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Best Hotel Credit Cards

Profile picture of Kathryn Parkman
by Kathryn Parkman ConsumerAffairs Research Team

Purchases made with a hotel credit card earn points that can be redeemed for free hotel stays, travel perks and more. Similar to other types of credit cards that earn rewards, most hotel credit cards require good or excellent credit.

Our picks for
Top hotel credit cards

Best hotel credit card rewards program
Chase Sapphire Preferred

Company nameContact
chase sapphire preferred credit card
Recommended Credit:
Good or Excellent
LogoSummary
SIGN-UP BONUS
  • Get 60,000 bonus points if you spend $4,000 in first three months
ANNUAL FEE
  • $95
READ MORE

Chase Sapphire Preferred review

Thanks to the Chase Ultimate Rewards program, Chase Sapphire Preferred is one of the best credit cards with hotel rewards. Cardholders earn 2 points per $1 spent on travel-related expenses (airfare, hotels, taxis and trains) and dining out at restaurants, plus 1 point per $1 spent on everything else. Points can be exchanged for free hotel stays and much more through Chase Ultimate Rewards.

Chase Sapphire Preferred card benefits

In addition to the generous welcome offer — the 60,000-point sign-up bonus is redeemable for $750 toward travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards — cardholders get travel protection services and zero liability fraud protection.

  • Global Entry or TSA Pre-check credit: Chase Sapphire Preferred cardmembers get up to a $100 application fee credit for Global Entry or TSA Pre-check.
  • Lounge access: Cardmembers can take advantage of more than 1,000 airport lounges around the globe.
  • Chase Ultimate Rewards: Points are 25% more valuable when redeemed through the Chase Ultimate Rewards program.
  • 1:1 point transfers: Chase Sapphire Preferred points transfer at 1:1 ratio to leading hotel and airline loyalty programs.
  • Travel protection: Complimentary trip cancellation/interruption insurance, auto rental collision damage waiver, baggage delay insurance, trip delay reimbursement, travel and emergency assistance services can help make the best of a bad situation.
  • Purchase protection: Purchase protection ensures purchases up to four months against damage or theft (up to $500 per claim, $50,000 per account). Plus, extended warranty protection extends warranties on eligible purchases by a whole year.
Chase Sapphire Preferred card considerations

Cardholders must pay a $95 annual membership fee. Chase won’t charge a foreign transaction fee on purchases made in another country, but there is a fee for cash advances ($10 or 5%). Late payment and returned payment fees are both up to $39. Before you apply, also note that even applicants with excellent credit will be automatically declined if they have opened 5 Chase cards in the previous 24 months.

List of Chase Sapphire Preferred hotel partners

IHG Rewards Club

  • Kimpton Hotels & Restaurants
  • Regent
  • Hotel Indigo
  • Crowne Plaza
  • Hualuxe
  • Holiday Inn
  • Holiday Inn Club Vacations
  • Holiday Inn Express
  • Even Hotels
  • Avid Hotels
  • Candlewood Suites
  • Staybridge Suites
  • Voco
  • Intercontinental

Marriott Bonvoy

  • The Ritz-Carlton
  • St. Regis
  • Edition
  • The Luxury Connection
  • W Hotels
  • JW Marriott
  • Marriott
  • Sheraton
  • Marriott Vacation Club
  • Delta Hotels
  • Le Meridien
  • Westin
  • Autograph Collection Hotels
  • Design Hotels
  • Renaissance Hotels
  • Tribute Portfolio
  • Gaylord Hotels
  • Courtyard
  • Four Points
  • Springhill Suites
  • Protea Hotels
  • Fairfield
  • AC Hotels
  • Aloft
  • Moxy hotels
  • Marriott Executive Apartments
  • Residence Inn
  • Towneplace Suites
  • Element

World of Hyatt

  • Andaz
  • Alila
  • Thompson Hotels
  • Hyatt Centric
  • Park Hyatt
  • Miraval
  • Grand Hyatt
  • Hyatt Regency
  • Hyatt Zilara/Hyatt Ziva
  • Hyatt Place
  • Hyatt House
  • The Unbound Collection
  • Destination Hotels
  • Joie De Vivre
Is the Chase Sapphire Preferred card worth it?

