Best of

Best Hotel Credit Cards of November 2020

NerdWalletOctober 21, 2020

Many or all of the products featured here are from our partners who compensate us. This may influence 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.

If you spend a lot of nights at hotels, it pays to think about which credit card you use. A co-branded credit card — that is, a card that bears the name of a hotel company — often entitles you to great perks and bonus rewards at that company's hotels. But to redeem your rewards, you're often limited to those same hotels. A general travel credit card, on the other hand, earns flexible rewards that you can use at any hotel — but doesn't give you the perks of a co-branded card.

NerdWallet's Best Hotel Credit Cards of November 2020

Best Hotel Credit Cards From Our Partners

Our pick for

Marriott

on Chase's website

Annual Fee

$95

Rewards Rate

2x-6x

Points

Intro offer

0

Points

Recommended Credit Score

The Marriott Bonvoy Boundless™ Credit Card is a worthwhile card whose benefits — especially a free night every year — can easily make up for its annual fee. Not only does Marriott have a wide selection of locations, both economy and upscale, but the card doesn't limit you to using points only for hotel stays.

Pros

A typical downside of a hotel-branded card is a lack of places to earn and redeem points, but Marriott is huge, with 7,000 properties across 30 hotel brands spanning 129 countries and territories. A free night's stay annually and automatic Silver Elite status every year just for having the card are valuable, along with a points bonus during stays, late checkout and other perks. Another plus: Points are transferable to several airline partners. 

Cons

Rewards aren't as flexible for redeeming as general travel cards, making this card specific to fans of Marriott.

  • Earn 5 Free Nights after you spend $5,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening.
  • Our Best Free Night Offer Yet.
  • Earn 6X Bonvoy points per $1 spent at over 7,000 hotels participating in Marriott Bonvoy™.
  • 2X Bonvoy points for every $1 spent on all other purchases.
  • 1 Free Night Award (valued up to 35,000 points) every year after account anniversary.
  • Automatic Silver Elite Status each account anniversary year. Path to Gold Status when you spend $35,000 on purchases each account year.
  • 15 Elite Night Credits each calendar year.
  • No foreign transaction fees.

Our pick for

Point transfers to hotel programs

on Chase's website

Annual Fee

$95

Rewards Rate

1x-5x

Points

Intro offer

80,000

Points

Recommended Credit Score

If you stay mostly at one company's hotel brands, a co-branded card might provide specific benefits that the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card does not. But if you want flexibility in earning and transferring points for outsized value when redeeming, this is a top pick.

Pros

Flexible rewards and high-value redemption options are the main attractions. Earn 2 points per $1 spent on dining and travel and 1 point per dollar on everything else. Points are worth 1.25 cents apiece when used to book travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards®, or you can transfer them at a 1:1 rate to several other loyalty programs, including hotel programs with Marriott, Hyatt and IHG.

Cons

As a general travel card, it lacks the special perks — such as free anniversary nights and room upgrades — that hotel-specific co-branded cards might offer.

  • Earn 80,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $1,000 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®.
  • 2X points on travel and dining at restaurants worldwide, eligible delivery services, takeout and dining out & 1 point per dollar spent on all other purchases.
  • Get 25% more value when you redeem for airfare, hotels, car rentals and cruises through Chase Ultimate Rewards. For example, 80,000 points are worth $1,000 toward travel.
  • Get unlimited deliveries with a $0 delivery fee and reduced service fees on orders over $12 for a minimum of one year on qualifying food purchases with DashPass, DoorDash's subscription service. Activate by 12/31/21.
  • Earn 5X points on Lyft rides through March 2022. That's 3X points in addition to the 2X points you already earn on travel.
  • See if you qualify for a better offer with Chase:

Our pick for

Hilton

on American Express's website

Rates & Fees
Annual Fee

$95

Rewards Rate

3x-12x

Points

Intro offer

130,000

Points

Recommended Credit Score

If you're loyal to hotels under the Hilton umbrella, the Hilton Honors American Express Surpass® Card can more than pay for itself despite relatively low rewards-point values. You’ll be able to hold on to your automatic Gold status as long as you’re a cardholder, making it easier to rack up rewards and earn free stays.

