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When traveling, you most likely stay in a hotel. Instead of paying for your hotel with just any credit card, consider using one of the best hotel credit cards in 2021 instead. Not only can you get better rewards that are more specific to your lifestyle, but you can also get several free nights in the process. If you’re trying to find the best hotel credit cards for your travel habits, these hotel card recommendations can be a good place to start.

The Caruso roof garden at the Grand Hotel Vesuvio
The Caruso roof garden at the Grand Hotel Vesuvio

The Best Hotel Credit Cards in 2021 (And Their Major Bonuses)

Other Good Credit Cards for Hotel Stays

Editor’s Note: Some of the offers below may have expired or are no longer available on our site.

Best Hotel Card Bonus: Marriott Bonvoy Boundless Credit Card

As Marriott and Starwood merged, Marriott launched several new credit cards. One of these new cards is the Marriott Bonvoy Boundless™ Credit Card which replaced the current premium Marriott Rewards Premier Plus Credit Card. It is also one of the best Marriott credit cards. The Marriott credit card is the best hotel credit card for Marriott loyalists.

On each card anniversary, you also get one free night reward valid at any property that costs 35,000 points or less. You will also earn 6X Bonvoy points per $1 spent at over 7,000 participating Marriott Bonvoy hotels. All remaining purchases will earn 2 points per $1 spent.

Automatic Silver Elite status also gives you an extra 10% points on bonus stays. Other Silver Elite benefits include free in-room WiFi and late checkout. Spending $35,000 in a year, or the 15 Elite Night credits, gives you fast track upgrade status to Gold Elite status.

New cardholders can earn 75,000 bonus points after spending $3,000 on purchases in the first 3 months of account opening.

Learn more: Hotel Rewards Credit Cards

Best Free Night Award: The World of Hyatt Credit Card

Even if you only stay in a hotel one night a year, you can stay for free if you get a free night award. In most cases, the free hotel night cash value is greater than the card’s annual fee.

With the World of Hyatt Credit Card, your free annual hotel night after each card anniversary is valid at any category 1-4 Hyatt property. This free night alone is easily worth more than the $95 annual fee. This is also one of the best credit cards for free hotel nights.

Hyatt also has one of the most generous reward night policies. Their free nights start at 5,000 points and max out at 30,000 points at a category 7 property. With most other hotel programs, 30,000 points only books a room at a mid-tier property. If you want to enjoy upscale travel at bargain prices, don’t overlook Hyatt.

You also have the opportunity to earn up to 60,000 bonus points as a welcome bonus. Earn 30,000 Bonus Points after you spend $3,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. Plus, earn 2 Bonus Points per $1 spent on purchases that earn 1 Bonus Point, up to $15,000, in the first 6 months of account opening.

Learn more: Hotel Rewards Credit Cards

Other Benefits

Additional perks include complimentary World of Hyatt Discoverist status for as long as your account is open, 5 tier qualifying night credits towards status after account opening, and each year after that for as long as your account is open, and an extra free night at any Category 1-4 Hyatt hotel if you spend $15,000 in a calendar year.

Cardholders also earn 2 qualifying night credits towards tier status every time you spend $5,000 on your card.

Plus, you can enjoy these tiered purchase rewards:

  • 9 points per $1 spent on Hyatt purchases – 4 points per $1 when you use your card at Hyatt hotels & 5 points per $1 you can earn as a World of Hyatt member
  • 2 points per $1 spent for restaurants, airline tickets purchased directly from the airline, local transit and commuting, and on fitness club and gym memberships

If you frequent Hyatt properties, the World of Hyatt Card is a great card to have in your wallet.

