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Best hotel credit cards of 2023

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If you frequently stay in hotels or resorts, you may want to get a hotel credit card for your favorite brand. These travel credit cards often come with perks like automatic elite status, or they might let you earn points you can redeem for free hotel stays or room upgrades.

When choosing a credit card that works best for hotel stays, you want to compare available redemption options, the number of points you need for a free night and the other perks you get just for being a cardholder. ConsumerAffairs did most of the heavy lifting for you by creating this list of the best hotel credit cards.

Compare our top 6 hotel credit cards

Chase Sapphire PreferredHilton Honors Amex Aspire CardWorld of Hyatt Credit CardMarriott Bonvoy BoundlessIHG Rewards Premier Credit CardHilton Honors Business Card
Our pick for Flexibility Luxury travel World of Hyatt Marriott Bonvoy IHG One Rewards Business
Minimum credit score Good to excellent Good to excellent Good to excellent Good to excellent Good to excellent Good to excellent
Welcome bonus 60,000 points when you spend $4,000 on purchases within three months of account opening 150,000 points when you spend $4,000 on purchases within three months of account opening 30,000 points when you spend $3,000 on purchases within three months of account opening and up to 30,000 more points by earning two bonus points per $1 spent within six months of account opening on purchases that normally earn one bonus point per $1 75,000 points when you spend $3,000 on purchases within six months of account opening and another 50,000 points if you stay six eligible paid nights at hotels participating in Marriott Bonvoy through 01/31/24 140,000 points when you spend $3,000 on purchases within three months of account opening 150,000 points and a free night reward when you spend $4,000 on purchases within three months of account opening
Annual fee $95 $450 $95 $95 $99 $95
Redemption options Point transfers, hotels and other travel booked through Chase, gift cards and more Free nights at 7,000+ hotels worldwide Free nights at 1,250+ Hyatt properties worldwide Free nights at 7,000+ Marriott Bonvoy properties worldwide Free nights at 6,000+ properties worldwide Free nights at 7,000+ hotels worldwide

More about our choices

To select the cards for our best hotel credit card ranking, we compared options based on their rewards rates, welcome bonuses and annual fees. We also assessed the relative value of the points you can redeem, and we gave preference to cards that offer automatic benefits like elite status or elite qualifying nights that count toward status requirements.

Our picks may be Authorized Partners that compensate us. This does not affect our recommendations or evaluations but may impact the order in which companies appear. For more details on how we selected our top picks, read our full methodology.

Best for flexibility

chase sapphire preferred card
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Chase Sapphire Preferred
  • Welcome bonus: 60,000 points when you spend $4,000 on purchases within three months of account opening
  • Annual fee: $95
  • Redemption options: Point transfers, hotels and other travel booked through Chase, gift cards and more

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The Chase Sapphire Preferred is not affiliated with a specific brand of hotels, but it does offer amazing flexibility when it comes to earning and redeeming rewards. Not only can Chase points be used for hotels in several different ways, but cardholders get a $50 annual credit toward hotel stays booked through the Chase Ultimate Rewards portal.

What we like
The Chase Sapphire Preferred has a lot going for it, and the $95 annual fee is reasonable when you consider all you get in return.
  • 25% more value ($0.0125 per point) when redeeming points for hotel stays, airfare and other travel through the Chase portal
  • 1:1 point transfers to a selection of airlines and hotel brands, including IHG Rewards Club, Marriott Bonvoy and World of Hyatt
  • $50 annual credit toward hotel stays booked through Chase
  • 5X points on eligible travel purchases through Chase (excluding hotel purchases that qualify for the $50 hotel credit)
  • Up to 3X points in everyday spending categories
  • Travel insurance benefits like primary auto rental coverage, trip cancellation and interruption insurance, baggage delay insurance and trip delay coverage
  • No foreign transaction fees
What to consider
While it's hard to complain about a travel credit card with so many benefits, the Chase Sapphire Preferred falls short in a couple of areas, such as:
  • Other than the $50 annual hotel credit, you won't get any hotel-specific perks or discounts.
  • The high variable annual percentage rate (APR) makes carrying a balance on this card expensive.
What reviewers say
Many ConsumerAffairs readers gave this card positive reviews, though not everyone was impressed.

