Best Hotel Credit Cards

The Marriott Bonvoy Boundless Card earns the top spot with five free nights

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Hotel credit cards are designed for those who frequently stay in hotels and wish to earn loyalty status and award nights with their spending. Spending on a hotel credit card earns bonus points toward your next free vacation. Many offer automatic elite status or a path toward higher status based on your spending. Some even offer a free hotel night annually that is usually worth more than the annual fee for the card.

The best hotel credit cards offer increased points for spending at hotels as well as bonus points on popular spending categories and additional benefits like resort credits, airport lounge access, and a generous welcome bonus. The best hotel credit card for you is often based on which hotel loyalty brand you prefer, so we've chosen the best card for each of the major loyalty programs. Plus, we share our credit card choices for travelers who want the most value without committing to just one hotel brand.

Best Hotel Credit Cards for August 2021

Best Overall, Best for Marriott : Marriott Bonvoy Boundless


Rating as a Hotel Card
4.3
Marriott Bonvoy Boundless™ Credit Card
Current Offer

Earn 3 Free Nights (up to 50,000 points each) after you spend $3,000 in the first 3 months from account opening.

Recommended Credit
Score Our recommended ranges are based off of the FICO® Score 8 credit-scoring model. Credit score is one of the many factors lenders review in considering your application.
350 579
580 669
670 739
740 799
800 850
Good - Excellent
Regular APR (%) 15.99% - 22.99% variable
Annual Fee $95
Rewards Earning Rate Earn up to 17X total Bonvoy points per $1 spent at over 7,000 hotels participating in Marriott Bonvoy™.
Balance Transfer Fee Either $5 or 5% of the amount of each transfer, whichever is greater.
Foreign transaction fee (%) 0%
  • Why We Chose This Card
  • Pros & Cons
Why We Chose This Card

Our choice for the best overall hotel credit card and the best card for Marriott stays is the Marriott Bonvoy Boundless Card. You can earn five free nights when you spend at least $5,000 in the first three months of opening your account. Plus, the card gives you one free night every year that can be redeemed for rooms up to 35,000 points. Each year you'll also receive automatic Silver Elite status and 15 Elite Night Credits, which gives you a headstart towards higher levels of status.

Pros & Cons
Pros
  • Outstanding introductory rewards bonus

  • Solid rewards rate for Marriott hotel stays

  • Automatic Silver Elite Status in the Marriott Bonvoy program

Cons
  • $35,000 spending per year to upgrade to Gold Status

  • Bonvoy hotel rewards account (though not the Bonvoy credit card) must stay active to avoid points expiration

  • $95 annual fee may be off-putting to the fee-averse

Read the Full Marriott Bonvoy Boundless Review.

Best Business Hotel Card : Marriott Bonvoy Business™ American Express® Card


Rating as a Hotel Card
4.4
Marriott Bonvoy Business™American Express® Card
Current Offer

Earn 75,000 bonus Marriott Bonvoy points after you use your new Card to make $3,000 in eligible purchases within the first 3 months of Card Membership. Plus, earn up to $150 back in statement credits on eligible purchases made on your new Card within the first 3 months of Card Membership.

Recommended Credit
Score Our recommended ranges are based off of the FICO® Score 8 credit-scoring model. Credit score is one of the many factors lenders review in considering your application.
350 579
580 669
670 739
740 799
800 850
Good - Excellent
Regular APR (%) 15.74% - 24.74% variable
Annual Fee $125
Rewards Earning Rate Earn 6x points at hotels participating in the Marriott Bonvoy(TM) program. Earn 4x points at U.S. restaurants, at U.S. gas stations, on wireless telephone services purchased directly from U.S. service providers and on U.S. purchases for shipping. 2x points on all other eligible purchases.
Cash Advance APR (%) 25.24%
Cash Advance Fee Either $5 or 3% of the amount of each transfer, whichever is greater.

See rates and fees

  • Why We Chose This Card
  • Pros & Cons
Why We Chose This Card

We chose the Marriott Bonvoy Business™American Express® Card as the best business hotel rewards card because of its strong points value and generous bonus points earning structure for Marriott purchases as well those at U.S. restaurants and U.S. gas stations. Small business owners can leverage business travel and commuting spending along with dining purchases to quickly earn award nights at Marriott-branded properties. Marriott's hotel portfolio includes over 7,000 properties in 131 countries, making it a flexible hotel option for business travel.

