How to Get Free Hotel Breakfast

These travel credit cards come with elite status, which often includes free breakfast as a perk for members.
Rand Shoaf
By Rand Shoaf 
Updated
Edited by June Casagrande

Many or all of the products featured here are from our partners who compensate us. This influences which products we write about and where and how the product appears on a page. However, this does not influence our evaluations. Our opinions are our own. Here is a list of our partners and here's how we make money.

Who doesn’t like free breakfast? Whether staying at a budget hotel or splurging on a European vacation, a comped breakfast is a perk everyone can enjoy.

That's why so many frequent travelers aim to figure out how to get complimentary hotel breakfast regularly. Now there are two ways to do it. You can stay at a hotel that offers free hotel breakfast outright to all guests.

But free breakfast for all guests is more the exception than the norm these days. Given that, you can employ some other tricks to get free breakfast, including flexing your hotel elite status. And no, you don't need to be a frequent hotel traveler to get hotel elite status. You can even get hotel elite status if you've never even stayed in that hotel before.

Here's NerdWallet's ultimate guide to getting free hotel breakfast:

Book at hotels that offer free hotels to everyone

Sure, the tip is obvious. But what's less obvious? Knowing which hotel actually offers free breakfast. Does DoubleTree by Hilton offer free breakfast to all guests? (Answer: no). Yet plenty of other Hilton brands do offer free breakfast, including Embassy Suites by Hilton, Hampton by Hilton, Homewood Suites by Hilton and Home2 Suites by Hilton.

It can be complicated to know which hotels offer free breakfast, which is why NerdWallet put together a guide naming them.

And happily, hotel free breakfast is better now than ever at most hotels. Gone are the day of sad continental breakfasts with stale pastries and soggy fruit. More hotels are offering hot options with emphasis on protein and a wider range of dietary preferences, such as vegan and gluten-free.

Breakfast options at Homewood Suites, including the taco bar. (Photo courtesy of Hilton)

For example, Homewood Suites launched a make your own taco bar across its U.S. hotels in May 2024. The taco bar offers a diversity of ingredients, including corn and flour tortillas, pickled onions, jalapenos, cremas, salsa, hot sauces, plus a wide range of proteins, including smoked pulled pork, chicken carnitas and chorizo.

Flex elite status

Many hotel loyalty programs offer complimentary breakfast to top-tier elite members.

While exact hotel elite status benefits vary by tier of status and hotel brand, expect some degree of omelette for free. For example, Marriott Bonvoy elites at the Platinum or higher level can often choose free breakfast in the hotel restaurant at most properties. At other properties, they get access to the hotel’s club lounge, where complimentary drinks, hors d’oeuvres or breakfast items may be served.

Hilton makes things more flexible by offering its Gold or Diamond elite status members a Hilton Honors Daily Food & Beverage credit. This is a series of statement credits (one for each night booked) to cover purchases made at hotel restaurants at eligible hotels.

Apply for the right hotel credit card (so you earn elite status)

Yet not everyone travels enough to reach elite status. Luckily, there's another, more fast-tracked way to access these perks: Get mid- to upper-level hotel elite status by holding a premium co-branded hotel credit card.

The caveat? You will have to pay an annual fee. But if you travel frequently, the advantages of having one of these cards can far outweigh the cost.

Here's a roundup of hotel credit cards that offer complimentary breakfast to consider adding to your collection.

Credit cards that offer complimentary breakfast for travelers

At certain Hilton brands including Embassy Suites by Hilton, Hampton by Hilton, Tru by Hilton (pictured here), Homewood Suites by Hilton and Home2 Suites by Hilton, breakfast is free for all guests, regardless of status. Photo courtesy of Hilton.