Chase Sapphire Preferred is an excellent choice if you don’t want to stay at the same hotel every time you travel. Cardholders might earn fewer points per stay compared to with co-branded hotel credit cards, but it could be worth it if you need more flexibility in where points can be redeemed. Plus, you can combine this card with other rewards-earning Chase cards to maximize rewards, which makes this one of the very best credit cards for hotel points.

Best hotel credit card no annual fee
Wells Fargo Propel American Express

Company nameContact
wells fargo propel american express credit card
Recommended Credit:
Good or Excellent
LogoSummary
WELCOME BONUS
  • Get 30,000 bonus points if you spend $3,000 within first three months
ANNUAL FEE
  • $0
READ MORE

Wells Fargo Propel American Express review

Wells Fargo Propel American Express is an exceptional hotel credit card choice for frequent travelers who like to keep their options open without an annual fee. Cardholders earn 3 points per $1 spent on dining (eating out or ordering in), transportation (gas, rideshare and transit), travel (flights, hotels, homestays and car rentals) and popular streaming services. Plus, earn 1 point per $1 spent on everything else (terms apply). There’s no limit to how many points Wells Fargo Propel American Express cardholders can earn, and points won’t expire unless the account closes.

Wells Fargo Propel American Express card benefits

Cardholders exchange Wells Fargo Propel American Express points for travel, gift cards or merchandise through Go Far Rewards, Wells Fargo’s rewards program. Other Wells Fargo Propel American Express benefits include 0% introductory APR, fraud monitoring, cell phone protection, purchase protection and travel protection.

  • Intro APR: Unlike many hotel credit card competitors, Wells Fargo Propel American Express cardholders enjoy 0% interest on new purchases and balance transfers for the first year of opening an account. Terms apply.
  • Fraud monitoring: Get alerts to notifications about suspicious activity on your account. Plus, with zero liability protection, cardholders aren’t held financially responsible for unauthorized charges.
  • Cell phone protection: Pay your phone bill with a Wells Fargo hotel credit card, and Wells Fargo will reimburse you for cell phone damage or theft — up to $600 per claim with a $25 deductible (terms apply).
  • Travel protection: Lost luggage reimbursement, car rental loss and damage insurance, roadside assistance, 24/7 travel and emergency assistance and emergency cash advances can help keep you and your family safe while you’re far from home.
  • Purchase protection: Eligible purchases qualify for extended warranties and return protection.
Wells Fargo Propel American Express card considerations

There aren’t foreign transaction fees or annual fees associated with this card, but prospective Wells Fargo Propel American Express applicants should be aware that there is either a $10 or 5% cash advance fee (whichever is greater). If you intend to use this card for a balance transfer, keep in mind that there is a balance transfer fee of 3-5%. Late payment and returned payment fees can be up to $39. Overdraft protection advance fees range from $12.50 to $20.

List of Wells Fargo Propel American Express hotel brands
  • Best Western
  • Red Roof Inn
  • Radisson
  • Wyndham
  • Motel 6
  • Expedia
  • Travelocity
  • Agoda
  • Booking.com
  • Hotels.com
Is the Wells Fargo Propel American Express card worth it?

It’s easy to accumulate rewards points quickly, especially if you spend a lot in the 3x bonus categories. There might be a few perks missing — no Global Entry or TSA Precheck, for example — but you can still get a lot of out of a Wells Fargo Propel American Express card, and there’s no annual fee. Plus, the sign-up bonus is even easier to hit since you don’t have to pay interest on new purchases for 12 months.

