We are an independent, advertising-supported comparison service. Our goal is to help you make smarter financial decisions by providing you with interactive tools and financial calculators, publishing original and objective content, by enabling you to conduct research and compare information for free – so that you can make financial decisions with confidence. The offers that appear on this site are from companies from which TheSimpleDollar.com receives compensation. This compensation may impact how and where products appear on this site including, for example, the order in which they appear. The Simple Dollar does not include all card/financial services companies or all card/financial services offers available in the marketplace. The Simple Dollar has partnerships with issuers including, but not limited to, Capital One, Chase & Discover. View our full advertiser disclosure to learn more.
Best Hotel Credit Cards of 2021
The best hotel credit cards reward you for staying in hotels with points, cash back or free nights. Hotel credit cards can be either flexible travel cards or co-branded cards tied specifically to a chain of hotels. We’ve reviewed every hotel credit card available and chosen the best options for you.
Best hotel credit cards of 2021
- The Platinum Card® from American Express: Best for luxury travel perks
- World Of Hyatt Credit Card: Best for high-value hotel points
- Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card: Best for sign up bonus
- Hilton Honors American Express Card: Best for Hilton loyalists
The Platinum Card® from American Express
Who should get it
The Platinum Card® from American Express is for travelers who don’t mind paying a high annual fee ( See Rates and Fees )
to unlock access to luxury travel perks. From free hotel room upgrades to airport lounge access, this card is for people who like to travel in style.
How to use it
The luxury travel perks of The Platinum Card® from American Express include access to more than 1,200 airport lounges, free room upgrades and breakfast, automatic gold status with Marriott Bonvoy and Hilton Honors and more. You’ll earn 5X Membership Rewards® Points for flights booked directly with airlines or with American Express Travel. Starting January 1, 2021, earn 5X points on up to $500,000 on these purchases per calendar year.
- $550 annual fee
- No rewards for purchases other than flights and hotels
- American Express is not as widely accepted as cards in the Visa or Mastercard network
Why you’ll love it
The Platinum Card® from American Express is perfect for those who take multiple trips each year, use Uber for transportation while traveling and take advantage of the airport lounges while waiting for your flight. What’s not to love?
Hilton Honors American Express Card
Who should get it
If you live, breathe and sleep at Hilton hotels while you travel, the Hilton Honors American Express Card should be the first card you choose for hotel rewards. With exceptional rewards and no annual fee ( See Rates & Fees ), this hotel rewards credit card will keep you calm and comfortable in Hilton hotels everywhere you go.
How to use it
The Hilton Honors American Express Card rewards you with 7x points per dollar on Hilton purchases and 3x points per dollar for general purchases, making it a top-tier rewards rate. You’ll also earn 80,000 bonus Hilton Honors points after you spend $1,000 in purchases within your first three months.
- Hilton Honors points have a lower dollar-equivalent value than other hotel rewards points
- Rewards can only be redeemed at hotels within the Hilton portfolio
- No automatic free night
Why you’ll love it
You won’t be able to beat a card with no annual fee that offers you 7x points for each dollar of eligible purchases charged directly with a hotel or resort within the Hilton Honors portfolio, but that’s exactly what you’ll earn each time you use this card at participating Hilton hotels.
|Card||Hotel Rewards Rate||Annual Fee||Welcome Offer|
|The Platinum Card® from American Express – Best for luxury travel perks||Get 5X Membership Rewards® Points for flights booked directly with airlines or with American Express Travel. Starting January 1, 2021, earn 5X points on up to $500,000 on these purchases per calendar year. Terms Apply.||$550||Earn 75,000 Membership Rewards points after you spend $5,000 on purchases in your first 6 months. Terms Apply.|
|World Of Hyatt Credit Card – Best for high-value hotel points||Earn four bonus points per $1 spent at Hyatt hotels and two points per $1 spent at restaurants, airline tickets purchased directly from the airline, local transit and commuting as well as fitness club and gym memberships. Plus, earn one point per $1 spent on all other purchases.||$95||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.|
|Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card – Best for sign up bonus||Earn 2X points on travel and dining at restaurants worldwide, eligible delivery services, takeout and dining out & 1 point per dollar spent on all other purchases.||$95||Earn 60,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first three months. Plus earn up to $50 in statement credits towards grocery store purchases.|
|Hilton Honors American Express Card – Best for Hilton loyalists||Earn 7x Hilton Honors bonus points for each dollar of eligible purchases charged to your card directly with a hotel or resort within the Hilton Portfolio, earn 5x bonus points for each dollar spent at U.S. restaurants, U.S. supermarkets and U.S. gas stations and earn 3x bonus points for all other eligible purchases. Terms Apply.||$0||Earn 80,000 Hilton Honors Bonus Points with the Hilton Honors American Express Card after you use your new Card to make $1,000 in eligible purchases within the first 3 months of Card Membership. Terms Apply.|
Marriott vs. Hilton
In its 2018 Most Excellent Hotel Chains in the World rankings, TripAdvisor ranked Hilton third and Marriott fifth. Both chains have hotels across the spectrum from economy to luxury, including the Ritz-Carlton in Marriott’s portfolio and the Waldorf Astoria in Hilton’s portfolio.
