The Best Hotel Credit Cards for Every Type of Traveler

We identified the top hotel credit cards that offer valuable rewards, special perks, and free hotel stays.
Last updated Nov. 22, 2022 | By Kat Tretina | Edited By Becca Borawski Jenkins
A customer checking in at a hotel

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Signing up for the right travel rewards card can help you earn valuable points and miles that you can redeem for future travel. You can even get great benefits like free hotel stays and room upgrades. When you pair a hotel credit card with a hotel loyalty program, the rewards and freebies can pile up fast. But which card should you choose?

We’ve rounded up the best hotel credit cards available now. This includes co-branded hotel credit cards as well as more flexible travel rewards cards. Here’s a breakdown of each card’s rewards and benefits, plus tips on how to decide which is the best new card for you.

The best hotel credit cards:

In this article

The best hotel credit cards

Here are our favorite hotel credit cards and who they're a best fit for:

Card Best for...
The Platinum Card® from American Express Frequent travelers who want to indulge in luxury accommodations
Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card People who spend a significant amount of money per year on travel and dining out
Capital One Venture X Rewards Credit Card Travelers who want lounge perks and rewards for general travel 
Hilton Honors American Express Aspire Card Hilton devotees who travel several times a year
Hilton Honors American Express Card Those who enjoy Hilton-branded hotels but balk at the Aspire’s high annual fee
Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant® American Express® Card Frequent travelers who are Marriott loyalists
Marriott Bonvoy Boundless® Credit Card Marriott fans who don’t want to pay the Bonvoy Brilliant’s high annual fee
IHG® Rewards Premier Credit Card Budget-conscious travelers who frequently stay at hotel chains like Holiday Inn or Staybridge Suites
The World of Hyatt Credit Card Hyatt fans, including those who stay at Thompson Hotels or Hyatt Regency resorts

The Platinum Card® from American Express

Annual fee: $695 (Terms apply)

Welcome offer: Earn 80,000 Membership Rewards points after spending $6,000 in the first 6 months.

Why we like it: Despite this Amex card’s high annual fee, the Platinum Card from American Express is outstanding for earning rewards at hotels. 

Reward details: You’ll earn 5X points per dollar spent on eligible airfare (on up to $500,000 per calendar year, after that 1X) and eligible hotel purchases, and 1X points per dollar on all other eligible purchases. Your Membership Rewards points can be redeemed for future travel arrangements, including hotel stays; you can also redeem them for merchandise or gift cards.

Other benefits include: 
  • You’ll get access to the Fine Hotels & Resorts program, where you’ll get $550 worth of complimentary benefits, on average. Perks include daily breakfast for two, complimentary Wi-Fi, and free room upgrades when available.
  • You’ll get benefits through The Hotel Collection, a network of more than 600 properties all over the globe. When you book a prepaid stay of two consecutive nights or more through The Hotel Collection or Fine Hotels & Resorts, you’ll enjoy perks such as a $200 hotel credit and room upgrades.
  • You’ll get immediate Marriott Bonvoy Gold Elite status and Hilton Honors Gold status — without needing to meet minimum stay requirements.
  • Cardmembers will receive either a Global Entry or TSA PreCheck application fee credit every 4.5 or 4 years, respectively. 
  • You'll also enjoy airport lounge access to more than 1,200 locations in over 130 countries through the American Express Global Lounge Collection. 
  • And finally, you'll get a Saks Fifth Avenue credit twice per year and a monthly Uber credit. 

It's important to note that some of these benefits do require enrollment.

Read our Amex Platinum review.

Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card

Annual fee: $95

Welcome offer: Earn 60,000 points after spending $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months.

Why we like it: What makes the Chase Sapphire Preferred such a great rewards card is its redemption options. Points are generally worth $0.01 each. However, if you redeem them through the Chase Ultimate Rewards portal for travel arrangements, your points are worth 25% more. That means your 60,000 points from the welcome bonus are worth $750 toward travel.

Reward details: You can earn 5X points on Lyft rides and travel booked through Chase Ultimate Rewards; 3X points on eligible dining, select streaming services, and online grocery purchases; 2X points on travel; and 1X points per $1 on all other eligible purchases.

Other benefits include: 

  • You can take advantage of the $50 annual credit on hotel stays purchased through Chase Ultimate Rewards. 
  • You can get up to a year of free DoorDash DashPass benefits on eligible food orders.
  • You can also complete a point transfer to one of Chase’s travel partners at a 1:1 value. There are three hotel partners: IHG Rewards, Marriott Bonvoy, and World of Hyatt.

