Hotel credit cards can help you earn more than just rewards when you make hotel bookings. Some of the best hotel credit cards include additional perks such as free nights, upgrades, complimentary breakfast, and other less-known benefits. We have carefully analyzed the fine print of many of the top hotel and travel credit cards to put together a selection of the best hotel credit cards in America this season.
Best Hotel Credit Cards - GET.com's 2017 Picks
|Best For||Credit Card|
|Signing Bonus||Hilton Honors™ Surpass® Card from American Express|
|Starwood Hotels||Starwood Preferred Guest® Credit Card|
|Travel Rewards||Citi Prestige® Card|
If you frequently stay at hotels, getting a hotel credit card may be well worth it.
Here's Our Pick Of The 6 Best Hotel Credit Cards
Hilton Honors™ Surpass® Card from American Express, a GET.com advertiser, now has a limited time offer (ends 5/31/17) of 100,000 Hilton Honors™ Bonus Points after you spend $3,000 in purchases to the Card within your first 3 months of Card Membership. When you use this card to pay you earn 6X Hilton Honors Bonus Points for each $1 of eligible purchases at U.S. gas stations, U.S. restaurants and U.S. supermarkets charged to your Card, and 3X Hilton Honors Bonus Points for all other eligible purchases on your Card. But the best part is that you earn 12X Hilton Honors Bonus Points for every $1 of eligible purchases charged to your Card directly with a participating hotel or resort within the Hilton portfolio. That makes this a very rewarding card to use if you stay at Hilton group hotels regularly. Terms and limitations apply. As a Hilton Honors™ Surpass® Card from American Express Card Member, you get Hilton Honors Gold status, which entitles you to many special privileges and a 25% bonus on all the Honors Base Points you earn. If you charge $40,000 on eligible purchases on your Card in a calendar year, you can earn Honors Diamond status through the end of the next calendar year (additional privileges and a 50% bonus on all the Honors Base Points you earn). Terms apply. This high-end Hilton credit card has a reasonably low $75 annual fee.
Citi® Hilton HHonors™ Visa Signature® Card has a limited time bonus offer that lets new sign-ups earn 75,000 bonus points after spending $2,000 on purchases within 3 months of account opening. This Citi (C) card lets you earn 6 points per $1 spent at any participating hotel in the Hilton portfolio, anywhere in the world. You can also earn 3 points per $1 spent on purchases at gas stations, drugstores and supermarkets. Earn 2 points per $1 spent on all your other purchases. You can purchase bonus points if you need some extra points in order to redeem them. You can also enjoy the benefits of HHonors Silver status for as long as you are a cardmember. This card has no annual fee.
Added perks: You can redeem the points you've earned for hotel stays at Hilton hotels, car rentals, or miles that you can use to book flights on Hilton-affiliated airlines. With as little as 5,000 points, you can book a night for a standard room in a category 1 Hilton hotel.
Read the full review of Citi® Hilton HHonors™ Visa Signature® Card to see the full list of pros and cons.
Hilton Honors™ Card from American Express, a GET.com advertiser, has a limited time bonus offer that lets you earn 80,000 Hilton Honors™ Bonus Points after charging purchases worth $2,000 or more to this Card in your first 3 months of Card Membership (offer ends 05/31/2017). When you use this card to pay for purchases you earn 7X Hilton Honors Bonus Points for each $1 of eligible purchases made directly with participating hotels or resorts within the Hilton Portfolio and charged to your Card. You also earn 5X Hilton Honors Bonus Points for every dollar you spend (using your Card) on eligible purchases at U.S. restaurants, U.S. supermarkets, and U.S. gas stations. You earn 3 Hilton Honors Bonus Points per $1 for all other eligible purchases you charge to this Card. You enjoy complimentary Silver status, as long as you are a Hilton Honors™ Card member. When you spend $20,000 on eligible purchases using your Card in one calendar year, you can enjoy Honors Gold status right through the end of the next calendar year. Benefits include complimentary travel accident insurance, a baggage insurance plan, return protection and car rental loss and damage insurance. This card has no annual fee.
Added perks: Redeem your points for stays at participating hotels in the Hilton portfolio in location all over the world. The Honors Silver status which you get with this card entitles you to a 15% bonus on Honors Base Points earned, every 5th night free on standard room reward stays of 5 nights or more, and many more Hilton privileges.
