The best credit cards for booking a hotel

These credit cards offer hotel perks you never knew you needed.

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

Staying in a great hotel can lift your vacation or your business travel to a new level. With one of these credit cards best suited for hotel bookings, you can take advantage of complimentary upgrades, free nights, welcome bonuses, and many more perks. Take a look at some of the top hotel credit card deals available.

Capital One Venture Rewards — best credit card for booking a hotel

There are a couple of ways to crunch the numbers when trying to determine the best travel credit card,especially when it comes to hotel bookings. For example, you could look at all the available rewards and calculate the value of hotel points earned. By this measurement, Hyatt wins the prize, since each of its points is worth more than twice as much as the points of its competitors. (See below for info on the World of Hyatt credit card).

If you’re looking for a credit card that doesn’t tie you down to one hotel chain, though, the top choice is the Capital One Venture Rewards credit card, which returns 10 to 14 percent of the amount you spend in rewards, higher than any other credit card, for an annual fee of 95 USD. While you have to book your stays via to earn, you earn 10 miles per USD on those bookings, and you can book any listed hotel. In addition, for every night you book on, you get one free night throughout 2019. Now you can really see the rewards start to add up.

Hilton Honors Ascend — best credit card for hotel rewards

The Hilton Honors Ascend credit card brings together the best of a hotel credit card and an American Express card, which is not surprising since AmEx issues the card. If you’re a frequent Hilton guest, this card is worth paying attention to.

With the Ascend card, you earn a generous 12 points for every dollar you spend at a Hilton property. When you swipe your card at a restaurant, gas station or supermarket, you earn six points, with three points coming your way everywhere else.

You can book rooms at hotels across the entire family of Hiltons, from the Hilton Garden Inn to the Waldorf Astoria, using accrued points. Rewards start at a measly 5,000 points. Even better: there are no blackout dates for your rewards bookings. If you prefer, you can transfer your points to airline frequent flyer programs.

Your welcome bonus is also a hearty one with this card. Spend 2000 USD over three months to earn 75,000 points (up to 15 free nights). If you spend another 1000 USD by the end of your first six months with the card, you get another 25,000 points.

The perks keep coming with this card. You’ll enjoy Hilton Honors Gold status, plus Private Pass membership that opens the door to more than 1000 private airport lounges. In addition, you’re entitled to free room upgrades when available, free Wi-Fi, and American Express perks including baggage protection and roadside assistance. The cost of the card is 95 USD per year.

The Hilton Honors Ascend comes with a number of hotel perks. Image credit: valentinrussanov/iStock
The Hilton Honors Ascend comes with a number of hotel perks. Image credit: valentinrussanov/iStock

World of Hyatt — best credit card for free hotel nights

While the World of Hyatt credit card offers a free hotel night, similar to other “free night” hotel cards, it also features the option to earn a second free night as well as plenty of point-earning opportunities and bonuses.

You earn the free night 10 weeks after each anniversary with the card, and it’s good for a full year at hotels within the Hyatt family.

What about that second night? All you have to do is spend 15,000 USD on the card in a year, and that second free night will be yours.

In addition, you get a welcome bonus of 25,000 points after spending 3000 USD within your first three months, and a second 25,000 points with total expenditures of 6,000 USD over your first six months. That 50,000 point bonus could get you up to 10 free nights.

Every dollar you spend at Hyatt properties earns you up to nine points. In addition, you can earn two bonus points for every dollar you spend on local transportation, restaurants, many airline tickets, and gym memberships.

You only need to accrue 5000 points to earn your first free hotel night, and the World of Hyatt card has an annual fee of 95 USD per year.

Club Carlson — best hotel credit card with no fees

Many hotel credit cards carry pretty significant annual fees. While they often pay for themselves in the savings and perks you get, it’s still a treat to get all those benefits without an annual fee. That’s part of what makes the Club Carlson credit card, which is tied to the Radisson Hotel Group, so attractive.

This card may boast no annual fee, but it doesn’t stint on benefits. A welcome bonus of 30,000 points awaits you with expenditures of just 1000 USD in your first 90 days with the card. And you’ll earn three points per dollar every time you swipe the card at a Radisson hotel (plus a standard one point per dollar every other time you use it).

You can also earn up to three free nights per year — one night per every 10,000 USD you spend, as long as you renew the card at the end of the year. And the card comes with the standard benefits associated with Visa cards, including travel and emergency services and a rental car collision damage waiver.

The triple points (and the free nights) are good at any hotel in the Radisson Family.

IHG Rewards Club Premier Card — best credit card with room upgrade

Upgrade your next hotel experience. Image credit: Aleksandar Nakic
Upgrade your next hotel experience. Image credit: Aleksandar Nakic

Here’s the bottom line when you have a hotel credit card: Always ask for the upgrade. If there’s no availability, it won’t happen — but hotels have an incentive to make their cardholders happy.

Among the many credit cards offered by hotels is the IHG Rewards Club Premier card, which opens doors at Intercontinental, Holiday Inn, Crowne Plaza, and related hotels. Holding this card from Chase confers Platinum Elite status, which gives you plenty of perks, including the ability for a room upgrade. In addition, you can expect to receive free internet access, priority check-in, a free night’s stay each year, plus points rebates when you redeem points.

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