Best Credit Cards for Hotels: Your Ultimate, Year-Round Guide

Estimated reading time: 7 minutes

Find the best credit cards for hotels with our comprehensive guide. Compare and select the top options to maximize your hotel rewards and enjoy exclusive benefits.

These credit cards could help improve your next hotel experience. Image credit: MStudioImages/iStock
These credit cards could help improve your next hotel experience. Image credit: MStudioImages/iStock

If you’re someone who frequently stays loyal to a specific hotel chain, getting a cobranded hotel credit card can be a no-brainer. These credit cards, branded with the name of a hotel company, offer enticing perks and bonus rewards that are exclusive to their affiliated hotels. These benefits include exciting features like complimentary upgrades, free nights, and welcome bonuses, all designed to enhance your hotel experience.

However, it’s important to note that hotel credit cards aren’t suitable for everyone. If you don’t have a strong preference for a particular hotel brand, it might be better to go for a flexible travel credit card that allows you to transfer points to multiple hotel loyalty programs or book any type of travel you desire.

In this guide, we’ve gathered a list of the best credit cards for hotels that offer a wide range of advantages. From complimentary upgrades and free nights to welcome bonuses and various other perks, these cards can truly enhance your hotel experience.

Capital One Venture Rewards — Best Credit Card for Booking a Hotel

The Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card seamlessly combines fixed-value redemption options with a wide selection of nearly 20 airline and hotel transfer partners. With its reasonable annual fee and excellent rewards for everyday purchases, this credit card is a valuable asset once you have been approved for it.

This card consistently earns miles at a reliable rate and offers the flexibility to redeem them for straightforward, fixed-rate options, as well as more intricate rewards by transferring your miles to various hotel and airline partners. Overall, the Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card is a worthwhile choice that deserves a place in your wallet.

At a GlanceProsCons

– Annual fee: $95

– Regular APR: 20.99%-28.99% variable APR

– Intro offer: 75,000 miles once you spend $4,000 on purchases within 3 months from account opening, equal to $750 in travel.
– Simple earning system.

– Various transfer partners.

– Flexible options for redeeming rewards.
– Some transfer partners have lower conversion ratios.

– Restricted bonus categories.

– No transfer partner among U.S. airlines.

Chase Sapphire Preferred Card – Best for Beginners

The Chase Sapphire Preferred is highly recommended as an excellent entry point into the realm of travel rewards. If you’re looking to venture beyond cash-back or fixed-value travel rewards credit cards, this card offers an ideal starting point.

Recently, the card underwent enhancements to its earning rates, allowing cardmembers to accumulate rewards at an even faster pace. With its ability to earn highly valuable points and its flexibility in catering to the travel rewards preferences of individuals with varying levels of points and miles expertise, it presents an attractive option. Furthermore, the relatively affordable annual fee makes it accessible to a wide range of potential cardmembers.

At a GlanceProsCons
– Annual fee: $95  

– Regular APR: 21.24%–28.24% variable APR  
– Intro offer: 60,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening.

– Transfer points to travel partners at a 1:1 rate, maximizing their value.
– A wide range of travel and shopping protections.  

– Generous rewards on various categories of spending.
– No intro APR offer.  

– No special perks like free anniversary nights.  

Hilton Honors American Express Aspire— Best Premium Hotel Card

The Hilton Honors Aspire Card from American Express, Hilton’s flagship card, does come with a higher annual fee. However, its substantial rewards, particularly for travel and dining, along with its generous perks, make it a highly recommended choice for dedicated Hilton enthusiasts.

With exceptional earning rates, automatic elite status, and an abundance of value-added benefits, this card stands out as one of the top hotel credit cards available. It proves to be an ideal match for frequent Hilton guests who can fully utilize the extensive suite of benefits that accompany the complimentary Diamond status, leading to significant cost savings amounting to hundreds or even thousands of dollars annually.

At a GlanceProsCons
– Annual fee: $450

– Regular APR: 20.74% to 29.74% variable APR
– Intro offer: 150,000 Hilton Honors Bonus Points after you use your new Card to make $4,000 in eligible purchases within the first 3 months of Card Membership.
– Complimentary Priority Pass.
– Annual weekend night reward.

– Instant Hilton Diamond status, offering a comprehensive range of valuable benefits.  

– High annual fee, without a first-year waiver.  

– High regular APR and penalty APR.  

– No intro APR offer.  
The Hilton Honors Ascend comes with a number of hotel perks. Image credit: valentinrussanov/iStock
Hilton Honors American Express Aspire. Image credit: valentinrussanov/iStock

World of Hyatt — Best Credit Card for Free Hotel Nights

The World of Hyatt Credit Card stands out as one of the premier hotel cards available, thanks to its highly rewarding loyalty program and generous card perks. Cardmembers can earn 4x points on all their Hyatt purchases, and by maintaining the card, they receive an annual Category 1-4 free-night award. Furthermore, an additional free-night award is granted when spending $15,000 within a calendar year. It’s worth noting that Hyatt points hold exceptional value, with free nights starting at just 5,000 points.

