Updated on Sep 22, 2017

Best Hotel Credit Cards for 2017

Bonus, budget or best overall? Find the hotel credit card that has what you're looking for.
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This page includes analysis of our favorite cards from The Simple Dollar’s advertisers and the marketplace. Visit our advertiser disclosure to learn more.

Maybe you have your hotel covered, but you’re having difficulty finding last-minute airfare for an affordable price. Luckily, all the cards and rewards programs featured on our list of the Best Hotel Credit Cards for 2017 offer both generous rewards rates and versatile airline partnerships.

Consider where you want to lay your head, and how you want to get there, and once you’ve found the perfect card for you, simply click Apply Now!

Frequent traveler? Check out The Simple Dollar’s top picks for travel credit cards and airline credit cards.

Summary

Best hotel credit cards for 2017

The Simple Dollar's top picks for hotel cards

Best overall

Starwood Preferred Guest® Credit Card from American Express
See Rates & Fees
Rewards Summary 2X Starpoints® at participating SPG® & Marriott Rewards® hotels
Annual Fee $95 (waived first year)

Signup bonus 25,000 bonus Starpoints®
Signature perk Global Assist® Hotline
Highlights Provided by American Express Show Highlights
  • Earn 25,000 bonus Starpoints® after you use your new Card to make $3,000 in purchases within the first 3 months.
  • Earn 2 Starpoints® for each dollar of eligible purchases spent on the Card at participating SPG® & Marriott Rewards® hotels. Earn 1 Starpoint for all other purchases.
  • No Foreign Transaction Fees on International purchases.
  • Redeem Starpoints® at over 1,300 participating hotels and resorts in over 100 countries and for flights on more than 150 airlines with SPG flights, all with no blackout dates.
  • $0 introductory annual fee for the first year, then $95.
  • Terms Apply.
  • See Rates & Fees
  • Issuer: American Express
  • Sign Up Bonus: Earn 25,000 bonus Starpoints® after you use your new Card to make $3,000 in purchases within the first 3 months.
  • Annual Fee: $0 for the first year, then $95 See Details
  • Balance Transfer Fee: Either $5 or 3% of the amount of each transfer, whichever is greater.
  • Cash Advance APR: 26.24% Variable
  • Foreign Transaction Fee: None
  • Introductory APR: N/A
  • Introductory APR Period: N/A
  • Introductory Balance Transfer APR: N/A
  • Introductory Balance Transfer Period: N/A
  • Ongoing APR: 16.24% - 20.24% Variable See Rates & Fees
  • Penalty APR: 29.99% Variable

Our two cents

Who should get it

We recommend the Starwood Preferred Guest® Credit Card from American Express for frequent guests at Starwood® properties who want flexible air travel rewards on top of generous hotel rewards. When it comes to high-earning rewards redeemable for nights and flights, very few cards come close to this one.

How to use it
  • Book with participating properties each time you travel. Every $1 spent on eligible purchases at participating SPG® or Marriott Rewards® properties is worth 2X Starpoints® (and an additional 2 or 3 Starpoints® for SPG® members); earn 1X Starpoint® per $1 spent on other eligible purchases.
  • Earn the welcome bonus by making $3,000 in purchases within the first 3 months. You’ll get 25,000 Starpoints®, worth two free nights at a Category 4 hotel.
  • Explore flexible redemption options. Options for airline rewards include transferring points to more than 30 participating frequent flyer programs or redeeming points through SPG® Flights to fly on more than 150 airlines with no blackout dates.
Consider this

Although waived the first year, the $95 annual fee is fairly steep. However, for frequent leisure and business travelers who prefer to stay at SPG® and Marriott Rewards® properties, the rewards program and ability to transfer points for air travel will probably be worth it. If you’d prefer a more modest annual fee, the IHG® Rewards Club Select Credit Card has an annual fee of just $49 (waived for your first year).

Why you'll love it

If you’re a loyal customer of SPG® and Marriott Rewards® hotels, think about reserving room in your wallet for the Starwood Preferred Guest® Credit Card from American Express. Used correctly, it combines the best qualities of a hotel card and an all-around travel card.