Hilton Honors American Express Surpass® Card
NerdWallet rating 

Hilton Honors American Express Surpass® Card

This card doesn’t come with as many red-carpet perks as the Hilton Honors American Express Aspire Card, but it gets you a daily food and beverage credit from the automatic Hilton Honors™ Gold Status that comes with it. Hilton's daily food and beverage credit can be redeemed any time of day at all properties that don't otherwise offer free breakfast to all guests. The amount of the credit varies by hotel brand, but generally speaking, more upscale hotel brands offer a higher credit.

Benefits of Hilton Gold status include 80% bonus points on stays, Milestone Bonuses and room upgrades.

With its modest annual fee ($150 annual fee), the Hilton Honors American Express Surpass® Card can be a solid option for less-frequent Hilton guests who are looking for a few extra perks, like complimentary breakfast.

Other benefits of this card include:

  • Welcome bonus: Earn 130,000 Hilton Honors Bonus Points plus a Free Night Reward after you spend $3,000 in purchases on the Hilton Honors American Express Surpass® Card in the first 6 months of Card Membership. Offer Ends 7/31/2024. Terms apply.

  • Earn a Free Night Reward from Hilton Honors after you spend $15,000 on eligible purchases on your Card in a calendar year.

  • Earn 12x Hilton Honors points on eligible purchases charged at Hilton hotels.

  • Earn 6x points at U.S. restaurants, U.S. supermarkets and U.S. gas stations.

  • Earn 4x points on U.S. online retail purchases.

  • Earn 3x points for all other eligible purchases.

Terms apply.

Hilton Honors American Express Aspire Card

The Hilton Honors American Express Aspire Card offers some of the best perks you’ll find anywhere. This card carries a high annual fee of $550, but you automatically get Hilton Honors™ Diamond Status — the top tier in the Hilton Honors program, which gets you VIP perks when you stay with Hilton.

By holding either Gold or Diamond status, you get a daily food and beverage credit to use on breakfast — or any meal of the day (brunch, linner and late-night snacks are all eligible) at all properties that don't otherwise offer free breakfast to all guests. The amount of the credit varies by hotel brand, but generally speaking, more upscale hotel brands offer a higher credit.

Other benefits of this card include:

  • Welcome bonus: Earn 180,000 Hilton Honors Bonus Points after you spend $6,000 in purchases on the Hilton Honors American Express Aspire Card in the first 6 months of Card Membership. Offer Ends 1/17/2024.

  • 14x Hilton Honors points for eligible charges at Hilton properties.

  • 7x points on flights booked directly with airlines or AmEx Travel and on car rentals from select car rental companies.

  • 7x points at U.S. restaurants.

  • 3x points for all other eligible purchases.

  • $400 in Hilton resort credits every year.

  • $200 airfare credit every year.

Terms apply.

Some of the breakfast options available at most Aloft hotels. Photo courtesy of Marriott.

Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant American Express Card
NerdWallet rating 

Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant® American Express® Card

The Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant® American Express® Card won’t automatically get you complimentary breakfast, but it'll help you get closer to earning it once you put in a still-significant amount of effort yourself.

Platinum Elite status will get you complimentary breakfast at almost all Marriott hotels. But to reach Platinum status in the Marriott Bonvoy program, you'll have to have accumulated 50 Elite Night credits in a year. The card, which has an annual fee of $650, gives you 15 Elite Night credits, so you have to stay a far fewer-35 nights to get you to that free breakfast.

But once you have status, it can be worth it. Marriott has been revamping its menu items, including the November 2021 relaunch of breakfast at its Aloft Hotels brand, which serves up trendy menu items including a plant-based sandwich featuring Beyond Meat’s signature breakfast sausage, Funfetti and maple-glazed cinnamon rolls, and Nutella waffles.

At some Marriott brands, Platinum members get to choose their welcome gift, one of which is complimentary breakfast. At other brands, you will be able to enjoy breakfast in the lounge. Unfortunately, there are a few properties where you won’t get complimentary breakfast, like at Ritz Carlton hotels or at Autograph Collection, Renaissance Hotels or EDITION properties that do not have a lounge.