Read our Chase Sapphire Preferred review.

Tip
To get the absolute most in value, rewards, and perks from a Chase travel card, you'll want to learn about the Chase Sapphire Reserve. Check out our Chase Sapphire Reserve® review.

Capital One Venture X Rewards Credit Card

Annual fee: $395

Welcome offer: Earn 75,000 miles when you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening.

Why we like it: The Capital One Venture X is a premium travel card that builds on the benefits of the original Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card. As a new cardholder: Earn 75,000 miles when you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. 

Reward details: You can enjoy 2X miles per dollar on every purchase, every day; 10X miles on hotels and rental cars booked through Capital One Travel, 10X miles per dollar when you book on Turo through May 16, 2023; and 5X miles on flights booked through Capital One Travel.

Other benefits include: 

  • Cardholders receive up to $300 in annual travel credits for bookings made through Capital One Travel.
  • You'll get 10,000 bonus miles each account anniversary. 
  • This card offers complimentary and unlimited access to Priority Pass lounges, as well as access to Capital One Lounges. 
  • You can receive up to a $100 statement credit for Global Entry or TSA PreCheck programs.
  • Miles earned with this card can be transferred to over a dozen Capital One travel partners, including Air Canada Aeroplan, British Airways Executive Club, and Wyndham Rewards. 
  • You'll also receive complimentary elite status, called President’s Circle, with Hertz.

Read our Capital One Venture X review.

Hilton Honors American Express Aspire Card

Annual fee: $450 (Terms apply)

Welcome offer: Earn 150,000 Hilton Honors Bonus Points after spending $4,000 in the first 3 months.

Why we like it: With its high annual fee, the Hilton Honors Aspire Card is geared toward frequent travelers who almost always stay at Hilton-branded hotels. 

Reward details: You can earn 14X points on eligible purchases within the Hilton portfolio, 7X points on qualifying travel purchases made directly with airlines/select car rental companies or Amextravel.com, 7X points at U.S. restaurants, and 3X points on all other eligible purchases.

Other benefits include: 

  • You can redeem points for hotel stays at over 5,100 hotels worldwide, and you’ll also get an annual Free Night Reward. Depending on where you stay, that Free Night Reward alone can be worth hundreds of dollars.
  • After your first year as a cardmember, you’ll get a $250 Hilton resort statement credit to cover the cost of incidental purchases when you stay at an eligible resort. 
  • You can also qualify for a $100 property credit if you book a stay for two nights or more through HiltonHonors.com/AspireCard.
  • You’ll be given complimentary Hilton Honors Diamond status, allowing you to enjoy a 100% bonus on points earned on stays, free room upgrades, executive lounge access, and your fifth night free on standard room reward stays. 

Note that certain benefits require enrollment.

Read our Hilton Honors Aspire Card review.

Tip
If you want Hilton perks, but prefer a lower annual fee, then check out our Hilton Honors American Express Surpass® Card review.

Hilton Honors American Express Card

Annual fee: $0 (Terms apply)

Welcome offer: Earn 80,000 Hilton Honors Bonus Points after spending $1,000 in the first 3 months.

Why we like it: If you enjoy Hilton hotels but are scared off by the Aspire’s high annual fee, consider the Hilton Honors American Express Card. It has no annual fee, but you’ll still earn valuable rewards.

Reward details: You can earn 7X points at participating hotels and resorts in the Hilton portfolio; 5X points at U.S. restaurants, U.S. supermarkets, and U.S. gas stations; and 3X points on all other eligible purchases.

Other benefits include: 

  • You can redeem your points for hotel stays at over 5,100 hotels around the world.
  • You’ll also get complimentary Silver status. That entitles you to a 20% bonus on Hilton Honors base points earned from your Hilton Honors stays. Plus, you’ll get a fifth night free on standard room reward stays of five nights or more.

Read our Hilton Honors American Express Card review.

Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant® American Express® Card

Annual fee: $650 (Terms apply)

Welcome offer: Earn 150,000 Marriott Bonvoy bonus points after spending $5,000 on purchases in the first three months of account opening.

Why we like it: The Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant Card has a high annual fee, but it offers luxurious rewards and benefits. 