Start your application now

Best new cardmember bonuses

Marriott Rewards® Premier Credit Card
Rewards Summary Unlimited 5X points at participating properties
Annual Fee $85

Signup bonus 80,000 bonus points
Signature perk Free night each account anniversary
Highlights Provided by Chase Show Highlights
  • Earn 80,000 Bonus Points after you spend $3,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening
  • Plus, earn 7,500 bonus points when you add the first authorized user and make a purchase in the first 3 months from account opening.
  • Enjoy 1 Free Night Stay at a Category 1-5 hotel every year after your account anniversary date!
  • Earn unlimited Marriott Rewards points and get Free Night Stays faster
  • Earn 5 points per $1 spent at participating Marriott Rewards & SPG hotels
  • 2 points per $1 spent on airline tickets purchased directly with the airlines, at car rental agencies & restaurants. Plus 1 point per $1 spent everywhere else
  • The fastest way to earn Marriott Rewards Elite Status. Receive 15 Elite Credits guaranteeing Silver Elite Status or better.
  • All for an $85 Annual Fee
  • Issuer: Chase
  • Rewards Details: 5 Points Per $1 Spent at Marriott Rewards and SPG hotels
  • Sign Up Bonus: Earn 80,000 Bonus Points after spending $3,000 on purchases in your first 3 months from account opening
  • Annual Fee: $85
  • Balance Transfer Fee: Either $5 or 5% of the amount of each transfer, whichever is greater.
  • Cash Advance APR: 25.99% Variable
  • Foreign Transaction Fee: $0
  • Introductory APR: N/A
  • Introductory APR Period: N/A
  • Introductory Balance Transfer APR: N/A
  • Introductory Balance Transfer Period: N/A
  • Ongoing APR: 16.99% - 23.99% Variable
  • Penalty APR: None

Our two cents

Who should get it

Loyal Marriott® guests who want a chance to earn a combined 87,500 in bonus points for becoming a cardmember should check out the Marriott Rewards® Premier Credit Card. This card has a generous, three-tiered rewards structure that offers points for hotel stays, travel and everyday purchases.

How to use it
  • Earn unlimited 5X points for each $1 spent at participating Marriott Rewards®, The Ritz-Carlton® and Starwood Preferred Guest® (SPG®) hotels; unlimited 2X points for each $1 spent when purchasing tickets directly from an airline and at car rental agencies and restaurants; and unlimited 1X point for each $1 spent on other purchases.
  • Earn 80,000 bonus points by spending $3,000 on purchases in your first 3 months; earn an additional 7,500 bonus points by adding the first authorized user and making a purchase in your first 3 months.
  • Get a free night stay at a Category 1-5 hotel every year after your account anniversary.
Consider this

Despite the signup bonuses and the other benefits, the Marriott Rewards® Premier Credit Card is strictly a hotel card. The Starwood Preferred Guest® Credit Card from American Express may offer a lower points rate for hotel purchases, but it does incorporate air travel rewards, including points transfers to airline loyalty programs. It all depends on how you prefer to distribute savings and rewards.

Why you'll love it

The new cardmember bonuses provide an enticing incentive to add the Marriott Rewards® Premier Credit Card to your wallet, and the rewards program is generous enough to keep it there. The 5X points rate has huge potential payoff for regular Marriott® guests, who are sure to appreciate the variety of properties where they can apply their rewards.

Start your application now

Most budget-friendly

IHG® Rewards Club Select Credit Card
Rewards Summary 5X rewards points at IHG® properties
Annual Fee $0 introductory annual fee the first year, then $49

