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When you travel, you will most likely stay in a hotel. Instead of paying for your purchase with just any credit card, consider using a hotel credit card instead. You can earn incentives that are more specific to your lifestyle. If you’re trying to find the best hotel credit card for your travel habits, these recommendations can be a start.

The Hague Marriott
Credit: The Hague Marriott

Best Hotel Credit Card Welcome Bonus: Marriott Bonvoy Boundless Credit Card

The Marriott Bonvoy Boundless™ Credit Card has a signup bonus of 100,000 points! New cardholders can earn the 100k bonus by spending $3,000 on purchases in the first 3 months of account opening. Cardholders earn a free night award each card anniversary (up to 35,000 points per night). They also get automatic Silver Elite Status. Automatic Silver Elite status also gives you an extra 10% points on bonus stays, free in-room WiFi, and priority late checkout.

Purchase rewards include:

  • 6x Bonvoy points per $1 spent at over 7,000 participating Marriott Bonvoy properties
  • 2x points on everything else

The Marriott Bonvoy Boundless™ Credit Card is the best overall card for its reasonable $95 annual fee, no foreign transaction fee, and valuable rewards. For instance, each card renewal you get a free night award valid at any Bonvoy property that costs 35,000 points or less. This award is worth more than the $95 annual fee on most nights.

Spending $35,000 in a year, or the 15 Elite Night credits, gives you a fast track upgrade status to Gold Elite status.

Learn more: Hotel Rewards Credit Cards

Best Hotel Credit Card Free Night Award: The World of Hyatt

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 is valid at any category 1-4 Hyatt property. This free night alone is easily worth more than the $95 annual fee.

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 50,000 bonus points as a welcome bonus. You’ll first earn 25,000 points after spending $3,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. Then you’ll earn an additional 25,000 points after spending $6,000 total within 6 months of account opening.

Plus, you can enjoy these tiered purchase rewards:

  • 4 points on all Hyatt purchases
  • 2 points for restaurants, airline tickets purchased directly from the airline, and car rental agencies
  • 1 point per $1 spent on all remaining purchases

Learn more: Hotel Rewards Credit Cards

Honorable Mention

If you’re looking for a hotel credit card that let you book your free hotel night at high-end motels, you should consider either the Hilton Honors Aspire or Hilton Honors Surpass. Your free weekend night certificate can be redeemed at virtually any Hilton Portfolio property.

Best Hotel Credit Card 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 hotel night certificate annually after card anniversary
  • 4th reward night on 4+ night reward stays
  • Automatic Platinum Elite status
  • Global Entry/TSA Precheck application fee reimbursement

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).

New cardholders can also earn 125,000 points after spending $3,000 on purchases within the first three months of account opening. Cardholders earn 25x points total per $1 spent when you stay at an IHG hotel.

Additionally, you will earn 2x points at gas stations, grocery stores, and restaurants and 1 point per $1 on everything else.

If you want a credit card that offers hotel benefits and air travel benefits, it’s hard not to like the IHG Premier.

Reward IHG nights start at 5,000 points. That means you can squeeze 25 reward nights from the entire bonus offer amount. Plus, you can top off your IHG account with Chase Ultimate Rewards transfers. 

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.

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

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

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

  • 7x points on eligible Hilton purchases made directly with a hotel or resort in the Hilton portfolio
  • 5x points on eligible purchases at U.S. restaurants, U.S. gas stations, and U.S. supermarkets
  • 3x points on all 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.

Alternatively, if you spend a bit annually, consider an upgrade. You can benefit from the Hilton Honors American Express Surpass® Card when spending more than $15,000 a year. Once you reach this spending threshold, you get a free weekend night certificate.

Learn more: Hotel Rewards Credit Cards

Best Hotel 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 dollar spent on every purchase. You can redeem these rewards points for future award travel purchases or as a statement credit for previous purchases.

You can see here how the Capital One Venture compares to the Sapphire Preferred.

Summary of The Best Hotel Credit Card For You

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 hotel credit cards can be one of the most valuable credit cards you keep in your wallet.

Johnny Jet Editorial

Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card

  • Earn 80,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $1,000 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®.
  • 2X points on travel and dining at restaurants worldwide, eligible delivery services, takeout and dining out & 1 point per dollar spent on all other purchases.
  • Get 25% more value when you redeem for airfare, hotels, car rentals and cruises through Chase Ultimate Rewards. For example, 80,000 points are worth $1,000 toward travel.
  • Get unlimited deliveries with a $0 delivery fee and reduced service fees on orders over $12 for a minimum of one year on qualifying food purchases with DashPass, DoorDash's subscription service. Activate by 12/31/21.
  • Earn 5X points on Lyft rides through March 2022. That’s 3X points in addition to the 2X points you already earn on travel.

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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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