Vizzini from Detroit enjoyed the card’s sign-up bonus, and they took advantage of the referral bonus offer to earn more points. "I got the first Sapphire card in our family. I then referred my wife, who then referred our oldest daughter, who then referred our youngest daughter, who then referred her boyfriend," they said. "So just for referring our immediate family members, we earned 60K [points] in referral bonuses."

Parikksit from Round Rock, Texas thinks the card offers some great benefits and that it's a good option for international travelers due to its lack of foreign transaction fees. They said it has "some really good options to suit your needs. Customer care is the best, and there's always someone to answer your queries in very few button clicks."


Best for luxury travel

hilton honors amex aspire card
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Hilton Honors American Express Aspire Card
  • Welcome bonus: 150,000 points when you spend $4,000 on purchases within three months of account opening
  • Annual fee:$450
  • Redemption options: Free nights at 7,000+ hotels worldwide

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While the Hilton Honors American Express Aspire Card might seem overpriced at first glance due to its $450 annual fee, this card comes with a range of luxury travel perks that can seriously enhance your overall travel experience. This includes automatic Hilton Honors Diamond status, which is the highest status tier offered by the Hilton Honors brand.

What we like
There are numerous benefits with the Hilton Honors American Express Aspire Card to balance out the card's annual fee, including:
  • Instant Hilton Honors Diamond membership, which comes with benefits like upgrades to premium rooms (based on availability), executive lounge access, premium WiFi and more
  • Free night award for each year you have the card, including the first year
  • $250 Hilton Resort credit for purchases at eligible properties
  • $250 annual credit for incidental airline fees (e.g., for checked baggage or in-flight refreshments)
  • $100 property credit for eligible two-night stays at Waldorf Astoria and Conrad properties
  • Priority Pass Select membership
  • Points can be redeemed for hotel stays at more than 7,000 properties worldwide
  • Up to 14X points on eligible purchases
  • No foreign transaction fees
What to consider
While the Hilton Honors American Express Aspire Card has a lot going for it, you'll want to know a little more before you sign up.
  • Some cardholder perks may be difficult to use. For example, the $250 annual resort credit only applies to Hilton properties designated as "resorts" by the brand.
  • The $250 annual credit for incidental airline fees is only good for one airline you select ahead of time.
  • The $450 annual fee can be hard to justify if you don't travel often.
  • The high variable APR makes carrying a balance on this card expensive.
  • Standard Rooms at highest-tier Hilton properties usually cost no more than 95,000 points per night, but premium redemptions on popular travel dates can cost a lot more.
What reviewers say
There are no reviews of the Hilton Honors American Express Aspire Card from ConsumerAffairs readers as of publication.

Best for World of Hyatt

world of hyatt credit card
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World of Hyatt Credit Card
  • Welcome bonus: 30,000 points when you spend $3,000 on purchases within three months of account opening and up to 30,000 more points by earning two bonus points per $1 spent within six months of account opening on purchases that normally earn one bonus point per $1
  • Annual fee: $95
  • Redemption options: Free nights at 1,250+ Hyatt properties worldwide

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The World of Hyatt Credit Card is a solid offering for travelers who love staying in properties associated with the Hyatt brand. While World of Hyatt has a smaller hotel footprint worldwide than other competing hotel programs, points earned in this program have competitive value.

What we like
Consider signing up for the World of Hyatt Credit Card if any of the following benefits appeal to you or your travel style:
  • Points can be worth $0.015 to $0.02 each or more in some cases, whereas some major competitors’ points are worth around $0.005 to $0.008 each on average.
  • Redemptions for free nights on off-peak dates start at just 3,500 points per night.
  • You can earn up to nine points per dollar spent on Hyatt hotel purchases.
  • You’ll get a free night award each year for Hyatt hotels and resorts in Categories 1 to 4.
  • You can benefit from automatic World of Hyatt Discoverist status and get a leg up to the next tier with five qualifying night credits annually.
  • Points and cash bookings are available, and you can use points for room upgrades.
  • There are no foreign transaction fees.
What to consider
Before you sign up for the World of Hyatt Credit Card, you’ll want to take a few things into consideration.
  • You have to make $15,000 worth of purchases with the card within six months of account opening to earn the full welcome offer.
  • Hyatt has around 1,250 properties worldwide, whereas some other popular hotel programs have 7,000+.
  • The high variable APR makes carrying a balance on this card expensive.
What reviewers say
There are no reviews of the World of Hyatt Credit Card from ConsumerAffairs readers as of publication.

