15 Best Hotel Rewards Credit Cards – Reviews & Comparison
Travel rewards credit cards take many different forms. Airline rewards cards offer opportunities to fly for free or on the cheap, reducing the cost of your vacations and business trips. Dining rewards cards reduce the cost of restaurant meals, often a major expense on trips. Many cash back credit cards give you a percentage back on all of your most important purchases, while gas rewards credit cards literally pay you to buy gasoline and make other purchases at gas stations.
If you travel frequently, one or more of these card types have a place in your wallet – and so do hotel rewards credit cards. Virtually every major hotel company or brand family has at least one rewards credit card. Some cater to individual travelers, and others are meant for business owners.
Every hotel rewards card is a little different, but the basic premise is consistent: purchases earn you points that can be redeemed for free or discounted nights, incidental hotel expenses (such as meals or spa treatments), and sometimes other travel expenses, such as airfare. Several hotel credit cards have more expansive rewards programs, offering merchandise, gift cards, and other valuable items that have nothing to do with hotels. Most hotel credit cards have extensive perks and benefits, and many have enticing promotions and sign-up bonuses.
Keep in mind that the majority of these cards come with annual fees. While the lack of an annual fee is certainly nice, no-annual-fee cards often come with foreign transaction fees – meaning they’re less than ideal for frequent international travelers. Plus, they tend to have fewer fringe benefits than annual-fee cards.
2x Points on Travel & Dining at Restaurants; 1-to-1 Transfer to Participating Frequent Traveler Programs
When redeemed for airfare and hotel purchases through Chase’s Ultimate Rewards portal, you get 20% off, making your Ultimate Rewards points worth up to $0.0125 apiece. You can also redeem for gift cards, cash (statement credits, direct deposits, or checks), and merchandise, mostly at a $0.01-per-point rate. The redemption minimum is 2,000 points for cash redemptions.
Finally, Chase Sapphire Preferred has a solid sign-up bonus: 50,000 bonus Ultimate Rewards points when you spend at least $4,000 within 3 months.
4 Points Per $1 Spent at Hyatt Properties; 2 Points Per $1 Spent on Direct Airline Purchases, Restaurants, Fitness Services, and Local Transit Purchases
The information related to the World of Hyatt credit card has been collected by Money Crashers and has not been reviewed or provided by the issuer of this card.
This card has a generous, 2-part sign-up bonus too: 40,000 bonus points when you spend at least $3,000 in the first 3 months of card membership, then 20,000 additional bonus points with $6,000 total spend in the first 6 months. That’s worth up to 12 free nights at participating properties.
You can redeem your points for free nights at Hyatt properties worldwide. Redemption minimums start at 5,000 points (2,500 when you combine points and cash) for basic Category 1 hotels and rise to 30,000 points for luxurious Category 7 hotels. Other card benefits include automatic Discoverist status in the World of Hyatt loyalty program.
Compare the Hyatt Credit Card with other top hotel rewards cards today.
See our Chase World of Hyatt Card Review for more information. Compare the World of Hyatt Credit Card with other top hotel rewards cards.
Unlimited 2X Miles on All Eligible Purchases; 50,000 Miles Early Spend Bonus
Like Barclaycard Arrival Plus® World Elite Mastercard®, the Venture card isn’t a straight-up hotel rewards card. In fact, you can redeem points for statement credits on virtually any travel purchases: hotels, flights, rental cards, vacation packages, cruises, and more. Because of this, there are no blackout dates – you can stay at any hotel, any time, and just redeem your miles as a statement credit (known as Purchase Eraser) after your stay (within 90 days of purchase).
You can also use accumulated miles to make travel purchases directly through Capital One’s booking center, and for general statement credits or paper checks. Redemption minimums vary depending on redemption method.
Find out how you can apply for Venture® from Capital One® here.
12 Points per $1 Spent at Hilton Hotels; 6 Points per $1 Spent at Restaurants, Supermarkets & Gas Stations; 3 Points per $1 Spent Everywhere Else
The Hilton Honors Ascend Card from American Express is a powerful travel rewards card with great benefits for frequent Hilton guests. It earns an unlimited 12 points per $1 spent at select Hilton properties; 6 points per $1 spent at supermarkets, restaurants, and gas stations; and 3 points per $1 spent on everything else.
