The 8 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 Jan 13, 2020 | By Kat Tretina
A customer checking in at a hotel

FinanceBuzz is reader-supported. We may receive compensation from the products and services mentioned in this story, but the opinions are the author's own. Compensation may impact where offers appear. We have not included all available products or offers. Learn more about how we make money and our editorial policies.

If you love to travel, applying for a rewards credit card makes a lot of sense. Signing up for the right card can help you earn valuable rewards that you can redeem for future travel arrangements, and you can even snag great benefits like free hotel stays and room upgrades.

We’ve rounded up the eight best hotel credit cards available now. Here’s a breakdown of each card’s rewards and benefits, plus tips on how to decide which is the best card for you.

8 of the best hotel credit cards

When it comes to choosing a hotel credit card, it’s important to keep your spending habits and typical travel plans in mind.

If you like to comparison shop, it may be best to sign up for a card that isn’t associated with a specific hotel chain — such as the American Express Platinum Card — so that you can pick the best deal. But if you love a certain hotel brand, signing up for a specific chain’s card can help you earn valuable rewards and gain elite status even faster.

Here are eight of our favorite hotel credit cards:

Card Annual fee Best for...
Amex Platinum $550 Frequent travelers who want to indulge in luxury accommodations
Chase Sapphire Preferred $95 People who spend a significant amount of money per year on travel and dining out
Hilton Honors Aspire Card $450 Hilton devotees who travel several times a year
Hilton Honors Card $0 Those who enjoy Hilton-branded hotels but balk at the Aspire’s high annual fee
Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant Card $450 Frequent travelers who are Marriott loyalists
Marriott Bonvoy Boundless Card $95 Marriott fans who don’t want to pay the Bonvoy Brilliant’s high annual fee
IHG Rewards Club Premier $89 Budget-conscious travelers who frequently stay at hotel chains like Holiday Inn or Staybridge Suites
World of Hyatt Credit Card $95 Hyatt fans, including those who stay at Thompson Hotels or Hyatt Regency resorts

The Platinum Card from American Express

Annual fee: $550

Welcome offer: Earn 60,000 points after spending $5,000 in the first 3 months.

Despite this charge card’s high annual fee, the Platinum Card from American Express is outstanding for earning rewards at hotels. You’ll earn 5X points per dollar spent on eligible airfare and 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.

While you can earn valuable rewards, the Platinum Card also offers premium benefits.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 also get benefits through The Hotel Collection, a network of more than 600 properties all over the globe. When you book a stay of two consecutive nights or more, you’ll enjoy perks like a $100 hotel credit and room upgrades.

Additionally, you’ll get immediate Marriott Bonvoy Gold Elite status and Hilton Honors Gold status — without needing to meet minimum stay requirements.

Best Luxury Travel Benefits

Benefits

  • 60,000 Membership Rewards point welcome offer
  • 5X points on eligible flights and hotels
  • $15 in free U.S. Uber rides each month ($20 in December)
  • $200 airline fee credit each year
  • Access to Centurion and Priority Pass airport lounges
  • Terms apply

Chase Sapphire Preferred

Annual fee: $95

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

With the Chase Sapphire Preferred Card, you can earn 5X on Lyft rides, 2X points on eligible dining and travel, and 1X points per $1 on all other eligible purchases. You can also get up to a year of free DoorDash DashPass benefits on eligible food orders.

But 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 if you have 60,000 points, you can redeem them for $750 toward travel.

You can also complete a point transfer to one of Chase’s travel partners at a 1:1 value. There are three hotel travel partners as of August 2019:

  • IHG Rewards Club
  • Marriott Bonvoy
  • World of Hyatt

#1 Travel Rewards Card

Benefits

  • 60,000 point sign-up bonus
  • 2X points on eligible dining and travel purchases
  • 3x points on grocery purchases — up to $1,500 per month (ends June 30, 2020)
  • 25% more value when redeeming rewards for travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards
  • Premium travel protection benefits

Hilton Honors Aspire Card

Annual fee: $450

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

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

With it, you’ll 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 purchases.

You can redeem those points for hotel stays at over 5,100 hotels worldwide, and you’ll also get two Weekend Night Rewards. Depending on where you stay, that perk 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 of two nights or more through HiltonHonors.com/AspireCard.

As a cardmember, 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.

Fabulous Rewards for Hilton Fans

Hilton Honors American Express Aspire Card

Hilton Honors American Express Aspire Card

Hilton Honors American Express Aspire Card

Benefits

  • 150,000 bonus point welcome offer
  • 14X points on eligible Hilton purchases
  • Earn up to two weekend reward nights
  • No foreign transaction fees
  • Terms apply

Hilton Honors Card

Annual fee: $0

Welcome offer: Earn 75,000 Hilton Honors Bonus Points after you spend $1,000 in the first 3 months.