Best for Marriott Bonvoy

marriott bonvoy boundless credit card
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Marriott Bonvoy Boundless
  • Welcome bonus: 75,000 points when you spend $3,000 on purchases within six months of account opening and another 50,000 points if you stay six eligible paid nights at hotels participating in Marriott Bonvoy through 01/31/24
  • Annual fee: $95
  • Redemption options: Free nights at 7,000+ Marriott Bonvoy properties worldwide

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The Marriott Bonvoy Boundless credit card is a mid-tier hotel credit card for this brand, but it offers exceptional value in exchange for its $95 annual fee. Earning the maximum points via the welcome bonus can yield up to 25 free nights in some Category 1 properties, and cardholders get automatic Silver Elite Status with Marriott Bonvoy just for signing up.

What we like
The Marriott Bonvoy Boundless is a useful hotel credit card for travelers who love staying with the Marriott brand, and it has some solid perks.
  • Generous sign-up bonus that can be redeemed for a lot of free nights
  • Automatic Silver Elite Status with Marriott and a pathway to earning Gold Elite status with $35,000 in card purchases each year
  • Up to 17 points per $1 spent at participating Marriott Bonvoy hotels
  • Free night award (maximum 35,000-point redemption level) each year
  • Travel insurance benefits including baggage delay insurance, lost luggage reimbursement and trip delay reimbursement
  • No foreign transaction fees
What to consider
Before you sign up for the Marriott Bonvoy Boundless, there are a couple of factors to consider.
  • The highest-tier Marriott Bonvoy properties can set you back 100,000 points per night or more.
  • The high variable APR makes carrying a balance on this card expensive.
What reviewers say
There are no reviews of the Marriott Bonvoy Boundless from ConsumerAffairs readers as of publication.

Best for IHG One Rewards

ihg rewards premier card
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IHG Rewards Premier Credit Card
  • Welcome bonus: 140,000 points when you spend $3,000 on purchases within three months of account opening
  • Annual fee: $99
  • Redemption options: Free nights at 6,000+ properties worldwide

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The IHG Rewards Premier Credit Card lets cardholders earn IHG One Rewards points, which can be redeemed for stays at more than 6,000 properties around the world. Not only does it come with a very generous bonus offer, but cardholders get automatic Platinum Elite status with the IHG One Rewards loyalty program.

What we like
There's a lot to like about the IHG Rewards Premier Credit Card, including:
  • There’s a generous welcome bonus and up to 26X points on paid stays at IHG hotels and resorts.
  • You get a free reward night each year you have the card.
  • If you redeem points for three consecutive reward nights, you get a fourth night free.
  • Automatic Platinum Elite status comes with perks like complimentary upgrades (based on availability), a welcome amenity at check-in, guaranteed room availability and more.
  • You’ll get a $100 fee credit toward Global Entry, NEXUS or TSA PreCheck membership every four years.
  • The card’s travel insurance package includes baggage delay insurance, lost luggage reimbursement and trip cancellation and interruption insurance.
  • Reward night redemptions start at just 5,000 points per night, and you can also book with a combination of points and cash.
  • The card has no foreign transaction fees.
What to consider
Potential downsides of this card may or may not impact your decision, but you should know about them anyway.
  • The high variable APR makes carrying a balance on this card expensive.
  • Stays at the highest-tier IHG properties can easily cost 100,000 points or more per night.
What reviewers say
There are no reviews of the IHG Rewards Premier Credit Card from ConsumerAffairs readers as of publication.