Pros & Cons
Pros
  • Outstanding rewards on Marriott stays and select spending

  • Complimentary Marriott Bonvoy Silver Elite status

  • Bonus night on card anniversary

Cons
  • Requires larger minimum spending to earn a one-time bonus

  • No 0% APR introductory offer

  • Dismal rates on non-Marriott redemptions

Read the full Marriott Bonvoy Business™ American Express® Card Review.

Best for Points Value : World of Hyatt Credit Card


Rating as a Hotel Card
4.8
World of Hyatt Credit Card
Current Offer

Earn 30,000 Bonus Points after you spend $3,000 on purchases in your first 3 months from account opening. Plus, up to 30,000 More Bonus Points by earning 2 Bonus Points total per $1 spent in the first 6 months from account opening on purchases that normally earn 1 Bonus Point, on up to $15,000 spent.

Recommended Credit
Score Our recommended ranges are based off of the FICO® Score 8 credit-scoring model. Credit score is one of the many factors lenders review in considering your application.
350 579
580 669
670 739
740 799
800 850
Good - Excellent
Regular APR (%) 15.99% - 22.99% variable
Annual Fee $95
Rewards Earning Rate Earn 4X points for Hyatt stays, 2x for eligible transit, restaurants, gym memberships, and airfare purchased directly from the airline. 1x on other purchases.
Balance Transfer Fee Either $5 or 5% of the amount of each transfer, whichever is greater.
Foreign transaction fee (%) 0%
  • Why We Chose This Card
  • Pros & Cons
Why We Chose This Card

The World of Hyatt Credit Card is our best for points value primarily because it offers the highest redemption value of any hotel points we analyzed and has a relatively low annual fee (though it still has one). While Hyatt hotel points are consistently the most valuable in the hotel rewards space, they tend to be harder to accumulate than those of many chains. It also offers great value through its competitive one-time bonus, a night at a category 1-4 Hyatt hotel on each cardmember anniversary, and a high earning rate on spending at Hyatt hotels. The free award night and automatic Discoverist elite status can quickly justify the card’s annual fee.

Pros & Cons
Pros
  • Competitive one-time offer

  • Earn up to 2 award nights per year

  • High reward earning rate at Hyatt

Cons
  • Small brand footprint

  • Annual fee isn’t waived the first year

  • Requires $15,000 in purchases to earn the full welcome bonus

Read the full World of Hyatt Credit Card Review.

Best for Hilton : Hilton Honors American Express Surpass Card


Rating as a Hotel Card
4.3
Hilton Honors American Express Surpass Card
Current Offer

Earn 130,000 Hilton Honors Bonus Points with the Hilton Honors American Express Surpass(R) Card after you use your new Card to make $2,000 in eligible purchases within the first 3 months of Card Membership.

Recommended Credit
Score Our recommended ranges are based off of the FICO® Score 8 credit-scoring model. Credit score is one of the many factors lenders review in considering your application.
350 579
580 669
670 739
740 799
800 850
Good - Excellent
Regular APR (%) 15.74% - 24.74% variable
Annual Fee $95
Rewards Earning Rate Earn 12X Hilton Honors Bonus Points for each dollar of eligible purchases charged on your Card directly with a hotel or resort within the Hilton portfolio. 6 points per $1 for eligible purchases at U.S. restaurants, U.S. supermarkets, and U.S. gas stations. 3 points per $1 for all other eligible purchases.
Foreign transaction fee (%) 0%

See rates and fees

  • Why We Chose This Card
  • Pros & Cons
Why We Chose This Card

The Hilton Honors American Express Surpass Card is our pick for the best card for Hilton because of its valuable one-time bonus and excellent ongoing rewards for those who frequent Hilton properties. It also offers strong bonus earnings on U.S. restaurant and U.S. gas station purchases. The $95 annual fee can easily be justified with the normal bonus category and everyday spending throughout the year.

Pros & Cons
Pros
  • Lucrative one-time bonus

  • Excellent rewards rates across all categories

  • Complimentary Gold Elite status

Cons
  • Must spend $15,000 to earn the annual free night

  • No introductory APR for purchases or balance transfers

  • High minimum spending requirement to earn the full bonus

Read the full Hilton Honors American Express Surpass Card Review.

