8 Hotel Credit Cards That Offer Free Night Certificates

Here’s how you can get rewarded for your loyalty — just use one of these hotel credit cards that offer free nights.
Last updated Feb. 2, 2023 | By Ben Walker, CEPF
Hotel Credit Cards That Offer Free Night Certificates

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If you love to travel, you can easily level up your next trip by using a hotel credit card. These cards typically offer a wide range of travel benefits and you can earn bonus rewards from some of the most popular hotel chains in the world. This includes Hilton, IHG, Marriott, and Hyatt.

Even better, many hotel cards provide cardholders with exclusive perks you won’t find on any other type of rewards card. If you’ve ever wondered how to stay at hotels for free, the answer lies with hotel credit cards that offer bonus free nights.

Here are the best hotel credit cards that offer free nights:

In this article

What is a free night certificate?

Hotel credit cards will often award cardholders with a free night certificate once they’ve met certain requirements. The way you can be awarded a free night certificate depends on the credit card.

Certain credit cards offer a free night certificate once you’ve had the card for a year and then each year thereafter. This would amount to receiving a free hotel stay each year on your card’s anniversary date. With this method, cardholders rarely have to do anything other than pay the card’s annual fee, so it’s an easy way to accrue free hotel nights every year.

Other cards may have certain spending requirements (in addition to an annual fee) before you can get your free hotel night. You would need to spend the specified amount to receive a free hotel night.

Terms and conditions can vary by the hotel loyalty program, but you’ll often see restrictions on the type of hotel you can stay when you use a free night certificate. Because higher-tier hotels usually cost more for stays, you can expect most free night certificates to apply at low- to mid-tier hotels.

However, not every free night certificate functions the same way. Take the Hilton Free Night Reward, for example. Other than a specific list of excluded hotels, you can use this free night certificate to stay at any Hilton hotel that has availability. Award nights like this make it that much more important to research all your credit card options and make sure you pick the one most valuable to you.

To learn more about the best offers available from hotel credit cards, we’ll dive into the specific details next.

Hotel credit cards that offer free night certificates

Card name Welcome bonus Free night details Annual fee
Hilton Honors American Express Aspire Card Earn 150,000 Hilton Honors Bonus Points after spending $4,000 in the first 3 months New cardmembers earn a Free Night Reward at a Hilton property as well as one every year after renewal.  Cardmembers can earn an additional free night after spending $60,000 annually. $450
Terms apply
Hilton Honors American Express Surpass® Card Earn 130,000 Hilton Honors Bonus Points after spending $2,000 on purchases in the first 3 months Earn a Free Night Reward after spending $15,000 on eligible purchases in a calendar year. $95
Terms apply
The Hilton Honors American Express Business Card Earn 130,000 Hilton Honors Bonus Points after spending $3,000 in the first 3 months Earn one Free Night Reward after spending $15,000 on eligible purchases in a calendar year and a second after spending an additional $45,000 in the same calendar year. $95
Terms apply
IHG® Rewards Premier Credit Card Earn 175,000 points after spending $3,000 in the first three months Earn a free night after each account anniversary year. $99
Marriott Bonvoy Boundless® Credit Card Earn 3 Free Night Awards (each valued up to 50,000 points) after spending $3,000 in the first 3 months of account opening Earn a free night after each account anniversary year (for a stay worth 35,000 points or below). $95
Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant® American Express® Card Earn 95,000 Marriott Bonvoy bonus points after spending $5,000 on purchases in the first three months Earn a free night after each account anniversary year (for a stay worth 85,000 points or below). $650
Terms apply
Marriott Bonvoy Business® American Express® Card Earn 75,000 Marriott Bonvoy bonus points after spending $3,000 on purchases within the first 3 months Earn a free night after each account anniversary year. Earn an additional free night after spending $60,000 on eligible purchases in a calendar year. $125
Terms apply
The World of Hyatt Credit Card 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 Earn a free night after each account anniversary year. $95

Hilton Honors American Express Aspire Card

With the Hilton Honors Aspire, you receive a free weekend night reward soon after opening the card and each year after renewal. In addition, you can earn another free night after you spend $60,000 on eligible purchases in a calendar year. In total, you can get up to two free nights a year at a vast majority of more than 6,100 Hilton properties worldwide.

If you’re a fan of Hilton properties and luxury travel perks, this could be the right card for you. Earning Hilton Honors bonus points on all your purchases makes it easy to rack up rewards for award nights, plus you receive complimentary Hilton Honors Diamond status. Diamond status is the highest tier in the Hilton Honors loyalty program and includes perks such as executive lounge access, premium Wi-Fi, and 100% bonus points on stays.

With the bonus points, you earn a whopping 34 points for every $1 spent on most Hilton hotel stays. That’s 14X points on eligible purchases within the Hilton portfolio from your Aspire card, 10X base points as a Hilton Honors member, and 10X bonus points for Diamond status.