Best for business

hilton honors business card
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Hilton Honors Business Card
  • Welcome bonus: 150,000 points and a free night reward when you spend $4,000 on purchases within three months of account opening
  • Annual fee: $95
  • Redemption options: Free nights at 7,000+ hotels worldwide

READ MORE

If you're a small business owner who is constantly traveling for work, consider staying at Hilton hotels and resorts and picking up the Hilton Honors Business Card by American Express. This business credit card offers a generous welcome bonus, a reasonable $95 annual fee and complimentary Hilton Honors Gold status.

What we like
Several benefits helped the Hilton Honors Business Card earn our top ranking for businesses in the hotel credit card category:
  • Very lucrative welcome bonus
  • 12 points per dollar spent at Hilton portfolio hotels and resorts and six points per dollar in popular business and travel spending categories
  • Automatic Hilton Honors Gold status and a pathway to Diamond status after spending $40,000 on the card within a calendar year
  • 10 free visits to Priority Pass airport lounges each year
  • First free night reward after spending $15,000 on purchases within a calendar year and a second free night reward after spending $60,000
  • Reward night redemptions start at 5,000 points per night
What to consider
A few downsides of the Hilton Honors Business Card and the Hilton Honors program are worth keeping in mind.
  • The high variable APR makes carrying a balance on this card expensive.
  • A night in most Hilton properties’ Standard Rooms will usually require no more than 95,000 points, but premium redemptions on popular travel dates can cost a lot more.
What reviewers say
There are no reviews of the Hilton Honors Business Card from ConsumerAffairs readers as of publication.

Compare hotel credit card offers

CardRedemption options
Chase Sapphire Preferred Point transfers, hotels and other travel booked through Chase, gift cards and more
Hilton Honors American Express Aspire Card Free nights at 7,000+ hotels worldwide
World of Hyatt Credit Card Free nights at 1,250+ Hyatt properties worldwide
Marriott Bonvoy Boundless Free nights at 7,000+ Marriott Bonvoy properties worldwide
IHG Rewards Premier Credit Card Free nights at 6,000+ properties worldwide
Hilton Honors Business Card Free nights at 7,000+ hotels worldwide

What is a hotel credit card?

A hotel credit card is typically a co-branded credit card that lets travelers earn points within a specific hotel loyalty program. That said, some flexible travel credit cards can also be considered hotel cards if they offer preferential rewards redemptions for hotel stays or let cardholders transfer their points to hotel loyalty programs.

While benefits across hotel credit cards vary, common attributes of these cards include automatic elite status, annual free nights and no foreign transaction fees. But note that co-branded hotel credit cards tend to come with limited redemption options, and the number of points required for a free night can vary widely from one program to the next.

» MORE: Best airline credit cards

Pros and cons of hotel credit cards

Hotel credit cards can be worth considering if you frequently stay with a specific hotel brand and want to earn more rewards as you work toward elite status. That said, these cards also have their share of downsides.

Pros

  • Frequent travelers get to earn more points for paid hotel stays.
  • Many hotel credit cards come with automatic elite status.
  • Some programs let you redeem points for room upgrades or use points and cash to make a booking.
  • Some hotel credit cards offer annual free nights at hotels.

Cons

  • Hotel loyalty points are notoriously inflexible, with few appealing redemption options outside of hotel stays.
  • The lowest tiers of a loyalty program’s elite status won't get you many benefits.
  • With some programs, you’ll need to redeem 100,000 points or more for a free night at an upscale hotel.
  • High interest rates make these credit cards a poor option if you need to carry a balance.

What to look for in a hotel credit card

Picking a hotel credit card can be more complicated than picking a cash back credit card, mostly because the points you earn have to be used within a specific program. There are also other general requirements you should look for in a hotel card in order to make sure it suits your needs and spending style.

Look for the following when considering a hotel credit card:

  • Rewards rates that make sense for how you spend: Check how the rewards stack up to the categories you spend the most in. You want to earn as much in rewards as you can across paid hotel stays and on other purchases like dining out, groceries and gas.
  • Elite status benefits: Check whether the card comes with automatic elite status and if it offers a pathway to the next tiers of elite status through credit card spending.
  • Hotels you actually want to stay in: Check what kind of properties the card’s affiliated hotel network has in destinations you want to visit.
  • Alternate redemption options: See if there are other ways you can redeem your hotel points, such as for other components of travel or transfers to other programs.
  • Pooling points: Some hotel loyalty programs let you pool points with family members, whereas others do not.
  • Other travel benefits: Check for other benefits you might want, including travel insurance perks, airport lounge benefits and more.