Best for IHG : IHG® Rewards Club Premier Credit Card


Rating as a Hotel Card
4.0
IHG® Rewards Club Premier Credit Card
Current Offer

Earn 150,000 bonus points after spending $3,000 on purchases in the first 3 month from account opening. Plus, earn 10,000 bonus points after you spend $20,000 on purchases and make one additional purchase each account anniversary year.

Recommended Credit
Score Our recommended ranges are based off of the FICO® Score 8 credit-scoring model. Credit score is one of the many factors lenders review in considering your application.
350 579
580 669
670 739
740 799
800 850
Good - Excellent
Regular APR (%) 15.99% - 22.99% variable
Annual Fee $0 Intro fee for the first year. After that, $89.
Rewards Earning Rate Earn up to 25 points total per $1 spent when you stay at an IHG hotel, 2 points at gas stations, grocery stores, and restaurants, and 1 point on all other purchases.
Balance Transfer Fee Either $5 or 5% of the amount of each transfer, whichever is greater.
Foreign transaction fee (%) 0%
  • Why We Chose This Card
  • Pros & Cons
Why We Chose This Card

The IHG Rewards Club Premier Credit Card is our pick for the best for IHG because it provides the potential to earn up to 25x points per dollar spent at IHG properties. It currently offers a generous one-time bonus of 150,000 points and one free reward night after spending $3,000 in the first three months. The card’s other benefits include an anniversary night stay, automatic Platinum Elite status for IHG Rewards Club members, and Global Entry or TSA PreCheck reimbursement. With all of the ways to earn points, IHG loyalists can easily justify the annual fee.

Pros & Cons
Pros
  • Generous one-time bonus

  • Earn 2 points per dollar spent in rewards at gas stations, grocery stores, and restaurants

  • Complimentary anniversary night

Cons
  • May not be able to redeem for rewards at InterContinental Residences

  • Points don’t have a 1:1 redemption with partner airlines

Read the full IHG Rewards Club Premier Credit Card Review.

Best General Hotel Card : Chase Sapphire Reserve®


Rating as a Hotel Card
4.1
Chase Sapphire Reserve®
Current Offer

Earn 60,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $900 total travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®.

Recommended Credit
Score Our recommended ranges are based off of the FICO® Score 8 credit-scoring model. Credit score is one of the many factors lenders review in considering your application.
350 579
580 669
670 739
740 799
800 850
Excellent
Regular APR (%) 16.99% - 23.99% variable
Annual Fee $550
Rewards Earning Rate Earn 3x points on travel immediately after earning your $300 travel credit, 3X points on dining at restaurants, and 1 point per $1 spent on all other purchases.
Balance Transfer Fee Either $5 or 5% of the amount of each transfer, whichever is greater.
Foreign transaction fee (%) 0%
  • Why We Chose This Card
  • Pros & Cons
Why We Chose This Card

The Chase Sapphire Reserve isn't a co-branded hotel card but it offers a ton of flexibility in terms of transferring its points to various hotel programs, which helps make it our pick for the best general hotel card. It has a competitive one-time point bonus, annual travel credit, and high rewards earning rate. While the $550 annual fee is high, the $300 annual travel credit, Priority Pass airport lounge access, and 50% more value of points when booking travel can help justify it. If you're an avid traveler who doesn't want to commit to a single hotel brand, this is the best card for hotels.

Pros & Cons
Pros
  • Excellent points rewards rate for travel and dining

  • Large bonus for new cardholders

  • Premium travel features

  • Points are worth 50% more for travel bought through Chase Ultimate Rewards

Cons
  • $550 annual fee

  • Limited high-rewards categories

  • Strong credit is recommended

Read the full Chase Sapphire Reserve Credit Card Review.

Best for No Annual Fee : Wyndham Rewards Earner Card


Rating as a Hotel Card
4.3
Wyndham Rewards® Earner℠ Card
Current Offer

Earn up to 60,000 bonus points - enough for up to 8 free nights at participating properties. Earn 45,000 bonus points after spending $1,000 on purchases in the first 90 days, plus earn an additional 15,000 bonus points after spending a total of $2,000 in the first 6 months. Free nights can require up to 30,000 points per bedroom at participating properties and are subject to availability. Resort fees may apply and cannot be paid with points.