Ascend comes with a generous, 2-part welcome offer: 75,000 Honors points when you spend $2,000 in eligible purchases within 3 months, and an additional 25,000 Honors points when you spend an additional $1,000 in eligible purchases within the first 6 months. All told, that’s worth up to 20 free nights at participating Hilton properties.
You can redeem your Honors points for free room nights at Hilton properties, starting at 5,000 points per night at Category 1 properties and rising to as many as 95,000 points per night at high-end Category 10 properties. You can also transfer to airline rewards programs, such as Delta SkyMiles, often at a 10-to-1 ratio.
Hilton Honors Ascend has some other important perks, including complimentary Hilton Honors Gold status and complimentary Private Pass membership ($99 value), which entitles you to 10 complimentary visits at more than 1,000 airport lounges worldwide. Just watch out for the $95 annual fee.
Learn how you can apply for the Hilton Honors Ascend Card from American Express here.
Find out how you can apply for this card here.
10 Radisson Rewards Points Per $1 Spent at Carlson Hotels; 5 Points Per $1 Spent Everywhere Else
The Radisson Rewards Premier Visa Signature® Card earns 10 points per $1 spent at more than 1,000 participating Radisson hotels (whose brands include Radisson Blu and Country Inns & Suites) and 5 points per $1 spent everywhere else. Neither category comes with caps or spending restrictions. This card has a great sign-up bonus too: up to 85,000 points when you spend at least $2,500 in the first 90 days.
You can redeem your accumulated points for free nights and room upgrades at Radisson hotels, starting at 9,000 points for a lower-tier room night. You can also convert your points to airline miles with more than 20 participating airlines, typically at a 10-to-1 ratio. The card does come with a $75 annual fee, but that may be worthwhile if you use this card often and travel frequently.
Find out how you can apply for this card here.
6 Marriott Rewards Points For Every $1 Spent at Marriott, Ritz-Carlton & Starwood Hotels; 2 Points for All Other Purchases
The information related to the Marriott Rewards Premier Plus credit card has been collected by Money Crashers and has not been reviewed or provided by the issuer of this card.
Redemption minimums vary by hotel class, but start at 7,500 points (6,000 points if you book with PointSavers, which offers discounts at a limited, rotating slate of hotels) and range up to 45,000 points at Marriott properties. Other property types may have even higher redemption thresholds.
The Marriott Rewards Premier Plus Credit Card also has a very generous sign-up bonus: When you spend $5,000 in the first 3 months of card membership, you get 100,000 Marriott Rewards points. Plus, you get 1 free night stay at any property requiring 35,000 points or less per award night after your account anniversary each year.
Compare the Marriott Rewards Premier Credit Card with other top hotel rewards cards.
5 Points Per $1 Spent at Ritz-Carlton, Marriott & StarwoodProperties; 2 Points Per $1 on Airfare, Car Rentals & Restaurants
The information related to the Ritz-Carlton Rewards Card has been collected by Money Crashers and has not been reviewed or provided by the issuer of this card.
The Ritz-Carlton Rewards Credit Card’s sign-up bonus is very nice: 2 free nights at select Ritz-Carlton hotels (Tiers 1 through 4) when you spend at least $4,000 in 3 months.
You can redeem your points for free nights at Ritz-Carlton, Starwood, and Marriott properties (except certain non-participating Marriott properties), as well as for gift cards, airline miles with Lufthansa and other airline partners, and vacation packages. Redemption minimums vary by redemption method.
The biggest drawback of this card is the eye-popping annual fee – at $450, it’s several times higher than most other cards on this list. However, it has tons of benefits that offset this cost: a $300-per-year travel credit good for airline seat upgrades, bag fees, and airport lounge entry fees; a $100 credit for hotel incidental expenses on paid stays of 2 nights or longer; $100 fare discount on air travel itineraries including between 2 and 5 round-trip tickets; complimentary Priority Pass Select airport lounge membership; and more.
See our Ritz-Carlton Rewards Card Review for more information.
10 IHG Rewards Points Per $1 Spent at Intercontinental Hotels; 2 Points Per $1 on Gas, Groceries & Restaurants
The information related to the IHG Rewards Premier Credit Card has been collected by Money Crashers and has not been reviewed or provided by the issuer of this card.