Explore more benefits our Hilton Honors American Express Aspire Card review.

Hilton Honors American Express Surpass® Card

The Hilton Honors Surpass offers a Free Night Reward after you spend $15,000 on eligible purchases in a calendar year. This is much less than the $60,000 of spending required on the Hilton Honors Aspire, but the Surpass also doesn’t offer you a free anniversary night each year. However, the lower $95 annual fee makes the Hilton Honors Surpass a lot more affordable than the Aspire.

If you like the Hilton brand and want to avoid a high annual fee, the Hilton Honors Surpass could be a good fit for you. You can earn Hilton points and receive great benefits, including 10 free visits to Priority Pass Select airport lounges (enrollment required) and complimentary Hilton Honors Gold status. Gold status members receive free continental breakfast, space-available room upgrades, and 80% bonus points on stays.

Your total points haul for most Hilton stays would be 30 points per $1 spent. You earn 12X points on eligible purchases at participating Hilton hotels or resorts with your Surpass card, 10X base points as a Hilton Honors member, and 8X bonus points for Gold status.

Explore more benefits our Hilton Honors American Express Surpass Card review.

The Hilton Honors American Express Business Card

You can earn up to two Free Night Rewards per year with the Hilton Honors American Express Business Card. You will earn the first free night after spending $15,000 on eligible purchases in a calendar year and a second after spending an additional $45,000 in the same calendar year.

If you’re a business traveler, the Hilton Honors Business Card can provide you with plenty of value. Certain business expenses earn bonus points and you get 10 free visits to Priority Pass Select airport lounges (enrollment required). Also, if you spend $40,000 on eligible purchases in a calendar year, you can earn Hilton Honors Diamond status through the end of the next calendar year. You automatically receive complimentary Hilton Honors Gold status.

The same as the Hilton Honors Surpass, you’ll earn 30 points per $1 spent on most Hilton stays. You earn 12X points on eligible purchases made directly with Hilton when using your Hilton Honors Business Card, 10X base points as a Hilton Honors member, and 8X bonus points for Gold status.

Explore more benefits our Hilton Honors American Express Business Card review.

IHG® Rewards Premier Credit Card

Receive a free reward night after each account anniversary year with the IHG Rewards Premier Credit Card. This anniversary night is valid at IHG hotels around the world that have a current point redemption level of 40,000 points or less.

If you’re loyal to the IHG brand, you might consider using the IHG Rewards Premier Credit Card to book a hotel room at more than 5,800 properties worldwide. Apart from earning valuable IHG points, cardholders also enjoy complimentary Platinum Elite status in the IHG Rewards program. As a Platinum Elite member, you receive a free reward night when you redeem points for any stay of at least four consecutive nights. You also save 20% on points you purchase with your IHG Rewards Premier Credit Card.

Explore more benefits our IHG Rewards Premier Credit Card review.

Marriott Bonvoy Boundless® Credit Card

Enjoy a free night award after each account anniversary with the Marriott Bonvoy Boundless Credit Card. This free night starts after your first year as a cardholder and is valid at any Marriott property with a point redemption level of 35,000 points or below.

For Marriott fans, the Bonvoy Boundless provides an ideal opportunity for earning points for more award nights. Cardholders also automatically receive Marriott Bonvoy Silver Elite status. Silver Elite members receive priority late checkout, 10% bonus points on stays, and free Wi-Fi.

With the points bonus, you earn 10% more points on top of the 10 base points per $1 spent on eligible Marriott purchases. So for a $300 stay, you could earn a total of 5,100 points. That’s 3,000 (300 x 10 = 3,000) base points, 300 points (3,000 x .10 = 300) from the 10% bonus, and 1,800 points from your Marriott Bonvoy Boundless (17X points on hotels participating in the Marriott Bonvoy program).

Explore more benefits our Marriott Bonvoy Boundless Credit Card review.

Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant® American Express® Card

Similar to the Bonvoy Boundless Credit Card, the Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant American Express Card also offers a free night award every year after your account anniversary. One huge difference, though, is that you can use the free night award from this card for any Marriott property that has a point redemption level of 85,000 points or below (whereas the Boundless restricts you to 35,000 points and below).

If you want to earn award nights at Marriott hotels and also receive luxury perks, the Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant could be an ideal candidate for you. It comes with Priority Pass Select membership, TSA PreCheck or Global Entry fee credit (up to $100), and up to $300 ($25 per month) in statement credits for eligible worldwide dining purchases (enrollment required for select benefits). In addition, you receive complimentary Marriott Bonvoy Platinum Elite status, which offers enhanced room upgrades, free breakfast, lounge access, late checkout, and 50% bonus points.