Signup bonus 80,000 bonus points
Signature perk Flexible booking
Highlights Provided by Chase Show Highlights
  • Earn 80,000 bonus points after spending $1,000 on purchases within the first three months of account opening
  • Enjoy a Free Night after each account anniversary year at over 5,200 hotels worldwide
  • Earn 5 points 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
  • IHG Rewards Club Bonus points are redeemable at hotels such as InterContinental® Hotels & Resorts, Crowne Plaza® Hotels & Resorts and Holiday Inn®
  • Platinum Elite status as long as you're a Select credit cardmember
  • Automatic 10% points rebate on redemptions
  • $0 Introductory Annual Fee for the first year, then $49 a year
  • Issuer: Chase
  • Rewards Details: Earn 5 points 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.
  • Sign Up Bonus: Earn 80,000 bonus points after spending $1,000 on purchases within the first three months of account opening
  • Annual Fee: $0 introductory annual fee the first year, then $49
  • Balance Transfer Fee: Either $5 or 5% of the amount of each transfer, whichever is greater.
  • Cash Advance APR: 25.99% Variable
  • Foreign Transaction Fee: $0
  • Introductory APR: N/A
  • Introductory APR Period: N/A
  • Introductory Balance Transfer APR: N/A
  • Introductory Balance Transfer Period: N/A
  • Ongoing APR: 16.99% - 23.99% Variable
  • Penalty APR: None

Our two cents

Who should get it

The IHG® Rewards Club Select Credit Card is our top pick for travelers who like saving money by staying at Holiday Inn® and other economical, family-friendly IHG® brands. The card also offers a generous rewards program and a reasonable annual fee of $49, waived for the first year.

How to use it
  • Earn 5X rewards points per $1 spent at IHG® properties; 2X rewards points at gas stations, grocery stores and restaurants, 1X rewards point on other purchases.
  • Use rewards points, cash, or a combination of both to book Reward Nights at IHG® hotels with no blackout dates.
  • Enjoy a free night after each account anniversary year.
  • Earn 80,000 bonus points after spending $1,000 on purchases within the first three months of account opening.
  • Earn 5,000 points when you add your first authorized user and make your first purchase in the first three months after account opening.
  • With IHG® Rewards Club PointBreaks®, Reward Nights only cost 5,000 points per night at participating locations.
Consider this

If you’re more interested in a hotel card that also offers rewards points for air travel and car rental purchases, consider the Marriott Rewards® Premier Credit Card — 2X points per $1 on tickets purchased directly from the airline and at car rental agencies (and restaurants).

Why you'll love it

If you put a high premium on value, the IHG® Rewards Club Select Credit Card matches up well with your priorities. When it comes to Reward Nights or account anniversary nights, don’t forget that the list of IHG® properties extends beyond the Holiday Inn® flagship brand.

Start your application now

Our favorite hotel credit cards: summed up

3 reasons to ‘team up’ your hotel card with other cards

A hotel credit card can be very useful, but it shouldn’t necessarily be the only tool in your kit. Find out how the old saying about strength in numbers could apply to your pursuit of travel rewards.

Reason 1: You earn more points with multiple cards.

When it comes to non-travel purchases, a typical hotel card doesn’t have the same earnings potential as an all-around rewards card. The Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card, which offers 2X points for restaurant purchases in addition to travel, is a good example of a primary credit card that you can use to augment a hotel card. Another possible strategy would be to pair a hotel card with a co-branded airline card that lets you link your accounts to earn more points, as in the Starwood Preferred Guest® Credit Card from American Express and the Gold Delta SkyMiles® Credit Card from American Express.

Reason 2: Cash back cards can pay off big.

The Discover it® Cashback Match™ and similar cards with quarterly rotating bonus categories can earn you as much as 5% cash back for every $1 spent on purchases in those categories. (Compare that figure with the 1X or 2X rate on non-hotel purchases with a typical hotel card.) Another option is a fixed-category card like the Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express, which has a rewards structure that includes 6% cash back at U.S. supermarkets (on up to $6,000 per year in purchases, then 1%) and 3% cash back at U.S. gas stations and select U.S. department stores. When you earn cash back rewards with this type of card, you can redeem the points for statement credits to free up money you can then use for your travel expenses.

Reason 3: Some cards offer points transfers and travel credits.

Go back to the example of the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card, which lets you transfer points to participating hotel and airline loyalty programs at a 1:1 rate. Also, you can transfer points to this card from a Chase cash-back card, which lets you “bank” points that you can earmark for travel. Another Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card feature that travelers will find useful is the signup bonus of 50,000 points, which you can redeem for $625 toward hotels or airfare booked through Chase Ultimate Rewards®.