Other benefits of this card include:

  • Welcome bonus: Earn 95,000 Marriott Bonvoy bonus points after you use your new Card to make $6,000 in purchases within the first 6 months of Card Membership. Terms Apply.

  • $300 annual statement credit for eligible purchases at Marriott Bonvoy hotels. Effective Sept. 22, 2022, the $300 Marriott credit will be replaced with a new benefit of up to $300 in statement credits per calendar year (up to $25 per month) for eligible purchases at restaurants worldwide.

  • 6x Marriott Bonvoy points on eligible purchases at participating Marriott Bonvoy hotels.

  • 3x points at U.S. restaurants and on flights booked directly with airlines.

  • 2x points on all other eligible purchases.

  • Annual free night award redeemable for a room costing 50,000 Marriott Bonvoy points. Certain hotels have resort fees.

  • Complimentary Priority Pass Select membership with unlimited visits to participating airport lounges. Enrollment required.

  • No foreign transaction fee.

Terms apply.

🤓Nerdy Tip

You can also get the same 15 Elite Night Credits from other Marriott cards that come with less benefits (and lower annual fees), including the Marriott Bonvoy Bold® Credit Card, the Marriott Bonvoy Boundless® Credit Card and the Marriott Bonvoy Business® American Express® Card. Terms apply.

Chase Sapphire Reserve Credit Card
NerdWallet rating 

Chase credit cards can help you get complimentary breakfast at hotels, too

Chase Bank's relationship with Luxury Collection Hotels and Resorts means that certain cardholders can get complimentary breakfast when stays are booked on Chase’s Luxury Collection Hotel website or by calling Luxury Collection Resorts directly. This isn’t always worthwhile since your hotel room might cost more when booked through the Luxury Collection than if you booked directly on the hotel’s website.

But if you have a Chase Sapphire Reserve®, United Club℠ Infinite Card or another qualifying Chase card, check rates through Luxury Collection to see if they add up to a good deal for a complimentary breakfast.

Chase United MileagePlus(R) Club Card Credit Card
NerdWallet rating 

If you're looking for ways to get free hotel breakfast ...

Complimentary breakfast can make any hotel stay even better, and carrying the right travel credit card can help you get this perk, often by getting you elite status in a hotel loyalty program.

To view rates and fees of the Hilton Honors American Express Surpass® 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.
To view rates and fees of the Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant® American Express® Card, see this page.

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 2024, including those best for:

Travel Cards from Our Partners
Chase Sapphire Preferred Credit Card

on Chase's website

Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card
5.0
NerdWallet Rating
Rewards rate

1x-5x

5x on travel purchased through Chase Travel℠, 3x on dining, select streaming services and online groceries, 2x on all other travel purchases, 1x on all other purchases.

Points

Intro offer

75,000

Earn 75,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's over $900 when you redeem through Chase Travel℠.

Points
Chase Freedom Unlimited Credit Card

on Chase's website

Chase Freedom Unlimited®
5.0
NerdWallet Rating
Rewards rate

1.5%-5%

Enjoy 5% cash back on travel purchased through Chase Travel, 3% cash back on drugstore purchases and dining at restaurants, including takeout and eligible delivery service, and unlimited 1.5% cash back on all other purchases.

Cashback

Intro offer

Up to $300

Earn an additional 1.5% cash back on everything you buy (on up to $20,000 spent in the first year) - worth up to $300 cash back!

Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card

on Capital One's website

Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card
4.7
NerdWallet Rating
Rewards rate

2x-5x

Earn unlimited 2X miles on every purchase, every day. Earn 5X miles on hotels and rental cars booked through Capital One Travel, where you'll get Capital One's best prices on thousands of trip options.

Miles

Intro offer

75,000

Enjoy a one-time bonus of 75,000 miles once you spend $4,000 on purchases within 3 months from account opening, equal to $750 in travel.

Miles
See more travel cards
Get more smart money moves – straight to your inbox
Sign up and we’ll send you Nerdy articles about the money topics that matter most to you along with other ways to help you get more from your money.