With 50% more points, you can earn a lot more at most Marriott hotels. For a $300 stay, you can earn a total of 6,300 points. It’s 3,000 (300 x 10 = 3,000) base points, 1,500 points (3,000 x .50 = 1,500) from the 50% bonus, and 1,800 points from your Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant (6X points on hotels participating in the Marriott Bonvoy program).

Explore more benefits our Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant American Express Card review.

Marriott Bonvoy Business® American Express® Card

With the Marriott Bonvoy Business American Express Card, receive a free award night every year after your account anniversary. You can also earn an additional free night if you spend $60,000 on eligible purchases in a calendar year. Both of these award nights can be used for one night each at any Marriott property that has a point redemption level of 35,000 points or below.

Business travelers who like to stay at Marriott properties can use the Marriott Bonvoy Business American Express Card for its valuable benefits and earning potential. Cardholders receive complimentary Marriott Bonvoy Elite status, 15 Elite Night Credits, and access to the Marriott Bonvoy Air+Car transfer program.

Explore more benefits our Marriott Bonvoy Business American Express Card review.

The World of Hyatt Credit Card

The World of Hyatt Credit Card allows you to receive one free night every year after your cardmember anniversary. This free night can be used at any Category 1 through 4 Hyatt hotel around the world. Hyatt hotel categories range from Category 1 to Category 8, with Category 8 being the highest. Category 4 hotel award nights typically start at 15,000 points per night. You can earn another free night at any Category 1 through 4 Hyatt hotel if you spend $15,000 during your cardmember anniversary year.

As the only Hyatt credit card available, the World of Hyatt Credit Card has no other Hyatt-branded cards to compete against. Fortunately, this card by itself provides heaps of value for Hyatt loyalists. Because Hyatt award nights start at just 5,000 points, it’s fairly straightforward to quickly earn points toward award nights within the World of Hyatt loyalty program. Travel insurance coverage and no foreign transaction fees are added cardmember bonuses.

Explore more benefits our The World of Hyatt Credit Card review.

Bottom line

As you can see, there are many different hotel credit cards available that come with free nights. It should be easy to pick a card that earns you hotel points for your favorite hotel brand. The best hotel credit cards, though, will also earn you bonus points on stays and other travel expenses. They’ll also offer perks like complimentary room upgrades or travel credits.

If you’re looking for a card that has more well-rounded rewards or the option to transfer points to travel partners, then consider a card like the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card. It’s one of the best travel credit cards available and earns lucrative Chase Ultimate Rewards points on every purchase.

Finally, keep in mind that you don’t have to pick just one of the best travel credit cards out there — sometimes having multiple cards can earn you the most in travel rewards and benefits.

Awesome Rewards Rates + Intro APR

Current Offer

Earn 20,000 bonus points when you spend $1,000 in purchases in the first 3 months (that’s a $200 cash redemption value)

Annual Fee

$0

Rewards Rate

Earn unlimited 3X points on restaurants, travel, gas stations, transit, popular streaming services, and phone plans; plus earn 1X points on other purchases

Benefits and Drawbacks

Benefits

  • Earn 20,000 bonus points when you spend $1,000 in purchases in the first 3 months (that’s a $200 cash redemption value)
  • Earn unlimited 3X points on restaurants, travel, gas stations, transit, popular streaming services, and phone plans; plus earn 1X points on other purchases
  • Intro APR on purchases
  • $0 annual fee

Drawbacks

  • No intro APR on balance transfers
Card Details
  • Earn 20,000 bonus points when you spend $1,000 in purchases in the first 3 months - that's a $200 cash redemption value
  • Earn unlimited 3X points on the things that really add up - like restaurants, travel, gas stations, transit, popular streaming services, and phone plans. Plus, earn 1X points on other purchases
  • $0 annual fee
  • 0% intro APR for 12 months from account opening on purchases. 19.49%, 24.49%, or 29.49% variable APR thereafter
  • Get up to $600 of cell phone protection against damage or theft when you pay your monthly cell phone bill with your eligible Wells Fargo card (subject to a $25 deductible).
  • Redeem your rewards points for travel, gift cards, or statement credits. Or shop at millions of online stores and redeem your rewards when you check out with PayPal.
  • Enjoy a premium collection of benefits at a selection of the world's most intriguing and prestigious hotel properties with Visa Signature Concierge.
  • Select "Apply Now" to learn more about the product features, terms and conditions.

Author Details

Ben Walker, CEPF Ben Walker, CEPF, is a credit cards and travel writer at FinanceBuzz who loves helping others achieve their travel goals through financially sound decisions. For over a decade, he has been using credit card points and miles for the sole purpose of traveling the world. Ben is a Certified Educator of Personal Finance and has been featured in The Washington Post, MSN, Debt.com, and Finder.com.