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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

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Best Hotel Credit Card: Marriott Bonvoy Boundless Credit Card

The Marriott Bonvoy Boundless® Credit Card earns a free night award for each card anniversary (up to 35,000 points per night). Cardholders 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:

  • Earn up to 17x total Bonvoy points per $1 spent at over 7,000 hotels participating in Marriott Bonvoy® with the Marriott Bonvoy Boundless® Card
  • 3x Bonvoy points per $1 on the first $6,000 spent in combined purchases each year on grocery stores, gas stations, and dining
  • 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, with 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.

Additionally, earn 1 Elite Night Credit towards Elite Status for every $5,000 you spend.

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

New Marriott Bonvoy Boundless® Credit Card cardholders can earn 3 Free Nights (each night valued at up to 50,000 points) after spending $3,000 on purchases in your first 3 months from account opening.

Learn more: Hotel Rewards Credit Cards

Best Hotel Credit Card 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 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 book 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 signup 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.

Plus, you can enjoy these tiered purchase rewards:

  • Up to 9 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

Additionally, cardholders can enjoy complimentary World of Hyatt Discoverist status for as long as their account is open.

Learn more: Hotel Rewards Credit Cards

Honorable Mention

If you’re looking for a hotel credit card that lets 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 Premier Credit Card

The IHG® Rewards 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 3+ night reward stays
  • Automatic Platinum Elite status
  • Global Entry, NEXUS, or TSA PreCheck application fee reimbursement

For frequent IHG travelers, the IHG® Rewards Premier Credit Card is a nice option. Cardholders can earn up to 26 points total per $1 spent when you stay at an IHG hotel. Also, earn 5x points per $1 spent on purchases on travel, gas stations, and restaurants. Earn 3x points per $1 spent on all other purchases. 

New IHG® Rewards Premier Credit Card cardholders can earn 140,000 bonus points after spending $3,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. 

The annual fee is $99.

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. Read more in our IHG Rewards Premier Credit Card review.

Honorable Mention: The IHG Rewards Traveler Credit Card

If a no annual fee IHG card is more to your liking, then you’ll want to consider the IHG® Rewards Traveler Credit Card. With this card, cardholders can enjoy a reward night when they redeem points for any stay of 3 or more nights. This card also earns:

  • Up to 17x points total per $1 spent when you stay at an IHG hotel
  • 3x points per $1 spent on purchases on monthly bills, gas stations, and restaurants
  • 2x points per $1 spent on all other purchases

New IHG® Rewards Traveler Credit Card cardholders can earn 120,000 bonus points after spending $2,000 on purchases within the first three months of account opening.

Read more in our IHG Rewards Traveler Credit Card review

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 American Express Card earns up to 7x Hilton Honors points for each $1 spent on eligible purchases:

  • 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
  • Terms apply

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.

New The Hilton Honors American Express Card cardholders can earn 80,000 Hilton Honors Bonus Points after spending $1,000 in purchases on the Card in the first 3 months of Card Membership.

Terms apply.

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

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.

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

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