Top 9 Best Rated
Hotel Rewards Credit Cards

Rewards so powerful, you can get FREE hotel nights
Enjoy FREE nights, room upgrades, hotel discounts and priority service
Choose your preference, specific hotel Vs. Flexible points. The choice is yours!

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Chase Marriott Rewards Premier Plus

Rewards Rates:
6xPoints Staying at Marriott and SPG Hotels

Earn 6x points for every $1 spent at over 6,500 participating Marriott Rewards and SPG hotels

2xPoints on Everything

Earn 2x points for every dollar spent on purchases

FreeNight Award

As a Marriott Rewards Premier Plus Cardmember, you'll enjoy a Free Night Award every year after your account anniversary

$0Foreign Transaction Fee

No foreign transaction fees when using this card

If I Make Purchases,
My Intro Rate will be
N/A
If I Balance Transfer,
My Intro Rate will be
N/A
When I Spend Money,
I Earn
6x points
Annual Fee
$95
Annual Fee $95
Intro Purchase APR N/A
Intro Balance Transfer APR N/A
Regular APR 17.99% to 24.99%
Great for Marriott Hotels, Restaurants, Travel
Regular Purchase APR 17.99% to 24.99%
Regular Balance Transfer APR 17.99% to 24.99%
Cash Advance APR 26.99%
Balance Transfer Fee $5 or 5%
Cash Advance Fee $10 or 5%
Foreign Transaction Fee 0%

Recommended credit score to apply for this card:

Very Good (720-749)

Chase United MileagePlus Explorer

Rewards Rates:
2xMiles Flying United Airlines

Earn 2 Miles Per Dollar Spent On United Airlines Purchases And At Restaurants

2xMiles Staying at Hotels

Earn 2 Miles Per Dollar Spent On Hotel Accommodations, When Purchased Directly With The Hotel

1xMiles

Earn 1 Mile Per Dollar On All Other Purchases

$0Checked Bag

Pay Nothing For You And One Companion's First Checked Bag On United Airline

If I Make Purchases,
My Intro Rate will be
N/A
If I Balance Transfer,
My Intro Rate will be
N/A
When I Spend Money,
I Earn
2x points
Annual Fee
$95
Annual Fee $95
Intro Purchase APR N/A
Intro Balance Transfer APR N/A
Regular APR 17.99% to 24.99%
Great for United Airlines, Restaurants, Hotels
Regular Purchase APR 17.99% to 24.99%
Regular Balance Transfer APR 17.99% to 24.99%
Cash Advance APR 26.99%
Balance Transfer Fee $5 or 5%
Cash Advance Fee $10 or 5%
Foreign Transaction Fee 0%

Recommended credit score to apply for this card:

Very Good (720-749)

Barclay Diamond Resorts International Mastercard

Rewards Rates:
2xPoints Staying at Diamond Resorts

Earn 2x Diamond Plus Points On Diamond Resorts Purchases

1xPoints on Everything

Arn 1x Diamond Plus Points For Every Dollar Spent

500Diamond Plus Points

Earn 500 Diamond Plus Points For Every $2,000 Spent

$0Annual Fee

No Annual Fee With This Card

If I Make Purchases,
My Intro Rate will be
0% Interest for 6 months
If I Balance Transfer,
My Intro Rate will be
0% Interest for 15 months
When I Spend Money,
I Earn
2x points
Annual Fee
$0
Annual Fee $0
Intro Purchase APR 0% Interest for 6 months
Intro Balance Transfer APR 0% Interest for 15 months
Regular APR 16.99% to 26.99%
Great for Diamond Resorts, Dining, Travel
Regular Purchase APR 16.99% to 26.99%
Regular Balance Transfer APR 16.99% to 26.99%
Cash Advance APR 27.24%
Balance Transfer Fee $5 or 3%
Cash Advance Fee $10 or 5%
Foreign Transaction Fee 3%

Recommended credit score to apply for this card:

Very Good (720-749)

Barclay Choice Privileges Visa Signature

Rewards Rates:
15xPoints from Choice Privilege Locations

Earn 15 Points On Every Dollar Spent At Eligible Choice Privileges Locations

5xPoints from Choice Hotel Gift Cards

Earn 5 Points On Every Dollar Spent On Choice Privileges Points Or Choice Hotels Gift Card Purchases

