Best hotel credit cards of 2020

Enjoy travel perks, free nights and more.

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Whether you’re a die-hard loyalist to a particular hotel chain or you stay wherever it’s most convenient, there’s a hotel credit card for you.

Hotel credit cards can help you earn points that can be redeemed for free nights at the hotel of your choice, or they can even propel you through the ranks of a hotel’s elite program. This guide will help break down some of the best hotel credit cards out there so you can choose one that’s right for you.

Best hotel credit cards

Here are our picks for the top hotel credit cards in the following categories.

Best hotel card with no annual fee
Hilton Honors American Express Card

670
Min. credit score
$0
Annual fee
75,000
Points welcome offer
Up to 7x
Points
Among the hotel cards with no annual fee, the Hilton Honors American Express Card card pulls ahead thanks to its point-earning potential.

Pros
  • Get a sizable 75,000-point welcome offer after you spend $1,000 in eligible purchases during your first 3 months of account opening.
  • Earn 7x points at eligible Hilton hotels and resorts. Earn 5x points at US restaurants, US supermarkets and US gas stations, and 3x points on everything else.
  • Get a complimentary upgrade to Hilton Honors Silver.
Cons
  • As an Amex card, it's not as widely accepted overseas
Annual fee $0
Purchase APR 15.74% to 24.74% variable
Foreign transaction fee None
Welcome offer 75,000 points after spending $1,000 in the first 3 months
Rewards 7x points on Hilton Honors purchases, 5x at US restaurants, US supermarkets and US gas stations, 3x on all other purchases

Compare more hotel credit cards with no annual fee

Best hotel credit card for transfering points to hotels
Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant™ American Express® Card

740
Min. credit score
$450
Annual fee
100,000
Points welcome offer
Up to 6x
Points
If you're looking for a dedicated hotel credit card with point transfer flexibility, the Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant™ American Express® Card fits the bill nicely. Plus, this luxury card offers an array of hotel perks.

Pros
  • Get a 100,000-point welcome offer after you spend $5,000 in purchases within your first 3 months of account opening. This is worth at least one free night.
  • Earn 6x points on eligible Marriott purchases, 3x points at US restaurants and flights booked directly with airlines, and 2x points on everything else.
  • Get strong hotel perks, including a Marriott credit.
Cons
  • Get a hefty $450 annual fee.
  • Get a potentially higher than average purchase APR, up to 24.74% variable.
Annual fee $450
Purchase APR 15.74% to 24.74% variable
Foreign transaction fee None
Welcome offer 100,000 points after spending $5,000 in the first 3 months
Rewards 6x points at Marriott Bonvoy hotels, 3x at US restaurants and on flights booked directly with airlines and 2x for all other purchases
Please note: All information about Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant™ American Express® Card has been collected independently by Finder and this card is no longer available through this site.

Compare other Chase hotel credit cards

Best hotel credit card for free nights
IHG® Rewards Club Premier Credit Card

670
Min. credit score
$89
Annual fee
140,000
Points welcome offer
Up to 25x
Points
Few cards can match the free nights offered by the IHG® Rewards Club Premier Credit Card. Best of all, the card's free nights are not restricted to a welcome offer.

Pros
  • Signup bonus. Earn 140,000 bonus points once you spend $3,000 in your first 3 months of account opening. Most credit cards that offer such generous signup bonuses usually require a higher spend of around $4,000 in the first three months.
  • Earn points. Earn 25x points on IHG stays, 2x points at gas stations, grocery stores and restaurants and 1x points on everything else you buy.
  • Fourth reward night free. Redeem your points for four or more reward nights and get an additional reward night.
Cons
  • Annual fee. To use the card and its perks, you'll pay $89 each year.
Annual fee $89
Purchase APR 17.49% to 24.49% variable
Foreign transaction fee None
Welcome offer 140,000 points after spending $3,000 in the first 3 months
Rewards 25x points at IHG hotels, 2x on gas, groceries and dining and 1x on all other purchases

Compare other travel credit cards

Best for airport lounge access without a high annual fee
Hilton Honors American Express Surpass® Card

670
Min. credit score
$95
Annual fee
125,000
Points welcome offer
Up to 12x
Points
The Surpass card is unique in offering limited access to Priority Pass lounges despite its status as a hotel card. Plus, the card's earning potential is solid.

