Best Hotel Credit Cards

There's only one thing better than sleeping in a comfy, fluffy, clean, luxurious hotel bed, being treated like a VIP...and that's knowing it was free (or close to it!).

And if you travel for work, staying at the right hotel is key to making your otherwise busy or bleak business trip feel more like a vacation.

With hotel credit cards, you're able to stay at your favorite hotel chain for less and get some seriously envy-worthy perks along the way, like upgraded loyalty status and hotel discounts, just to name a few.

How hotel credit cards work

Most hotel credit cards are co-branded with a specific hotel chain, so if you tend to always stay at the same brand of hotels, this type of credit card could be ideal for you.

Hotel credit cards are all about loyalty – the more you stay at the specific hotel chain, the more points you'll earn.

In many cases, hotel credit cards will earn you points on a tiered rewards system. This means you'll earn a certain amount of points on all your purchases, more points on a specific category of spending, and even more points on purchases at that specific hotel chain.

For example, a hotel credit card might allow you to earn:

  • 2 points per dollar spent on all purchases,
  • 3 points per dollar spent at restaurants, and
  • 6 points per dollar spent at the specific hotel chain.

Talk about fast-tracking your earning.

Hotel credit card rewards

So now that you're earning all these rewards for your hotel stays, what can you do with them?

First, there's redeeming for more hotel stays, allowing you to stay for free or at a discounted price.

Then there's upgraded loyalty status, like the coveted Lifetime Elite status, that you can earn by fulfilling a required amount of hotel stays. And obviously, getting free stays here and there is a good way to minimize your costs on your journey to getting that prestigious title.

Hotel credit card perks

Earning multiple times the number of points on your hotel stays isn't the only thing hotel credit cards are good for. They also come with a slew of valuable perks.

Upgraded loyalty program status

Many hotel credit cards will offer automatically upgraded status in the cards' loyalty program. This alone can get you:

  • bonus points on stays,
  • room upgrades,
  • late checkout,
  • welcome gifts,
  • complimentary internet access,
  • reservation guarantees,
  • exclusive rates,
  • and much more.

You'll truly feel like a VIP.

Free night stays

Aside from all those exclusive perks, a lot of hotel credit cards will also offer free night stays just for having the card. Depending on the card, this alone can make the annual fee worth paying.

Plus, some will even offer more than one after qualifying spending.

For example, you could earn an extra free night after spending $10,000 per year on your card.

The downsides

As with most things, there's a couple of downsides with hotel credit cards.

High annual fees

With annual fees ranging from $0, $95, and $450, not many can justify the high annual fees, even if it means you'll get more of those juicy perks.

Lack of flexibility

If you like to test the waters and try new places to stay, a hotel-branded credit card might not be for you.

As mentioned above, loyalty is the name of the game with this kind of credit card, and you might not get the most value as possible if you prefer to expand your horizons.

The bottom line

Overall, hotel credit cards are a no brainer for free night stays and awesome VIP perks. But if you're hoping for some wiggle room, perhaps a more flexible travel credit card would be best.

Compare Hotel Credit Cards

The creditcardGenius algorithm calculates an estimated dollar value for all rewards and bonuses by using a typical point value a person can realistically achieve by redeeming their rewards in a reasonably optimized way. The "Welcome Bonus" is the dollar value obtained by combining all one-time bonuses available to new cardholders within the first year. To qualify for the full bonus you may need to make purchases, meet minimum spending requirements, or complete special actions. Terms and conditions apply.

* Conditions apply.