2xPoints

Earn 2 Points For Every Dollar Spent Using This Card

10%Points Bonus

Stay At A Choice Hotel And Earn 10% Points Bonus

If I Make Purchases,
My Intro Rate will be
N/A
If I Balance Transfer,
My Intro Rate will be
0% Interest for 15 months
When I Spend Money,
I Earn
15x points
Annual Fee
$0
Annual Fee $0
Intro Purchase APR N/A
Intro Balance Transfer APR 0% Interest for 15 months
Regular APR 17.24% to 26.99%
Great for Travel, Hotels, Restaurants
Regular Purchase APR 17.24% to 26.99%
Regular Balance Transfer APR 17.24% to 26.99%
Cash Advance APR 27.24%
Balance Transfer Fee $5 or 3%
Cash Advance Fee $10 or 5%
Foreign Transaction Fee 3%

Recommended credit score to apply for this card:

Good (680-719)

Bank of America Travel Rewards

Rewards Rates:
1.5Points

Earn 1.5 Bonus Points For Every Dollar Spent

10%Bonus Points

As A Bank Of America Customer, You Can Get 10% Bonus Points If You Have An Active Bank Of America Checking Or Savings Account

$0Annual Fee

No Annual Fee With This Card

$0Foreign Transaction Fee

No Foreign Transaction Fees When Using This Card

If I Make Purchases,
My Intro Rate will be
0% Interest for 12 months
If I Balance Transfer,
My Intro Rate will be
N/A
When I Spend Money,
I Earn
1.5x points
Annual Fee
$0
Annual Fee $0
Intro Purchase APR 0% Interest for 12 months
Intro Balance Transfer APR N/A
Regular APR 16.49% to 24.49%
Great for Travel, Shopping, Restaurants
Regular Purchase APR 16.49% to 24.49%
Regular Balance Transfer APR 16.49% to 24.49%
Cash Advance APR 19.49% to 26.49%
Balance Transfer Fee $10 or 3%
Cash Advance Fee $10 or 3%
Foreign Transaction Fee 0%

Recommended credit score to apply for this card:

Very Good (720-749)

American Express Hilton Honors Aspire

Rewards Rates:
14xHilton Honors Points

Earn 14x Hilton Honors Bonus Points on purchases at participating Hilton properties

7xHilton Honors Points

Earn 7x Hilton Honors Bonus Points on flights booked with AmexTravel.com, select car rental companies and U.S. restaurants

3xHilton Honors Points

On all remaining eligible purchases, earn 3x Hilton Honors Bonus Points

$0Complimentary Diamond Status

The American Express Hilton Honors Aspire Card gives you complimentary Diamond Status with Hilton Hotels

If I Make Purchases,
My Intro Rate will be
N/A
If I Balance Transfer,
My Intro Rate will be
N/A
When I Spend Money,
I Earn
14x points
Annual Fee
$450
Annual Fee $450
Intro Purchase APR N/A
Intro Balance Transfer APR N/A
Regular APR 15.74% to 24.74%
Great for Hilton Hotels, Restaurants, Travel
Regular Purchase APR 15.74% to 24.74%
Regular Balance Transfer APR 15.74% to 24.74%
Cash Advance APR 25.24%
Balance Transfer Fee $10 or 5%
Cash Advance Fee $10 or 5%
Foreign Transaction Fee 0%

Recommended credit score to apply for this card:

Excellent (750-799)

American Express Hilton Honors Ascend

Rewards Rates:
12xHilton Honors Points

Earn 12x Hilton Honors Bonus Points On Qualifying Purchases At Hilton Properties 6x Points

6xHilton Honors Points

Earn 6x Hilton Honors Bonus Points On Select Business Travel And Purchases

3xHilton Honors Points

Earn 3x Hilton Honors Points On All Other Eligible Purchases

$0Hilton Honors Gold status

No Foreign Transaction Fees When Using This Card

If I Make Purchases,
My Intro Rate will be
N/A
If I Balance Transfer,
My Intro Rate will be
N/A
When I Spend Money,
I Earn
12x points
Annual Fee
$95
Annual Fee $95
Intro Purchase APR N/A
Intro Balance Transfer APR N/A
Regular APR 15.74% to 24.74%
Great for Hilton Hotels, Restaurants, Travel
Regular Purchase APR 15.74% to 24.74%
Regular Balance Transfer APR 15.74% to 24.74%
Cash Advance APR 25.24%
Balance Transfer Fee $16.99 or 20.99%
Cash Advance Fee $5 or 3%
Foreign Transaction Fee 0%

Recommended credit score to apply for this card:

Very Good (720-749)

American Express Hilton Honors

Rewards Rates:
7xHilton Honors Points

Earn 7X Hilton Honors Bonus Points for each dollar of eligible purchases charged directly with a hotel or resort within the Hilton portfolio.

