What are the Best Hotel Credit Cards?

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You travel a lot – like, a lot. You’ve had countless nights spent in hotels, airports, Air BnB hotspots, traveling from one end of the state, country and world exhaustively and expensively. Whether it’s the demands of your professional life or your personal life, bouncing from hotel to hotel can rack up your credit card bill, leaving you wondering if you’ve got the best one to use to get the most bang for your buck.

You’re no rookie when it comes to hotels. There’s a plethora of hotel chains, like Marriott, Best Western, Hilton, Hyatt, and for every giant hotel, there’s just as many credit cards. Even a travel expert such as yourself can get lost in the whirlpool of options. Fortunately, we’re here to fill in the blanks.

The Low-Down on Hotel Credit Cards

For every massive hotel chain, there’s a credit card that bears its name. These branded cards offer great perks, especially if you find that you’re leaping from one of these hotels to the next, but if you prefer freedom of choice, you’ll want to take the alternative route with a generic credit card. After all, when hitting those rural roads, you might not find a Hilton every other mile, and that could end up costing you.

If you do fancy yourself a loyal member to one hotel chain, then consider these credit cards for the best perks.

The World of Hyatt Credit Card

Hyatt offers a modest credit card, but the benefits may be attractive if you’re partial to these hotels. Its welcome bonus is 25,000 points after spending $3,000 in the first three months, and an additional 25,000 points if you spend $6,000 (in total) purchases within your six months of opening the account.

With the World of Hyatt credit card, you’ll be getting 4 points per dollar at Hyatt Hotels, 2 points per dollar on transportation, flights, gym memberships and restaurants, with 1 point per dollar on anything else that you use your card on.

It has an annual fee of only $95, which makes sense because this card is a bit on the lower end of the rewards spectrum. The card program works by rewarding you as you move up tiers: Member, Discoverist, Explorist, and Globalist. You can read about these different perks here.

Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant American Express Card

Fond of Marriott? Then this may be the card for you. The welcome bonus can earn you 100,000 miles after you spend $5,000 in the first three months. If you find yourself on the road quite often spending your nights in Marriott’s thousands of nationwide hotels, then this could be the card for you.

Earning rates include 6 points per dollar at Marriott sites, 3 points per dollar at restaurants and flights booked directly with an airline, and 2 points on anything else you put your card to.

Perhaps the $450 annual fee is a downside for you if you aren’t looking to shell out this membership charge, but there are a few other perks to consider. Each year, you can get up to $300 in statement credits towards purchases made at Marriott Hotels, which basically lowers this annual charge down to $150.

Other benefits with this card include a free night at Marriott’s properties that cost up to 50,000 points per night every year after you open your account. There’s also the potential to hit Gold elite status, which can gift you a 25% bonus on points and other upgrades.

Hilton Honors Aspire Card from American Express

Are you a Hilton hunter? A welcome bonus can earn you 150,000 points after you spend $4,000 in the first three months. Earning rates for this American Express card is 14 points per dollar at all Hilton Hotels, 7 miles per dollar on any flights booked directly with airlines (or on amextravel.com), and 3 points per dollar on whatever else you purchase with Aspire.

Hilton released three cards in 2018 alone, so if Aspire doesn’t fit your bill, then check out the other cards Hilton debuted

However, Hilton Honors Aspire is among the best of the bunch, earning you the most points per dollar with some enticing annual travel credits. It has a statement credit of $250 per year for eligible purchases, $250 credit for various airline fees, and the Hilton Honors Diamond status, which allots you a free weekend night every year as you renew your account with the ability to earn another free weekend night with $60,000 worth of purchases spent annually.

What Are My Other Options?

Do you bounce around from hotel to hotel, deciding which to stay at with no preference to the chain? Then a branded credit card might not be the one for you. But never fear, there are stellar choices that can still rack up the rewards no matter what chain you hang your hat at.

Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card

Maybe you find your hotels on Hotels.com and you’re after easy reward points. That’s where Capital One Venture comes into play.

There’s an annual fee of $95, but for your first year with Capital One, they’ll waive it. The welcome bonus is decent, earning you 50,000 miles after you spend $3,000 in your first three months. The rate for Venture is 10 miles per dollar on all Hotels.com bookings, and 2 miles per dollar on everything else. The best part about this card is you can easily rack up a good return on all your spending: a solid 2%. For those with the travel bug, you can look forward to enjoying this bonus through January 2020.

Chase Sapphire Preferred Card

Like Capital One, you’ll see an annual fee of $95, waived for your first year. You’ll be welcomed with the ability to earn 50,000 bonus points after spending $4,000 in the first three months of opening your account. 

With Chase Sapphire, you can expect to earn 2x points on travel and restaurant purchases and 1 point per dollar on everything else. This is an excellent credit card for those traveling often who have the need to spend on broad, general categories like transportation, hotels, and dining. Chase Sapphire Reserve is an elite version of this card, offering 3x points instead of 2x, with even more advantages like a $300 annual travel credit.

Orbitz Rewards Visa Card

Orbitz, too, throws its hat into the ring of branded credit cards, and this one is attractive if you’re talented at deciphering point systems because the reward will be worth it.

There is no annual fee and you can earn an extra 5% in Orbucks, Oribitz’s own rewards program for their bookings, which totals 10%, an immense help when it comes to travel budgets. For all other purchases, you can earn 2% back, get a $100 statement credit, and expect no foreign transaction fees, a nice perk for those hit with international wanderlust.

Options to Fit Your Travel Style

There’s no right answer in choosing the perfect hotel credit card, it’s just a matter of what characteristics of each one will most benefit your travel habits. With so many options, you’re not going to lose, and in fact, acquiring one of these cards for your traveling, hotel-bound lifestyle will do wonders for your wallet.