Best hotel credit cards of 2019 | finder.com
Best hotel credit cards

Hotel credit cards 2019

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Enjoy travel perks, free nights and more.

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.

What is a hotel credit card?

A hotel credit card typically refers to any credit card designed to help you earn points that can be redeemed for a reward night at a hotel brand. Among hotel cards, those released in partnership with a hotel are called cobranded credit cards.

When using a hotel credit card, you’ll earn a certain amount of points when making purchases in eligible spending categories. In the case of cobranded cards, you can also expect additional perks or benefits associated with the hotel’s loyalty program.

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

Among the hotel cards with no annual fee (see rates & fees), the Hilton Honors American Express Card card pulls ahead thanks to its incredible point earning potential. It has a welcome offer of 75,000 bonus points and a complimentary upgrade to Silver status if you spend $1,000 using the card within your first three months of card membership. Its travel benefits are nothing to sneeze at either — especially for a card without an annual fee.

  • High earning rates for a no-annual-fee card
  • Complimentary silver status
  • Travel protections

Best hotel credit card for flexible rewards: Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card

The Chase Ultimate Rewards program is well-known for its flexibility in travel rewards, which can be used for hotel redemptions. You can choose to transfer your Ultimate Rewards points to three hotel brands, including World of Hyatt, IHG Rewards Club and Marriott Bonvoy. Since these points transfer at a 1:1 ratio, you’ll have a great redemption option no matter your hotel preference.

  • Three hotel transfer partners to choose from
  • Option to transfer points to airlines
  • Solid welcome offer and earning rates
  • Travel insurance

Best hotel credit card for travel perks: The Platinum Card® from American Express

The Platinum Card® from American Express has a hefty $550 annual fee (see rates & fees), but it offers some of the widest selections of premium travel perks. To name a few, you’ll get elite status in both the Marriott Bonvoy and Hilton Honors programs and Amex benefits at Fine Hotels Resorts. Best of all, the annual fee practically pays for itself if you take advantage of the complimentary credits.

  • Great welcome offer and reward rate
  • Access to Centurion® Lounges
  • $500 in credits during your first year
  • Elite status on two hotel programs

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

While there are several cards that offer a free night on your account anniversary – including the Hilton Honors™ Aspire Card – the IHG® Rewards Club Premier Credit Card hits the sweet spot between entry-level and premium hotel cards. You’ll receive a free night on each anniversary date that you spend on hotel stays worth up to 40,000 points in value, and you get to earn 40x points at IHG hotels and resorts purchases for the first year, 25x points thereafter. This card also grants Platinum elite status for as long as your account is open — a great boon considering not all cards grant immediate elite status.

  • Anniversary free nights with solid value
  • Get a free reward night when you book four or more nights in a row
  • Platinum elite status so long as your account is open

How we selected our top cards

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 2019

The IHG® Rewards Club Premier Credit Card joined the list this year thanks to its mid-range status, offering the highest rewards rate at IHG hotels and resorts purchases, free nights and Platinum status without the hefty annual fee some other premium hotel cards require.

Compare hotel credit cards

Name Product Welcome offer Rewards Annual fee Filter values
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
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.
125,000 points after spending $3,000 in the first 3 months, 10,000 points after spending $20,000 and making an additional purchase each account anniversary
40x points at IHG hotels and 4x on other purchases for the first 12 months. Then 25x points at IHG, 2x on gas, groceries and dining and 1x on all other purchases
$89
125,000 points after spending $3,000 in the first 3 months plus 10,000 points after spending $20,000 and making one additional purchase each account anniversary.
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.
50,000 points after spending $2,000 in the first 3 months
3x points at Marriott Bonvoy hotels, 2x on travel and 1x on all other purchases
$0
50,000 bonus points after you spend $2,000 on purchases in your first 3 months from your account opening.

Compare up to 4 providers

How much are hotel points worth?

A single point carries different value across each hotel program. Here are the current average values according to our calculations as of April 2019.

Hotel booking without a credit card

Booking a hotel without a credit card can cause you to miss out on a few perks that can make your stay more comfortable – or cheaper. Some of the more common hotel perks associated with hotel credit cards include:

  • Free reward nights
  • Concierge services
  • Elite status
  • Discounts on eligible stays
  • Travel insurance

Given the value of elite status in many hotel loyalty programs, it’s wise to review cards that offer complimentary silver status or gold status if you’re a frequent traveler.

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.

Frequently asked questions

Disclaimer

Editorial Note: Any opinions, analyses, reviews or recommendations expressed in this article are those of the author’s alone, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any card issuer.

Rates and fees

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