The IHG Rewards Club Premier Credit Card also has a nice sign-up bonus: When you spend $2,000 within 3 months, you get 80,000 bonus points.
You can redeem points for hotel stays at select Intercontinental properties, including most Holiday Inn and Holiday Inn Express locations. Redemption minimums vary by property brand and redemption date, but typically start at 10,000 points per night and range up to 60,000 points per night.
Compare the IHG Rewards Club Select Card with other top hotel rewards cards today.
2 Starpoints Per $1 Spent at Starwood & Marriott Properties; 1 Point Per $1 Everywhere Else; 20% Transfer Bonus to Frequent Flyer Programs
The Starwood Preferred Guest Card from American Express earns you 2 Starpoints per $1 spent on eligible purchases at participating Starwood (including Sheraton, Westin, and W) and Marriott properties with no spending limits or restrictions. All other purchases earn an unlimited 1 point per $1 spent, with no spending limits or restrictions. The $95 annual fee is waived during the first year.
Starpoints can be redeemed for free nights and room upgrades at Starwood hotels. You can also transfer Starpoints to participating frequent flyer programs – about 30 in all, covering 150 airlines. If you transfer at least 20,000 points, you get a 5,000 Starpoint bonus (20%). Whether you redeem Starpoints for hotel stays or airfare, there are never any blackout dates.
The Starwood Preferred Guest Card has an excellent welcome offer too: 25,000 Starpoints points when you spend at least $3,000 in purchases within the first 3 months. Free global WiFi access and a lack of foreign transaction fees are nice perks.
Note that there’s a business version of this card: Starwood Preferred Guest Business Card from American Express.
Find out how you can apply for the Starwood Preferred Guest Credit Card from American Express here.
See our American Express Starwood Preferred Guest Card Review for more information. Find out how you can apply for this card here.
7 Hilton Honors Points Per $1 Spent at Hilton Hotels; 5 Points Per $1 Spent on Supermarket, Gas Station & Drugstore Purchases; No Annual Fee
The Hilton Honors Card from American Express earns you 7 Hilton Honors points per $1 spent on hotel stays within the Hilton portfolio; 5 points per $1 spent on supermarket, gas station, and drugstore purchases; and 3 points per $1 spent on everything else. All categories have no spending caps or restrictions, making this a great card for frequent travelers who want to earn points on everyday purchases too. You can redeem points for hotel stays and incidental charges at variable rates and minimums, depending on the hotel property.
This card has some nice fringe benefits. For example, you enjoy Hilton Honors Silver status, which entitles you to a free night on stays of 5 days or longer and automatically boosts your total point earnings by 15% (unlimited), for as long as you remain in good standing. Furthermore, the welcome offer is very solid: 50,000 bonus points for spending $1,000 within 3 months of account opening.
See our American Express Hilton Honors Card Review for more information.
6 Hilton Honors Points Per $1 Spent at Hotels; 3 Points Per $1 Spent at Supermarkets, Drugstores & Gas Stations; No Annual Fee
This card comes with a great sign-up bonus: 75,000 bonus points when you make at least $2,000 in purchases within 3 months.
Points can be redeemed for hotel stays and incidental expenses at variable rates and minimums, usually starting at 5,000 points and rising to 95,000 points. Point values at redemption vary by property. As long as you remain in good standing, you enjoy Hilton Honors Silver Status, which entitles you to a free night on stays of 5 days or longer and automatically boosts your total point earnings by 15%, with no maximums or restrictions.
See our Citi Hilton Honors Visa Signature Card Review for more information.
10 Hilton Honors Points Per $1 Spent at Hilton Hotels; 5 Points Per $1 Spent on Airfare & Car Rentals
This card comes with a great sign-up bonus: When you spend at least $2,500 within 4 months of signing up, you earn 2 weekend nights at select Hilton portfolio hotels and resorts. Also, the Private Pass Program – which includes a host of VIP deals and concierge services – is a great fringe benefit.
See our Citi Hilton Honors Reserve Card Review for more information.
