If you’re a frequent traveler, a hotel card should occupy a permanent place in your wallet. They can get you travel discounts, brand loyalty perks, free breakfasts, free Wifi, room upgrades, and 101 other perks that could make your next vacation or business trip an even better experience than it would be otherwise. If you’re loyal to a particular brand, a co-branded hotel card is likely to be your best option. If you’re not, a general travel card that offers flexibility and maximum rewards will be preferable. To help you sift the best from the rest, these are the 20 best hotel credit cards of 2021.
20. Bank of America Premium Rewards Credit Card
If you want to be rewarded for each and every hotel booking you make, the Bank of America Premium Rewards Credit Card could be your perfect partner. Every dollar you spend on hotels and other travel purchases will earn you 2 points. All other purchases will earn 1 point for each dollar spent. Spend $3000 on the card within the first three months, and you’ll earn a very handsome 50,000 bonus point reward. You can then use the points to save money on your next hotel stay by booking through the Bank of America Travel Center.
19. Radisson Rewards Premier Visa Signature Card
Budget travelers would do well to consider the Radisson Rewards Premier Visa Signature Card. For an annual fee of just $75, cardholders can expect automatic Gold Elite status, annual point bonuses, and three free night certificates each year when you renew the card after reaching a defined spending target. The only thing stopping it from earning a higher place on our list is the 3% foreign transaction fee.
18. Ink Business Preferred Credit Card
Named by Forbes as the best business card for hotels, the Ink Business Preferred Credit Card comes with a slew of benefits for frequent business travelers, including a very generous rewards scheme. You’ll earn 3 points per $1 spent on travel and select business categories and 1 point per $1 on all other purchases. Points can then be redeemed for cash back, gift cards, and various other options. If you want to maximize their value by 25%, redeem them against hotel or travel purchases made through Chase Ultimate Rewards.
17. Chase Freedom Flex Card
Named as one of U.S. News’ top hotel cards for 2021, the Chase Freedom Flex is a great option for cardholders who aren’t loyal to any particular chain. Benefits include a $200 welcome bonus when you spend $500 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening, 5% cash back on the first $12000 spent on grocery purchases each year, 5% cash back on up to $1,500 in combined purchases in bonus categories, and 5% cash back on travel purchases made through Ultimate Rewards. Book all your hotel stays via Ultimate Rewards using your card, and you’ll effectively be getting a 5% discount on each and every stay.
16. Citi Premier Card
If you want to maximize your rewards without being limited to any one chain, the Citi Premier Card makes a useful addition to your wallet. It comes with a decent rewards program that offers 3X points on all eligible purchases at restaurants, supermarkets, gas stations, air travel, and hotels. Points can be redeemed in a variety of ways, including as gifts cards, merchandise, cash, and travel purchases made through the Citi ThankYou Travel Center.
15. Hilton Honors American Express Surpass Card
As NerdWallet says, if you’re loyal to Hilton, the Hilton Honors American Express Surpass Card makes a great option. Benefits include a fast track to Gold status, which comes with free continental breakfast, a complimentary stay every fifth night at a Hilton portfolio hotel, and a bunch of other benefits. Spend $40,000 on eligible purchases over the course of a year, and you’ll qualify for Diamond status the following year. You’ll also qualify for a weekend night reward after you spend $15,000 on purchases in a calendar year.
14. Marriott Bonvoy Bold Credit Card
If you’re looking to enjoy the perks of a hotel card without the costs, the fee-free Marriott Bonvoy Bold Credit Card is a great option. It comes with a decent reward system, along with a very respectable sign-up offer of 30,000 bonus points for cardholders who spend more than $1000 in the first 3 months. While there are no free nights or credits, it does come with the benefit of Silver elite status.
13. Discover it Miles Card
Named as one of the best hotel credit cards on the market by CreditCards.com, Discover it Miles offers greater flexibility than a co-branded hotel card but just as many perks. The reward system is straightforward, with no complicated or rotating categories to worry about – for every dollar you spend, regardless of what you spend it on, you’ll get 1.5 points, which can then be redeemed against hotels (with no restrictions on which chain you use), airfare, car rentals, travel packages, and ground transportation. If you prefer, you can redeem them for cash back instead. The best thing? There’s no annual fee.
12. Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant American Express Card
If you’re a frequent Marriott Bonvoy customer that’s looking to add some luxury to their next stay, the Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant American Express Card is well worth considering. Cardholders can expect to enjoy a slew of benefits, including automatic Gold elite status, Priority Pass Select membership, and both a $300 credit for purchases at Marriott Bonvoy properties and a free award night on each account anniversary.
11. Wyndham Rewards Earner Plus Card
Apply for a Wyndham Rewards Earner Plus Card and you’ll qualify for a bunch of benefits after acceptance, including Platinum elite status (which comes with upgrades on Avis car rentals and early check-in, amongst other things), 7500 bonus points each year on your account anniversary, and a very solid points program that offers 6 points per dollar spent on eligible Wyndham purchases, 6 points on gas store purchases, 4 points at Wyndham Timeshare properties, 4 points on groceries and dining, and 1 point on all other purchases. For an annual fee of just $75, that’s a lot of bang for your buck.