Considering the comprehensive benefits offered, even occasional travelers will find the card’s $95 annual fee well worth the investment. Additionally, being a Visa card, it comes with the advantage of zero foreign transaction fees, making it convenient to use anywhere in the world.

At a GlanceProsCons
– Annual fee: $95  

– Regular APR: 21.24%-28.24% variable APR
– Intro offer: Earn 30,000 Bonus Points after you spend $3,000 on purchases in your first 3 months from account opening.   

– Annual elite night credit.  
– Multiple categories for earning bonus rewards.
– Annual free night certificate on cardmember’s anniversary.  
– Limited selection of properties for redemption.  

– No significant redemption options beyond Hyatt properties.  

– No intro APR offer.  

IHG Rewards Club Premier Card — Best Credit Card with Room Upgrade

If you frequently stay at InterContinental Hotel Group (IHG) brands, the IHG Rewards Premier Credit Card can provide excellent value, primarily due to its annual fee being justified by the free anniversary night benefit. Additionally, as long as you hold the card, you’ll enjoy Platinum Elite status.

The IHG Rewards Premier Credit Card is highly recommended for frequent travelers who spend a significant amount on IHG properties. The complimentary Platinum status noticeably enhances the rewards earned on IHG purchases, and the free night and other perks make the annual fee well worthwhile. However, if you’re not particularly loyal to IHG, it may be more beneficial to explore alternative options.

At a GlanceProsCons
– Annual fee: $99  

– Regular APR: 20.99%-27.99% variable APR  

– Intro offer: 140,000 Bonus Points after spending $3,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening.  
– Free night award on the cardmember’s anniversary.
– Automatic access to elite status.  

– Exclusive benefits and privileges associated with luxury offerings.

– Limited earning potential for everyday and non-category hotel purchases.  

– Low overall point value in relation to other options.  

– Limited redemption options outside of IHG properties, which may not be as valuable.  

The Platinum Card from American Express: Best Premium Card for Hotels

The Platinum Card from American Express has long been recognized as the pioneer of premium rewards cards in the market. Its sleek design and substantial metal weight added a touch of prestige to cardmembers. As one of the leading premium travel rewards cards, The Platinum Card from American Express offers numerous benefits. Cardmembers can earn valuable Membership Rewards points, enjoy annual statement credits of up to $1,500 (provided they can fully utilize them), and gain access to an extensive network of airport lounges worldwide.

In recent years, the Amex Platinum has undergone significant changes, accompanied by a steep annual fee of $695, which is among the highest in the market. Nonetheless, it remains one of the top travel credit cards available. However, it’s important to note that while this card is highly regarded, it may not suit every traveler’s needs. If access to airport lounges, hotel elite status, and annual statement credits hold significant importance for you, the benefits offered by this card make the higher annual fee worthwhile.

At a GlanceProsCons
– Annual fee: $695

– Regular APR: 20.99% to 28.99% variable APR on eligible charges.

– Intro offer: 80,000 Membership Rewards Points after you spend $6,000 on purchases on the Card in your first 6 months of Card Membership.

– Access to various airport lounges.  

– Luxury travel benefits and elite status with both Hilton and Marriott.  

– Offers high rewards on flights and hotels when booked through American Express Travel.  
– High annual fee, which may not be suitable for everyone.  

– Credit redemption can be complicated and may require additional effort to navigate the process.

Final Thoughts: Choosing the Best Credit Cards for Hotels

All the credit cards mentioned in this guide are undoubtedly among the best credit cards for hotels. However, when it comes to choosing the right credit card for hotels, it’s important to consider a few key factors. Start by identifying your preferred hotel brands and chains to narrow down your options. Next, assess your spending habits and prioritize cards that offer bonus rewards or higher earning rates on hotel bookings. Take into account the annual fees and evaluate whether the benefits and rewards outweigh the cost. Consider welcome bonuses, redemption options, and additional perks like complimentary upgrades and elite status. Reading customer reviews and comparing terms and conditions can provide valuable insights. If needed, seek advice from financial experts to make an informed decision and find the credit card that best suits your hotel preferences and maximizes your rewards.

But that’s not all! If you’re interested in discovering more about credit cards, we have articles featuring the best credit cards for various purposes, such as travel insurance, booking a flight, and business travel. Explore our comprehensive resources to find the perfect credit card that suits your specific needs and enhances your overall travel experience.