The upshot is, consider using one or more higher-earning rewards cards for everyday use and saving your hotel card for hotel purchases. If you play your cards right, you could wind up with significantly more rewards points and more room in your personal budget for travel.

Should you get a hotel credit card?

There’s no universal rule of thumb for putting an exact dollar value on any type of credit card rewards. In the case of hotel credit cards, frequent travelers who make it a habit to stay at a particular hotel chain have many reasons to feel that travel rewards are worth it.

For starters, they can redeem their accumulated points/miles for rewards that make travel more affordable (hotel stays, airfare and car rentals) and more comfortable (premium in-room internet access, among other benefits). Some hotel cards even help you celebrate each “anniversary” as a cardholder with a free night at a participating property every year. In addition to the monetary value, cards that offer travel rewards with no blackout dates or restrictions also make travel more convenient.

Not everybody needs a hotel credit card, but consumers who faithfully take vacations and faithfully use the same hotels when they travel just might find them indispensable.

Pro tip: Research the airline partner

Whatever your destination, and whatever hotel you choose, transportation always comes first. And with an average of more than 8 million people flying commercially every day, sometimes the ideal air travel booking can be elusive. Luckily for the points-minded traveler, each of our hotel credit cards offers an abundance of global airline partnerships and generous point-to-mile transfer rates.

Marriott Rewards® and Travel Rewards

With Travel Rewards, Marriott Rewards® members can transfer points to frequent flyer miles with over 40 global and regional airlines. Participating airlines include:

  • British Airways
  • JetBlue Airways
  • Korean Air SKYPASS
  • Qatar Airlines
  • Southwest Airlines

If you prefer to fly United, and you’re a Marriott Rewards® and United MileagePlus® member, you’re eligible for the Marriott and United’s RewardsPlus program. It offers a whopping 7 rewards miles per dollar spent on United flights, and a 20% discount when you convert points to United MileagePlus® award miles, plus a host of other perks.

If you’re a Marriott Rewards® Premier Credit Card holder, it’s possible to combine Marriott Travel Rewards with select airline credit cards to earn extra rewards.

Let’s say you’re a Marriott Rewards® Premier Credit Card holder, and you prefer to fly Southwest. If you also sign up for the Southwest Rapid Rewards® Plus Credit Card (one of our Best Airline Cards for 2017), you’ll be able to earn 2X points for Southwest® and Rapid Rewards® purchases, in addition to unlimited 5X points spent on participating Marriott Rewards®, The Ritz-Carlton®, and Starwood Preferred Guest® (SPG®) hotels.

Dual cardmembers also have the option of converting Marriott Rewards points and Rapid Rewards® Points to United MileagePlus award miles with RewardsPlus. You could qualify for tens of thousands of MileagePlus miles.

Rewards ratio varies by airline, so be sure to do your research and always check the fine print.

Starwood Preferred Guest® and SPG® Flights

Starwood Preferred Guest® Credit Card from American Express cardholders can redeem Starpoints® to book flights with over 150 airlines through SPG® Flights, all with no blackout dates. Participating airlines include:

  • American Airlines
  • China Airlines
  • Delta Air Lines
  • Emirates
  • Virgin Atlantic

Instead of direct transfer, SPG® Flights utilizes a predetermined redemption rate determined by price range. For example, ticket prices up to $150 require a redemption of 10,000 Starpoints®, while prices that fall anywhere between $345-$410 require 30,000 Starpoints®.

If you are looking to go the direct transfer route, SPG® members can transfer Starpoints® directly to miles with participating frequent flyer programs. Most Starpoint®-to-mile exchanges enjoy a 1:1 ratio, and SPG® will add 5,000 bonus Starpoints® for every 20,000 transferred at a time.

If you’re a frequent Delta traveler and a Gold Delta SkyMiles® Credit Card from American Express cardholder, you’re eligible for Crossover Rewards with SPG® and Delta SkyMiles®. SPG® Platinum and Gold members earn 1 Starpoint® for every dollar spent on eligible Delta flights. Diamond, Platinum, Gold, and Silver Medallion® members earn 1 mile for every dollar spent on eligible room rates at over 1,100 Starwood hotels and resorts globally. And Crossover Benefits are in addition to the typical Starpoints® or miles earned as a member of each program.

