Credit cards are the premier way of earning points and additional bonuses on your favorite hotel loyalty programs. However, annual fees can cut into your potential savings. Fortunately, there are some hotel credit cards with no annual fee that may offer the benefits you want.
Compare hotel credit cards with no annual fee
Here are some hotel loyalty program cobranded credit cards without annual fees
What are the benefits of hotel credit cards?
Hotel credit cards offer a few benefits designed to help you make the most of your hotel loyalty membership. Like other types of credit cards, you’ll find a variety of hotel credit cards, including those with no annual fees as well as those cobranded by a particular hotel. Here are just a few perks you can expect:
Signup bonuses. Perhaps one of the bigger draws of hotel credit cards are the generous welcome offers. Completing welcome offer requirements within the allotted time could earn you a point bonus worth at least one reward night stay at an eligible hotel property. Both annual fee credit cards and no annual fee credit cards can come with signup bonuses, though you might find bigger bonuses on a card with an annual fee.
Increased earning rates. Hotel credit cards typically offer an increased point earning rate on purchases associated with that hotel loyalty program. These cards also tend to offer points on non-hotel purchases as well, albeit at a lower rate. Like signup bonuses, earning rates are often higher on cards with annual fees.
Elite status. Some hotel cards grant immediate elite status as soon as you open your account. For many hotel programs this is a huge boon as you can expect not only improved earning rates with higher tiers but even more complementary benefits. Credit cards with no annual fees rarely offer complimentary elite status.
Reward nights. Some hotel credit cards offer reward nights when you spend a minimum amount of money on purchases within a calendar year. Currently, you’ll only find free night rewards on a few hotel credit cards that carry an annual fee.
Concierge services and other perks. Some hotel credit cards come with additional travel perks such as concierge services or travel insurance. These benefits can prove useful for the frequent traveler and even potentially save you some money. You’ll typically only find concierge services and similar perks on cards sporting an annual fee.
How to compare hotel credit cards with no annual fee
Ask yourself a few questions to determine which no-annual-fee hotel credit card is right for you.
Are the point earnings worth the lack of annual fee? Cards with an annual fee generally have bigger earning rates and more substantial perks. Is it worth giving these things up for a cheaper card?
Do you want a particular travel perk? Similarly, hotel cards without annual fees tend to have fewer travel perks associated with the hotel loyalty program. In some cases, the value of these perks offset the annual fee entirely.
How important is elite status for the program? Some hotel programs benefit greatly from elite status. Check out whether your hotel credit card offers a free status level upon account opening. For a hotel program such as Hilton Honors, elite status might be worth the annual fee.
Is it worth paying an annual fee for a hotel credit card?
It depends what you want out of your credit card. Hotel credit cards with annual fees often come with more perks or better earning rates than those without. For example, you’re unlikely to find concierge services or travel insurance on a card without an annual fee.
However, if you only travel occasionally, you might not be able to take advantage of the full range of perks offered by an annual fee card. In this case, picking up a hotel credit card with no annual fee might make more sense in terms of value.
While not as numerous as hotel credit cards with annual fees, you’ll still find a fair selection of hotel cards without annual fees that can offer good value.
Most credit cards that waive their annual fee are marked as such and will only do so for the first year. However, if your card doesn’t mention it waives the annual fee on the first year, you might try contacting the credit card company and requesting they waive the first year’s fee.
The 5/24 rule is a Chase policy that limits your eligibility for new Chase cards. If you’ve opened five or more credit card accounts in the last 24 months, Chase will deny your application for a new card.
While it’s tough to pin down a single best hotel point, you can compare your options here.
Currently, the World of Hyatt loyalty program sports an average point value of 1.9 cents per point.
Steven Dashiell is a credit cards writer at Finder. He's worked on 250 Finder articles and counting, helping readers embrace and maximize credit cards. Backed by nearly a decade of research and reporting experience, Steve's work can be seen on Debt.com, CreditCards.com and Lifehacker.
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