Recommended Credit
Score Our recommended ranges are based off of the FICO® Score 8 credit-scoring model. Credit score is one of the many factors lenders review in considering your application.
350 579
580 669
670 739
740 799
800 850
Good - Excellent
Regular APR (%) 15.74% - 24.99% variable
Annual Fee $0
Rewards Earning Rate 3 points per $1 spent on eligible purchases at Wyndham. 2 points on eligible gas, utility and grocery store purchases (excluding Target and Walmart). Earn 1 point on other eligible purchases.
INTRO PURCHASE APR 0% for 6 Billing Cycles
INTRO BALANCE TRANSFER APR 0% for 15 Billing Cycles
Balance Transfer Fee Either $5 or 3% of the amount of each transfer, whichever is greater.
Foreign transaction fee (%) 0%
  • Why We Chose This Card
  • Pros & Cons
Why We Chose This Card

The Wyndham Rewards Earner Card is our choice for the best hotel credit card with no annual fee. Cardmembers receive automatic Gold Elite status, which includes perks like preferred room selection, late checkout, and more. You'll earn 3x points per dollar on eligible Wyndham purchases and 2x points on dining and grocery purchases. All other purchases earn 1 point per dollar. When you spend $1,000 in the first 90 days, you'll receive 45,000 bonus points, which is enough for up to six free nights since award nights start as low as 7,500 points per night. If you can spend $2,000 in the first six months, you'll get another 15,000 bonus points.

Pros & Cons
Pros
  • 0% APR on eligible balance transfers for 15 months

  • One-time introductory bonus worth up to eight nights

  • Automatic Gold status in Wyndham Rewards

Cons
  • Rewards value is only middling

  • 0% APR offer has some weak points

Best for Budget Hotel : Best Western Rewards® Mastercard®


Rating as a Hotel Card
3.7
Best Western Rewards® Mastercard®
Current Offer

Earn 40,000 when you spend $1,000 in the first 3 billing cycles after the account is opened.

Recommended Credit
Score Our recommended ranges are based off of the FICO® Score 8 credit-scoring model. Credit score is one of the many factors lenders review in considering your application.
350 579
580 669
670 739
740 799
800 850
Good - Excellent
Regular APR (%) 20.99% - 24.99% variable
Annual Fee $0
Rewards Earning Rate 3 points per dollar on Best Western stays, 2 points per $1 spent everywhere else.
Balance Transfer Fee Either $10 or 5% of the amount of each transfer, whichever is greater.
Foreign transaction fee (%) 0%
  • Why We Chose This Card
  • Pros & Cons
Why We Chose This Card

The Best Western Rewards Mastercard is the winner of the best hotel credit card for budget hotels based on its generous welcome bonus, complimentary Gold Elite status, and no annual fee. You'll earn 40,000 points when you spend $1,000 in the first three billing cycles plus an additional 20,000 points each year that you spend $5,000 or more. Every dollar you spend at Best Western hotels earns 3x points and all other purchases earn 2x points. Cardholders get an early check-in, late check-out, and a 10% discount on room rates. There are no foreign transaction fees and your points do not expire as long as you use your card.

Pros & Cons
Pros
  • Decent signup bonus

  • Annual bonus available based on spending

  • No annual fee

Cons
  • Relatively low points earning on hotel purchases

Read the full Best Western Rewards Mastercard Review.

Best for Flexibility : Hotels.com® Rewards Visa® Credit Card


Rating as a Hotel Card
3.6
Hotels.com® Rewards Visa® Credit Card
Current Offer

Limited Time Offer! Get 2 reward nights worth $250 total (max $125 per night)*, when you spend $1,000 on purchases in the first 3 months. *Excludes taxes and fees. If a night costs less than $125, you won’t get the difference.

Recommended Credit
Score Our recommended ranges are based off of the FICO® Score 8 credit-scoring model. Credit score is one of the many factors lenders review in considering your application.
350 579
580 669
670 739
740 799
800 850
Good - Excellent
Regular APR (%) 14.99% - 22.99% variable
Annual Fee $0
Rewards Earning Rate Spend $500 on the card to collect 1 stamp. 10 stamps equals 1 reward night worth $110
Balance Transfer Fee Up to 5% for each balance transfer, with a minimum of $5.
Foreign transaction fee (%) 0%
  • Why We Chose This Card
  • Pros & Cons
Why We Chose This Card

Travelers looking for the best hotel credit card that offers flexibility should consider the Hotels.com Rewards Visa Credit Card. For a limited time, new cardholders will receive two free reward nights worth up to $250 ($125 per night max) when you spend $1,000 within three months. Every $500 you spend earns one stamp and when you have 10 stamps, you can redeem them for a free reward night worth up to $110. There are no annual fees or foreign transaction fees and your cell phone is covered by protection insurance when you pay your bill with the card. The card comes with Silver Membership status for the first year, which includes free breakfast, airport transfers, and Wi-Fi at select properties booked through Hotels.com.