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

You can redeem your points for hotel stays at over 5,100 hotels around the world.

As a Hilton Honors cardmember, 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.

Generous Rewards

Benefits

  • 75,000 Hilton Honors Bonus Point welcome offer
  • High rewards rates
  • Complimentary Silver status
  • No foreign transaction fee
  • No annual fee
  • Terms apply

Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant Card

Annual fee: $450

Welcome offer: Earn 100,000 Marriott Bonvoy points when you spend $5,000 within the first 3 months.

The Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant Card has a high annual fee, but it offers luxurious rewards and benefits. You’ll earn 6X points on eligible purchases at participating Marriot Bonvoy hotels, 3X points at U.S. 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.

Each year, you’ll also get a $300 statement credit to reimburse you for purchases made at participating Marriott Bonvoy hotels. And you’ll get a free night award every year after your cardmember anniversary. If you book a stay of at least two nights at The Ritz-Carlton or St. Regis with your card, you’ll qualify for a $100 property credit.

You’ll also qualify for Marriott Bonvoy Gold Elite status, giving you access to perks like free room upgrades and late checkouts.

Luxury Hotel Benefits

Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant American Express Card

Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant American Express Card

Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant American Express Card

Benefits

  • 100,000 bonus Marriott Bonvoy point welcome offer (for a limited time)
  • 6X points at participating Marriott Bonvoy hotels
  • Complimentary Marriott Bonvoy Gold Elite status
  • No foreign transaction fees
  • Terms apply

Marriott Bonvoy Boundless Card

Annual fee: $95

Welcome offer: Earn 75,000 points after spending $3,000 in the first 3 months.

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.

You’ll earn 6X points at hotels participating in Marriott Bonvoy and 2X points per $1 spent on all other eligible purchases. You can redeem your points for free hotel stays.

As a cardholder, 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.

A Great Card for Travel Rewards Beginners

Benefits

  • 75,000 point sign-up offer
  • 6X points at hotels participating in Marriott Bonvoy
  • One free night each year
  • No foreign transaction fee

IHG Rewards Club Premier

Annual fee: $89

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

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

You’ll earn up to 25X points per $1 spent on stays at IHG hotels and resorts; 2X points at gas stations, grocery stores, and restaurants; and 1X points on other purchases Those points can be redeemed for hotel stays at IHG-branded hotels.

Each year, you’ll also get a free night’s stay at an IHG hotel. And if you redeem your points for a stay of four or more nights, you’ll get your fourth night free.

You’ll also get Platinum Elite status, allowing you to save 20% when you purchase points with your IHG Rewards Club Premier Card.

Earn an Annual Free Night

Benefits

  • 140,000 point sign-up bonus
  • Up to 25X points at IHG hotels
  • 3X points on grocery purchases — up to $1,500 per month (ends June 30, 2020)
  • 2X points at gas stations, grocery stores, and restaurants
  • Free night every year
  • Fourth reward night free
 

World of Hyatt Credit Card

Annual fee: $95

Welcome offer: Earn up to 50,000 Bonus Points: 25,000 after spending $3,000 in the first 3 months, plus an additional 25,000 after spending a total of $6,000 in the first 6 months.

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. You’ll 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.

Each year, you’ll also get a free night at a category 1-4 Hyatt hotel or resort after your cardmember anniversary. If you spend $15,000 or more during your cardmember 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.

Big bonus points on Hyatt stays

Benefits

  • 50,000 point sign-up bonus
  • Up to 9X points per $1 spent on Hyatt stays
  • 3X points on grocery purchases — up to $1,500 per month (ends June 30, 2020)
  • 1 free night every year
  • Automatic elite status

Earning hotel rewards

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

Frequently asked questions

Which hotel points are worth the most?

Analysis pins Hyatt points as the most valuable, 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.

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 a free night 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?

That depends 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.

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

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

That depends on 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 Wells Fargo Propel American Express Card, since it offers 3X points on eligible dining, transportation, travel, and streaming services, which includes ordering in and using rideshare services.

But if you’re more likely to spend your money at supermarkets to earn travel rewards, you might be better off using the American Express EveryDay Credit Card, which earns you 2X points on purchases at U.S. supermarkets (up to 6,000 per year), or the Chase Freedom Card, which gets you 5% back in rotating bonus categories (up to $1,500 quarterly).


Best Luxury Travel Benefits

Benefits

  • 60,000 Membership Rewards point welcome offer
  • 5X points on eligible flights and hotels
  • $15 in free U.S. Uber rides each month ($20 in December)
  • $200 airline fee credit each year
  • Access to Centurion and Priority Pass airport lounges
  • Terms apply