It’s also possible to pair the both rewards programs to create a powerful rewards combo. If you spend $1,000 in purchases on the Gold Delta SkyMiles® Credit Card from American Express within the first three months of card ownership, you’ll be able to earn 30,000 bonus miles. And if you spend $3,000 in purchases on the Starwood Preferred Guest® Credit Card from American Express within the first 3 months of card ownership, you’ll earn 25,000 Starpoints®. Since Starpoints® transfer to Delta miles at a 1:1 ratio, those bonuses could be worth 55,000 miles.

IHG® Rewards Club Partner Airlines

IHG® Rewards Club Select Credit Card holders can turn their rewards into frequent flyer miles with any one of IHG®’s 40-plus airline partners through the IHG® Rewards Club Customer Care Center. Participating airlines include:

  • Alaska Airlines
  • Hawaiian Airlines
  • JetBlue Airways
  • Singapore Airlines
  • United Airlines

IHG® rewards don’t translate directly into frequent flyer miles – instead Rewards Club members can select from an online store of block increments of miles worth an established amount of points. For example, members can purchase 2,000 miles from Alaska Airlines at a price of 10,000 points using a specific code available on IHG®’s partner airlines page.

With the IHG® Rewards Club Select Credit Card’s impressive rewards rate (5X rewards points at IHG® properties, 2X rewards points at gas stations, grocery stores, and restaurants, and 1X rewards points on all other purchases), cardholders can earn frequent flyer miles in no time!

The IHG® Rewards Club Select Credit Card pairs well with the , which offers 3X points for JetBlue purchases and 2X points on dining and groceries.

The IHG® Rewards Club Select Credit Card comes with a modest $49 fee, waived for the first year, and the comes with no fee at all. JetBlue Card holders can earn 10,000 signup bonus points if they spend $1,000 on purchases within the first 90 days of card ownership, and IHG® Rewards Club Select Credit Card holders can earn a whopping signup bonus of 80,000 points if they spend $1,000 within their first three months of account opening. Those bonuses can be worth a combined 31,000 JetBlue TrueBlue points.

Metasearch: A new way to book direct online

At first glance, OTAs and metasearch engines can seem like two sides of the same coin. Both are aggregate hotel and flight booking organizations with strong online presences and considerable marketing budgets. (You’ve likely seen as many commercials for Kayak, a metasearch Engine, as you have for Travelocity, an OTA.)

But there’s one key difference: direct booking.

With OTA’s, you’re booking with the agency, not directly with the hotel, meaning that you won’t be able to maximize rewards, and paying third parties a considerable commission.

Hotel metasearch engines combine the aggregate power of OTAs — scouring the industry to find the best possible room rates for consumers – but once you’re ready to book you’ll have the option of booking direct. That means loyalty points, better perks, and higher quality customer service (which can make life much easier if you ever need to ask for a refund).

Metasearch engines don’t charge commission fees – instead earning their money through selling the best possible ranking space to hotels, as well as through advertisements and referrals.

Hotels are beginning to turn more and more to metasearch engines as a way to compete with online travel agencies — and some major deals have been made this past year as a result.

In Case You Missed It: Marriott and PlacePass

Earlier this year, Marriott announced a partnership with tours-and-activities metasearch platform PlacePass. It’s a valuable acquisition for Marriott. Last year Marriott Rewards® and SPG® members cashed in points for over 6,000 events or experiences. PlacePass has an expansive presence. Their official announcement cites access to over 100,000 experiences in over 800 countries, with more added every week.

Here’s just some of the experiences available to travelers through PlacePass:

But it’s loyalty members who benefit the most from this deal. If you’re a Marriott Rewards® Premier Credit Card or Starwood Preferred Guest® Credit Card from American Express holder, you’ll be able to access PlacePass directly through Marriott and Starwood’s loyalty portal. And there’s the possibility for hotel card holders to use points to book events in the future.