5xHilton Honors Points

Earn 5X Hilton Honors Bonus Points for each dollar of eligible purchases at U.S. restaurants, at U.S. supermarkets, and at U.S. gas stations.

3xHilton Honors Points

Earn 3X Hilton Honors Bonus Points for all other eligible purchases on your Card.

$0Foreign Transaction Fee

Enjoy international travel without additional fees on purchases made abroad.

If I Make Purchases,
My Intro Rate will be
N/A
If I Balance Transfer,
My Intro Rate will be
N/A
When I Spend Money,
I Earn
7x points
Annual Fee
$0
Annual Fee $0
Intro Purchase APR N/A
Intro Balance Transfer APR N/A
Regular APR 15.74% to 24.74%
Great for Hilton Hotels, Restaurants, Travel
Regular Purchase APR 15.74% to 24.74%
Regular Balance Transfer APR 15.74% to 24.74%
Cash Advance APR 25.24%
Balance Transfer Fee $5 or 3%
Cash Advance Fee $10 or 5%
Foreign Transaction Fee 0%

Recommended credit score to apply for this card:

Very Good (720-749)

American Express Everyday Preferred

Rewards Rates:
3xPoints at US Supermarkets

3x points per dollar spent on up to $6,000 per year in purchases.

2xPoints at US Gas Stations

1x points for every eligible dollar you spend

1xPoints on other purchases

Points on other purchases

50%Extra Points

Use your Card 30 times or more in a billing period to earn 50% extra points on those purchases

If I Make Purchases,
My Intro Rate will be
0% Interest for 12 Months
If I Balance Transfer,
My Intro Rate will be
N/A
When I Spend Money,
I Earn
3x points
Annual Fee
$95
Annual Fee $95
Intro Purchase APR 0% Interest for 12 Months
Intro Balance Transfer APR N/A
Regular APR 12.99% to 22.99%
Great for Shopping, Gas Stations, Restaurants
Regular Purchase APR 12.99% to 22.99%
Regular Balance Transfer APR 12.99% to 22.99%
Cash Advance APR N/A
Balance Transfer Fee $5 or 3%
Cash Advance Fee $5 or 3%
Foreign Transaction Fee 2.70%

Recommended credit score to apply for this card:

Very Good (720-749)

Best Hotel Credit Cards

Hotel credit cards let you rack up points to cover free stays at your favorite properties. But they come with a lot of fine print, so understanding how to make the most of your hotel credit card is important. With the right knowledge, you can get thousands of dollars in value from your card.

What Is a Co-Branded Credit Card?

Every credit card has a company sponsoring it. Usually, you know those sponsors by names like Visa, MasterCard, American Express, or Discover. They can also be banks, such as Chase.

But co-branded cards couple the finance industry sponsor with a company from another industry — typically travel or retail. Stores such as Macy’s or Walmart cosponsor credit cards, for example, and even Starbucks gets in on the co-branding action.

In the travel industry, airlines and hotels both work with banks and credit companies to co-brand cards. Hotel brands with credit cards include Starwood Preferred Guests, Marriot, Ritz-Carlton, Hyatt, Hilton, and IHG.

But, what’s the point of a credit card with some other company’s name on it?

For the consumer, it’s not just about the card carrying another business name. Most of these cards come with benefits from both the bank/credit card company and the co-branded business. Retail companies may offer credit card holders special deals or discounts, especially when they pay with the co-branded card. Hotels and airlines may do the same, and the cards also usually help holders earn points toward free travel.

Benefits of a Hotel Card Versus a Travel Rewards or Airline Card

If you’re looking for a credit card that helps you save on travel, you can usually choose between three major types of cards.

