Continuing our coverage of travel rewards credit cards and programs, we bring you a roundup of the best hotel credit cards.
These cards are partnerships between banks and hotel chains. Unlike a general travel credit card, you only earn points for a specific brand (and its partner companies).
Brand loyalty is also rewarded with gifts like a free anniversary stay, upper tier status in the brand’s reward program, and other perks. All of these cards also offer attractive sign-up bonuses. If you don’t already have a favorite hotel chain, it may be worth it to choose one now. You’ll earn the most points on spending at the brand’s hotels and resorts.
We’ve tried to rank the cards by the number of perks offered, ease of earning points, and how much you have to charge initially to earn the sign-up bonus. Still, the best hotel branded credit card for you may largely depend on your choice for favorite hotel chain.
The best hotel credit cards overview
|Card||Best For||Rewards||Spend Requirement|
|Hilton Honors American Express Card||No annual fee||7 points for every dollar you spend at Hilton hotels and resorts||100,000 bonus points for $1,000 in purchases within the first three months|
|5 points per dollar at drugstores, grocery stores, and gas stations|
|3 points per dollar on other purchases|
|IHG Rewards Club Select Chase Credit Card||Any budget||10x points for every dollar you spend at IHG hotels||1,000 bonus points for charging $30 within three months|
|The Hyatt Chase Credit Card||Hotel and airline rewards||3 points for every dollar you spend at Hyatt hotels||2 free nights reward for $2,000 in charges within three months|
|2 points per dollar spent at restaurants, car rental agencies, and on plane tickets purchased from the airline|
|1 point per dollar on all other charges|
|Best Western Rewards Premium Mastercard||Rewards||20 points for every dollar you spend at Best Western Hotels||50,000 bonus points for charging $1,000 within three months|
Hilton Honors American Express Card
Introductory bonus offers: Hilton Honors Amex offers 100,000 bonus points for $1,000 in purchases within the first three months of membership.
How you accumulate points: With Hilton’s Amex card you’ll earn seven points for every dollar you spend at Hilton hotels and resorts; five points per dollar spent at American restaurants, grocery stores, and gas stations; and three points per dollar on other purchases.
Other perks: Silver status.
Annual fee and other relevant terms: There is no annual fee. You must conduct at least one qualifying activity a year in the Honors program to avoid point expiration.
IHG Rewards Club Select Credit Card
Distinguishing feature: IHG Rewards Club Select Credit Card’s mix of higher and lower end hotels can accommodate a range of budgets.
Introductory Offer: You can earn 1,000 bonus points for charging $30 within three months of opening an account. The minimum number of points needed to redeem a free night’s stay is 10,000, and there are no blackout dates. Points are also redeemable for gift cards and purchases from the IHG Rewards Club catalog, airline miles and other travel expenses, and can be gifted or donated.
How you accumulate points: You’ll earn 10x points for every dollar you spend at IHG hotels (which include a mix of brands from the Holiday Inn to Klimpton). You can also earn points at participating restaurants.
Annual fee: There’s an $89 annual fee but you do get a free night upon your anniversary with the card. You’ll also get a free night when you redeem points for a stay of 4 nights or more.
The Hyatt Chase Credit Card
Distinguishing feature: Points from the Hyatt Chase Credit Card never expire as long as your account is open.
Note: Hyatt’s new loyalty program, called World of Hyatt, launches on March 1st. We used the terms of the new program in this article.
Introductory Offer: Instead of dangling bonus points, Hyatt offers a straightforward two free nights reward for $2,000 in charges within three months of your account opening. You can earn 5,000 bonus points for adding an authorized user and making at least one purchase in the first three months. Coincidentally, this is also the minimum number of points needed to earn a free night. So three nights total are up for grabs with Hyatt’s sign-up bonuses.
How you accumulate points: You’ll earn three points for every dollar you spend at Hyatt hotels, two points per dollar spent at restaurants and car rental agencies and on plane tickets purchased from the airline, and one point per dollar on all other charges.
Other perks: One free night a year after your customer anniversary, free upgrade to Platinum Elite status (which will be equivalent to Discoverist status in the new program), 10 percent rebate on point redemptions, no foreign transaction fees, purchase protection, and travel insurance benefits.
Annual fee and other relevant terms: The annual fee is $75. Your points won’t expire as long as your account is open.
Distinguishing feature: This Best Western-branded card gives you an annual opportunity to earn bonus points
Introductory Offer: You can earn 50,000 bonus points for charging $1,000 within three months of opening an account. The average number of points for a free night’s stay is 16,000, so the bonus offer is worth about three nights. You can earn an additional 20,000 bonus points annually for spending $5,000 across 12 billing cycles.
How you accumulate points: You’ll earn 20 points for every dollar you spend at Best Western Hotels when you use the card to pay for your room and two points per dollar for all other charges.
Other perks: Automatic Platinum Elite status, 10 percent discount for reservations made through the Best Western site, free FICO credit score, travel and auto rental insurance, and no foreign transaction fees.
Annual fee: The annual fee is waived for the first year; after that it’s $59. Points never expire.
Alternatives to hotel credit cards
If you’re not loyal to one particular brand of hotel, you might be best searching for a more all-purpose credit card.
Finding the right credit card for you is much simpler if you know your credit score and can narrow your search to only the cards you know you’ll get approved for. We’ve made it easy for you. If you don’t already know your score, use our quick and free Credit Score Estimator tool – then find the perfect card for you.
- Best credit cards for a credit score over 750
- Best credit cards for a credit score between 700 – 749
- Best credit cards for a credit score between 650 – 699
- Best credit cards for a credit score between 600 – 649
- Best credit cards for a credit score under 599
When you declare your loyalty to one hotel company by opening a branded credit card account, you reap the rewards of bonus points, free stays, and other benefits.
As long as you use the card responsibly, you can save money on future vacations. The generous sign-up bonuses give you a few free nights right away. But if you think through the credit card application process carefully and decide it’s not for you, don’t worry–you can still earn points and perks by enrolling in one or many travel rewards programs.
Do you have a hotel branded credit card? Share your experiences and recommendations in the comments.