It doesn’t matter where you choose to lay your head; booking a stay at a Marriott or Starwood property isn’t a requirement to access the PlacePass portal.

In case you missed it: IHG and TripAdvisor

Earlier this year, IHG made a big investment in the online travel game, announcing that its hotels (including InterContinental and Holiday Inn) are now part of TripAdvisor’s Instant Booking catalogue. IHG customers will be able to book rooms directly at IHG properties without the need to leave TripAdvisor’s website or app. Because TripAdvisor is a metasearch engine with direct booking, IHG properties will handle the transaction, as well as provide customer service.

IHG has been one of the last holdouts in the online travel game, pushing for direct booking by boycotting OTAs. It’s not the first time, either – IHG had previously pulled its inventory from Expedia all the way back in 2004.

The upshot for IHG® Rewards Club Select Credit Card holders is the opportunity to utilize the 5X points per dollar spent at IHG properties directly through TripAdvisor, making Reward Nights easier than ever to earn and redeem.

Pro-tip: Combine membership, direct booking, and traveling abroad

Traveling abroad can be an exhilarating, once-in-a-lifetime experience, but it can also be an exhausting one. The last thing you want to think about once you’re overseas is where you’re going to lay your head for the night, and if you’ll have everything you need once you’re settled in.

If you choose to book third party, there’s a possibility that you’ll receive poorer customer service – since hotels don’t get all the details when you book through a third-party OTA, you’ll open yourself up to possible misunderstandings and might have a harder time getting issues resolved. If you’re a Marriott Rewards® Premier Credit Card holder or a Starwood Preferred Guest® Credit Card from American Express holder, you’ll have access to a global network of customer service phone lines, as well as a toll-free, North America-based phone number available 24 hours a day, seven days a week. IHG® Rewards Club Select Credit Card holders can access a global customer care network of their own, with customer service lines available around the world 24/7 (unless otherwise noted on their site).

Whether you’re globetrotting or exploring a single country and culture, be sure to check out the international portal of your loyalty program for true peace of mind – and remember that booking direct means that membership perks remain the same, no matter where you are on the map.

For both Marriott Rewards®/SPG members and IHG Rewards Club members, that means free in-room internet – an absolute necessity for any overseas trip. And you’ll be able to turn points into unforgettable travel experiences, whether through Marriott’s Membership site (with the new PlacePass network coming later this year), or IHG’s Rewarding Experiences.

Starwood Preferred Guest® Credit Card from American Express holders can benefit even more, as they can redeem their Starpoints® for Marriott Rewards® or The Ritz-Carlton Rewards Points at a ratio of 1:3!

Protip: Know your rewards rates

Marriott/Starwood and IHG are titans in the hotel industry, with a combined 40+ brands and thousands of individual locations around the world. So, when you sign up for a hotel loyalty program, you’ve got access to quite a bit. But just as the nightly rate varies based on where you’re staying, the rewards rate can change based on the brand you’re staying with. And loyalty members earn more points per dollar with some brands than others.

Before you’re in the air or on the road, you want to make sure that your desired hotel is the absolute best place to rest your head, so we’ve put together a shortlist of the benefits and rewards rates of each major hotel brand.

Starwood Preferred Guest® Credit Card from American Express cardholders enjoy a flat, streamlined earning rate: 2X Starpoints® at participating SPG® and Marriott Rewards® hotels, while SPG® members can earn an additional 2-3X Starpoints® per dollar. It’s a compact plan that doesn’t vary by hotel brand.