Adding a hotel credit card or two to your wallet helps you cut costs and earn rewards every time you travel. Not only can you earn free nights at thousands of hotels around the world, but you can also take advantage of many of the member perks that come with the best hotel credit cards like free breakfasts, complimentary room upgrades and extra rewards points.
|Hotel chain||Number of properties||Portfolio brands||Credit card||Points value||Elite Status Qualifications|
|Marriott||Over 7,000||Marriott Hotels & Resorts, Ritz-Carlton, Westin Hotels, Fairfield Inn by Marriott||The Marriott Bonvoy Boundless™ Credit Card, which earns 5 Free Nights after you spend $5,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening.||0.6-1.2 cents per point||10 nights in a calendar year; Gold: 25 nights; Platinum: 50 nights; Titanium: 75 nights; Ambassador: 100 nights and spend $20,000|
|Hilton||5,700||Hilton Hotels & Resorts, Waldorf Astoria, Doubletree, Embassy Suites by Hilton||The Hilton Honors American Express Card, which earns 7x points per dollar at Hilton hotels and 80,000 bonus points when you spend $1,000 in the first three months. Terms Apply.||0.3-0.6 cents per point||Silver: four stays or 10 nights; Gold: 20 stays or 40 nights; 30 stays or 60 nights|
What credit score do I need for a Marriott credit card?
You’ll need a credit score of at least 680 to qualify for the Marriott Bonvoy Boundless™ Credit Card. Remember, though, your credit score alone does not guarantee approval for these cards. The card issuer looks at your entire credit history to determine your approval status.
Can you negotiate hotel prices?
Yes, you can negotiate hotel prices! The best way to do it is to call the hotel directly to ask for rates. Once the manager gives you a price, you can ask if they would take a lower rate. The exception, however, is on rewards rates. Because most hotels set rewards redemptions based on a fixed chart, you won’t be able to negotiate how many points it costs you for a free room.
Should a frequent traveler have a hotel credit card?
Absolutely! A hotel credit card will earn you free nights that will save you an incredible amount of money over time. If you travel for business, the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card, earns 2x points for every dollar spent on travel. You can also take advantage of luxury travel perks with a premium credit card like The Platinum Card® from American Express, which can help you earn hotel credit, free breakfast and free room upgrades with your reservation.
How to make the most of your hotel credit card
Getting the most out of your hotel credit card doesn’t have to be complicated. With a little discipline, you can choose and use a card that will earn you free nights while you travel the world.
- Pick a rewards program that you’ll actually use. Not the one with the highest sign-up bonus or the coolest perks, but the credit card that earns you points to hotels you actually want to stay in and are available in the areas you like to visit.
- Use your card for your hotel purchases. You’ll earn the most points when you use a co-branded hotel credit card at the hotel that sponsored it, and your rewards rate will only increase as you earn higher levels of Elite status.
- Cash in your free nights. Cards like World Of Hyatt Credit Card earn a free night every account anniversary, but it expires within a year. It’s best to earn your free nights and use them as soon as you can so you don’t lose such a great value by waiting too long.
- Compare hotels in the same area. Especially in cities, larger hotel companies like Marriott and Hilton will have several hotels in the same vicinity. Before reserving your room with your hotel points, check multiple hotels in the area to make sure you are getting the most value out of your points.
- Be flexible with your dates (when you can). Flexibility allows you to make the most of your hotel credit card rewards. By being traveling during the off-peak season, you’ll land better rewards rates at hotels.
How to choose the best hotel credit card for you
Choosing the best hotel credit card comes down to your personal habits and preferences. You should choose a card that quickly earns you points to use at hotels. Before choosing your hotel credit card, you’ll also want to consider which hotels you enjoy staying in the most and how many points it will cost for each night you stay there.
Hotel credit cards vs. airline credit cards: What’s the difference?
Hotel credit cards and airline credit cards are two types of rewards cards that can help you cover your costs while traveling. The difference between the two is the type of rewards you earn and where you can use them. Hotel credit cards earn points you can use toward free nights and room upgrades at hotels, while airline credit cards earn points or miles toward free flights and in-flight purchases.
Which are the best hotel loyalty programs?
The best hotel loyalty programs reward you with free nights, great perks and high point values for accessible hotels. World of Hyatt Credit Card, for example, offers a simple redemption system that makes using your points easy and efficient. Marriott Bonvoy, with over 7,000 participating hotels, is also a fantastic option, especially if you have the Marriott Bonvoy Boundless™ Credit Card earning you rewards for every purchase.Please Note: Information about the Hilton Honors American Express Card and The Platinum Card® from American Express has been collected independently by TheSimpleDollar.com. The issuer did not provide the details, nor is it responsible for their accuracy.
Editorial Note: Compensation does not influence our recommendations. However, we may earn a commission on sales from the companies featured in this post. To view our disclosures, click here. Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by our advertisers. Reasonable efforts are made to present accurate info, however all information is presented without warranty. Consult our advertiser’s page for terms & conditions.