Pros
  • Earn 12x Hilton Honors Bonus Points for each dollar of eligible purchases charged on your card directly with a hotel or resort within the Hilton Portfolio.
  • Earn 6x Hilton Honors Bonus Points for each dollar of eligible purchases on your card at US restaurants, US supermarkets and US gas stations.
  • Earn 3x Hilton Honors Bonus Points for all other eligible purchases on your card.
Cons
  • Pay a $95 annual fee to use this card.
  • Use this card in limited places as it's not as widely accepted overseas.
Annual fee $95
Purchase APR 15.74% to 24.74% variable
Foreign transaction fee None
Welcome offer 125,000 points after spending $2,000 in the first 3 months
Rewards 12x points on Hilton Portfolio spending, 6x at US restaurants, US supermarkets and US gas stations, 3x on all other purchases

Best for travel credits
Chase Sapphire Reserve®

740
Min. credit score
$550
Annual fee
50,000
Points welcome offer
Up to 10x
Points
When it comes to travel credits, few cards can match the sheer value offered by the Chase Sapphire Reserve® credits. Other cards may offer less, or place greater restrictions on how you use your credit.

Pros
  • Signup bonus. Earn 50,000 bonus points when you spend $4,000 in your first 3 months of card membership. This is worth $750 if you redeem through the Chase Ultimate Rewards travel portal.
  • Earn rewards points. Earn 3x points on travel and dining at restaurants worldwide and 1x points on all other purchases. The 3x points can be worth 4.5% back if redeemed on travel purchases through the Chase Ultimate Rewards. You also earn 10x points on Lyft purchases until March 2022. This can be worth up to 15% back in travel purchases via the Chase Ultimate Rewards portal.
  • Annual travel credit. Get $300 in statement credit as reimbursement for your travel purchases every year on your card account anniversary.
Cons
  • Annual fee. Awesome perks come with a high annual fee. You'll pay $550 annual fee for the card.
Annual fee $550
Purchase APR 18.49% to 25.49% variable
Foreign transaction fee None
Welcome offer 50,000 points after spending $4,000 in the first 3 months
Rewards 10x points on Lyft rides, 3x points on dining and travel after earning your $300 travel credit and 1x points on all other purchases

Methodology

We looked at a variety of factors consumers might weigh when selecting a hotel card, including hotel brand, welcome offer value, bonus point earning rates, additional travel perks, annual fee, redemption options and other hotel or travel concerns. We chose the credit cards that stood out among the rest in a given category or fulfilled a specific niche.

What’s changed in 2020

Our best hotel cards for 2020 remained relatively the same this year. The biggest addition is the Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant™ American Express® Card, which combined pure hotel earning value with the ability to transfer points.

  • Why trust us? The Finder credit card crew spends hundreds of hours each week reviewing and writing about the latest credit card news and guidance. That research extends to every type of credit card available, from reward cards to airline cards to hotel cards. With so many travel reward cards to choose from, we know that consumers want help cutting through the chaff and finding the right card for them. This is our primary goal at Finder and one we take seriously: we follow strict editorial guidelines that keep our content unbiased, accurate and positioned to help our readers as best as possible.

Compare hotel cards by bank or hotel program

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Compare hotel credit cards

Name Product Welcome offer Rewards Annual fee Filter values
Hilton Honors American Express Card
75,000 points after spending $1,000 in the first 3 months
7x points on Hilton Honors purchases, 5x at US restaurants, US supermarkets and US gas stations, 3x on all other purchases
$0
Earn 75,000 Hilton Honors Bonus Points after you spend $1,000 in purchases on the card within your first 3 months of card membership. Rates & fees
CardMatch™ from creditcards.com
See terms
See terms
See terms
Use the CardMatch tool to find cards you're likely to qualify for with your credit score, without a hard pull on your credit.
Marriott Bonvoy Boundless™ Credit Card
75,000 points after spending $3,000 in the first 3 months
6x points at Marriott Bonvoy hotels and 2x points on all other purchases
$95
Earn 75,000 bonus points after you spend $3,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening.
The World of Hyatt Credit Card
25,000 points after spending $3,000 on purchases in the first 3 months. 25,000 points after spending another $6,000 in the first 6 months
9x points at Hyatt hotels as a World of Hyatt member, 2x on gyms, commuting, dining and airlines and 1x on all other purchases
$95
Earn 25,000 points after spending $3,000 on purchases in the first 3 months. 25,000 points after spending another $6,000 in the first 6 months.
IHG® Rewards Club Premier Credit Card
140,000 points after spending $3,000 in the first 3 months
25x points at IHG hotels, 2x on gas, groceries and dining and 1x on all other purchases
$89
140,000 points after spending $3,000 in the first 3 months.

