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Travel rewards credit cards offer all kinds of perks to attract your business. But only some reward you for sticking around by giving you a specific perk every year on your cardholder anniversary. In a lot of cases, these anniversary bonuses are more valuable than you might guess.
Here are the top credit cards with anniversary bonuses.
1. Hilton Honors American Express Aspire Card
The Hilton Honors American Express Aspire Card is loaded with benefits, including Priority Pass lounge access, a $250 airline fee credit and a $100 resort credit. And while this card has a $450 annual fee, it also gives customers a valuable weekend night certificate each year after you renew your credit card. Terms apply.
You can use your weekend night certificate at almost any property in the Hilton portfolio, including ultra-luxe Waldorf Astorias and Conrads. This is far more generous than other hotel loyalty programs that don’t let you use a free night certificate at their top-tier luxury hotels.
Normally, these weekend night certificates are good for Friday, Saturday or Sunday stays only. But in response to the pandemic, Hilton adjusted the weekend certificate issued in two key ways: It can now be used any day of the week, and the perks' expiration dates have been extended until the end of Dec. 2022. This offers even more flexibility and value for customers.
» Learn more: Benefits of the Hilton Honors loyalty program
2. World of Hyatt Credit Card
With the anniversary bonuses from the World of Hyatt Credit Card, you get a certificate to use at hotel Categories 1 through 4 every year when you pay the $95 annual fee. Plus, you can get another free night if you charge $15,000 in a calendar year.
Use this certificate at a Category 4 World of Hyatt property to get the most value. For example, depending on when you stay, the Andaz in Savannah, Georgia, would cost $255 for the night. So by paying the $95 annual fee on the World of Hyatt credit card and using your anniversary certificate at this hotel, you would come out $160 ahead.
Couple this with Hyatt Discoverist or higher status, and you may get extra benefits like a room upgrade, making that certificate even more valuable.
3. Alaska Airlines Visa Signature® credit card
The Alaska Airlines Visa Signature® credit card gets you a companion fare every year when renewing your card and paying the $75 annual fee.
With this benefit, a companion can accompany you on a paid round-trip or one-way Alaska Airlines flight for $99 plus taxes — usually for a total of about $121. There are no blackout dates, and the fare can be used on any Alaska Airlines flight as long as you’re traveling on the same reservation, it is a paid ticket (not an award flight) and you used your Alaska Airlines credit card to pay.
You can even use this companion fare on a flight to Hawaii, which is excluded with some other airline certificates.
4. Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant™ American Express® Card
The Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant™ American Express® Card may have a $450 annual fee, but with its many benefits the annual fee is justified. Cardholders have access to annual card bonuses like a free night certificate, redeemable for a stay worth up to 50,000 points.
Compare that with the Marriott Bonvoy Boundless® Credit Card, for example, which offers an annual certificate for a free night worth up to 35,000 points.
The anniversary perk from the more expensive card lets you book a free night at a higher-end property. Terms apply.
5. Southwest Rapid Rewards® Priority Credit Card
The Southwest Rapid Rewards® Priority Credit Card offers 7,500 Southwest points when you renew your credit card and pay the $149 annual fee.
NerdWallet values Southwest points at 1.4 cents per point, which means those 7,500 points would offer $120 in value for Southwest flights, offsetting most of the annual fee.
» Learn more: Why I love Southwest Airlines
The bottom line
While there are many credit cards that offer anniversary bonuses, these are some of the best. A credit card anniversary perk can, in many cases, easily justify paying the card’s annual fee. If these airlines or hotels align with your travel destinations, then having these travel credit cards for the long term could really benefit you.
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