Reward details: You can earn 6X points on eligible purchases at hotels participating in the Marriott Bonvoy program, 3X points at worldwide restaurants and on flights booked directly with airlines, and 2X points on all other eligible purchases. You can redeem those points for free nights, including the cost of a standard room and applicable taxes.

Other benefits include: 

  • Each year, you’ll also get up to $300 in statement credits for eligible dining purchases made worldwide. 
  • You’ll get a free night award every year (worth up to 85,000 points) after your cardmember anniversary. 
  • You’ll also receive 25 Elite Night Credits and qualify for Marriott Bonvoy Platinum Elite status, giving you access to perks like free room upgrades, late checkout, lounge access, and free breakfast.

Read our Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant Card review.

Marriott Bonvoy Boundless® Credit Card

Annual fee: $95

Welcome offer: Earn 3 Free Night Awards (each valued up to 50,000 points) after spending $3,000 in the first 3 months of account opening.

Why we like it: If you enjoy Marriott hotels but don’t want to spend hundreds on a card’s annual fee, check out the Marriott Bonvoy Boundless Card. 

Reward details: You’ll earn 17X points at hotels participating in the Marriott Bonvoy program; 3X points at grocery stores, gas stations, and dining on the first $6,000 spent in combined purchases each year; and 2X points on all other eligible purchases. You can redeem your Bonvoy points for free hotel stays.

Other benefits include: 

  • You’ll get one free night each year after your cardmember anniversary. 
  • You’ll also receive automatic Silver Elite status, so you can get priority late checkout and access to a dedicated elite reservation line.

Read our Marriott Bonvoy Boundless Card review.

IHG® Rewards Premier Credit Card

Annual fee: $99

Welcome offer: Earn 140,000 points after spending $3,000 in the first three months.

Why we like it: With a low annual fee, the IHG Rewards Premier Credit Card is perfect for fans of hotel chains like Holiday Inn, Crowne Plaza, and Staybridge Suites. 

Reward details: You’ll earn up to 26X points per $1 spent on stays at IHG hotels; 5X points on travel, gas stations, and restaurants; and 3X points on other purchases Those points can be redeemed for hotel stays at IHG-branded hotels.

Other benefits include: 

  • Each year, you’ll get a free night’s stay at an IHG hotel. 
  • If you redeem your points for a stay of three or more nights, you’ll get your fourth night free.
  • You’ll also get Platinum Elite status, which offers perks like priority check-in, extended checkout, and complimentary room upgrades.

Read our IHG Rewards Premier Credit Card review.

The World of Hyatt Credit Card

Annual fee: $95

Welcome offer: Earn up to 60,000 points: 30,000 points after spending $3,000 on purchases within the first 3 months, plus an additional 30,000 points by earning 2 bonus points per $1 spent on purchases that earn 1 bonus point, up to $15,000 spent in the first 6 months of account opening.

Why we like it: While it does have an annual fee, the World of Hyatt Credit Card offers a valuable welcome bonus. According to Hyatt, the bonus is enough to cover the cost of 10 nights at a category 1 hotel. It also has a valuable rewards structure. 

Reward details: You can earn 9X points per $1 spent at Hyatt hotels; 2X points per $1 spent on eligible travel, dining, and health purchases; and 1 point per $1 spent on everything else. So if you're an exercise enthusiast and you like the idea of earning hotel rewards on your fitness club or gym membership, this card could be a good fit for you.

Other benefits include: 

  • Each year, you’ll get a free night at a category 1-4 Hyatt hotel or resort after your account anniversary. 
  • If you spend $15,000 or more during your account anniversary year, you’ll earn an additional free night.
  • You’ll also get automatic World of Hyatt Discoverist status, giving you benefits like premium internet, a bottle of water daily, and 10% more points on eligible purchases.

Read our World of Hyatt Credit Card review.

FAQs

Which hotel points are worth the most?

Hyatt points are considered the most valuable hotel points, at about 2.0 cents per point. But that doesn’t take into account the free nights you can get when you book longer stays with points at other hotel brands. 

Every hotel loyalty program is a little different, so it's best to do your homework when it comes to their value. You'll also want to watch out for limitations like blackout dates that might make a program feel less valuable due to when you can and can't use your rewards.

Are hotel points worth buying?

