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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.

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

The Hague Marriott
Credit: The Hague Marriott

Best Hotel Credit Card Welcome Bonus: Marriott Rewards Premier Plus [Expired]

Editor’s Note: The new Marriott Bonvoy Boundless™ Credit Card has replaced the Marriott Rewards Premier Plus Credit Card. You can read more about the new cards here

As the Marriott and Starwood merger enters its final stage, Marriott is launching several new credit cards. One of these new cards is the Marriott Rewards® Premier Plus Credit Card. You have the opportunity to earn 2 Free Night Awards (each valued up to 35,000 points) after spending $3,000 on purchases in your first 3 months from account opening with the new Card.

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 6 points per $1 spent at all 6,500 Marriot Rewards and Starwood Preferred Guest properties. All remaining purchases will earn 2 points per $1 spent.

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

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 (Expired)

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

  • Free annual hotel night certificate
  • 4th night free 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 80,000 points after spending $2,000 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.

Free IHG nights start at 5,000 points. That means you can squeeze 16 free 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.

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 10x miles when you book and pay for a room through hotels.com/venture.

Instead of earning the flat rate 2x miles per dollar spent on every purchase, Hotels.com/venture purchases earn 10x miles. You can redeem these rewards points for future award travel purchases or as a statement credit for previous purchases.

For every 10 nights you book on Hotels.com, your 11th night is free. This is where the other 10% back plays into the picture. While it’s not an immediate reward, it’s one of the most valuable hotel rewards programs when you are looking for the most affordable place to stay, regardless of the hotel name. You simply want a room that’s clean and comfortable.

Other flexible travel cards only let you get up to 3 miles or points per $1 on hotel purchases. The Capital One Venture offers triple the miles for the same purchases. You can see here how the Capital One Venture compares to the Sapphire Preferred.

Learn more: Capital One® Venture® Rewards Credit Card

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

The comments on this page are not provided, reviewed, or otherwise approved by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser's responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.

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.

The Best Hotel Credit Card Offers For Various Occasions
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