Best Marriott credit card
Marriott Bonvoy Boundless

Company nameContact
marriott bonvoy boundless credit card
Recommended Credit:
Good or Excellent
LogoSummary
SIGN-UP BONUS
  • Get 75,000 bonus points if you spend $3,000 in first three months
ANNUAL FEE
  • $95
READ MORE

Marriott Bonvoy Boundless review

One of the best credit cards for free hotel stays, the Marriott Bonvoy Boundless Visa Signature is an excellent choice for a card that rewards brand loyalty as well as everyday spending. This Marriott hotel credit card earns 6 points per $1 spent at almost 7,000 Marriott Bonvoy hotel locations and 2 points per $1 spent on all other purchases. Cardholders can redeem points for travel packages and free hotel stays.

Marriott Bonvoy Boundless card benefits

There’s no limit to how many Marriott Bonvoy points you can earn, and points never expire as long as you use the card once every 24 months. In addition to free night awards, Marriott Bonboy Boundless credit cards benefits include baggage delay insurance, lost luggage reimbursement, trip delay reimbursement and Visa concierge.

  • Free night award: Cardholders enjoy an extra free night (35,000 point value) each year after their account anniversary.
  • Silver Elite status: Marriott Bonvoy Boundless cardholders automatically receive Silver Elite Status each year. Silver Elite Status perks include 10% bonus points on stays, exclusive member rates and no blackout dates. Each year cardholders who spend $35,000 or more on eligible purchases will qualify for Gold Elite Status, which comes with even more perks and benefits.
  • Elite Night Credits: Cardholders get up to 15 Elite Night credits within 60 days of opening an account, and then earn 1 Elite Night credit for every night redeemed and stayed on a Cash + Points Awards stay.
  • Visa Concierge: Complimentary 24/7 Visa Signature Concierge service for help booking tickets, reserving tables and finding entertainment.
  • Travel protection: Baggage delay insurance covers up to $100 per day for 5 days if your baggage is delayed by passenger carrier. Lost luggage reimbursement covers up to $3,000 if your (or an immediate family member’s) luggage is lost or damaged by your carrier. Trip delay reimbursement covers up to $500 for you and your family to cover lodging and meals if your trip is delayed more than 12 hours.
Marriott Bonvoy Boundless card considerations

Marriott Bonvoy Boundless cardholders never have to worry about paying a fee when they make purchases in another country, but there are other fees to consider. The annual membership fee is $95. Cash advances require a 5% fee ($10 minimum). Late payment and return payment fees are up to $39 each.

Potential cardholders should also note that current and previous Marriott Bonvoy Premier applicants may not be eligible for this card. Existing Marriott Rewards Premier, Marriott Bonvoy Business and Marriott Bonvoy Premier cardholders may qualify for the Marriott Bonboy Boundless card, but may not eligible to earn the welcome bonus.

List of Marriott Bonvoy hotels
  • The Ritz-Carlton
  • St. Regis
  • Edition
  • The Luxury Connection
  • W Hotels
  • JW Marriott
  • Marriott
  • Sheraton
  • Marriott Vacation Club
  • Delta Hotels
  • Le Meridien
  • Westin
  • Autograph Collection Hotels
  • Design Hotels
  • Renaissance Hotels
  • Tribute Portfolio
  • Gaylord Hotels
  • Courtyard
  • Four Points
  • Springhill Suites
  • Protea Hotels
  • Fairfield
  • AC Hotels
  • Aloft
  • Moxy hotels
  • Marriott Executive Apartments
  • Residence Inn
  • Towneplace Suites
  • Element
Is the Marriott Bonvoy Boundless card worth it?

The Marriott Bonvoy Boundless card has a lot going for it with a relatively average annual fee. Cardholders can conveniently book and pay for rooms by combining cash and points for as little as $55 and 3,500 points Plus, it’s easy to search for travel options and pay with points or combine points with cash to stretch Marriott Bonvoy Boundless points, and cardmembers also can combine accounts to add their points together and redeem for even more.