Read the full review of Hilton Honors™ Card from American Express to see the full list of pros and cons.
Citi® Hilton HHonors™ Reserve Card is a high-end Hilton card that has a $95 annual fee but in return it lets you earn 2 weekend night certificates at select hotels and resorts within the Hilton Portfolio after you make $2,500 in purchases within the first 4 months of account opening and you enjoy HHonors Gold status as long as you are a cardmember. You earn 10 HHonors Bonus Points per dollar that you spend on hotel stays within the Hilton Portfolio. You also earn 5 HHonors Bonus Points for each $1 you spend on airline and car rental purchases, and 3 HHonors Bonus Points per $1 spent on all your other eligible purchases.
Added perks: Users will benefit from HHonors Gold status which includes access to hotel-owned or operated fitness centers, 2 complimentary bottles of water for each stay at select hotels, free Wi-Fi at certain hotels, a complimentary 5th night, and much more. If you spend $40,000 on eligible purchases during a calendar year you will be able to upgrade to the HHonors Diamond status for the remaining part of that calendar year plus the (entire) next calendar year. Travel perks include no foreign transaction fees on purchases and chip technology for ease of use outside of the US.
Find out more in our Citi® Hilton HHonors™ Reserve Card review.
Starwood Preferred Guest® Credit Card from American Express, a GET.com advertiser, lets you earn 25,000 bonus Starpoints® after you spend $3,000 in purchases with your card within the first 3 months of account opening. Also as a limited time offer earn an extra 10,000 bonus Starpoints® after you make an additional $2,000 in purchases within the first 6 months. Offer ends 4/5. You can earn up to 5 Starpoints® per dollar spent on eligible purchases. Earn 1 Starpoint® per dollar spent on other eligible purchases. $0 annual fee for the first year, then $95. Terms apply.
Added perks: You can redeem your Starpoints for nights at over 1,300 Starwood hotels & resorts in nearly 100 countries and for free plane tickets on over 150 airlines with SPG Flights and there are no blackout dates. Benefit from Car Rental Loss and Damage Insurance, Travel Accident Insurance, Roadside Assistance Hotline and Global Assist® Hotline. Enjoy complimentary in-room internet at participating SPG locations. You will also enjoy many more travel, entertainment and shopping perks.
Find out more in our review of Starwood Preferred Guest® Credit Card from American Express here.
Citi Prestige® Card is a prestigious travel rewards credit card for cardholders with excellent credit. Earn 40,000 bonus points after making $4,000 in purchases within the first 3 months of account opening. You will also receive $250 Air Travel Credit each year as well as complimentary access to hundreds of VIP Priority Pass Select lounges and nearly 40 American Airlines Admirals Club® lounges. Other travel benefits include a $100 Global Entry application fee credit, lost/delayed baggage protection, travel insurance coverage, Citi Prestige® Global Concierge, and more. Earn 3 points per $1 spent on hotel and air travel purchases, 2 points per $1 on restaurant dining and entertainment purchases, and 1 ThankYou Point per $1 on your other purchases. If you spend a lot in these categories this may be a rewarding card for you. Thanks to the Points Transfer benefit, you can transfer your ThankYou Points to your Hilton HHonors loyalty program account and get 1,500 Hilton HHonors™ points for every 1,000 ThankYou Points you transfer. Travel with ease with chip-based technology and no foreign transaction fees. This card has a $450 annual fee.
Added perks: Enjoy a free 4th night every time you book a hotel stay (of at least four consecutive nights) through Carlson Wagonlit Travel and pay with this card.
Read our review of Citi Prestige® Card to find out more.
Is A Hotel Credit Card The Only Card I Need?
It's always a good idea to have a few different credit cards in order to maximize each card's rewards on different types of purchases. So in addition to a good hotel credit card, you might want to get a good travel card, or a good airline card.
If you are a frequent traveler you can check our selection of top airline credit cards to find the best cards that offer maximum rewards, miles, points and travel perks.
If you're not sure what kind of card is right for you, take a look at this list of our top rated credit cards to discover some of the high-benefit credit cards available in 2017!
