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The best hotel credit cards of August 2021:
When considering a hotel credit card, it’s important to factor in your travel goals: Are you looking to stay at a five-star resort in the Maldives? Or do you want to be able to book a cheap staycation once or twice a year without paying an exorbitant annual fee?
It’s also important to consider the card’s welcome bonus, recurring benefits, ease of earning free nights via credit card spending, category bonuses, and elite status perks (if any). With that in mind, here are the best hotel credit cards.
High sign-up bonus starts you off with lots of points
Strong travel coverage
Doesn’t offer a Global Entry/TSA PreCheck application fee credit
Best offer ever! Earn 100,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That’s $1,250 when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®.
Earn 2X points on dining including eligible delivery services, takeout and dining out and travel. Plus, earn 1 point per dollar spent on all other purchases.
Get 25% more value when you redeem for airfare, hotels, car rentals and cruises through Chase Ultimate Rewards®. For example, 100,000 points are worth $1,250 toward travel.
With Pay Yourself Back℠, your points are worth 25% more during the current offer when you redeem them for statement credits against existing purchases in select, rotating categories.
Get unlimited deliveries with a $0 delivery fee and reduced service fees on eligible orders over $12 for a minimum of one year with DashPass, DoorDash’s subscription service. Activate by 12/31/21.
Count on Trip Cancellation/Interruption Insurance, Auto Rental Collision Damage Waiver, Lost Luggage Insurance and more.
Get up to $60 back on an eligible Peloton Digital or All-Access Membership through 12/31/2021, and get full access to their workout library through the Peloton app, including cardio, running, strength, yoga, and more. Take classes using a phone, tablet, or TV. No fitness equipment is required.
Read Our Review
If you’re loyal to a specific hotel brand, having a co-branded card makes a lot of sense, as it can get you complimentary elite status, bonus points, and other perks when you stay with that chain. (You’ll see our top card picks for each hotel brand further down in this guide).
Read more: Chase Sapphire Preferred Card review
But if you care less about brand loyalty and more about earning as many points as possible, a general travel rewards credit card like the Chase Sapphire Preferred could make more sense. This card earns Chase Ultimate Rewards points (with 2x points on travel, including hotels), which you can redeem for travel bookings through the Chase Travel Portal or transfer to partners including Hyatt and IHG to book).
The Chase Sapphire Preferred also offers excellent travel insurance, so it’s a good card to use for hotel bookings and airfare.
Annual travel credit can effectively shave $300 off the annual fee if you use it
Strong travel insurance
Strong bonus rewards on travel and dining
Very high annual fee
The new DoorDash statement credits may not be useful for everyone, which can make the recently increased annual fee harder to justify
Earn 60,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That’s $900 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®
$300 Annual Travel Credit as reimbursement for travel purchases charged to your card each account anniversary year. Through December 31, 2021, gas station & grocery store purchases will also count towards earning your Travel Credit
3X points on travel immediately after earning your $300 travel credit. 3X points on dining at restaurants including eligible delivery services, takeout and dining out & 1 point per $1 spent on all other purchases
Get 50% more value when you redeem your points for travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards®. For example, 60,000 points are worth $900 toward travel
With Pay Yourself Back℠, your points are worth 50% more during the current offer when you redeem them for statement credits against existing purchases in select, rotating categories
1:1 point transfer to leading airline and hotel loyalty programs
Access to 1,300+ airport lounges worldwide after an easy, one-time enrollment in Priority Pass™ Select and up to $100 application fee credit for Global Entry or TSA Pre✓®
Count on Trip Cancellation/Interruption Insurance, Auto Rental Collision Damage Waiver, Lost Luggage Insurance and more
Read Our Review
The Sapphire Reserve is the higher-end sibling of the Chase Sapphire Preferred, with many of the same benefits except higher earning rates (3x versus 2x points on travel and dining) and even better travel coverage.
Read more: Chase Sapphire Reserve review
It includes everything from trip cancellation and trip delay insurance to primary car rental insurance. Unlike the Chase Sapphire Preferred, the Sapphire Reserve includes emergency evacuation insurance. In exchange for the $550 annual fee, you get up to a $300 annual travel credit, Priority Pass airport lounge membership, and more.
See Pay Over Time APR
100,000 Membership Rewards points after you spend $6,000 in your first 6 months of card membership, plus 10x points on eligible purchases on the Card at restaurants worldwide and when you Shop Small in the U.S., on up to $25,000 in combined purchases, during your first 6 months of card membership
Long list of travel benefits, including airport lounge access and complimentary elite status with Hilton and Marriott (enrollment required)
Annual statement credits with Saks and Uber
Bonus categories leave something to be desired
One of the highest annual fees among premium travel cards
Earn 100,000 Membership Rewards® Points after you spend $6,000 on purchases on the Card in your first 6 months of Card Membership.