Best Hilton credit card
Hilton Honors American Express Surpass card

Company nameContact
hilton honors american express ascend credit card
Recommended Credit:
Good or Excellent
LogoSummary
WELCOME BONUS
  • Get 130,000 Hilton Honors Bonus Points plus a free weekend night reward if you spend $4,000 on eligible purchases in first four months
ANNUAL FEE
  • $95
READ MORE

Hilton Honors American Express Surpass review

The Hilton Honors American Express Surpass card is best for those who frequently stay at Hilton hotel properties and want a high rewards rate. Cardholders earn 12 Hilton Honors bonus Points per $1 spent on eligible purchases at a Hilton hotel or resort, plus 6 Hilton Honors bonus points per $1 spent at U.S. restaurants, supermarkets and gas stations. All other purchases earn 3 Hilton Bonus Points per $1. Points can be redeemed for free nights at premium hotels, vacation packages and all-inclusive resorts, travel and more (terms apply).

Hilton Honors American Express Surpass card benefits

Hilton Honors Surpass American Express benefit highlights include guaranteed-lowest hotel rates at Hilton properties, free night rewards and access to airport lounges in participating Priority Pass Select locations.

  • Weekend Night reward: Get a Weekend Night Reward if you spend $15,000 on purchases per calendar year.
  • Flexible payments: Set up a monthly plan for big purchases through Plan It. Customize the length of your payment plan and pay a low, fixed monthly fee instead of interest charges.
  • Global Assist hotline: Get 24/7 access to medical, legal, financial and other emergency assistance services while traveling.
  • Entertainment access: Hilton Honors Surpass card members get exclusive access to ticket presales for Broadway shows, concert tours, sporting events and more.
  • Travel accident insurance: Travel accident insurance provides coverage for accidental death and injury while traveling on a plane, train, ship or bus.
  • Upgrade to Diamond Status: Cardholders who spend more than $40,000 on eligible purchases per year automatically qualify for Hilton Diamond Status through the next calendar year. Benefits Hilton Diamond Status include room upgrades, executive floor lounge access, welcome amenities, fifth night free on award stays, Diamond status extensions and more bonus points.
Hilton Honors American Express Surpass card considerations

Cardholders never have to pay a fee to convert foreign currency to or from U.S. dollars, but there are other fees that applicants should be aware of before they apply. In addition to the $95 annual membership fee, Hilton Honors American Express Surpass cardholders pay a 3% fee ($5 minimum) for cash advances or balance transfers. Both late payment and returned payment fees are up to $38 each.

List of Hilton Honors Surpass hotel brands
  • Waldorf Astoria
  • LXR
  • Conrad
  • Canopy
  • Signia Hilton
  • Hilton
  • Curio Collection
  • DoubleTree
  • Tapestry Collection
  • Embassy Suites
  • Motto
  • Hilton Garden Inn
  • Hampton
  • Tru
  • Homewood Suites
  • Home 2 Suites
  • Hilton Grand Vacation
Is the Hilton Honors American Express Surpass card worth it?

The Hilton rewards card is worth the annual fee if you take advantage of the welcome bonus and frequently stay in Hilton hotels. Cardholders earn points for every purchase and there are many options for how to cash in points. Plus, with complimentary Gold Status, card members enjoy perks like late check-out and free transfer of pints and points pooling, plus elite tier rollover nights and unlimited milestone bonuses.

Best Hyatt credit card
The World of Hyatt Credit Card

Company nameContact
the world of hyatt credit card
Recommended Credit:
Good or Excellent
LogoSummary
SIGN-UP BONUS
  • Get up to 50,000 bonus points — 25,000 if you spend $3,000 in first three months, plus $25,000 more if you spend a total of $6,000 in first six months.
ANNUAL FEE
  • $95
READ MORE

The World of Hyatt review

The World of Hyatt card is best for those who stay at Hyatt hotels and resorts frequently and can fully take advantage of the 50,000-point welcome bonus, which is redeemable for 10 free nights. The World of Hyatt credit at Hyatt hotels earns 9 points per $1 spent — 5 base points per $1 as a World of Hyatt member plus 4 bonus points per $1. Cardholders also earn 2 points per $1 spent at restaurants, airline tickets (when purchased directly through the airline), local transit and fitness club or gym memberships, plus 1 point per $1 on everything else. Free Hyatt nights start at 5,000 points.

