The Best Hotel Credit Cards for Every Type of Traveler

CREDIT CARDS - HOTEL CREDIT CARDS
We identified the top hotel credit cards that offer valuable rewards, special perks, and free hotel stays.
Updated May 24, 2024
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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:

All information about Hilton Honors American Express Aspire Card has been collected independently by FinanceBuzz.

In this article

The best hotel credit cards

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

Card Card image Annual fee Best for...
The Platinum Card® from American Express The Platinum Card® from American Express $695 Frequent travelers who want to indulge in luxury accommodations
Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card $95 People who spend a significant amount of money per year on travel and dining out
Capital One Venture X Rewards Credit Card Capital One Venture X Rewards Credit Card $395 Travelers who want lounge perks and rewards for general travel 
Hilton Honors American Express Aspire Card Hilton Honors American Express Aspire Card $550 Hilton devotees who travel several times a year
Hilton Honors American Express Card Hilton Honors American Express Card $0 Those who enjoy Hilton-branded hotels but balk at the Aspire’s high annual fee
Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant® American Express® Card Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant® American Express® Card $650 Frequent travelers who are Marriott loyalists
Marriott Bonvoy Boundless® Credit Card Marriott Bonvoy Boundless® Credit Card $95 Marriott fans who don’t want to pay the Bonvoy Brilliant’s high annual fee
IHG One Rewards Premier Credit Card IHG One Rewards Premier Credit Card $99 Budget-conscious travelers who frequently stay at hotel chains like Holiday Inn or Staybridge Suites
The World of Hyatt Credit Card The 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: $695 (Terms apply)

Welcome offer: Earn 80,000 Membership Rewards points after spending $8,000 on purchases on your new card 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 or 4.5 years, respectively. 
  • You'll also enjoy airport lounge access to more than 1,400 locations in over 140 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 Cash credit. Terms apply

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 75,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening.

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 Travel℠ portal for travel arrangements, your points are worth 25% more. That means your 75,000 bonus points from the welcome bonus are worth $937.50 toward travel.

Reward details: You can earn 5X points on travel purchased through Chase Travel℠; 3X points on dining, select streaming services, and online groceries; 2X points on all other travel purchases, and 1X points on all other purchases.

Other benefits include: 

  • You can take advantage of the $50 annual credit on hotel stays purchased through Chase Travel℠. 
  • 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 One 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 2 miles per dollar on every purchase, every day; 10 miles per dollar on hotels and rental cars booked through Capital One Travel, 5 miles per dollar on flights booked through Capital One Travel, and 5 miles per dollar on Capital One Entertainment purchases through 12/31/25.

Other benefits include: 

  • Cardholders receive a $300 annual credit for bookings 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.1

Read our Capital One Venture X review.

Hilton Honors American Express Aspire Card

Annual fee: $550 (Terms apply)

Welcome offer: Earn 150,000 Hilton Honors Bonus Points after spending $6,000 in the first 6 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 start redeeming 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 receive up to $200 in statement credits semi-annually at participating Hilton Resorts. 
  • 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 70,000 Hilton Honors Bonus Points plus a Free Night Reward after spending $2,000 in purchases in the first 6 months (offer ends 7/31/2024).

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 95,000 Marriott Bonvoy bonus points after spending $6,000 in purchases in the first 6 months.

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 after spending $3,000 on purchases in your first 3 months from account opening (each night valued up to 50,000 points).

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 up to 17X points at hotels participating in Marriott Bonvoy; 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 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 One Rewards Premier Credit Card

Annual fee: $99

Welcome offer: Earn 140,000 bonus points after spending $3,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening.

Why we like it: With a low annual fee, the IHG One 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 up to 26X total points on stays at IHG hotels & resorts; 5X points on travel, gas stations, and restaurants; and 3X points on all 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 IHG points for a stay of at least four consecutive 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 One Rewards Premier Credit Card review.

The World of Hyatt Credit Card

Annual fee: $95

Welcome offer: Earn up to 60,000 bonus points: 30,000 points after you spend $3,000 on purchases in your first 3 months from account opening, plus up to 30,000 more bonus points by earning 2 points total per $1 spent in the first 6 months from account opening on purchases that normally earn 1 bonus point, on up to $15,000 spent.

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 up to 9X points on stays at Hyatt hotels (4 bonus points plus 5 base points as a World of Hyatt member); 2X points on restaurants, airline tickets purchased directly from the airlines, local transit and commuting and on fitness club and gym memberships; and 1X points on all other purchases. 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.

How to choose a hotel credit card

Here are a few things to consider when you’re looking for a hotel credit card.

Decide on a brand-specific or general travel card

Many hotel credit cards are brand-specific, meaning they’re co-branded with a particular hotel chain like Hilton, Marriott, or IHG. But you don’t have to go with a brand-specific hotel card to get some hotel benefits. Many general travel cards also offer some hotel benefits, such as a higher rewards rate when you book hotels through the card issuer’s travel portal.

Go with a brand-specific hotel credit card if you’re very loyal to one hotel chain. If you always stay at Marriotts, then the Marriott Bonvoy Boundless® Credit Card makes sense, or the Hilton Honors American Express Aspire Card if you love Hilton hotels.

If you don’t care what brand of hotel you stay at, then a general travel card will likely suit you best. Travel credit cards tend to have higher rewards rates on everyday spending than you’d get with hotel credit cards.