Pros & Cons
Pros
  • Hotel booking flexibility

  • Automatic Silver status for one year

  • Excellent rewards earning rate

Cons
  • No bonus earnings when you pay for a Hotels.com booking with the card

  • There are some program loopholes to watch for

  • Rewards can expire after 12 months

Final Verdict

Hotel credit cards earn bonus rewards when paying for hotel reservations and often include additional benefits like automatic elite status and an annual free night. There are many hotel credit cards that improve the travel experience, but our choice for the best hotel credit card is the Marriott Bonvoy Boundless Card. It includes automatic Silver Elite status, 15 Elite Night Credits towards higher status levels, and an annual free night worth up to 35,000 points. When you sign up, you can also earn a bonus of five free nights after spending $5,000 within three months.

Compare the Best Hotel Credit Cards

Credit Card Intro Offer Rewards Annual Fee Regular APR Minimum Credit Score
Marriott Bonvoy Boundless
Best Overall, Best for Marriott
5 free nights after spending $5,000 in 3 months 6x points per $1 at Marriott Bonvoy properties 2x points per $1 on all other purchases $95 15.99%–22.99% variable APR 670
Marriott Bonvoy Business American Express
Best Business Hotel Card
100,000 points after $5,000 in 3 months Up to $150 in statement credits in 3 months 6x Marriott 4x U.S. restaurants, gas stations, wireless phone services 2x all else $125  15.74% to 24.74% variable  670 
World of Hyatt
Best for Points Value
30,000 points after $3,000 in 3 months 2x points on first $15,000 spent on non-bonused purchases in 6 months 4x Hyatt 2x transit, restaurant, gyms, airfare 1x all else $95  15.99% to 22.99% variable  670 
Hilton Honors American Express Surpass Card
Best for Hilton
130,000 points after $2,000 in 3 months 12x Hilton 6x U.S. restaurants, supermarkets, gas stations 3x all else $95  15.74% to 24.74% variable  670 
IHG Rewards Club Premier
Best for IHG
150,000 points plus a reward night after $3,000 in 3 months Up to 25x points at IHG 2x gas, groceries, and dining 1x all else $0 first year intro offer, then $89  15.99% to 22.99% variable  670 
Chase Sapphire Reserve
Best General Hotel Card
60,000 points after $4,000 in 3 months 3x travel and dining 1x all else $550  16.99% to 23.99% variable  800
Wyndham Rewards Earner Card
Best for No Annual Fee
45,000 points after spending $1,000 in 90 days, 15,000 points after spending $2,000 in six months 5x points per $1 at Hotels by Wyndham 2x points per $1 on dining and groceries 1x points per $1 on all other purchase $0  15.74%, 19.99% or 24.99% variable APR  690
Best Western Rewards Mastercard
Best for Budget Hotel
40,000 points after $1,000 in 3 billing cycles 3x Best Western 2x all else $0  20.99% to 24.99% variable  670 
Hotels.com Rewards Visa
Best for Flexibility
Limited time offer: 2 reward nights worth $250 after $1,000 in 3 months Every $500 earns 1 stamp 10 stamps equal 1 reward night up to $110 $0  14.99% to 22.99% variable  Not Sure

Editorial Choices for the Best Hotel Credit Cards

Marriott Bonvoy Boundless

Best Overall, Best for Marriott

The Marriott Bonvoy Boundless Card provides new cardholders five free nights when you spend $5,000 in the first three months. Plus, you'll receive automatic Silver Elite status and a free night worth up to 35,000 each year when you renew your card.

Read the Full Marriott Bonvoy Boundless Review.

Best for Marriott

Enjoy a free night award worth up to 35,000 points every year on your account anniversary. Receive automatic Silver Elite status and 15 Elite Night Credits toward higher status levels.

Read the full Marriott Bonvoy Boundless™ Credit Card Review.