Learn more: Hotel Rewards Credit Cards

For Non-Business People: IHG Rewards Club Premier Credit Card

The IHG® Rewards Club Premier Credit Card offers travel benefits and purchase rewards that benefit non-business travelers:

  • Reward night annual certificate after account anniversary
  • Earn up to 25x points total per $1 when you stay at IHG hotel
  • Earn 2x points per $1 at gas stations, grocery stores, and restaurants
  • 1x point per $1 for all other purchases
  • Global Entry or TSA PreCheck fee credit

You also have the chance to earn 140,000 bonus points by spending $3,000 on purchases in the first 3 months of account opening. Reward IHG nights start at 5,000 points. That means you can squeeze up to 28 reward nights from the entire bonus offer amount. Plus, you can top off your IHG account with Chase Ultimate Rewards transfers. 

Because you’re not traveling for business, the 2x bonus points give you the perfect opportunity to earn bonus points on your largest monthly spending categories (not including your rent or mortgage payment). If you want a credit card that offers hotel benefits and air travel benefits, it’s hard not to like the IHG Premier.

Automatic Platinum Elite status lets you enjoy space-available room upgrades, a 50% earning bonus, and extended checkout. To earn this status without the card, you need to stay at least 40 nights per year.

The annual fee is $89.

Honorable Mention: IHG Rewards Club Traveler Credit Card

The IHG® Rewards Club Traveler Credit Card may not come with an annual reward hotel night certificate but it does come with the opportunity to earn points without the worries of an annual fee or any foreign transaction fees. Cardholders earn up to 15x points total per $1 spent at IHG hotels. It also comes with a reward night when you redeem points for any stay of 4 or more nights.

New cardholders can earn 60,000 points after spending $2,000 in the first 3 months of account opening.

Best Hotel Credit Card with No Annual Fee: Hilton Honors American Express Card

Casual travelers that don’t need a free night award or for those that only need a secondary credit card, the Hilton Honors American Express Card is one of the best options without an annual fee (See rates & fees).

The Hilton Honors Card earns up to 7x Hilton Honors points per $1 spent:

  • 7x points per $1 spent directly on eligible Hilton purchases charged directly with a hotel or resort within the Hilton Honors portfolio of brands
  • 5x points per $1 of eligible purchases spent at U.S. restaurants, U.S. gas stations, and U.S. supermarkets
  • 3x points per $1 spent on other eligible remaining purchases

You will also enjoy complimentary Hilton Honors Silver status. That earns you a 5th night free on reward stays, elite rollover nights, and two water bottles per stay. Spend $20,000 in a year to upgrade to Hilton Honors Gold status through the end of the next calendar year.

The welcome offer is the ability to earn 100,000 Hilton Honors bonus points after you use your new card to make $1,000 in eligible purchases within the first 3 months of your card membership. Plus, new cardholders can earn a $100 statement credit after the first purchase on the Hilton Honors Card within the first 3 months.

Learn more: Hotel Rewards Credit Cards

Best Credit Card for Flexible Booking: Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card

If you’re not loyal to one particular hotel brand, the Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card gets you 2x miles per $1 on every purchase. You can redeem these rewards miles for future award travel purchases or as a statement credit. This card is a great option if you want flexibility and you simply want a room that’s clean and comfortable. It’s also one of the best metal credit cards you can have in your wallet, making it reliable and stronger against wear and tear.

New cardholders can earn 60,000 miles if they spend $3,000 on purchases in the first 3 months of the account opening.

Learn more: Rewards Credit Cards

You can see how the Chase Sapphire Preferred and Capital One Venture Rewards, two top travel rewards cards, compare.

Summary

Everybody needs something different from their hotel credit card. Maybe you want to pick up a loyalty card because your company encourages you to stay at one brand when you travel and you want to accelerate your travel benefits. Whether you stay in a hotel a few times a year or a few times a week, these best hotel credit cards can be one of the most valuable credit cards you keep in your wallet.

best hotel credit card
An aerial view of the Starwood St. Regis Punta Mita Resort overlooking the Pacific Ocean
Image Credit: St. Regis Punta Mita

Are you currently using the best credit card for hotel purchases? Owning a co-brand hotel credit card isn’t always the right option.