Marriott Rewards® Rates:

Earn 10 points (or up to 2 air miles) per dollar on qualifying charges spent at the following brands:

  • JW Marriott
  • Autograph Collection® Hotels
  • Renaissance® Hotels
  • Marriott Hotels
  • Marriott Vacation Club
  • Delta Hotels Marriott

Earn 10 points (or up to 2 air miles) per dollar on room rates spent at the following brands:

  • Edition® Hotels
  • Gaylord Hotels®
  • AC Hotels by Marriott
  • Courtyard® Marriott
  • Springhill Suites® Marriott
  • Fairfield Inn &Suites® Marriott
  • Protea Hotels Marriott
  • Moxy Hotels
  • The Ritz-Carlton®

Earn 5 points (or up to 1 air miles) per dollar on room rates spent at the following brands:

  • Residence Inn® Marriott
  • TownePlace Suites® Marriott

And Marriott has some extra deals with the following Earning-Only partner hotels:

  • Marriott® Executive Apartments
  • Earn 2.5 points or 1 air mile per U.S. dollar spent on room rate only and one elite night credit for every three nights stayed.
  • ExecuStay®
  • Earn 2.5X points per dollar on all qualifying charges of the stay at ExecuStay® and one elite night credit for every three nights.

IHG® Rewards Club Rates:

Earn 10 points for every dollar spent at the following IHG brands:

  • InterContinental® Hotels &Resorts
  • HUALUXE® Hotels
  • Crowne Plaza Hotels &Resorts
  • Hotel Indigo
  • Holiday Inn
  • Holiday Inn Express
  • Holiday Inn Resorts
  • Holiday Inn Club Vacations®
  • EVEN® Hotels

Earn 5 points for every dollar spent at the following IHG brands:

  • Staybridge Suites®
  • Candlewood Suites®

Pro tip: Research your destination’s category

In addition to knowing the rewards earning rate of each brand, it’s helpful to know their tier and point requirements of each hotel, which is industry speak for how many points are required in order to redeem a free night. Individual hotels are grouped into categories and tiers based on their brand, location, and type.

Hotels in lower categories tend to net fewer rewards for members, but free nights also cost less points to redeem. It’s a lot to keep track of, so we’ve pulled the basic info for Marriott’s, Starwood’s, and IHG’s rewards categories:

Marriott Rewards Categories*

Category Points Required for Free Nights
Category 1 7,500
Category 2 10,000
Category 3 15,000
Category 4 20,000
Category 5 25,000
Category 6 30,000
Category 7 35,000
Category 8 40,000
Category 9 45,000

*Note: Allow popups on your browser.

Starwood Preferred Guest Categories**

Category Starpoints® Required for a Free Standard Room
Category 1 2,000 – 3,000 Starpoints®
Category 2 3,000 – 4,000 Starpoints®
Category 3 7,000 Starpoints®
Category 4 10,000 Starpoints®
Category 5 12,000 – 16,000 Starpoints®
Category 6 20,000 – 25,000 Starpoints®
Category 7 30,000 – 35,000 Starpoints®

**Lower point requirements in Categories 1 and 2 refer to weekends vs. weekdays. Location and season may affect points requirements in other categories.

IHG® Rewards Club Categories

Category Points Required for Free Nights
Category 1 10,000
Category 2 15,000
Category 3 20,000
Category 4 25,000
Category 5 30,000
Category 6 35,000
Category 7 40,000
Category 8 45,000
Category 9 50,000
Category 10 55,000
Category 11 60,000

For in-depth details on each individual IHG property’s redemption rate, check out this list, updated January 2017.

In case you missed it: IHG’s Accelerate

IHG is always looking for ways to help its rewards club members earn more points through extra earning opportunities. nights in specific cities, or at pre-established brands for a specified length of time, can earn an extra 1,000-3,000 rewards points. These promotions are offered through IHG Rewards Club’s Accelerate program, and they switch out every few months.

IHG’s Fall 2017 Accelerate promotions were recently released, and are valid between September 1st and December 31st, 2017. Here’s a quick glimpse at this season’s promotions:

  • Stay once, get 2,000 bonus points: IHG Rewards Club members stay once at an IHG property and earn an extra 2,000 points.
  • Book and pay for one stay with your IHG Rewards Club Select Credit Card and earn 1,500 bonus points.
  • September bonus offer: Stay in any IHG property in September and earn an extra 3,000 bonus points.
  • Stay 2 or more nights at participating IHG® hotels in New York City and earn 3,000 bonus points.

For more information on IHG’s Accelerate program, as well as up-to-date information on current deals, check out their official page. (Available only to IHG Rewards Club Members.)

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