Pros

From Hilton and Waldorf-Astoria to Embassy Suites and Hampton Inn, the chain has 5,500 hotels in 109 countries and territories, making it easy to earn and redeem points. Earn extra points for purchases at U.S. restaurants, U.S. supermarkets and U.S. gas stations. Plus, you'll get automatic Hilton Honors Gold status, which can snag you a complimentary stay every fifth night at a Hilton portfolio hotel, continental breakfast, and a slew of other benefits. Terms apply.

Cons

The card gives you a lot of points, but they have below-average value when you spend them, according to NerdWallet valuations. You can redeem points for airline rewards, but at unfavorable rates.

  • Earn 130,000 Hilton Honors Bonus Points with the Hilton Honors American Express Surpass® Card after you use your new Card to make $2,000 in eligible purchases within the first 3 months of Card Membership.
  • Earn a Weekend Night Reward from Hilton Honors after you spend $15,000 on purchases on your Card in a calendar year.
  • Earn 12X Hilton Honors Bonus Points for each dollar of eligible purchases charged on your Card directly with a hotel or resort within the Hilton portfolio.
  • Earn 6X Hilton Honors Bonus Points for each dollar of eligible purchases on your Card at U.S. restaurants, U.S. supermarkets, and U.S. gas stations.
  • Earn 3X Hilton Honors Bonus Points for all other eligible purchases on your Card.
  • Spend $40,000 on eligible purchases on your Card in a calendar year and you can earn Hilton Honors Diamond status through the end of the next calendar year.
  • $95 annual fee.
  • Terms Apply.
  • View Rates and Fees

Our pick for

Holiday Inn/IHG

on Chase's website

Annual Fee

$0 intro for the first year, then $89

Rewards Rate

1x-25x

Points

Intro offer

140,000

Points

Recommended Credit Score

If you stay at the brands of InterContinental Hotel Group, the IHG® Rewards Club Premier Credit Card can be well worth its annual fee for the free anniversary night alone, and you’ll enjoy Platinum Elite status as long as you have the card.

Pros

A free night after each account anniversary and a free reward night when you redeem points for a stay of 4 or more nights are huge benefits, as is Platinum Elite status, which promises exclusive room rates, room upgrades, free Internet and check-in/check-out privileges, among other perks. It also will issue a credit for a Global Entry or TSA Precheck application fee every four years when paying with the card.

Cons

Like all co-branded hotel credit cards, its rewards are not as flexible for getting free travel as a general travel card.

  • Earn 140,000 bonus points after spending $3,000 on purchases within the first three months of account opening
  • Enjoy a Reward Night after each account anniversary year at eligible IHG hotels worldwide. Plus, enjoy a reward night when you redeem points for any stay of 4 or more nights
  • Earn up to 25 points total per $1 spent when you stay at an IHG hotel
  • Earn 2 points per $1 spent on purchases at gas stations, grocery stores, and restaurants. Earn 1 point per $1 spent on all other purchases
  • Platinum Elite status as long as you remain a Premier card member
  • Global Entry or TSA Pre✓® Fee Credit of up to $100 every 4 years as reimbursement for the application fee charged to your card
  • IHG Rewards Club Bonus points are redeemable at hotels such as InterContinental®, Crowne Plaza®, Kimpton®, EVEN® Hotels, Indigo® Hotels & Holiday Inn®

Our pick for

Hyatt

on Chase's website

Annual Fee

$95

Rewards Rate

1x-9x

Points

Intro offer

25,000

Points

Recommended Credit Score

If you prefer to stay at Hyatt-brand hotels, The World Of Hyatt Credit Card can be worth its annual fee for the free anniversary night alone. You’ll enjoy high point values, Discoverist elite status as long as you have the card, and useful everyday bonus spending categories.

