Best hotel credit cards of 2020

Enjoy travel perks, free nights and more.

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A woman entering a hotel lobby

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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.

  • 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.

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

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 generous welcome offer if you meet spend criteria and a complimentary upgrade to Silver status just by being a card member.

Annual fee$0
Purchase APR17.24% to 26.24% variable
Foreign transaction feeNone
Welcome offer75,000 points after spending $1,000 in the first 3 months
Rewards7x points on Hilton Honors purchases, 5x at US restaurants, US supermarkets and US gas stations, 3x on all other purchases
Rates & feesrates & fees
Pros
  • Reward points. Earn 7x points on eligible purchases at the Hilton hotels and resorts and 5x points at US restaurants, US supermarkets and US gas stations. All other purchases earn 3x points.
  • Welcome offer Earn 75,000 Hilton Honors bonus points after you spend $1,000 in the first 3 months your account is open.
  • Complimentary Hilton Honors Silver status. Silver status lets you earn additional 20% Hilton Honors Base Points, plus you get a complimentary fifth night when you book five nights or more in one stay with points.
Cons
  • Not as widely accepted.As an American Express card, you might find its less widely accepted abroad compared to a Visa or Mastercard.

Compare more hotel credit cards with no annual fee

Best hotel credit card for high reward points on hotels: Capital One® VentureOne® Rewards Credit Card

If you don’t have a preferred hotel brand, the Capital One® VentureOne® Rewards Credit Card could help you earn one of the highest rewards rates on booking via the hotels.com Venture website. But this offer lasts until January 31, 2020.

Annual fee$0
Purchase APR0% intro for the first 12 months (then 13.49%, 19.49% or 23.49% variable)
Foreign transaction feeNone
Welcome offer20,000 miles after spending $1,000 in the first 3 months
Rewards1.25x miles on all purchases and 10x miles at hotels.com/venture
Rates & feesrates & fees
Pros
  • Signup bonus. Earn 20,000 bonus miles after you spend $1,000 in your first 3 months of card membership.
  • Reward points. Earn 10x points on hotels.com purchases until January 31, 2020, and 1.25x points on all other purchases.
  • Intro APR period on purchases. Save money on interest for your first 12 months when you open your account. After that, a variable APR of 13.49%, 19.49% or 23.49% applies.
Cons
  • Low minimum credit line.Without good to excellent credit, you could end up with a minimum credit line of just $1,000.

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

The Chase Ultimate Rewards program lets you transfer your 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.

Annual fee$95
Purchase APR17.49% to 24.49% variable
Foreign transaction feeNone
Welcome offer60,000 points after spending $4,000 in the first 3 months
Rewards5x points on Lyft, 2x points on travel and dining and 1x points on all other purchases
Rates & feesrates & fees
Pros
  • Reward points. Earn 2x points on travel and dining at restaurants, 5x points on Lyft rides and 1x points on everything else.
  • Signup bonus. Earn 60,000 bonus points when you $4,000 during your first 3 months of card membership.
  • High hotel redemption value. Redeem your points for travel purchases via the Chase Ultimate Rewards program and get 25% higher value. If you decide to transfer your points to partner hotel program, you’ll get 1:1 ratio for your points.
Cons
  • Annual fee.You’ll pay $95 annually to use this card.

Compare other Chase hotel credit cards

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

The Platinum Card® from American Express offers premium hotel perks, including 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 (see rates & fees).
Annual fee$550
Purchase APRN/A
Foreign transaction feeNone
Welcome offer60,000 points after spending $5,000 in your first 3 months
Rewards5x points on directly-booked flights or on flights and hotels on Amex Travel. 1x points on all other purchases
Rates & feesrates & fees
Pros
  • Welcome offer. Earn 60,000 Membership Rewards points after you spend $5,000 within the first 3 months of opening your account.
  • Reward points. Earn 5x points on flights and prepaid hotels when you book through American Express Travel or directly through airlines. Everything else you buy earns 1x points.
  • Hotel perks. Get Gold Elite status in Marriott Bonvoy and Hilton Honors programs, and benefits at participating American Express Fine Hotels & Resorts properties, such as daily breakfast for two, room upgrades and late checkout. You can also transfer points to partner hotel programs in 1:1 ratio.
Cons
  • Annual fee.You’ll pay $550 annually to use this card.

Compare other travel credit cards

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

If you often stay at Holiday Inn, InterContinental or any other hotel in the IHG portfolio, you can earn the highest number of free nights than with any similar credit card.

Annual fee$89
Purchase APR17.49% to 24.49% variable
Foreign transaction feeNone
Welcome offer80,000 points after spending $2,000 in the first 3 months
Rewards25x points at IHG hotels, 2x on gas, groceries and dining and 1x on all other purchases
Rates & feesrates & fees
Pros
  • Reward points Earn 25x points at IHG hotel stays, 2x points at gas stations, grocery stores and restaurants, and 1x points on everything else you buy.
  • Signup bonus. Earn 80,000 bonus points when you spend $2,000 within your first 3 months of card membership.
  • Free nights. Get a reward night on your card anniversary each year, and get an additional reward night every time you redeem points for four or more consecutive nights.
Cons
  • Signup bonus limitations.You won’t be eligible for the signup bonus if you already own this card or have owned it in the past and received the bonus within the past 2 years.

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

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 cards by bank or hotel program

Marriott logo Hilton-Logo Chase-Logo AMEX logo

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
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Marriott Bonvoy Boundless™ Credit Card
100,000 points after spending $5,000 in the first 3 months
6x points at Marriott Bonvoy hotels and 2x points on all other purchases
$95
Earn 100,000 bonus points after you spend $5,000 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
80,000 points after spending $2,000 in the first 3 months
25x points at IHG hotels, 2x on gas, groceries and dining and 1x on all other purchases
$89
80,000 points after spending $2,000 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.

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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