Travel credit cards with hotel perks:

  • Amex Platinum: Up to a $200 hotel credit when you book a prepaid stay of two consecutive nights or more through The Hotel Collection or Fine Hotels & Resorts. Plus, immediate Marriott Bonvoy Gold Elite status and Hilton Honors Gold status.
  • Chase Sapphire Preferred: $50 annual credit on hotel stays purchased through the Chase travel portal.
  • Capital One Venture X: 10 miles per dollar on hotels and rental cars booked through Capital One Travel.

Make sure the annual fee is worth it

Not all hotel credit cards have an annual fee, but if the one you’re considering does, then you should make sure it’s worth it. If your typical spending isn’t enough to at least break even on the rewards you’d get back from the hotel credit card, then you should either opt for a card with no annual fee or at least find a hotel credit card with a lower annual fee.

No-annual fee hotel credit cards:

Compare welcome offers

Welcome offers are a great way to earn bonus points and get a leg-up on hotel rewards with your favorite brand. Compare welcome offers across different hotel cards to find the best bang for your potential buck.

Aside from the amount of bonus points you’d get for a welcome offer, you also need to consider the minimum spend requirement. Welcome offers typically require you to spend a minimum dollar amount within a set period of time (such as three months) in order to earn the bonus points.

If you’re not sure you’ll be able to meet the minimum spending threshold for a particular hotel credit card in time, then you shouldn’t count on earning a welcome offer.

Prioritize the best benefits and rewards

The best part of hotel credit cards are the perks. Decide which benefits and perks are most important to you at your favorite hotel chain. Do you want special status in the hotel’s loyalty program? Do you want the ability to earn bonus points? How about room upgrades or other freebies?

Compare benefits and perks across different hotel credit cards, and don’t forget to compare them to the perks you’d get from general travel cards too. Some travel credit cards give you status in hotel loyalty programs or bonus point offers even though they’re not brand-specific cards. For example, the The Platinum Card® from American Express offers status in both Hilton and Marriott loyalty programs.

Hotel credit card benefits

The main benefit of hotel credit cards are the perks you can access for your favorite hotel chain. If you’re a loyalist who likes to stay in the same brand of hotel whenever you travel, then a co-branded hotel credit card for your favorite properties could deliver benefits.

Loyalty status upgrade

Chain-specific hotel credit cards often come with an automatic upgrade to your status in the chain’s loyalty program, such as to gold or platinum status. Higher loyalty program status often comes with perks like late checkout, room upgrades, discount rates, or higher earning rates on your stay.

Free night awards

A common perk of hotel credit cards is free nights at various properties. Cardholders usually get one or two nights per year as an award stay, and this type of perk sometimes has a minimum night requirement. But if you travel frequently and know you’ll use it, then a free night perk could save you money on the cost of a hotel room — or give you an excuse to stay somewhere new and unique.

Annual hotel credit

Even if you don’t get a co-branded hotel credit card, some general travel cards still come with hotel-specific perks like annual hotel credits. An annual hotel credit is usually a statement credit for a set amount, offered each year when you book a stay at a hotel. Keep in mind that some of these credits require a minimum number of nights you have to stay, or require you to book at a certain type of hotel.

FAQ

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?

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 1.25 miles per dollar 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 drugstore purchases and dining at restaurants, including takeout and eligible delivery service. 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. But keep in mind you'll usually have to meet a minimum spend requirement during the intro period. 

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.

Easy-to-Earn Unlimited Rewards

Benefits

Card Details

  • Earn 25,000 online bonus points after you make at least $1,000 in purchases in the first 90 days of account opening - that can be a $250 statement credit toward travel purchases
  • Earn 1.5 points per $1 spent on all purchases
  • Longer intro APR on qualifying purchases and balance transfers
  • No foreign transaction fees
  • Apply Now
  • Earn unlimited 1.5 points per $1 spent on all purchases, with no annual fee and no foreign transaction fees and your points don't expire as long as your account remains open.
  • 25,000 online bonus points after you make at least $1,000 in purchases in the first 90 days of account opening - that can be a $250 statement credit toward travel purchases.
  • Use your card to book your trip how and where you want - you're not limited to specific websites with blackout dates or restrictions.
  • Redeem points for a statement credit to pay for travel or dining purchases, such as flights, hotel stays, car and vacation rentals, baggage fees, and also at restaurants including takeout.
  • 0% Intro APR for 15 billing cycles for purchases, and for any balance transfers made in the first 60 days. After the Intro APR offer ends, a Variable APR that’s currently 19.24% - 29.24% will apply. A 3% Intro balance transfer fee will apply for the first 60 days your account is open. After the Intro balance transfer fee offer ends, the fee for future balance transfers is 4%.
  • If you're a Bank of America Preferred Rewards® member, you can earn 25%-75% more points on every purchase. That means instead of earning an unlimited 1.5 points for every $1, you could earn 1.87-2.62 points for every $1 you spend on purchases.
  • Contactless Cards - The security of a chip card, with the convenience of a tap.
  • This online only offer may not be available if you leave this page or if you visit a Bank of America financial center. You can take advantage of this offer when you apply now.
Bank of <span class='whitespace-nowrap'>America<sup>®</sup></span> Travel Rewards credit card
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Intro Offer

Earn 25,000 online bonus points after you make at least $1,000 in purchases in the first 90 days of account opening - that can be a $250 statement credit toward travel purchases

Annual Fee

$0

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Why we like it

Author Details

Kat Tretina Kat Tretina is a personal finance expert focusing on practical financial matters, including student loans, debt repayment, side hustles, insurance, and healthcare. Drawing from her personal experience, she aims to simplify complex financial topics and provide individuals with the information they need to make informed decisions.

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