Hotel credit cards 2020

Thinking about applying for a hotel credit card? You've got a few choices.

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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.

Best for Marriott hotels: Marriott Bonvoy American Express Card

Marriott Bonvoy American Express Card

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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

Best for small businesses: Marriott Bonvoy Business American Express Card

Marriott Bonvoy Business American Express Card

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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.

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.

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:

Pros

  • 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.

Cons

  • 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.
  • A travel rewards card may be better suited. You may find that some travel rewards credit cards offer more perks and benefits for your adventurous lifestyle when compared to a hotel credit card. Compare all of your card options before settling on one.
  • 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.

How to apply for a hotel credit card

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.

Eligibility requirements

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.

Required documents

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

Name Product Purchase Interest Rate Cash Advance Rate Annual Fee Minimum Income Benefits with this card Description
Marriott Bonvoy American Express Card
19.99%
22.99%
$120
N/A
Receive 5 Marriott Bonvoy™ points per dollar spent on eligible purchases at participating Marriott Bonvoy™ properties and 2 points on all other spend. Terms apply
Receive 50,000 bonus Marriott Bonvoy™ points when you charge $1,500 in the first three months of card membership. Terms apply
Marriott Bonvoy Business American Express Card
19.99%
22.99%
$150
N/A
Earn 5 Marriott Bonvoy™ points per dollar spent at participating Marriott Bonvoy™ properties, 3 points on eligible gas, dining and travel and 2 points on all other spend. Terms apply
Receive 50,000 Marriott Bonvoy™ points when you charge $1,500 in the first 3 months of card membership. Terms apply
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*The products compared on this page are chosen from a range of offers available to us and are not representative of all the products available in the market. There is no perfect order or perfect ranking system for the products we list on our Site, so we provide you with the functionality to self-select, re-order and compare products. The initial display order is influenced by a range of factors including conversion rates, product costs and commercial arrangements, so please don't interpret the listing order as an endorsement or recommendation from us. We're happy to provide you with the tools you need to make better decisions, but we'd like you to make your own decisions and compare and assess products based on your own preferences, circumstances and needs.

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Bottom line

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.

Compare travel credit cards here

Frequently asked questions

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