If you’re an avid traveller, a hotel credit card might be a great option. Through everyday and travel spending, you can earn rewards such as free hotel stays, upgraded hotel accommodations and more. While reading through this guide, consider what kind of traveller you are and whether a hotel credit card would be beneficial or if a travel rewards card might be more suitable. Determine what your spending habits look like and whether you’d take advantage of the opportunities a hotel credit card presents.
How we chose the best hotel cards
We’ve chosen the cards on this page based on the hotel co-branded credit cards available in Canada. We take a look at rewards point earn rates, hotel specific perks, annual fees, introductory offers and additional card benefits.
No single hotel card will be the best choice for everyone, so compare your options before picking your new card.
Experience discounts at a variety of luxurious hotel chains around the world with a Marriott Bonvoy American Express Card.
Even though this card has an annual fee of $120, the rewards can quickly outpace the cost – but only if you frequent Marriott Bonvoy™ hotels and their partners. The signup bonus alone is worth more than the annual fee of the card. Earn 5 points per $1 spent at participating Marriott properties and 2 points on all other spending. Terms apply
Signup bonus. Earn 5 points per $1 spent at participating Marriott properties and 2 points on all other spending. Terms apply
Free additional cards. Although this card has an annual fee, you can get up to 9 additional cards for $0.
Travel insurance. Enjoy peace of mind with up to $500,000 Travel Accident Insurance. Plus, get coverage for travel accidents; lost, stolen or damaged baggage; car rental theft and damage; flight delays and hotel/motel burglaries.
Travel perks. Upgrade your Marriot Bonvoy membership to Silver Elite status for free, and get automatically upgraded to Gold Elite status when you make at least $30,000.00 in purchases on your card each year. Plus, enjoy an Annual Free Night Award after the anniversary of your reset date.
Car rental benefits. Get complimentary Car Rental Theft and Damage Insurance (MSRP of up to $85,000). Terms apply.
Referral award. Refer a friend, and you could earn a referral bonus of 10,000 points (subject to application approval).
Annual fee. The annual fee for this card is $120.
Missed payments. Any missed payments will incur a penalty interest rate of 23.99% - 26.99% Variable.
Foreign transaction fees. When you spend overseas, you’ll face a foreign transaction fee of 2.5%.
If you travel frequently and are on the lookout for stylish and comfortable accommodations, the Marriott Bonvoy Business American Express Card could be the right card for you. Earn 5 points per $1 spent at participating Marriott properties, 3 points on gas, dining and travel and 2 points on all other spending. Terms apply Receive 50,000 Marriott Bonvoy™ points when you charge $1,500 in the first 3 months of card membership. Terms apply
Earn points that can be used toward discounted or free stays at dozens of luxury hotel brands worldwide and flights with some of the world’s leading airlines. Plus, enjoy travel insurance coverage, Employee Card Misuse Protection, Purchase Protection and other complimentary benefits.
Signup bonus. Receive 50,000 Marriott Bonvoy™ points when you charge $1,500 in the first 3 months of card membership. Terms apply
Regular credit card. Unlike most Amex cards, this is a regular credit card. So, you won’t have to pay your balance off every month to avoid a high, penalty interest rate (however, a regular purchase rate of 19.99% will apply).
Earn rewards points. Earn 5 points per $1 spent at participating Marriott properties, 3 points on gas, dining and travel and 2 points on all other spending. Terms apply
Travel perks. Each year on your account anniversary, receive one free night each year at a participating Marriot Bonvoy property. Redeem points for free nights at thousands of hotels and resorts around the world or for flights with leading airlines. Plus, get fast-tracked to elite status in the Marriot Bonvoy program when you make purchases with this card.
Travel insurance coverage. Receive up to $500,000 Travel Accident Insurance, Car Rental Theft and Damage Insurance, Hotel/Motel Burglary Insurance, Flight Delay, Lost and Stolen Baggage and Baggage Delay Insurance. Travel Emergency Assistance is also provided through round the clock customer service.
Additional insurance benefits. This card comes with Employee Card Misuse Protection, which covers you if employees misuse their employee cards for unauthorized charges. Get coverage for accidental physical damage and theft of items charged to your card, and extend the original manufacturer's warranty on eligible items for up to one additional year. Terms and conditions apply. Get complimentary Car Rental Theft and Damage Insurance (MSRP of up to $85,000). Terms apply.
Business tools. Take advantage of Expense Management Reports that make it simpler to track expenses and prepare your taxes. Additionally, the annual fee for the primary card and supplemental cards may be tax deductible for your business (see a tax professional for more information).
Annual fee. This card has an annual fee of $150.
Supplementary card fees. Each additional card will cost $50 annually.