There are a few scenarios in which buying hotel points might be worth it. You should buy hotel points only if:

  • You’re close to earning a free night and need to buy some points to top off your balance.
  • You can get a great deal on the points through a bonus offer from the hotel.
  • You have your heart set on an expensive hotel and can get a better deal by paying with points.
  • You want to keep your existing points from expiring.

How many Hilton points equal a free night?

The number of points needed for free night stays at a Hilton hotel starts at just 5,000, but the actual number required will vary by hotel. You can also use a combination of money and points in 1,000 point increments to book your Hilton stay.

Which hotel rewards program is best?

Which hotel rewards program is the "best" will depend on where you stay when you travel and how long your typical trip lasts. While Hyatt points are worth the most per point, other hotel brands have more properties and offer free nights with extended bookings. So what is best for you may be different than what is best for someone else. For example, if you love staying at Wyndham properties, then the Wyndham rewards program will be the best for you, but they might not be right at all for someone else.

What credit score do I need for a Marriott credit card?

You’ll need good to excellent credit to qualify for the Marriott Bonvoy Boundless® Credit Card, the Marriott Bonvoy Bold® Credit Card, the Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant® American Express® Card, or the Marriott Bonvoy Business® American Express® Card. For more on the Marriott loyalty program, check out our beginner's guide to the Marriott Bonvoy program.

What is the best travel credit card with no annual fee?

To find the best travel credit card with no annual fee, consider your needs, where you spend the most money, and how you plan to redeem your travel rewards. One of the overall top picks is the Capital One VentureOne Rewards Credit Card, since it offers 1.25X points on every purchase, every day.

But if you’re more likely to spend your money at supermarkets to earn travel rewards, you might be better off using the Chase Freedom Unlimited®, which gets you 3% back in dining and drugstore purchases. While this card is marketed as a cashback credit card, it technically earns Chase Ultimate Rewards points, which you can use to offset the cost of future trips.

Bottom line

When it comes to choosing the best credit card for you, it’s important to keep your spending habits and typical travel plans in mind.

  • If you like to stay at certain hotels, sign up for a card that is associated with that hotel, for example Hilton properties. This could help you earn elite status or reward nights with a specific hotel chain.
  • If you like to stay a variety of places, choose a more flexible rewards card from American Express or Chase. This could also help you earn rewards for general travel that doesn't include hotel stays, like earning points to use toward your airfare.
  • The best hotel cards won't charge you foreign transaction fees (none of the ones on this list charge these fees)
  • A good sign-up bonus could earn you enough for free hotel nights right out of the gate

If you’re looking for a new travel rewards credit card so you can earn free hotel stays, there are many options available from a variety of credit card issuers. When deciding which is best for you, consider your own travel preferences and habits, each card’s annual fee and bonus categories, and the extra perks these credit cards provide. By doing your homework, you can find the right new card, enjoy numerous free stays, and possibly even travel in luxury.

Methodology

To select the best hotel credit card, we compared cards from multiple issuers that have travel rewards for hotel-goers. We assessed features like travel rewards, annual fees, points values, and loyalty perks to recommend the best credit cards for hotels in any destination. We did not include all cards available.

Our #1 Travel Card

Current Offer

Earn 60,000 points after spending $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months

Annual Fee

$95

Rewards Rate

5X points on Lyft rides and travel booked through Chase Ultimate Rewards; 3X points on eligible dining, select streaming services, and online grocery purchases; 2X points on travel; and 1X points per $1 on all other eligible purchases

Benefits and Drawbacks

Benefits

  • Earn 60,000 points after spending $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months
  • 5X points on Lyft rides and travel booked through Chase Ultimate Rewards
  • 25% more value when redeeming rewards for travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards
  • 10% anniversary point bonus each year
  • $50 annual credit on hotel stays booked through Ultimate Rewards
  • Premium travel protection benefits

Drawbacks

  • Has annual fee
  • Typically need to spend thousands to reap rewards
Card Details
  • Earn 60,000 points after spending $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months
  • 5X points on Lyft rides and travel booked through Chase Ultimate Rewards; 3X points on eligible dining, select streaming services, and online grocery purchases; 2X points on travel; and 1X points per $1 on all other eligible purchases

Author Details

Kat Tretina Kat Tretina is a freelance writer based in Orlando, Florida. Her work has been published by publications like The Huffington Post, Entrepreneur, MarketWatch, and more. She specializes in producing content around paying down debt, increasing income, and maximizing credit cards. You can view her work at www.KTretina.com, or contact her on Twitter @KatTretina.