The World of Hyatt card benefits

The World of Hyatt credit card earns flexible rewards and comes with perks that some competitors with similar annual fees don’t offer, like Milestone bonuses, free hotel stays, elite status and travel protection.

  • Free hotel stays: Primary cardholders earn 2 World of Hyatt night credits for every $5,000 in new purchases, and points can be combined with another cardholder’s to maximize return. Cardmembers also get five elite-qualifying nights, another free night if they spend $15,000 on eligible purchases per year.
  • Milestone rewards: Get one free Milestone reward night for each cardmember anniversary.
  • Automatic elite status: Cardmembers get automatic Discoverist status at Hyatt hotels. Benefits of Discoverist status include 10% bonus points on eligible purchases and 10% discounts at select Hyatt hotels and resorts. Discoverists can also book their stays through an exclusive Hyatt reservation line.
  • Travel protections: The World of Hyatt card comes with many Chase travel perks, including trip cancellation and travel accident insurance, trip delay and lost luggage reimbursement, baggage delay insurance and auto rental collision damage waiver.
The World of Hyatt card considerations

The World of Hyatt card issuer (Chase) doesn’t charge a fee on foreign transactions, but be aware of other fees before you apply. In addition to the $95 annual fee, there is a 5% fee ($10 minimum) per cash advance transaction, and late or returned payments are up to $38 each. Also, note that since this is a Chase card, Chase’s 5/24 rule applies, meaning that Chase will automatically reject applicants who have opened 5 or more Chase cards in the last 24 months.

List of World of Hyatt hotel brands
  • Andaz
  • Alila
  • Thompson Hotels
  • Hyatt Centric
  • Park Hyatt
  • Miraval
  • Grand Hyatt
  • Hyatt Regency
  • Hyatt Zilara/Hyatt Ziva
  • Hyatt Place
  • Hyatt House
  • The Unbound Collection
  • Destination Hotels
  • Joie De Vivre
Is The World of Hyatt card worth it?

Even if you can take advantage of the sign-up bonus, The World of Hyatt card is only worth it if you frequently stay at Hyatt hotels. Hyatt has about 600 hotels in 50 countries, fewer than many competitors. Still, the World of Hyatt credit card earns flexible rewards and comes with lots of perks and bonuses like free hotel stays and travel protection, which makes it one of the best Hyatt co-branded hotel credit cards.

Best IHG credit card
IHG Rewards Club Premier Credit Card

Company nameContact
ihg rewards club premier credit card
Recommended Credit:
Good or Excellent
LogoSummary
SIGN-UP BONUS
  • Get 80,000 bonus points if you spend $2,000 on purchases in first three months
ANNUAL FEE
  • $89
READ MORE

IHG Rewards Club Premier review

The IHG Rewards Club Premier credit card earns points relatively quickly, and there are many options for cashing in rewards. Cardmembers earn 25 points per $1 spent at IHG hotels. You'll also earn 2 points per $1 spent at gas stations, grocery stores and restaurants, plus 1 point per $1 spent on everything else. Points are redeemable for Reward Nights, gifts cards and merchandise. Cardholders can also purchase points at a 20% discount.

IHG Rewards Club Premier card benefits

IHG Rewards Club Premier rewards can be redeemed for free nights at thousands of IHG hotel properties around the world. Other IHG Rewards Club Premier benefit highlights include spending bonuses, vacation discounts and travel protection services.

