BEST OF

Best Hotel Credit Cards of August 2021

NerdWalletJul 29, 2021
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A co-branded hotel 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. Some even offer a free anniversary night. 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 August 2021

Best Hotel Credit Cards From Our Partners

Our pick for

Marriott

Marriott Bonvoy Boundless™ Credit Card

on Chase's website

4.8

NerdWallet rating 

on Chase's website

Annual Fee

$95

Rewards Rate

2x-17x

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 3 Free Nights (each night valued up to 50,000 points) after qualifying purchases + 10X total points on eligible purchases in select categories.
  • 1 Free Night Award (valued up to 35,000 points) every year after account anniversary.
  • Earn up to 17X total 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.
  • 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.
  • Earn unlimited Marriott Bonvoy points and get Free Night Stays faster.

Our pick for

Easy redemption

Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card

on Capital One's website

5.0

NerdWallet rating 

on Capital One's website

Annual Fee

$95

Rewards Rate

2x

Points

Intro offer

60,000

Points

Recommended Credit Score

For easy earning and redemption, the Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card is tough to beat, whether you want to redeem miles for hotel stays, flights, cab rides or cruises.

Pros

  • You're not restricted to any particular hotel chain. Book your own travel, then pay for it with rewards. You can also transfer points to over 12 travel loyalty programs. The card offers 2 miles per $1 spent on all purchases. Redeem miles for credit against most travel expenses at 1 cent per mile. Also, get reimbursed for a Global Entry or TSA Precheck application fee every four years.

Cons

  • You'll get no hotel-specific perks, such as room upgrades or late checkout. So, if you’re loyal to one particular hotel company, it might be worth comparing this card with the hotel-branded card. And point values don't budge. You can't get more than 1 cent worth of value per mile.

  • Enjoy a one-time bonus of 60,000 miles once you spend $3,000 on purchases within 3 months from account opening, equal to $600 in travel
  • Earn unlimited 2X miles on every purchase, every day
  • Miles won't expire for the life of the account and there's no limit to how many you can earn
  • Receive up to $100 application fee credit for Global Entry or TSA Pre✓®
  • Redeem on travel—including flights, vacation rentals, car rentals and more. Plus transfer your miles to over 15+ travel loyalty programs
  • No foreign transaction fees

Our pick for

Point transfers to hotel programs

Chase Sapphire Preferred Credit Card

on Chase's website

4.5

NerdWallet rating 

on Chase's website

Annual Fee

$95

Rewards Rate

1x-2x

Points

Intro offer

100,000

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.

  • Our best offer ever! Earn 100,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $1,250 when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®.
  • Earn 2X points on dining including eligible delivery services, takeout and dining out and travel. Plus, earn 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, 100,000 points are worth $1,250 toward travel.
  • With Pay Yourself Back℠, your points are worth 25% more during the current offer when you redeem them for statement credits against existing purchases in select, rotating categories
  • Get unlimited deliveries with a $0 delivery fee and reduced service fees on eligible orders over $12 for a minimum of one year with DashPass, DoorDash's subscription service. Activate by 12/31/21.
  • Count on Trip Cancellation/Interruption Insurance, Auto Rental Collision Damage Waiver, Lost Luggage Insurance and more.
  • Get up to $60 back on an eligible Peloton Digital or All-Access Membership through 12/31/2021, and get full access to their workout library through the Peloton app, including cardio, running, strength, yoga, and more. Take classes using a phone, tablet, or TV. No fitness equipment is required.
  • See if you qualify for a better offer with Chase:

Our pick for

Hilton

Hilton Honors Ascend

on American Express's website

4.7

NerdWallet rating 

on American Express's website

Annual Fee

$0 intro for the first year, then $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.

  • Limited Time Offer: Earn 130,000 Hilton Honors Bonus Points after you spend $2,000 in purchases on the Card in the first 3 months of Card Membership. Offer expires 8/25/2021.
  • Limited Time Offer: Enjoy $0 intro Annual Fee for the first year, then $95. Offer expires 8/25/2021.
  • 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, at U.S. supermarkets, and at 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.
  • Terms Apply.

Our pick for

Holiday Inn/IHG

IHG® Rewards Club Premier Credit Card

on Chase's website

5.0

NerdWallet rating 

on Chase's website

Annual Fee

$0 intro for the first year, then $89

Rewards Rate

1x-25x

Points

Intro offer

150,000

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 150,000 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

World Of Hyatt Credit Card

on Chase's website

5.0

NerdWallet rating 

on Chase's website

Annual Fee

$95

Rewards Rate

1x-9x

Points

Intro offer

30,000

Points

Recommended Credit Score

If you prefer to stay at Hyatt-brand hotels, 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 30,000 Bonus Points after you spend $3,000 on purchases in your first 3 months from account opening. Plus, up to 30,000 More Bonus Points by earning 2 Bonus Points total per $1 spent in the first 6 months from account opening on purchases that normally earn 1 Bonus Point, on up to $15,000 spent
  • Get 1 free night each year after your Cardmember anniversary at any Category 1-4 Hyatt hotel or resort
  • Enjoy complimentary World of Hyatt Discoverist status for as long as your account is open.
  • Receive 5 tier qualifying night credits towards status after account opening, and each year after that for as long as your account is open
  • Earn an extra free night at any Category 1-4 Hyatt hotel if you spend $15,000 in a calendar year
  • Earn 2 qualifying night credits towards tier status everytime you spend $5,000 on your card
  • Earn up to 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

Want to compare more options? Here are our other top picks:

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 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® Earner℠ Plus Credit Card offers plenty of value for Wyndham loyalists, not to mention rich rewards on dining and grocery store purchases. You'll also get automatic Platinum status, plus anniverary points that could net you a free night every year. 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, 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.

Last updated on July 29, 2021

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.