Foreign currency conversion fee. Pay 2.5% for transactions conducted in a foreign currency.
Best for Best Western hotels: MBNA Best Western Rewards Mastercard
If you frequently stay at Best Western hotels, then the MBNA Best Western Rewards Mastercard might be right for you. Enjoy a $0 annual fee, a variety of travel benefits, a compelling (optional) balance transfer offer and a special bonus for signing up. Earn 20,000 Best Western Rewards points when you make your first eligible purchase (enough for one night’s stay). This offer is available for new cardholders only.
The points don’t stop just because the bonus period ends. Earn 5 Best Western Rewards points per dollar spent at eligible Best Western properties, and get 1 Best Western Rewards point for every dollar spent elsewhere. There is no limit to the amount you can earn. Points can be redeemed for hotel stays, dining, gift cards and more.
No annual fees. This credit card has a $0 annual fee.
Signup bonus. Earn 20,000 Best Western Rewards points when you make your first eligible purchase (enough for one night’s stay). This offer is available for new cardholders only.
Balance transfer offer. Enjoy a 1.99% balance transfer interest rate for 10 months on amounts transferred from non-MBNA and non-TD credit cards. Afterwards, an ongoing balance transfer rate of 22.99% will apply. Unless otherwise stated, a fee of 1% or $7.50 (whichever is greater) will apply to all balance transfers.
Points per dollar spent. Earn 5 Best Western Rewards points per dollar spent at eligible Best Western properties, and get 1 Best Western Rewards point for every dollar spent elsewhere. There is no limit to the amount you can earn. Points can be redeemed for hotel stays, dining, gift cards and more.
Add authorized users. Add up to 9 authorized users, and enjoy a $0 annual fee for each additional user.
Travel benefits. Get complimentary support services including Emergency Card Replacement, Lost Document and Ticket Replacement, Lost Luggage Assistance, Pre-trip Information and Legal Assistance. (You will be responsible for any charges incurred from these services, for example, government ID replacement fees). Plus, get fast-tracked to Gold Elite status after making your first eligible purchase.
Car rental perks. Charge the full cost of a qualifying Avis or Budget rental vehicle to your card, and get a discount of at least 10% off the base rate within Canada and the US or a discount of at least 5% off the base rate internationally. Plus, get complimentary Car Rental Vehicle Collision Damage Waiver benefits.
Protection on your purchases. Extends the written warranties on eligible new items by up to 1 additional year with a free Extended Warranty Benefit. Plus, enjoy free Purchase Assurance coverage, which insures eligible items charged to your card for up to 90 days from the date of purchase. Terms and conditions apply.
Foreign transaction fees. When you spend overseas, you’ll face a foreign transaction fee of 2.5%.
Limited travel insurance benefits. This card does not come with Emergency Travel Medical Insurance, Flight Delay Insurance, Lost or Delayed Baggage Insurance and other types of coverage offered with many other travel rewards credit cards on the market.
Cash advance fees. Besides the standard interest rate of 22.99%, you’ll have to pay a fee of 1% or $7.50 (whichever is greater) on cash advances.
What are hotel credit cards?
Hotel credit cards work like regular credit cards, except they come with hotel related perks. You can typically book free nights in hotels around the world, and they often reward you with exclusive cardholder perks like loyalty program status upgrades, free in-room Internet, late checkout, room service and other perks to enhance your travels. When looking for a hotel credit card, keep these criteria in mind to get the biggest bang for your buck:
Introductory signup bonuses and your ability to meet the initial spending requirements.
Point rewards for different spending categories — and how they fit with your day-to-day spending habits.
Hotel add-ons that will make your hotel stays more enjoyable.
Annual and foreign transaction fees, and whether your card will produce enough value for you to justify paying those fees.
Factors to consider
Annual fees. While assessing the potential value of your hotel credit card, consider the card’s annual fee.
Foreign transaction fees. Since a hotel card is typically associated with avid travellers, you’ll want to watch out for foreign transaction fees – especially if you plan on travelling overseas a lot.
Point flexibility. Can you transfer your points to other rewards programs? Are there blackout dates? Do your points expire? These are all questions you’ll want to ask before you apply for your card.
Hotel perks. You’ll want to consider what you can redeem your points for, whether it’s a free nights’ stay at a hotel or if you can choose between hotel upgrades, flights, merchandise and more.
Hotel chain in question. If you enjoy staying at the same hotel chain throughout your travels, a hotel credit card could be a good option. If you tend to stay at a variety of chains, you might be better off with a travel rewards credit card.
Interest rate. If you tend to carry a balance on your credit card, you’ll want to make sure you’re getting a competitive APR.