  • Annual spend bonus: In addition to the sign-up bonus, IHG Rewards Club Premier cardmembers can earn 10,000 bonus points if they spend $20,000 on purchases and make an additional purchase each year.
  • Free IHG nights: Get a free night when you redeem points for four or more nights at any IHG hotel or resort. Plus, get a free night after each account anniversary. There aren’t any blackout dates for redeeming reward nights.
  • Platinum Elite status: Platinum Elite IHG Rewards members get access to exclusive rates, complimentary room upgrades, dedicated customer service phone assistance, free Amazon Kindle eBooks, special discounts on Hertz car rentals and more.
  • Travel protections: IHG cardmembers enjoy complimentary trip cancellation and interruption insurance, plus lost luggage reimbursement and baggage delay insurance for any personal belongings lost during a trip.
  • Global Entry or TSA Pre-check: Cardholders get a $100 credit every four years as reimbursement for Global Entry or TSA Precheck application fee charged to the card.
IHG Rewards Club Premier card considerations

IHG Rewards Club Premier cardholders don’t have to pay a fee when they make purchases abroad, but there is an annual fee of $89 per year. Cash advance fees are either $10 or 5%, whichever is greater. Late payment and returned payment fees can be up to $39. Please note, there’s not an introductory APR period with this card, so be sure that you can afford to hit the sign-up bonus without getting into debt.

List of IHG hotel brands
  • Kimpton Hotels & Restaurants
  • Regent
  • Hotel Indigo
  • Crowne Plaza
  • Hualuxe
  • Holiday Inn
  • Holiday Inn Club Vacations
  • Holiday Inn Express
  • Even Hotels
  • Avid Hotels
  • Candlewood Suites
  • Staybridge Suites
  • Voco
  • InterContinental
Is the IHG Rewards Club Premier card worth it?

The IHG Rewards Club Premier card is great for earning rewards when you travel and on everyday spending and comes with plenty of other perks to make the $89 annual fee worth it. Plus, with more than 5,400 IHG hotels and resorts all over the world, this card gives you more options than many other competitor co-branded hotel credit cards.

What is a hotel credit card?

A hotel credit card is a type of rewards credit card that earns points for everyday spending and often rewards brand loyalty to a specific hotel company. Hotel credit card points are redeemable for free hotel stays, elite status upgrades, travel perks and more.

If you don’t stay at the same hotel every time you travel, consider a travel credit card instead of a hotel credit card.

Find a hotel credit card and start earning rewards


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How do hotel credit cards work?

Hotel credit cards work much like other rewards cards — cardholders earn points by making eligible purchases with the card, then points are redeemed for free hotel stays, travel insurance and other perks.

Most purchases for products and services are eligible to earn points. However, hotel credit cards don’t earn points for fees or interest charges, cash-related purchases like travelers’ checks or payments to reload prepaid cards, and money spent on gambling.

Similar to other types of rewards credit cards, hotel credit cards often earn points in tiered bonus categories. Depending on the type and issuer of your hotel credit card, some restrictions could apply to where and how to redeem points you’ve accumulated. Hotel credit card rewards points usually won’t expire as long as the account is in good standing. However, hotel credit cardholders must forfeit their points if they don’t make the minimum payment by the close of each billing cycle.

What are the types of hotel credit cards?

The two types of hotel credit cards, co-branded and generic, both earn points for purchases in bonus categories that are redeemable for hotel stays, travel discounts and statement credits through the issuer’s redemption portal or travel partners.

  • Co-branded hotel credit cards: Co-branded hotel credit cards are issued in partnership with a specific hotel company and earn high rewards when used at that hotel. Co-branded hotel credit cards earn rewards at a higher rate but can only be redeemed through the card issuer’s hotel partner.
    • Best for those with loyalty to a particular hotel chain (more than 20 stays per year)
  • Generic hotel credit cards: Generic hotel credit cards earn rewards across different categories and can be redeemed at different hotel companies, but usually at a lower rate. Popular generic hotel bonus categories include travel, dining, restaurants, supermarkets and gas stations.
    • Best for those who want more flexibility in how they redeem points.

Are hotel credit cards worth it?

Hotel credit cards are worth it if you frequently travel with overnight stays and don’t mind strategizing how you spend to get the most out of redeeming rewards.

Hotel credit card benefits include free reward nights, concierge service, complimentary upgrades, discounts, travel insurance and fraud protection, which can make even a higher annual fee worth it. Hotel credit cards often come with significant sign-up bonuses, but the minimum threshold can be several thousand dollars within the first three months of opening an account.