Flexible Rewards Credit Cards for Hotel Purchases: Chase Sapphire Preferred Card

If you’re not loyal to a particular hotel brand, a co-brand hotel credit card isn’t much value beyond the free anniversary nights. That’s why you should consider the Chase Sapphire Preferred (or the Chase Sapphire Reserve if you’re in the market for a premium travel rewards card). That’s how the best hotel credit card possibly won’t be co-branded with a hotel.

The Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card earns 2x points per $1 on travel and dining worldwide, including hotels.

You can transfer your Chase Ultimate Rewards points on a 1:1 basis to these hotel partners:

  • IHG Rewards Club
  • Marriott Bonvoy
  • World of Hyatt

You can begin booking award nights for 5,000 points and find a quality property in nearly any travel destination. In addition to these hotel transfer partners, Chase Sapphire Preferred® owners can also transfer points to nine frequent flyer programs including United, Southwest Airlines, and British Airways Avios.

I like the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card because you have so many 1:1 transfer partners that make it easy to book award travel and make each point worth at least 2 cents each. But you can also enjoy these travel benefits:

  • 2x points on travel and dining
  • Primary rental car collision damage waiver
  • 60,000 points sign-up bonus after spending $4,000 in the first three months; Additionally, new cardholders can earn up to $50 in statement credits towards grocery store purchases.

Premium Flexible Rewards: Chase Sapphire Reserve

The Chase Sapphire Reserve® earns 3x per $1 on dining and travel worldwide, including hotels.

If you choose the premium Sapphire Reserve over the Preferred, you will also enjoy these air travel benefits:

  • $300 travel credit
  • $100 Global Entry/TSA PreCheck application fee reimbursement
  • Priority Pass Select lounge membership
  • Special on-property benefits from The Luxury Hotel and Resort Collection

The $300 travel credit can be applied to the first $300 in any travel-related purchases including hotel purchases. Other premium credit cards only let you redeem your travel credit for baggage fees, in-flight purchases, and seat upgrades. It can be hard to redeem your travel credit if you rarely encounter one of these three travel fees.

Credit Card for 4+ Night Stays: Citi Prestige Credit Card

The information for the Citi Prestige Credit Card has been collected independently by Johnny Jet. The card details on this page have not been reviewed or provided by the card issuer.

Some hotel rewards programs like Hilton Honors and Marriott Bonvoy offer a free night on a multi-night reward stay, but this benefit can pale in comparison to the Citi Prestige® Credit Card 4th night free benefit. Plus, the Citi Prestige earns 3x points per $1 on hotel purchases.

When you book any 4+ night stay through ThankYou.com, you only have to pay the hotel fees and taxes for that fourth night. This complimentary 4th night at a hotel of your choice is based on your average night stay. However, this benefit is capped at 2 times each calendar year.

The 4th night free is the largest selling point of the Citi Prestige, but you can also enjoy these benefits:

  • $250 annual air travel credit
  • $100 Global Entry application fee credit
  • 5x points on air travel and restaurants
  • 3x points on cruises and hotels
  • 1x point on all remaining purchases
  • 1:1 airline point transfers

This is also one of the best Citi credit cards to consider for your travels.

Summary

If you’re loyal to a particular hotel brand, their rewards card can be a good option because they offer the most points per dollar spent as a loyalty bonus. But, if you need the flexibility to stay for free at multiple hotel chains or you occasionally want to use your points for non-hotel rewards, the Sapphire and Citi ThankYou credit cards are good options for hotel purchases.

Related Articles:

For rates and fees of the Hilton Honors American Express Card, please click here.

Geoff Whitmore
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  • Earn 60,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $750 when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®. Plus earn up to $50 in statement credits towards grocery store purchases.
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Editorial Note: The editorial content on this page is not provided by any bank, credit card issuer, airlines or hotel chain, and has not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

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