5 Points Per $1 Spent at Choice Hotels, Choice Hotels Gift Cards & Additional Choice Privileges Points Purchases
Powered by Barclaycard, the Choice Privileges Visa Signature Card earns an unlimited 5 Choice Privileges Points per $1 spent on stays at more than 5,500 Choice hotels (including Comfort Inn and Cambra Hotels & Suites) worldwide. It also earns an unlimited 5 points per $1 spent on hotel gift cards and additional purchases of Choice Privileges points. Finally, it earns an unlimited 2 points per $1 spent on all other purchases. The generous signup bonus gives you an extra 32,000 points when you spend at least $1,000 within 3 months of sign-up – good for up to four free nights.
You can redeem your accumulated Choice Privileges points for hotel stays at Choice Hotels, starting at 8,000 points per night and rising to 35,000 points per night, depending on property brand and regular room rate. You can also redeem for point transfers to select frequent flyer programs, including Southwest Airlines Rapid Rewards and American Airlines AAdvantage, usually at a 5-points-to-1-mile ratio.
Find out how you can apply for the Choice Privileges Visa Signature Credit Card here.
Find out how you can apply for this card here.
5 Points Per $1 Spent at Wyndham Hotels; 2 Points Per $1 Spent Elsewhere; Easily Attainable Sign-up Bonus
Powered by Barclaycard, the Wyndham Rewards Visa Signature Card earns an unlimited 5 Wyndham Rewards points per $1 spent at participating Wyndham Hotels, whose brands include Wyndham, Microtel, Ramada, Days Inn, and Super 8. It also earns an unlimited 2 points per $1 spent on all other purchases. Its sign-up bonus is solid: 30,000 bonus points after your first purchase, good for 2 free nights at any Wyndham hotel. There is a $69 annual fee.
You can redeem your accumulated Wyndham Rewards points for free nights at any Wyndham hotel, with no blackout dates. You always need 15,000 points to redeem for a free night, regardless of property or room rate. If you want to combine points and cash, you can redeem with just 3,000 points, though not all hotels permit this redemption method. You can also exchange your Wyndham Rewards points for airline miles at variable ratios.
If you don’t qualify for the Wyndham Rewards Visa Signature Card, consider applying for the Wyndham Rewards Platinum Visa, which has a somewhat less generous rewards scheme and doesn’t come with an annual fee.
10 Best Western Rewards Points Per $1 Spent; Solid Sign-up Bonus
Powered by First Bankcard, the Best Western Rewards Premium Mastercard earns 10 points per $1 spent at more than 4,000 Best Western properties worldwide, with no caps or restrictions. It earns 1 point per $1 spent on all other purchases. You can redeem for free Best Western stays, starting around 8,000 points, and transfer your points to participating frequent flyer programs, usually at a 5-to-1 ratio. There is a $59 annual fee that’s waived during the first year.
This card comes with some great perks, including a sign-up bonus worth 50,000 points (good for at least 2 nights at most Best Western properties), automatic Platinum Elite status, and a 10% discount when you book your room at a special website. It’s also part of a broader card family with a number of other participants, including the Best Western Rewards Mastercard, Best Western Secured Mastercard (a secured credit card), and Best Western Rewards Business Mastercard.
With so many great hotel rewards credit cards out there, it’s hard to pick a favorite. When you throw the attractive sign-up bonuses that so many cards feature into the mix, the category gets even more exciting.
However, that doesn’t mean it’s a good idea to throw caution to the wind and apply for new cards as fast as your fingers can type. Opening multiple credit card accounts within short time-frames can damage your credit score, sometimes with dramatic consequences. If you’re not careful, you could find yourself applying for a secured credit card in an effort to rebuild your credit. Plus, if you’re not paying off your entire statement balance each month, the interest you end up paying will likely exceed the value of any rewards you earn.
What is your favorite hotel credit card?
Editorial Note: The editorial content on this page is not provided by any bank, credit card issuer, airline, or hotel chain, and has not been reviewed, approved, or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities. Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of the bank, credit card issuer, airline, or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved, or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.
Brian Martucci writes about frugal living, entrepreneurship, and innovative ideas. When he’s not interviewing small business owners or investigating time- and money-saving strategies for Money Crashers readers, he’s probably out exploring a new trail or sampling a novel cuisine. Find him on Twitter @Brian_Martucci.
Comments Disclosure: The below responses are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser’s responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.
15 Best Hotel Rewards Credit Cards – Reviews & Comparison
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