Which hotel credit card is best?

The hotel credit card offer that is best for you will depend upon your spending habits and travel preferences. As you compare hotel credit cards, look for one that earns the most points in the categories you spend most frequently. Some hotel credit card reviews indicate confusing or complicated reward structures. For example, some issuers also impose restrictions on when and how rewards can be redeemed.

Hotel credit card comparison

Hotel credit cardReward points rate
Chase Sapphire Preferred2x points on travel and dining, 1x point on other purchases
Wells Fargo Propel American Express3x points for dining and travel, 1x point on other purchases
Marriott Bonvoy Boundless Visa Signature6x points at Marriott Bonvoy hotels, 2x points on other purchases
Hilton Honors Surpass from American Express12x points at Hilton hotels, 6x points at U.S. restaurants, supermarkets and gas stations, 3x points on other purchases
The World of Hyatt Credit Card9x points at Hyatt hotels, 2x points at restaurants, airlines, local transit and gym memberships
IHG Rewards Club Premier25x points at IHG hotels, 2x points at gas stations, grocery stores and restaurants, 1x point on other purchases

How to maximize the use of hotel credit cards

All it takes is a little strategy to maximize hotel credit card reward points. When enough points accumulate, redeem them for free nights at your favorite hotel and other travel perks.

  1. Pick the right hotel credit card for you: Understanding how different cards’ reward and redemption values work is a crucial step to finding the best card for your lifestyle.  For co-branded hotel credit cards, cardholders only get the most out of their rewards when if they stay at that particular hotel at least 20 times each year, while generic hotel credit cards offer more flexibility.
  2. Know when the annual fee is worth it: Hotel credit cards often charge an annual fee, usually around $100. However, some hotel credit card issuers will waive the fee for the first year, and other issuers don’t charge an annual fee at all. Typically the best hotel rewards credit cards charge an annual fee and come with more perks and benefits.
  3. Consider the value of points: Hotel credit cards earn the most on purchases made in bonus categories. For co-branded cards, the highest-earning category will be purchases made at that specific hotel. Some bonus categories earn up to 25 points per $1 spent. Keep in mind that points tend to devalue over time, so it’s rarely in your best interest to hoard them.
  4. Don’t miss the sign-up bonus: The best hotel credit card signup bonuses are generous and always easy for you to hit. Remember, it isn’t worth sliding into debt to accrue bonus points towards travel perks.
  5. Take advantage of promotions: Many of the best hotel credit card issuers will reward cardmember for anniversaries with a bonus free night. Others will reward you for booking several nights with an extra bonus night too.
  6. Combine with another credit card: Hotel credit cards are great for racking up points at your favorite inn or resort, but often they don’t earn much on everyday spending. For example, if your hotel rewards card only earns 1 point per $1 on a spending category like gas stations or supermarkets, use a different rewards card for those purchases and it will add up to more in the long term. This way, you’re earning the most points for purchases that would make anyway.
  7. Team up with another cardmember: Some issuers even let cardholders combine points with a family member or friend to stretch rewards further.
  8. Always redeem for the best value: Most hotel rewards cardholders won’t maximize their rewards if they redeem for anything other than travel and hotel expenses. If you want to earn points but redeem for something other than travel and hotel expenses, consider getting a cash back credit card.

Bottom line

Hotel credit cards earn reward points that you can exchange for free hotel stays, room upgrades, travel perks and more. If you stay at the same hotel more than 20 nights per year, you can get the most of out a co-branded hotel credit card. Generic travel credit cards are best for those who want more flexibility in how they earn and redeem reward points.

Want to compare more hotel credit cards?


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Profile picture of Kathryn Parkman
by Kathryn Parkman ConsumerAffairs Research Team

As a member of the ConsumerAffairs Research Team, Kathryn Parkman believes everyone deserves easy access to accurate and comprehensive information on products and businesses before they make a purchase, which is why she spends hours researching companies and industries for ConsumerAffairs. She believes conscious consumption is everyone's responsibility and that all content deserves integrity.