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Let’s break down how hotel credit cards work

A hotel credit card offers rewards for purchases that can then be redeemed on hotel stays and other related purchases. Just as airline credit cards earn more miles on airline-related purchases, hotel credit cards earn more points on hotel-related purchases.

Like airline cards, hotel credit cards also come in two varieties: cobranded, which are branded with a specific hotel, and general which aren’t.

  • 1. Compare & apply for a card

    Review your travel needs and compare which of the two hotel card varieties fit your needs. From there, you can apply as normal.

  • 2. Earn points

    Once you have your hotel card, start spending on eligible categories to earn points. While both types of cards earn points on hotel stays, cobranded cards tend to earn more on hotels associated with that specific card.

  • 3. Redeem points

    After you’ve earned enough points, you’ll be able to redeem them on nights at eligible hotels. Depending on the card, you might be able to use these points on other hotel-related purchases as well.

    When is a hotel credit card worth it?

    Whether a hotel credit card is worth grabbing depends on just how often you stay at hotels during travel. Much of this comes down to the annual fee and whether you can earn back enough in perks and rewards to overcome that cost.

    For a mid-range card like the IHG® Rewards Club Premier Credit Card, this doesn’t prove too difficult. At just $89 annually, the card’s annual fee is covered by the free night stay you get each year. This means most of your spending can go toward earning rewards for additional free nights.

    For a card like The Platinum Card, on the other hand, you’re staring down a $550 annual fee. To make up for that, you’ll need to make sure you take advantage of the card’s various perks and statement credits.

    Credit cardAnnual feePerks you’ll need to use:
    IHG® Rewards Club Premier Credit Card$89Annual free night: $100-$250 value
    The Platinum Card® from American Express$550
    • Airline fee credit: $200
    • Uber credits: $200 value
    • TSA PreCheck/Global Entry credit: $100 value every four years
    • Hotel Collection extras: $100 value

    How to compare hotel credit cards

    Here’s a quick overview of the major card features you’ll want to look at when comparing hotel credit cards:

    Loyalty program

    If you have a preferred hotel chain, you’ll want to see if they offer a cobranded credit card. Otherwise, a general hotel card might prove more useful.

    Signup bonus

    Many hotel credit cards offer a sizable signup bonus that you can use toward several free nights.

    Earning rates

    Beyond the signup bonus, a high earning rate or an earning rate on categories you often spend in are important to keep generating value through the lifetime of the card.

    Annual fee

    Travel cards that offer perks often require you pay an annual fee to use them.

    Travel expenses

    A hotel credit card only makes sense if you spend a significant amount of time and money at hotels during your travels.

    Perks

    In addition to rewards rates, hotel cards often come with additional perks to sweeten the deal, such as complimentary elite status, resort credits and free award nights.

    You asked, we listened: Top 5 common questions

    Unsung heroes in the travel card space, hotel cards have a lot to offer. Here are the 5 most common questions we receive on the subject.

    1. How much are credit card hotel points worth? The average value of your accrued hotel points ultimately vary depending on the specific hotel loyalty program.
    2. Can I get a hotel credit card with bad credit? Generally, most hotel credit cards require a good or better credit score. With that said, there are a few credit cards that may offer rewards on hotel spending that you can obtain with bad credit.
    3. What kinds of hotel cards are there? Hotel credit cards come in two varieties: cobranded, which are released under the umbrella of a specific hotel chain, and general, which can be used on any hotel.
    4. What is the best hotel credit card? The “best” hotel credit card ultimately comes down to your hotel and spending preferences.
    5. What’s the difference between hotel credit cards and travel credit cards? Hotel credit cards offer points, perks and rewards on hotel related purchases. Travel credit cards offer general reward points that can be used on hotels as well as other travel options, such as airlines and cruises.

    Read more about hotel credit cards

    Megan Horner

    Megan Horner
    Credit Cards Publisher

    Hi, I’m Megan! I recently opened a hotel credit card to get staus as well as stellar perks. I had lots of questions before I picked the right card for me. Below are some of the articles that helped me make my decision.

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    Bottom line

    There are numerous great hotel credit cards out there, but it’s hard to go wrong with one of the five we’ve highlighted above. If you need more help choosing what’s right for you, compare no-annual-fee hotel cards or check out hotel loyalty brands for more in-depth information.

    If you’re looking for more flexible options, consider a travel credit card designed for airline travel to find one that suits your needs.

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    Our team evaluates credit cards to determine their value against similar cards on the market.

    We rank card types — travel, cash back, business — on a set of factors that are most relevant to that type of card. We create these rankings to help you narrow down a credit card that best suits your spending and budget.

    Learn the details of our methodology and scoring.

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