Hotel Credit Cards: What Do They Offer?
Travel is something that most of us enjoy. Even those of us who don't enjoy traveling for fun still find ourselves traveling on business or visits. In today's world, families and friends often end up living hundreds or even thousands of miles apart. It makes sense that many of us spend the night at a hotel at least once a year.
Travel and tourism is one of the top 10 industries in the US, and a major employer. More than 1.86 million workers are employed by US hotels. Collectively the hotel industry generated $163 billion in sales in 2013. (Source: American Hotel & Lodging Association).
Hotel credit cards let you earn rewards that can be redeemed towards hotel stays. Most big hotel groups issue their own credit cards with benefits for loyal customers. But there are also more flexible travel credit cards issued by financial services providers like Chase, Capital One, Citi and Discover Financial Services which let you earn travel rewards that you can redeem for stays at many different hotels.
Most hotel-branded credit cards offer at least some special privileges that can benefit you when you stay at corresponding hotels.
In many cases, you will automatically receive membership in a high customer loyalty program tier. Some cards let you move to higher tiers if you use them in a certain way - for example, by spending a certain amount of money on purchases with your card every year.
A higher customer loyalty tier can give you benefits like complimentary breakfast, spa and wellness access, room upgrades, late checkout and more. Here I list some of the benefits you get with a higher tier status at major hotel groups.
The Blue Tier
This tier lets you check-in, customize your stay and choose your room up to 24 hours in advance, right from your mobile device.
You also get complimentary in-room and lobby Standard Internet access during stays at these hotels:
- Waldorf Astoria™ Hotels & Resorts
- Conrad® Hotels & Resorts
- Curio - A Collection by Hilton
- Hilton Hotels & Resorts
- DoubleTree by Hilton™
- Canopy™ by Hilton
- Embassy Suites Hotels™
- Hilton Grand Vacations™
Other perks include express checkout, late checkout (subject to availability when you request this), and free stays for a second guest in your room on qualifying stays at hotels that would normally add additional charges for double occupancy.
The Silver Tier
This tier comes automatically if you are a Citi® Hilton HHonors™ Visa Signature® Card card member. You would normally have to earn 4 stays (or 10 nights) each calendar year, to enjoy this status.
This tier gives you really rewarding privileges like a 15% bonus on all the HHonors Base Points you earn, and every 5th night free when you redeem points for standard room reward stays of 5 nights or more. You can get up to 4 free nights for a 20 night stay.
You also get complimentary access to hotel-operated fitness centers and health clubs. On top of these perks, you also enjoy the benefits of the blue tier.
The Gold Tier
You can enjoy the benefits of this tier automatically by becoming a Citi® Hilton HHonors™ Reserve Card card member. Alternatively you would have to earn either 20 stays every calendar year, 40 nights every calendar year, or 75,000 HHonors Base Points every calendar year to maintain this status.
As well as the privileges that the blue and silver tiers give you, this gold tier gives you a 25% bonus on all the HHonors Base Points you earn, so you can earn points 25% faster. You will also get the following privileges when you stay at different hotels within the Hilton portfolio:
Waldorf Astoria™ Hotels & Resorts
- Space-available upgrade to a preferred room
- 1,000 HHonors Bonus Points per stay or one in-room movie per stay
Conrad® Hotels & Resorts, Curio - A Collection by Hilton, Hilton Hotels & Resorts, DoubleTree by Hilton™
- Enjoy an upgrade to a preferred room (if available)
- Earn 1,000 HHonors Bonus Points per stay or benefit from a complimentary continental breakfast for you (and up to one additional guest registered in the same room) each day of your stay
Embassy Suites Hotels™
- Earn 500 HHonors Bonus Points per stay or enjoy 2 snack or refreshment choices each stay
Hilton Garden Inn™
- You can choose to earn 750 HHonors Bonus Points per stay, or if you prefer, you can get a complimentary Hot Cooked-to-Order Breakfast each day of your stay (for you and up to one additional guest registered to the same room)
- Earn 250 HHonors Bonus Points each stay or enjoy a complimentary choice of a non-alcoholic beverage and a snack
Homewood Suites by Hilton™
- Earn 250 HHonors bonus points per stay or get Pepperidge Farm cookies and two complimentary bottles of water per stay
Home2 Suites by Hilton™
- Earn 100 HHonors Bonus Points per stay or get a complimentary choice of snack & bottled water per stay
Hilton Grand Vacations™
- Earn 1,000 HHonors Bonus Points per stay
The Diamond Tier
To achieve the HHonors Diamond status, you need to earn 30 stays in a calendar year, or 60 nights in a calendar year, or 120,000 HHonors Base Points in a calendar year. You have to meet these requirements every year to maintain this status, but in return you get some exclusive perks.