Pros

Hyatt has the highest point values among major hotel loyalty programs, according to NerdWallet valuations. That's important when you can rack up double points on such spending as gym memberships, dining at restaurants, local transit and commuting and airline tickets purchased through airlines. You'll get a free anniversary night at a Category 1-4 Hyatt hotel or resort, automatic Discoverist status and five qualifying night credits toward the next status tier every year. Discoverist status includes such perks as room upgrades and late checkout.

Cons

Hyatt is a smaller player among major hotel groups, which limits places to earn and redeem points.

  • Earn 25,000 Bonus Points after you spend $3,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. Plus, 25,000 Bonus Points after you spend $6,000 total within 6 months of account opening.
  • Free nights start at 5,000 points
  • Receive 1 free night at any Category 1-4 Hyatt hotel or resort after your Cardmember anniversary
  • Earn an extra free night at any Category 1-4 Hyatt hotel if you spend $15,000 during your cardmember anniversary year
  • Get automatic World of Hyatt Elite status and 5 qualifying night credits every year as long as your account is open
  • Earn 2 qualifying night credits towards tier status everytime you spend $5,000 on your card
  • Earn 9 points total for Hyatt stays - 4 Bonus Points per $1 spent at Hyatt hotels & 5 Base Points per $1 you can earn as a World of Hyatt member
  • Earn 2 Bonus Points per $1 spent at restaurants, on airlines tickets purchased directly from the airlines, on local transit and commuting and on fitness club and gym memberships

Our pick for

Premium hotel card

on American Express's website

Rates & Fees
Annual Fee

$450

Rewards Rate

3x-14x

Points

Intro offer

150,000

Points

Recommended Credit Score

The Hilton Honors American Express Aspire Card comes with a steep annual fee, but its generous perks make it near-must-have for hardcore Hilton loyalists.

Pros

You get a ton of points for travel and dining purchases (see the Product Details tab), but this card really pays you back with perks: generous resort and airline credits; airport lounge access; free weekend nights; automatic Diamond status, travel protections and more. And don't forget the big bonus offer: Earn 150,000 Hilton Honors Bonus Points with the Hilton Honors American Express Aspire Card after you use your new Card to make $4,000 in eligible purchases within the first 3 months of Card Membership. Terms Apply. Terms apply.

Cons

The $450 annual fee is a significant outlay, even considering the benefits you get in return.

  • Earn 150,000 Hilton Honors Bonus Points with the Hilton Honors American Express Aspire Card after you use your new Card to make $4,000 in eligible purchases within the first 3 months of Card Membership. Plus, enjoy a free Weekend Night Reward within your first year and every year after renewal.
  • Earn 14X Hilton Bonus Points when you make eligible purchases on your Card at participating hotels or resorts within the Hilton Portfolio.
  • Earn 7X Bonus Points for eligible purchases: on flights booked directly with airlines or amextravel.com, on car rentals booked directly from select car rental companies & at U.S. restaurants.
  • Earn 3X Hilton Honors Bonus Points for all other eligible purchases on your Card.
  • Enjoy up to $250 in Hilton Resort Credits on your Card each anniversary year, when you stay at participating resorts within the Hilton portfolio.
  • Enjoy complimentary Diamond status with your Hilton Honors Aspire Card.
  • $450 annual fee.
  • Terms Apply.
  • View Rates and Fees

FULL LIST OF EDITORIAL PICKS: BEST HOTEL CREDIT CARDS

Click the card name to read our review. Before applying, confirm details on the issuer’s website.

Our pick for: Marriott

The Marriott Bonvoy Boundless™ Credit Card is a worthwhile card whose benefits — especially a free night every year — can easily make up for its annual fee. Not only does Marriott have a wide selection of locations, both economy and upscale, but the card doesn't limit you to using points only for hotel stays. Read our review.

Our pick for: Easy redemption

The Capital One® Venture® Rewards Credit Card is probably the best-known general-purpose travel credit card, thanks to its ubiquitous advertising. You earn 2 miles per dollar on all purchases, and miles can be redeemed at a value of 1 cent apiece for any travel purchase, without the blackout dates and other restrictions of branded hotel and airline cards. The card offers a great sign-up bonus and other worthwhile perks. Read our review.