Marriott Bonvoy Business™ American Express® Card

Best Business Hotel Card

Enjoy automatic Marriott Bonvoy Silver Elite status and one free award night every year after your account anniversary. Earn a second free night when you spend $60,000 on your card in a calendar year.

Read the full Marriott Bonvoy Business™ American Express® Card Review.

World of Hyatt Credit Card

Best for Points Value

Includes one free reward night when you renew the card and the opportunity to earn a second free night when you spend $15,000 in a calendar year. Includes automatic Discoverist elite status as a cardholder.

Read the full World of Hyatt Credit Card Review.

Hilton Honors American Express Surpass Card

Best for Hilton

Receive automatic Hilton Honors Gold status and upgrade to Diamond status with $40,000 in purchases in a calendar year. Earn 12x points per dollar at Hilton hotels and resorts.

Read the full Hilton Honors American Express Surpass Card Review.

IHG Rewards Club Premier Credit Card

Best for IHG

Receive one free night worth up to 40,000 points each year you renew the card. Get the fourth night free when booking reservations with points.

Read the full IHG Rewards Club Premier Credit Card Review.

Chase Sapphire Reserve

Best General Hotel Card

Annual travel credit of $300 can be used to cover hotel rooms, flights, and other travel expenses. Points can be transferred on a 1:1 basis to 13 hotel and airline loyalty programs.

Read the full Chase Sapphire Reserve Review.

Wyndham Rewards Earner Card

Best for No Annual Fee

Travelers looking for a no-fee hotel card will enjoy the 45,000 bonus points that come with the Wyndham Rewards Earner Card after spending just $1,000 in 90 days, and another 30,000 bonus points after spending $2,000 in six months. These points can be redeemed for up to eight free nights because award reservations start at just 7,500 points per night.

Best Western Rewards Mastercard

Best for Budget Hotel

Automatic Gold status and no blackout dates for redeeming points. Discount of 10% off room rates as a cardholder.

Read the full Best Western Rewards Mastercard Review.

Hotels.com Rewards Visa Credit Card

Best for Flexibility

Get a reward night worth $125 after spending $1,000 in three months. Includes cell phone insurance when paying your bill with the card.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

What Are Hotel Credit Cards?

Hotel credit cards are general-use cards that allow consumers to earn points with specific brands of hotels that have partnered with credit card issuers. Points rewards are typically highest for hotel-related spending; after that, you typically earn one point per dollar spent on all other purchases, which is the norm for this type of rewards card.

Points earned with co-branded hotel cards can then be used to book award nights with the hotel chain. The points cost per night usually varies by the property and is displayed on the location’s reservation website. Many hotel credit cards offer one-time introductory points bonuses provided you spend a designated amount within a certain time, which is often three months. The bonuses can easily be worth several nights in stays, depending on the level of hotel property you choose. Some cards also come with recurring annual bonuses of a hotel night, typically on your annual anniversary with the card. Annual fees are common with this type of card, but can generally be justified by the value of the benefits you receive. Aside from bonuses and rewards on spending, these can include elite status that earns you higher spending rewards and other perks such as complimentary room upgrades.

Most hotel credit cards are issued as co-branded partnerships between a major hotel brand, such as Hyatt, Marriott, or IHG, and a large national card issuer, such as Chase, Citi, or American Express.

Since some general travel cards offer extra rewards for hotel purchases, we also analyzed those in that category that earned points that can be redeemed for hotel stays. However, none of them made the cut among our top choices, since all proved less desirable overall than the best co-branded hotel cards.

How Do Hotel Credit Cards Work?

Hotel credit cards aim to incentivize and reward hotel stays by offering higher rewards for hotel brand-specific hotel purchases. Additionally, most hotel credit cards give automatic elite status to cardholders to further incentivize them to stay at the hotel's properties. These perks may include late check-out, early check-in, free breakfast, complimentary upgrades, and more.

The value of each hotel's points varies from brand to brand. An Investopedia analysis of the value of points across hotel brands reveals a range of more than five times, from Radisson at a meager 0.42 cents per point to Hyatt at the top of the range at 1.88 cents. When scoring hotel cards, we take into account both the value of points and how easily they can be earned.

Points from hotel credit cards generally have the most value when redeemed for stays with the associated hotel brand. Some hotel chains allow you to transfer points to the loyalty programs of other hotel or airline partners, but the transfer ratio is generally so low that this is rarely a lucrative option.