  • Hotel co-branded cards. These are cards that are cosponsored by hotel brands. They come with rewards structures tied to the specific hotel’s rewards program.
  • Airline co-branded cards. These are cards that are cosponsored by airline brands. They come with rewards structures tied to the specific airline’s frequent flyer program.
  • Travel reward cards. These are cards offered by credit card companies or banks that let you earn points you can use toward general travel expenses.

So, why would you choose a hotel card over travel rewards or airline card?

Some hotel cards have some really nice extra perks (more on that later), but the biggest reason to choose a hotel brand card is that you’re a loyalist. That means that you stay a lot with that hotel chain, so you’re more likely to get good value from the rewards.

Here are a couple of specific scenarios that might make a hotel card the right choice.

  • You travel for business often, but it’s exclusively to one or two locations, and the hotel brand in question is where you tend to stay out of preference or necessity.
  • You travel widely, but prefer to stay in properties owned by the same brand because you like knowing you’ll receive consistent quality and service.
  • You travel one or two times a year, such as for a family vacation, and you can choose to stay in properties owned by the hotel brand.

In all these cases, a hotel credit card can help you build rewards to get free nights.

Some benefits of a hotel credit card include:

  • Immediate crediting of your points. Unlike with some travel rewards cards, where you have to wait through a statement cycle and ask for a points transfer, hotel card points may immediately credit to your hotel rewards program account.
  • Stack card and hotel points. If you’re staying with a certain hotel chain often, you’re probably getting rewards for every night you stay at the hotel or every dollar you spend with them. When you pay for those expenses with a hotel-branded credit card, you get MORE points for every dollar you spend. The points can stack up fast.

Choosing the Right Hotel Card

With so many hotel cards on the market, choosing the right one might seem like a daunting prospect. Here are three steps to take to ensure you get the card that best fits your needs.

 

  1. Choose a card that matches your hotel preference. Since hotel cards are linked to hotel benefits, you don’t want a card aligned with a brand that you don’t stay with. If you already travel a lot and tend to stay with the same brand, look for cards cosponsored by that hotel chain. If you don’t travel frequently already but would like a hotel card to help cover the cost of annual vacations, look up hotels where you plan to vacation and see where you’d like to stay; if you can find a hotel brand that meets your vacationing needs, that might be the right card for you.
  2. Do some research before you apply for the card. It’s not always quite as easy as booking a free night in any location with your rewards points. Individual hotel management may decide how many rooms — and which type — are available to book with hotel rewards. Sign up for the hotel rewards program and check up on redemption capability. Just because a brand has properties in a certain city doesn’t mean you’ll be able to easily book with points there. Read the hotel rewards program fine print to learn about any blackout dates or limitations; that will help you know if it’s worth getting a credit card to build up points with that program.
  3. Weigh benefits against cost. Finally, consider the overall cost of the card. Is there an annual fee, and do you plan on spending enough (and redeeming enough points) to get more than that fee in value? What’s the APR on the card? Rewards cards sometimes have higher APRs because of the value associated with the rewards, so if you plan on carrying balances over multiple statements, you’ll want a hotel card with the lowest possible APR.

Understanding Elite Status

Elite status is a special status assigned to hotel loyalty or rewards program members who have accumulated a certain number of points or stays within each year. Most chains have tiered elite statuses, such as Silver, Gold and Platinum. Each bump in tier equates to more perks for the member.

To understand how Elite Status works, consider the Starwood Preferred Guests program. If you complete nine paid nights with the hotel’s participating properties, you earn Gold status. Platinum status requires 18 paid nights, and your status is usually updated annually. That means you have to have those number of paid nights each year. You might also be able to gain status with various hotel programs by racking up a certain number of rewards points.

The perks of elite status are different for each program, but they include benefits such as:

  • Complimentary room upgrades
  • Access to special amenities or programs
  • Free nights
  • A higher value for points (meaning rewards points get you more when you redeem them)
  • Priority booking

Some luxury hotel credit cards include automatic entry into the elite status of the rewards program, so that’s something to consider when you’re choosing between cards. An automatic bump to Gold or higher status can bring you a lot of extra value.

Maxing Out First-Year Values With the Sign-Up Bonus

One of the major benefits of a good hotel credit card is the sign-up bonus, which lets you really rack up rewards in your first year of holding the card.