Our pick for: Point transfers to hotel programs

The Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card earns 2X points on travel and dining for a reasonable annual fee. Points are worth 25% more when you redeem them for travel booked through Chase, or you could transfer them to about a dozen airline and hotel partners. The sign-up bonus is stellar, too. Read our review. 

Our pick for: Hilton

If you're loyal to hotels under the Hilton umbrella, the Hilton Honors American Express Surpass® Card can more than pay for itself despite relatively low rewards-point values. You’ll be able to hold on to your automatic Gold status as long as you’re a cardholder, making it easier to rack up rewards and earn free stays. Read our review.

Our pick for: Holiday Inn/IHG 

If you stay at the brands of InterContinental Hotel Group, the IHG® Rewards Club Premier Credit Card can be well worth its annual fee for the free anniversary night alone, and you’ll enjoy Platinum Elite status as long as you have the card. Read our review.

Our pick for: Hyatt 

Hyatt isn't as big as its competitors, but The World Of Hyatt Credit Card is worth a look for anyone who spends a lot of time on the road. You can earn a lot of points even on non-Hyatt spending, and those points have a high value compared with rival programs. There's a great sign-up bonus, free nights, automatic elite status and more. Read our review.

Our pick for: Premium hotel card

The Hilton Honors American Express Aspire Card comes with a steep annual fee, but its rich rewards (especially on travel and dining) and generous perks make it near-must for hardcore Hilton loyalists. Enjoy airline and resort credits, airport lounge access, automatic elite status, free weekend night awards and much more. Read our review.

Our pick for: Best Western

If you’re a fan of Best Western-owned hotel properties, the Best Western Rewards® Premium Mastercard® offers solid rewards. But while you will get elite status, you won’t be getting the free anniversary nights that cards with annual fees usually offer. Read our review.

Our pick for: Wyndham

The Wyndham Rewards® Visa® With No Annual Fee can help you earn points quickly thanks to some useful everyday rewards categories. It also doesn't require much effort to earn the introductory bonus and Gold status. Read our review.

Our pick for: Radisson 

Rewards points on the Radisson Rewards™ Premier Visa Signature® Card might be less valuable than those from other major hotel chains, but frequent guests at Radisson hotels won’t have trouble stockpiling a bunch of them, especially with a generous annual points bonus. For Radisson loyalists, it’s the card to have. Read our review.

Our pick for: Orbitz users

Among hotel rewards cards, the Orbitz Rewards® Visa® Card has some of the highest earning potential. But you’ll have to jump through hoops to get the best rewards, and you can spend them only on hotel bookings. Read our review.

How much is a hotel point worth?

By Sam Kemmis, NerdWallet travel rewards expert

Hotel credit cards earn loyalty program points every time you use the card, but the value of these points depends both on the hotel chain that issued them and how you redeem them.

To better understand what points are worth, NerdWallet researched the cash prices and reward-redemption values for hundreds of hotels rooms. See our valuations page for our findings.

Our valuations are different from many others you may find. That’s because we looked at the average value of a point based on reasonable price searches that anyone can perform, not a maximized value that only travel rewards experts can expect to reach.

Use these values as a baseline for your own redemptions. If you can redeem your points for the values listed on our valuations page, you are doing well. Of course, if you are able to get higher value, that’s even better.

To view rates and fees of the Hilton Honors American Express Surpass® Card, please visit this page.

To view rates and fees of the Hilton Honors American Express Aspire Card, please visit this page.

Last updated on October 21, 2020

Methodology

NerdWallet's credit cards team selects the best cards in each category based on overall consumer value. Factors in our evaluation include fees, promotional and ongoing APRs, and sign-up bonuses; for rewards cards, we consider earning and redemption rates, redemption options and redemption difficulty. A single card is eligible to be chosen in multiple categories.