Other features. Consider the other features you’ll get from your hotel credit card. Does it offer travel insurance, airport lounge access, shopping coverage and other perks?
Hotel credit card vs. travel rewards credit card
While hotel credit cards can be handy, travel rewards cards tend to offer more flexibility. Ask yourself these questions to help you decide which type of credit card is right for you:
Are you a frequent traveller who prefers to stay in one hotel chain throughout all of your travels or do you tend to focus more on other aspects of your travels such as flight upgrades and dining?
Do you prefer free hotel night stays or free flights?
What are your spending habits like?
Will you be using your card overseas often? If so, a card with no foreign transaction fees might be more suitable.
After asking yourself these questions and assessing your spending habits, you’ll be much better prepared to decide on the right type of card for your needs.
Pros and cons
It’s a good idea to weigh the positives and negatives of hotel credit cards before applying for one. Here is a list of pros and cons of hotel credit cards:
High point accumulation for chain-specific hotels. If you find yourself staying at the same hotel chain often, consider getting a card for it if you can — you’ll gain plenty of points whenever you stay at the chain.
Great if you can find a card for your favourite hotel chain. Since you’ve only got a couple of card options, a hotel credit card might be a great option if you can find one for your favourite hotel chain.
Exclusive hotel perks. Some cards give you attractive perks like automatic status upgrades for loyalty programs, free in-room Internet, room service and late check-out.
May not be worth it if you don’t travel often. Hotel credit cards are optimal for those who travel often, especially because many of them offer bonus points for spending on travel-related expenses. If you don’t travel much, you may want to pass on a hotel credit card – there are better credit cards out there that will complement your lifestyle.
Choosing a chain-specific card may leave you feeling restricted. A chain-specific card offers generous points when you spend with the specified hotel chain. However, you may feel you’re leaving many points on the table if you stay with other hotels.
Most cards come with foreign transaction fees. You’ll likely have to pay a foreign transaction fee of 2.5% on every purchase when you use your hotel credit card overseas. If you use your card overseas often, these fees can add up quickly and you’d likely be better off with a no foreign transaction fee credit card.
Some cards come with annual fees. You may have to pay an annual fee for your hotel credit card. This fee can slightly decrease the overall value of your card, so be sure to consider its impact in relation to the perks on offer.
You can apply for a credit card by clicking the green Go to Site button in our comparison table above to securely begin your online application with the provider. Once you submit your application, you should receive a decision within a minute or sometimes you’ll have to wait a few days. Before applying for a card, make sure you meet the eligibility requirements and have the necessary information on hand to speed up the application process.
While requirements can vary between providers, you will usually need to:
Be at least the age of majority in your province/territory (either 18 or 19 years old).
Be a Canadian citizen or a permanent resident.
Meet any minimum income requirements.
You may need to have a good credit score of 650 or higher.
Generally, you should have the following information on hand:
Valid ID. A copy of your drivers license or your passport.
Personal details. Your full name, address, phone number, email, birth date and Social Insurance Number (SIN).
Financial details. Details of your employment including your employer’s name, job title and total annual income.
Compare hotel credit cards
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If you’ve decided that a hotel credit card is more valuable to you than a travel rewards credit card, you’ve got a couple of options to choose from that serve different popular hotel chains across Canada and around the world. Before applying for a hotel credit card, carefully consider how often you visit the hotel chain in question and determine if you’ll be able to receive enough value from your credit card.
Point values differ from provider to provider so the number of points you’ll need to book a free night will vary depending on the card you have. Your credit card provider will likely provide a calculator you can use to find the correct conversion rates.
The impact of foreign transaction fees will depend on your spending habits. If you tend not to travel out of the country, the fees may not affect the overall value of your card much. However, if you intend on spending with the card internationally, foreign transaction fees usually sit around 2.5% of the transaction amount in Canadian dollars. This fee will be added on to your purchase amount and can add up quickly if you use your card a lot overseas.
Many cards have introductory bonuses that reward you with a number of points for spending a certain amount within a specified time period. Most cardholders should definitely take advantage of these bonuses, as acquiring the points is often enough to book a free hotel night or two within the first few months. You can also accumulate points through regular spending on your card. Some cards give multiple points per dollar spent in certain categories – like travel, dining, etc. – while others give multiple points per dollar spent on every type of purchase.
Depending on the provider, points may have a different value when compared to other hotel points programs. You’ll want to understand the value of the points you’re earning in order to compare different hotel rewards programs.
Emma Balmforth is a Producer at Finder. She is passionate about cryptocurrency, credit cards and loans, and enjoys helping people understand the often confusing world of finance. Emma has a degree in business and psychology from the University of Waterloo. She wants to help people make financial decisions that will benefit them now and in the future.
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