To start off, you get a 50% bonus on all the HHonors Base Points you earn. That means you can earn points 50% faster. When you make a reservation at least 48 hours prior to your arrival, you are guaranteed a room (although some restrictions apply).
You also get a complimentary breakfast for you and 1 additional guest when you stay at Conrad® Hotels & Resorts, Curio - A Collection by Hilton, Hilton Hotels & Resorts, DoubleTree by Hilton™ (plus you still get 1,000 HHonors Bonus Points per stay). You also get executive floor lounge access at these hotels, where available. You will also enjoy exclusive benefits like these at other hotels within the Hilton portfolio.
Add to that all of the perks you get with the blue, silver and gold tiers and you should have a pretty pleasant hotel stay.
Marriott Rewards Member Benefits
Marriott Rewards Member
This is the most basic tier. Marriott gives you 5th redemption night free right off the hilt with this entry-level status. You also earn up to 10 Marriott Rewards points per $1 you spend at participating properties. With RewardsPlus you can get a 20% discount when converting points to miles. You also get free wifi in your room, which is a good plus.
Silver Elite Status
This is a major upgrade that gives you Priority late checkout and 20% bonus on points for stays. You will also benefit from special discounts with this status, including weekend discounts and gift shop discounts. You get all the benefits from the basic tier (Marriott Rewards Member) as well.
Gold Elite Status
This tier gives you a 25% bonus on points for stays. You also get a lot of more exclusive benefits. For example, you get guaranteed lounge access/breakfast for members and one guest (except at resorts), complimentary room upgrades, complimentary enhanced internet service, guaranteed room type, Hertz #1 Gold membership, free local phone and local fax, and discounted long-distance phone calls. You also get the benefits of the silver and basic tier.
Platinum Elite Status
This tier gives you the benefits of the gold tier plus 48-hour guaranteed availability, complimentary MileagePlus® Premier Silver status (United Airlines frequent flyer program) with RewardsPlus, a dedicated platinum reservation line and a 50% bonus on points for stays. Those are some pretty sweet benefits.
A hotel credit card can make it easy to achieve a rewarding tier even if you can't afford to stay at hotels very often. On top of that perk, most hotel cards also come with bonus offers. These bonus offers can help you get complimentary hotel stays for big savings.
How We Rate Hotel Credit Cards
At GET.com we rate hotel credit cards based on value for money. We look at how you earn bonus offers and rewards, and how you can redeem them. The amount of points or cash back that you can earn per purchase also plays a big role in the card's rating.
Cards are also rated based on hotel benefits like loyalty program status upgrades, hotel savings and privileges, hotel credits, free hotel stays, and other hotel perks.
We take into account how flexible rewards and benefits are and ask the following questions when rating hotel cards:
- Can you earn rewards on everyday spending or only at specific hotel groups?
- Can you redeem rewards for many different kinds of spending or only when you spend at specific hotels?
- Can you benefit from free hotel nights at any hotel or only at hotels in a specific group? - Can you redeem rewards for any hotel or travel bookings, or only for bookings with one hotel company?
Cards that offer more flexibility in the way you earn and redeem rewards will usually receive a higher GET.com rating.
Other important factors that influence ratings include annual fees, annual fee waivers, APR, introductory APR periods, travel benefits, foreign transaction fees, chip technology, payment network availability and unique card benefits.
Ivan Daniel is a writer at GET.com. Email: email@example.com.Editorial Disclosure: Any personal views and opinions expressed by the author in this article are the author's own and do not necessarily reflect the viewpoint of GET.com. The editorial content on this page is not provided by any of the companies mentioned, and has not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities. Opinions expressed here are author's alone, not those of the companies mentioned, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.
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