10. Hilton Honors American Express Card
if you want Hilton Diamond status, the Hilton Honors Aspire Card is your fast track to getting it. If you’d happily settle for Silver status if it means saving on the $450 annual fee, plump for the fee-free Hilton Honors American Express Card instead. Along with a generous points program (earn 7X Hilton Honors Bonus Points for each dollar you spend on a hotel or resort within the Hilton portfolio; 5X Hilton Honors Bonus Points for each dollar you spend on groceries, gas, and dining, and 3X Hilton Honors Bonus Points for everything else), you’ll also qualify for no resort fee, late checkout, and a free fifth night on any rewards booking you make. Considering all of that comes with absolutely no annual fee, it’s hard to pick a fault.
9. Capital One VentureOne Rewards Credit Card
As cnbc.com points out, if you want to earn a competitive rewards rate on hotel purchases without paying an annual fee, the Capital One VentureOne Rewards Credit Card makes a sound choice. For each dollar you spend on hotel and rental cars booked through Capital One Travel, you’ll earn 5x miles. Everything else will earn 1.5x miles. Unlike most cards that make you wait until your balance reaches $25 before you can redeem your points, here you can do it any time you like. Additional benefits include comprehensive travel coverage, auto rental collision damage waiver, and no foreign transaction fees.
8. World Of Hyatt Credit Card
If you’re a frequent guest at the Hyatt, the World Of Hyatt Credit Card makes a sound choice. The annual fee is a reasonable $95, and the list of perks is extensive. On top of receiving free Discoverist status with your card (which comes with 10% bonus points on stays, premium internet access, and other benefits), you’ll also enjoy a free night certificate on your account anniversary, which increases to two nights if you spend more than $15000 in a calendar year.
7. Marriott Bonvoy Boundless Credit Card
If Marriott Bonvoy is the chain of your choice, it makes sense to make Marriott Bonvoy Boundless your credit card of choice. For an annual fee of $95, you can expect a free night each year on your account anniversary, Gold status if you spend at least $35,000 on the card annually, and an incredibly attractive sign-up offer that covers you for 3 free nights if you spend $300 in the first 3 months of account opening, plus 10x points per 1 dollar spent on up to $2500 in combined purchases across selected categories in the first 6 months.
6. The Platinum Card from American Express
Use the Platinum Card from American Express to book your hotel stays, and you’ll enjoy complimentary Gold elite status with both Hilton Honors and Marriott Bonvoy, which comes with room upgrades, bonus points, and, in the case of Hilton, complimentary breakfasts. The card also gives you exclusive access to Amex Fine Hotels & Resorts that again comes with free upgrades, free breakfast, and up to $200 per calendar year in credits. The kicker? A $695 annual fee.
5. IHG Rewards Club Premier Credit Card
When it comes to value, the IHG Rewards Club Premier Credit Card beats most of the competition hands down. For an annual fee of just $89 (which is waived for the first year), cardholders can expect complimentary IHG Platinum elite status, a Global Entry or TSA PreCheck fee credit of up to $100 every four years, a reward night for each year you renew your card, and a fourth night free on award bookings of four or more nights. If you’re loyal to IHG, it’s a no-brainer.
4. Hotels.com Credit Card
As the Points Guy says, the Hotels.com Credit Card is a great match for deal hunters who like to mix things up with different hotel brands. For every night you stay at any hotel booked through Hotels.com, you’ll earn 1 stamp. You’ll also earn a stamp each time you spend $500 or more on any other kind of purchase. Once you have 10 stamps, you’ll get 1 reward night to redeem against your future bookings with Hotels.com. As an additional perk, the first year of card membership comes with Silver membership benefits like free breakfast, airport transfers, and free WiFi.
3. Hilton Honors Aspire Card
If you’re loyal to the Hilton umbrella, the Hilton Honors Aspire Card is a wise choice. For an annual fee of $450, you’ll get complimentary top-tier Hilton elite status (which comes with free breakfast, lounge access, and a 100% bonus on points earned via your booking), and a weekend night reward each year you renew your card (if you spend more than $6000, you’ll get an extra night for free). If that wasn’t enough to tempt you, the welcome bonus of 150,000 points you’ll get if you spend at least $4000 in the first 90 days after account opening just might.
2. Chase Sapphire Preferred Card
As businessinsider.com says, if you’re loyal to a specific hotel brand, having a co-branded card makes a lot of sense, as it usually comes with bonus points, complimentary elite status, and other perks specific to that chain. But if you care more about maximizing points than you do about brand loyalty, a general travel rewards credit card like Chase Sapphire Preferred Card could make the wiser choice. Its very generous rewards program offers 5x points on travel purchases made through Chase Ultimate Rewards and 2x points on all other travel purchases. Points can be redeemed for travel purchases through the Chase Travel Portal or, if you prefer, transferred to one of Chase’s partners (who include IHG and Hyatt). As an added advantage, the card comes with excellent travel coverage and an incredible 100,000 point sign up bonus.
1. Chase Sapphire Reserve Card
Like the Chase Sapphire Preferred Card, the Chase Sapphire Reserve Card is ideal for people who don’t really care which hotel chain they use, providing it earns them points towards their next stay (wherever that may be). The Sapphire Reserve’s points program is even more generous than the Sapphire Preferred’s: earn 5x total points on air travel, 10x total points on hotels and car rentals purchased through Chase Ultimate Rewards, and 3x points on other travel and dining. The travel coverage is also outstanding, including everything from trip cancellation and trip delay insurance to primary car rental insurance and emergency evacuation insurance. In fairness, its $550 annual fee is one of the highest on the market, but considering you’ll get more than half that back via a $300 annual travel credit, it’s a price worth paying.