» MORE: Best travel insurance companies

How to use hotel credit cards

When you sign up for a hotel credit card that is co-branded with a specific hotel chain, you want to make sure you list your hotel loyalty number each time you make a reservation. This will ensure you get the elite status benefits you qualify for with your hotel card, and it will also help you earn hotel loyalty points for each dollar you spend.

Aside from that, you can get the most out of hotel credit cards by:

  • Using your card for other spending and bills: This will help you earn more points over time, which you can redeem for free hotel nights, room upgrades and more. You can also consider pairing your hotel credit card with another rewards credit card that earns points in spending categories that complement the categories your hotel card earns in.
  • Being flexible when it comes to using your points: Some programs charge more points for redemptions on peak travel dates or for certain properties. If you're flexible with your dates, your destination and the hotel you stay in, you can get a better deal for your rewards.
  • Always paying your credit card bill in full: According to the Federal Reserve, the average credit card APR across all accounts came in at 20.09% in February 2023. Hotel credit cards tend to have above-average APRs, so you should avoid carrying a balance from one month to the next.

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    FAQ

    Can I use a hotel credit card for purchases other than hotels?

    Hotel credit cards are credit cards that just so happen to be co-branded with hotels for the purpose of earning rewards. However, these cards are still offered through networks like American Express, Mastercard and Visa. This means you can use hotel credit cards for all purchases from merchants that accept your card type as payment.

    Are there fees associated with hotel credit cards?

    Many hotel credit cards charge annual fees, and most are not waived in the first year. Other credit card fees to watch out for include late payment fees, balance transfer fees and cash advance fees.

    Can I transfer hotel points to airline loyalty programs?

    Some hotel loyalty programs let you turn hotel points into airline miles, but the transfer ratios may not be favorable. For example, you can turn 10,000 IHG One Rewards points into 2,000 SkyMiles or MileagePlus miles.

    How do I find any restrictions with a hotel credit card?

    Read over each card's terms and conditions, as well as all the fine print, to find out about any restrictions that apply. Also, make sure to read over your full cardholder agreement after you get it in the mail, or look for your card's full agreement online.

    Bottom line

    The best hotel credit cards come with hotel-specific benefits, although these can vary. For example, some hotel credit cards come with automatic elite status, free anniversary nights and sizable welcome bonuses.

    To find the best hotel credit card for your wallet, you want to think over the categories you spend the most in and the hotel brands where you actually want to stay. Ideally, you wind up with a hotel credit card that lets you rack up enough rewards points to ultimately redeem for the vacation of a lifetime.

    Methodology

    To make our top picks, the ConsumerAffairs team compared more than 20 hotel credit cards and flexible rewards cards from major financial institutions — including American Express, Chase, Capital One and Citibank  — that offered products with hotel-specific benefits or rewards. We reviewed these cards for a variety of factors, including fees, travel benefits, included protections and available redemptions.

    • Fees: We compared hotel credit cards based on their annual fees with the goal of picking cards that offer exceptional short-term and long-term value. Also, note that none of the cards on our list charge foreign transaction fees.
    • Travel benefits: We looked for hotel credit cards that offer perks like elite status, free anniversary nights, elite qualifying nights and more.
    • Protections: We gave preference to hotel credit cards that come with travel insurance benefits, such as trip cancellation and interruption insurance or a baggage insurance plan.
    • Redemptions: We considered all the different ways you can redeem points with each program, as well as the maximum value for redemptions.
    • Consumer reviews: We analyzed our own ConsumerAffairs reviews for cards that offer strong customer service and receive positive feedback overall. Note that most of the cards in our ranking have not been reviewed by ConsumerAffairs readers as of publication.

    Sources
    ConsumerAffairs writers primarily rely on government data, industry experts and original research from other reputable publications to inform their work. Specific sources for this article include:
    1. Federal Reserve, " Consumer Credit - G.19 ." Accessed June 4, 2023.
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