might not matter much to the occasional hotel traveler, but if you spend a lot of time in hotels these types of perks can be invaluable.


Survey Methodology: CardRatings commissioned Op4G in September and October 2020 to conduct surveys among 1,746 cardholders nationwide. CardRatings website analytics from Jan. 1, 2020-Aug. 31, 2020 were used to determine a selection of the most popular cards and additional cards were added to add survey breadth. Responses to each of nine questions were given on a scale of 1-10 and respondents' scores were then averaged under broad topics. To determine the overall score, responses from questions 1-8 were summed and the answer to "How likely are you to recommend this card to a friend, coworker or family member?" was double weighted.

Ranking Methodology: CardRatings experts review the fine print, details, perks, rewards and features of hundreds of cards and compare them side-by-side with similar cards. A card that makes an excellent balance transfer card may not make a great cash-back rewards card even though it offers those rewards. While the Best of the Year list is announced annually, that list – and all other “best of” lists on CardRatings – are regularly reviewed and updated as issuers change the terms and features of each card often.

To see the rates and fees for the cards featured in this post, please visit the following links: The Platinum Card® from American Express (See Rates and Fees); The Hilton Honors American Express Business Card (See Rates and Fees); Hilton Honors American Express Card (See Rates and Fees)

Disclaimer: The information in this article is believed to be accurate as of the date it was written. Please keep in mind that credit card offers change frequently. Therefore, we cannot guarantee the accuracy of the information in this article. Reasonable efforts are made to maintain accurate information. See the online credit card application for full terms and conditions on offers and rewards. Please verify all terms and conditions of any credit card prior to applying.

This content is not provided by any company mentioned in this article. Any opinions, analyses, reviews or recommendations expressed here are those of the author’s alone, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any such company. CardRatings.com does not review every company or every offer available on the market.

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