Plus, earn 10x points on eligible purchases on the Card at restaurants worldwide and when you Shop Small in the U.S., on up to $25,000 in combined purchases, during your first 6 months of Card Membership.
Earn 5X Membership Rewards® Points for flights booked directly with airlines or with American Express Travel up to $500,000 on these purchases per calendar year.
Earn 5X Membership Rewards® Points on prepaid hotels booked with American Express Travel.
$200 Hotel Credit: Get $200 back in statement credits each year on prepaid Fine Hotels + Resorts® or The Hotel Collection bookings with American Express Travel when you pay with your Platinum Card®.
$240 Digital Entertainment Credit: Get up to $20 in statement credits each month when you pay for eligible purchases with the Platinum Card® at your choice of one or more of the following providers: Peacock, Audible, SiriusXM, and The New York Times. Enrollment required.
New! American Express has expanded The Centurion® Network to include 40+ Centurion Lounge and Studio locations worldwide. Now there are even more places your Platinum Card® can get you complimentary entry and exclusive perks.
$200 Airline Fee Credit: Get up to $200 in statement credits per calendar year in baggage fees and more at one qualifying airline.
$200 Uber Cash: Enjoy Uber VIP status and up to $200 in Uber savings on rides or eats orders in the US annually. Uber Cash and Uber VIP status available to Basic Card Member only.
$300 Equinox Credit: Get up to $25 back each month on select Equinox memberships. Enrollment required.
$179 CLEAR® Credit: Use your Card and get up to $179 back per year on your CLEAR® membership.
$695 Annual Fee.
Read Our Review
The Platinum Card® from American Express is a great card for booking hotel stays for several reasons. First, it offers complimentary Gold elite status with both Hilton Honors and Marriott Bonvoy**. This can get you room upgrades and bonus points on your paid stays — and Gold status with Hilton even gets you free breakfast.
Read more: Amex Platinum card review
Plus, if you have the Platinum Card you can access Amex Fine Hotels & Resorts — a collection of luxury properties booked through Amex that offer benefits like complimentary upgrades, free breakfast, and property credits. The Amex Platinum has a $695 annual fee (See Rates), but it easily can be worth it thanks to benefits like this.
Best for Hilton stays: Hilton Honors Aspire Card
15.74% to 24.74% variable APR on purchases
Good to Excellent
150,000 points after you spend at least $4,000 in your first 3 months of account opening
Complimentary top-tier Hilton elite status
Get a weekend night reward each year after you renew your card
High welcome bonus
Valuable annual statement credit for eligible Hilton purchases
The information related to the Hilton Honors American Express Aspire Card has been collected by Business Insider and has not been reviewed or provided by the issuer.
Earn 150,000 Hilton Honors Bonus Points after you spend $4,000 in purchases on the card within your first 3 months of card membership
14X Hilton Honors Bonus Points for each dollar of eligible purchases charged on your card directly with a hotel or resort within the Hilton portfolio
7X Hilton Honors Bonus Points for each dollar of eligible purchases on your Card on flights booked directly with airlines or amextravel.com, and on car rentals booked directly from select car rental companies
7X Hilton Honors Bonus Points for each dollar of eligible purchases on your card at U.S. restaurants
3X Hilton Honors Bonus Points for all other eligible purchases on your card
Read Our Review
The Hilton Honors Aspire Card is hands-down the best co-branded hotel credit card out there. For starters, with the welcome bonus (150,000 points after you spend at least $4,000 in your first 3 months of account opening), you can book upwards of 30 free nights, depending on the hotel category. The card also comes with top-tier Hilton Diamond status, which gets you free breakfast, lounge access, and a 100% bonus on points earned via paid stays.
Read more: Amex Hilton Aspire card review
The Hilton Honors Aspire Card also offers a free weekend night reward when you renew your card at your account anniversary, plus an extra free night when you spend $60,000 in a calendar year. Travelers will appreciate up to $250 in annual Hilton resort statement credits, up to $250 in annual airline incidental credits, and Priority Pass Select membership**.
If you don’t stay at Hilton properties frequently enough to justify this card’s $450 annual fee (See Review), the Hilton Honors American Express Surpass® Card
, with a $0 intro for the first year, then $95 (offer expires 8/25/2021) annual fee (see review), is a better option. It earns 12x points on eligible Hilton purchases (compared to 14x on the Aspire), and like the Aspire it offers a high welcome bonus.
