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Whether you’re staying at luxury resorts or budget hotels, lodging expenses are often a significant part of any trip. And with so many rewards cards offering bonus points in this spending category, it makes sense to maximize your earnings.
In this post, we break down the best cards to charge your hotel bookings to.
The Platinum Card® from American Express
The Platinum Card® from American Express has several notable features that make it worth charging your hotel bookings to. The card earns 5x Membership Rewards points per $1 spent on prepaid hotel bookings made through AmEx Travel. Terms apply.
Cardholders who book hotels through the American Express travel portal may get additional perks through Fine Hotels & Resorts and The Hotel Collection. This includes complimentary breakfast, space-available room upgrades, hotel credits and more. Terms apply. Basically, having this card gets you elite benefits at participating hotels. The catch, of course, is that you have to charge your hotel booking to this card to qualify for these benefits.
» Learn more: American Express Platinum review: Luxury isn’t cheap
Chase Sapphire Reserve®
The Chase Sapphire Reserve® earns 5x total points on air travel and 10x total points on hotels and car rentals when you purchase travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards® immediately after the first $300 is spent on travel purchases annually. Earn 3x points on other travel and dining & 1 point per $1 spent on all other purchases. You don’t have to book your hotel through a specific booking site to get the 3x rate — just one that gets coded as travel. In other words, pretty much any hotel website or online travel agency (Expedia, Orbitz, etc.) will earn 3x points on the Chase Sapphire Reserve®.
Best of all, this card comes with a $300 annual travel credit that applies to virtually any travel purchase, including hotel bookings. That comes in handy if you don’t quite have enough points for an award night but don’t want to pay for a hotel out of pocket.
Hotel rewards cards
Hotel rewards credit cards have really been stepping it up when it comes to incentivizing members to charge their bookings to co-branded cards. In addition to bonus points, some of these cards come with elite status and statement credits for a more rewarding and cheaper stay.
Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant American Express Card
If you’re looking for a rewarding card to charge your Marriott hotel bookings to, the Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant American Express Card is our top pick. The card earns 6x points per $1 spent at participating Marriott Bonvoy hotels. The card comes with complimentary Gold elite status, so you’ll earn a 25% bonus on base points earned through Marriott Bonvoy. Terms apply.
Best of all, the card offers a $300 annual Marriott statement credit and a $100 credit on qualifying two-night stays at Ritz-Carlton and St. Regis properties. Terms apply. So not only can you earn lots of points by charging Marriott hotel stays to this card, but you could offset some of your travel expenses.
Hilton Honors American Express Aspire Card
The Hilton Honors American Express Aspire Card has tons of benefits that make it a great choice for Hilton stays. The card earns 14 points per $1 spent on Hilton hotel stays and includes top-tier Diamond elite status. Diamond members earn an additional 20 points per $1 through the Hilton Honors program, so you’re looking at a combined 34 points per $1 spent at Hilton hotels using this card. Terms apply.
The card’s annual $250 Hilton resort credit comes in handy when you’re traveling to an expensive destination, like the Maldives. Hilton Honors American Express Aspire Card cardholders can get a $100 resort credit on qualifying stays booked through HiltonHonors.com/aspirecard. Terms apply.
World of Hyatt Credit Card
The World of Hyatt Credit Card is a great card option for Hyatt stays. The card earns 4 points per $1 spent on Hyatt stays, which is pretty substantial when combined with the 5 points per $1 earned through the World of Hyatt program. Since the card comes with automatic Discoverist status, you’ll earn a 10% bonus on base points. Translation: That 5x bonus increases to 5.5x points per $1 spent.
Cardholders also earn a free night at a Category 1-4 Hyatt hotel when they spend $15,000 on this card in a calendar year. Charging your hotel bookings to the World of Hyatt Credit Card is a good start to achieving that goal.
The bottom line
Many hotel cards offer generous rewards and extra perks that make them quite competitive for hotel charges. Between the category bonuses, elite status perks and statement credits, they're often your best bet when you’re staying at an accompanying chain. If you’re staying outside a particular chain, then a credit card that offers a flexible reward currency will usually be the way to go.
To view rates and fees of the Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant™ American Express® Card, see this page.
All information about the Hilton Honors American Express Aspire Card has been collected independently by NerdWallet. The Hilton Honors American Express Aspire Card is no longer available through NerdWallet.
How to Maximize Your Rewards
You want a travel credit card that prioritizes what’s important to you. Here are our picks for the best travel credit cards of 2021, including those best for:
Flexibility, point transfers and a large bonus: Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card
No annual fee: Bank of America® Travel Rewards credit card
Flat-rate travel rewards: Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card
Bonus travel rewards and high-end perks: Chase Sapphire Reserve®
Luxury perks: The Platinum Card® from American Express
Business travelers: Ink Business Preferred® Credit Card