What Are Hotel Credit Cards?
Whether your job requires you to travel a lot or you just do it for pleasure, constant traveling
usually translates to frequent hotel stays. By financing your expenses with a hotel credit card, you stand to reduce your spending significantly. Hotel credit cards reward cardholders with points when they pay hotel bills with their cards.
Points earned can then be exchanged for room upgrades, discounts on hotel expenses and free lodgings. Points may also be converted to cash, airline rewards or gift cards. Some hotel cards allow regular users to save as much as $670 per year.
If you’re loyal to a certain hotel chain and you get a branded card, you stand to earn even bigger rewards. The IHG Rewards Club Premier Credit Card
, for example, allows users to earn 25 points per $1 spent at an IHG hotel.
Please note that hotel cards don’t typically come with regular credit card features like 0% interest, intro APRs or rotating rewards categories. The primary purpose of these cards is to reduce the cost of hotel stays and reward cardholders that frequent hotels.
How to Make the Most of Hotel Cards
In addition to basics like picking a hotel card that suits your lodging preferences and spending habits, here are some other tips to help you maximize your hotel credit card:
1. Real Value Can be Earned From Signup Bonuses
Signup bonuses may include cashback when you spend a certain amount in a particular timeframe, a free nigh or travel perks
. Some cards are very generous with their introductory bonuses. If you miss out on them, you lose a good portion of the total rewards you stand to earn.
2. The Value of Points Differ
It’s not enough that a card gives out 50 points per $1 spent on purchases, you must also find out how valuable the points really are. Some hotel cards give out reward points like candy but the points have little to no real value.
3. Join loyalty programs
If you‘re loyal to certain hotel chains, earn maximum rewards by joining their loyalty programs. Use your loyalty rewards number during bookings to earn even more rewards and get an upgrade in hotel status levels.
4. Read the Fine Print
Read the terms of your hotel credit card and understand the fine print. For most cards, if you miss a payment, you lose all accumulated rewards. Avoid this by setting a reminder in advance. Also, note that terms are liable to change. Stay on top of all changes to keep enjoying the full benefits of your card.
Top 5 Hotel Credit Cards
When signup bonuses, reward earning potential, and other similar factors are considered, these are the top 5 hotel credit cards in the market:
1. Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card
The Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card
has some of the best features you can find in any hotel credit card. Users stand to earn a signup bonus of $500 (towards travel) if they spend $3,000 within 3 months of opening an account. There is a 10 point bonus per $ spent at hotels and 2 points per $ on other purchases. There’s no limit to points earn-able and points remain valid throughout the life of the account.
Earning potential is quite high because there are thousands of participating hotels. Also, no fees are charged for foreign transactions, and the $95 annual fee is waived for the first year.
2. Wells Fargo Propel American Express Card
The Wells Fargo Propel American Express Card
offers a 12-month 0% intro APR for purchases and qualifying balance transfers; meaning it holds value beyond hotel rewards. Nevertheless, cardholders still stand to earn a lot of points. Three points per dollar spent on hotels, flights, car rentals, rideshares, eating out and at gas stations.
Users also earn $300 cashback if they spend $3,000 within 3 months of opening an account, and no annual fee is charged on the card.
3. Chase Sapphire Preferred Card
The Chase card
has a very generous signup bonus: 60,000 points if you spend $4,000 within 3 months of account opening. If these points are redeemed via Chase Ultimate Rewards, they’re worth $750 in travel funds.
Cardholders also earn 2 points per $ spent at hotels, restaurants and airlines worldwide. There’s a $95 annual fee though.
4. Hilton Honors American Express Card
The bonus points on the Hilton Honors American Express Card
aren’t the most valuable, however, they give out a lot of points to make up for it. You earn 75,000 points when you spend $1,000 within 3 months of membership.
Afterward, you earn 7 points per $ spent at Hilton properties; 5 points per $ spent at US restaurants, gas stations and supermarkets. You also earn 3 points per $1 on all other purchases.
Points can be redeemed at Hilton properties, brands that partner with them and popular airline frequent flyer programs. Also, this card charges no annual fee or foreign transaction fees.
5. Best Western Rewards Premium Mastercard
If you’re a frequent guest at Best Western hotels, then you stand to earn a lot of rewards from the Best Western Rewards Premium Card
. Users earn 50,000 bonus points if they spend $1,000 within their first 3 billing cycles. Then you earn 10 points per $1 spent at Best Western hotels. The points are doubled if combined with Best Western Rewards.
There is a $59 annual fee but it’s waived for the first year, there aren’t limits on points earn-able, and points don’t expire. Points can be redeemed for free nights at Best Western hotels, airline miles, dining, and gift cards.
Hotel Credit Cards Make Travel Easy
Hotel credit cards are most valuable when they are used to finance hotel stays and travel expenses. There’s no point in getting one if you only travel every 3 years. Also, watch out for cards that charge sizable annual fees; some cards charge as much as $450 per year. If you’re not earning commensurate value, it’s not a good deal.
In conclusion, treat your hotel credit card like you would any other credit card. Pay up your balance on time, keep your card safe and earn as many reward points as you can without going overboard.