$89 (waived the first year)
15.99% – 22.99% Variable
Good to Excellent
150,000 bonus points after spending $3,000 on purchases within the first three months of account opening
Anniversary reward night can be worth more than the annual fee
Could offer better rewards on non-IHG purchases
Earn 150,000 bonus points after spending $3,000 on purchases within the first three months of account opening
Enjoy a Reward Night after each account anniversary year at eligible IHG hotels worldwide. Plus, enjoy a reward night when you redeem points for any stay of 4 or more nights
Earn up to 25 points total per $1 spent when you stay at an IHG hotel
Earn 2 points per $1 spent on purchases at gas stations, grocery stores, and restaurants. Earn 1 point per $1 spent on all other purchases
Platinum Elite status as long as you remain a Premier card member
Global Entry or TSA Pre✓® Fee Credit of up to $100 every 4 years as reimbursement for the application fee charged to your card
IHG Rewards Club Bonus points are redeemable at hotels such as InterContinental®, Crowne Plaza®, Kimpton®, EVEN® Hotels, Indigo® Hotels & Holiday Inn®
Read Our Review
The IHG® Rewards Club Premier Credit Card is one of the best hotel cards in terms of value.
Read more: IHG Rewards Club Premier card review
In exchange for an annual fee of $89 (waived the first year), cardholders get complimentary IHG Platinum elite status, a fourth night free on award bookings of four or more nights, and a Global Entry or TSA PreCheck fee credit of up to $100 every four years. Additionally, cardholders earn a reward night every year, which you can use at any IHG hotel worldwide that costs up to 40,000 points per night.
Best for Hyatt stays: The World Of Hyatt Credit Card
15.99% – 22.99% Variable
Good to Excellent
30,000 bonus points after spending $3,000 on purchases in the first three months of account opening, and up to 30,000 more bonus points by earning with 2 points per dollar spent on purchases that normally earn 1 point, up to $15,000 in the first six months of account opening
Valuable annual reward night
Hyatt points are valuable, and this card earns 2x points on several bonus categories
If you spend a lot on this card, you can earn a second free night
Not too many extra benefits
The information related to the The World Of Hyatt Credit Card has been collected by Business Insider and has not been reviewed by the issuer.
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
Receive 1 free night at any Category 1-4 Hyatt hotel or resort after your Cardmember anniversary
Receive complimentary World of Hyatt Discoverist status for as long as your account is open
Receive 5 tier qualifying night credits towards status after account opening, and each year after that for as long as your account is open
Earn an extra free night at any Category 1-4 Hyatt hotel if you spend $15,000 in a calendar year
Earn 2 qualifying night credits towards tier status every time you spend $5,000 on your card
Earn up to 9 points total for Hyatt stays – 4 Bonus Points per $1 spent at Hyatt hotels & 5 Base Points per $1 from Hyatt as a World of Hyatt member
Earn 2 Bonus Points per $1 spent at restaurants, on airlines tickets purchased directly from the airlines, on local transit and commuting and on fitness club and gym memberships
Read Our Review
The World Of Hyatt Credit Card comes with free Discoverist status, which offers benefits like premium internet and 10% bonus points on paid stays. Cardholders aiming for higher status will appreciate the five qualifying night credits issued every year and the ability to earn two additional credits per $5,000 spent on the card.
Read more: World of Hyatt credit card review
Cardholders also receive a free night certificate on their account anniversary every year, valid at Hyatt Category 1 to 4 hotels. You can also earn a second free night after you spend $15,000 or more on purchases in a calendar year.
15.99% – 22.99% Variable
Good to Excellent
3 Free Nights (valued up to 50,000 points each) after spending $3,000 in the first 3 months, plus 10x total points per $1 spent on up to $2,500 in combined purchases in select categories within your first 6 months
Annual free night reward for hotels that cost up to 35,000 points can be worth more than annual fee
The only lucrative bonus category is participating Marriott Bonvoy hotels
Upgrading to Gold status requires spending $35,000 on the card in an account year,
Earn 3 Free Nights (each night valued up to 50,000 points) after qualifying purchases + 10X total points on eligible purchases in select categories.
1 Free Night Award (valued up to 35,000 points) every year after account anniversary.
Earn up to 17X total Bonvoy points per $1 spent at over 7,000 hotels participating in Marriott Bonvoy™.
2X Bonvoy points for every $1 spent on all other purchases.
Automatic Silver Elite Status each account anniversary year. Path to Gold Status when you spend $35,000 on purchases each account year.