Here’s how the sign-up bonus usually works.

  • You have to spend a certain amount in the first few months that you have the card — typically between $500 and $5,000.
  • Once you hit the spending requirement, you’re awarded a large lump sum of bonus points — often between 25,000 and 100,000.
  • You can use those points to redeem free nights and other perks through the applicable hotel rewards points program.

Thousands of dollars in a few months? Sounds like a lot. But it isn’t.

Even if the sign-up bonus requires spending a total of $5,000 in three months, you can get there fairly easily because almost any purchase counts. You can’t count cash-like transactions like withdrawals or transfers most of the time, but you can count purchases you make at the grocery store, online or at the pump. Plus, with a lot of cards, you can also count bill payments you make with your credit card.

Spending $5,000 in three months is about $416.67 a week. Simply use your card to pay for the weekly grocery run, dining out and gas for the car, and you’re probably getting close. Pay your cell phone, electric and cable bill monthly with the card, and we bet you’re pretty much there.

What Are Sign-Up Bonuses Worth?

Every sign-up bonus is worth a different amount, but on average hotel rewards points are worth between 0.6 and 1.7 cents per point. Here’s a quick look at what some common sign-up bonuses might be worth:

  • 25,000 points could be worth $150 to $425
  • 50,000 points could be worth $300 to $850
  • 75,000 points could be worth $450 to $1,275
  • 100,000 points could be worth $600 to $1,700

Putting that into practical terms, you’re looking at about one to 11 free nights in standard rooms per year or a couple of free nights in upgraded rooms.

Keep Earning Rewards With Your Hotel Credit Card

Most hotel rewards cards let you earn points on every dollar you spend: usually a point for each dollar. However, some cards reward you, even more, when you spend directly with the hotel brand — in some cases as much as five points per dollar.

That means if you spend $3,000 with a hotel within the year, you could earn 15,000 points — potentially enough to cover a free night or more, depending on your program.

Put your hotel card to work regularly, and you could rack up enough points in the first year to cover a luxury vacation stay. Plus, you get to keep earning points in future years to cover nights in hotels.

While redeeming points for hotel stays is usually the best way to maximize your rewards value, some hotel rewards programs let you:

  • Redeem points for gift cards or merchandise
  • Transfer points to other programs, including airline miles programs
  • Donate or gift your points for use by others
  • Couple points and cash to reduce the overall cash cost of hotel bookings

Other Perks of Hotel Credit Cards

The exact benefits of each card are varied, but almost all hotel rewards cards come with some perks on top of the ability to earn rewards points. You’ll need to read the fine print of the offer to see what benefits your potential card comes with, but common offerings include:

  • A free hotel night each year
  • Access to special offers from the hotel, including the option to purchase tickets to special events
  • Free or discounted upgrades
  • Purchase protection, including extended warranties on purchases or purchase insurance
  • Travel protection, including things such as baggage loss insurance or car rental insurance
  • Concierge services
  • Free access to your credit score
  • Online or text management of your account

What the Banks Don’t Tell You About Hotel Credit Cards

When it comes to maximizing your value with any type of credit card, understanding the fine print is critical. Here are some things that banks don’t always make obvious about hotel credit cards.

  • You can keep the sign-up bonus, even if you close the card. If you get the sign-up bonus to help cover the cost of a family vacation and then decide you’re not going to get enough value from the card to cover the annual fee in future years, you can cancel the card. With a hotel card, your points are linked to your hotel rewards program membership, not your card account.
  • The best rewards cards typically require great credit scores. If you have a small blip on your credit history, it may be worth it to wait until you can get that fixed before you apply for a travel rewards card of any type.
  • Paying off the balance every month is one of the best ways to protect your rewards value because you don’t end up paying a lot in interest. Use your card to pay for things you would already be buying and pay down the total every month.
  • Your card may come with foreign transaction fees. That means you could pay between 3 and 5 percent extra anytime you swipe your card outside of the United States — including in Mexico or Canada.

Overall, hotel rewards cards can be a great tool for those looking to fund everyday purchases while saving up for a vacation. They’re also a great option if you travel regularly for business. Choose a card co-branded by a hotel brand that has properties you enjoy staying at for the best results.

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