What Are the Benefits of a Hotel Credit Card?

Hotel credit cards typically offer numerous benefits when booking reservations at one of the hotel's properties. A few of the typical benefits that the best hotel credit cards offer are:

  • Automatic elite status
  • Ability to earn higher levels of elite status based on your spending
  • Elite night credits toward higher elite status
  • Earning more points on every dollar that you spend at the hotel
  • An annual free night when you renew the card or when you meet spend requirements each year
  • No foreign transaction fees

In addition to earning more points on your hotel purchases, some hotel credit cards also offer a bonus when spending on other categories popular with travelers. These categories can include dining, gas stations, flights, and more.

To maximize the benefits of your hotel credit card, stay with that hotel's brands as often as possible and use your card to pay for the room and your on-site meals. Your elite status will provide valuable benefits and you'll earn a higher number of points for your spending.

Who Are Hotel Credit Cards Best Suited For?

Frequent Travelers

If you travel often for business or leisure, hotel stays are inevitable. A hotel card presents an opportunity to focus your spending on a national chain and turn it into award nights and other benefits.

International Travelers

With so many U.S. chains having an international presence, a hotel rewards card offers an ideal opportunity to earn points on domestic and international business travel that you can use to reduce the cost of a personal trip abroad.

Loyalty Status Seekers

If you have an affinity for a certain hotel brand, this card type can allow you to achieve instant recognition and consideration. Many hotel credit cards confer automatic elite member status, which otherwise could take years to achieve.

Rewards Strategists

Those who relish the strategic challenge of earning the maximum return on card rewards will find satisfaction with a hotel card. All rewards programs are based on points, the required points vary by property, and special offers are frequent—all of which can keep rewards aficionados fully engaged in the work of making the most of their hotel spending.

Who Is a Hotel Credit Card Not Suited For?

The Annual-Fee-Averse

Since co-branded hotel credit cards carry annual fees, there are better options for those who are allergic to fees.

Borrowers/Revolvers

Hotel credit cards tend to have higher APRs and don’t offer balance transfer opportunities, so this type of card is not a good fit for those who carry a balance each month or several times a year.

Credit Builders

Hotel cards typically require credit scores that are in the range of "Good" to "Excellent" or better, so it makes little sense for those with a less-than-stellar credit history and score.

How Do You Maximize Hotel Credit Card Rewards?

  • Meet the initial spending required to earn any one-time introductory bonuses.
  • Redeem any initial or annual night awards, as they often expire if not used.
  • Stay at the hotel brand associated with the card whenever possible.
  • Avoid carrying a balance on the card, since interest charges will essentially negate any rewards or bonuses you’ve earned.
  • Consider using online shopping apps and portals that may add their own rewards to those you earn from the hotel chain.

What Credit Score Do I Need to Qualify for a Hotel Credit Card?

The hotel credit cards on this list require a credit score of at least 670 or higher, generally considered in the "Good" range. With a good credit score, you can take advantage of the perks from the hotel credit cards on this list, including automatic elite status, annual free nights, and bonus points on your eligible spending. If your credit score is below these levels, you can learn how to improve your credit score, then apply again when the time is right.

To apply for one of the best hotel credit cards, click on one of the links above, then have the following information ready to submit:

  • Name, address, telephone, and email
  • Social Security number and date of birth
  • Employer name and annual income
  • Hotel loyalty number (if you don't have one, it will be assigned to you)

After receiving your approval, pay attention to the required minimum spending amount and time frame to ensure that you receive your one-time bonus. If applicable, track your spending for additional benefits earned based on your purchases.

Methodology

To find the best hotel credit cards, we gather data points from hotel and general travel cards. This data includes standard credit card features such as annual fees, earning power, welcome bonuses, interest rates, and other hotel-specific perks, like elite status, annual free nights, and travel credits. Each data point is assigned a score and ranked for its importance to different types of travelers. This list represents our choices for the best credit card for each category of hotel traveler. We continuously monitor data from card issuers to update our rankings and provide the most up-to-date advice possible for our readers.

MEET OUR CREDIT CARDS EXPERT

Ben Woolsey is Investopedia's Senior Editor for Credit Cards. He has more than 30 years of experience in the financial services industry, including marketing for banking and financial institutions such as Associates First Capital and Bank One. Prior to Investopedia, he managed credit card content for CreditCards.com and Bankrate.com.