15 Elite Night Credits each calendar year.
No Foreign Transaction Fees.
Earn unlimited Marriott Bonvoy points and get Free Night Stays faster.
Read Our Review
The Marriott Bonvoy Boundless™ Credit Card includes solid perks for a mid-tier hotel credit card, including a free night each year after your cardmember anniversary at Marriott Bonvoy hotels that cost up to 35,000 points per night.
Read more: Marriott Bonvoy Boundless card review
Another reason to consider it? It’s currently offering one of the best sign-up offers among all Marriott credit cards: 3 Free Nights (valued up to 50,000 points each) after spending $3,000 in the first 3 months, plus 10x total points per $1 spent on up to $2,500 in combined purchases in select categories within your first 6 months.
15.74%, 19.99% or 24.99%
Good to Excellent
60,000 bonus points after spending $1,000 on purchases in the first 90 days, plus an additional 30,000 points after spending $2,000 in total the first 6 months of account opening
0% intro APR on balance transfers for 15 months
Complimentary Platinum elite status
Strong points earning on Wyndham stays and gas stations
Annual bonus of 7,500 points for your cardmember anniversary
10% points discount for booking gofree Wyndham award stays
The information related to the Wyndham Rewards® Earner Plus Card has been collected by Business Insider and has not been reviewed by the issuer.
Earn 4 points per dollar on eligible dining and grocery store purchases (excluding Target and Walmart)
Earn 6 points per dollar on eligible purchases made at Hotels by Wyndham
Earn 6 points per dollar on gas purchases
Earn 1 point per dollar on all other purchases
The Wyndham Rewards® Earner Plus Card offers good benefits, including Platinum elite status, which comes with benefits like upgrades on Avis car rentals, early check-in, and a status match to the Caesars Rewards program. Each year after your account anniversary, you’ll also receive 7,500 bonus points (with no spending requirement). The annual fee is a moderate $75.
Read more: 3 Wyndham Rewards credit cards are offering elevated welcome bonuses up to 90,000 points, but only for a limited time
It earns a solid 6 Wyndham points per dollar on eligible Wyndham purchases and at gas stations, 4x points at Wyndham Timeshare properties and at restaurants and grocery stores (excluding Target and Walmart), and 1 point per dollar on everything else (excluding Wyndham Timeshare resorts down payments). You’ll also get discounts on both paid and points bookings with Wyndham hotels.
Frequently asked questions — hotel credit cards
How did we choose the best hotel credit cards?
Personal Finance Insider analyzed dozens of hotel cards, looking at benefits, annual fees, rewards, and ancillary benefits to arrive at our final list of the very best options.
Read more: 6 reasons why you should apply for a hotel credit card now, even if you’re not traveling any time soon
Many hotel brands offer various “tiers” of credit cards. For example, in addition to the Marriott Bonvoy Boundless™ Credit Card with a $95 annual fee, there’s the Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant™ American Express® Card, which has a $450 annual fee (See Rates) and includes an annual statement credit for Marriott stays.
When more than one personal credit card was available from a top hotel chain, we chose the card that offers the most value to an average guest, not someone who travels every weekend.
For instance, we chose the Marriott Bonvoy Boundless™ Credit Card as the best credit card for Marriott stays, because it balances a moderate annual fee with a few valuable perks and a great welcome bonus. The Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant™ American Express® Card has more perks to justify its annual fee, but it’s harder to recommend to everybody — especially since it only offers complimentary mid-tier Gold status with Marriott.
On the other hand, we named the Hilton Honors Aspire Card, with a $450 annual fee, the best card for Hilton stays, because it comes with several statement credits that can effectively reduce the fee — and it offers the highest level of Hilton elite status as a complimentary benefit to cardholders.
Are hotel credit cards worth it?
If you have a good credit score and pay your credit card bills off each month, it makes sense to get a rewards credit card that earns you points on your purchases — including hotel stays.
How do I find the right hotel credit card for me?
You’ll have to decide whether you stay with a particular hotel chain frequently enough to opt for a co-branded hotel credit card (such as an IHG card). If you want to earn travel points and enjoy some benefits on your hotel stay but you don’t stay in hotels very often, you’re probably better off with a general travel rewards card, like the Chase Sapphire Preferred or the The Platinum Card® from American Express.
Sarah Silbert is the Senior Reviews Editor at Personal Finance Insider. She oversees the vertical’s guides and reviews, covering topics including banking, credit cards, insurance, investing, and mortgages. Her goal is to empower readers to make smart, informed…