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Best Hotel Credit Cards of February 2019

Feb. 16, 2019
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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.

Best for easy redemption
and for Hotels.com users: Capital One® Venture® Rewards Credit Card

Capital One® Venture® Rewards Credit Card

Capital One® Venture® Rewards Credit Card

Apply Now on Capital One's secure site
  • Recommended Credit Score
  • 690
    850
    Good - Excellent
  • Card Details
  • Pros

    • High rewards rate
    • Flexible rewards redemption
    • No foreign transaction fee
    • Sign-up bonus

    Cons

    • Has annual fee
    • Redemption value for cash is half of value for travel
    • Requires good/excellent credit

    Annual Fees

    $0 for the first year, then $95

    APR

    • APR: 15.24% - 25.24% Variable APR
    • Cash Advance APR: 25.24%, Variable

    Bonus Offers

    Enjoy a one-time bonus of 50,000 miles once you spend $3,000 on purchases within 3 months from account opening, equal to $500 in travel

    Intro APR

    • N/A
  • Additional Information
    • Enjoy a one-time bonus of 50,000 miles once you spend $3,000 on purchases within 3 months from account opening, equal to $500 in travel
    • Earn 2X miles on every purchase, every day. Plus earn 10X miles on thousands of hotels, through January 2020; learn more at hotels.com/venture
    • Named ‘The Best Travel Card' by CNBC, 2018
    • Receive up to $100 application fee credit for Global Entry or TSA Pre✓®
    • Fly any airline, stay at any hotel, anytime; no blackout dates. Plus transfer your miles to over 12 leading travel loyalty programs
    • Miles won't expire for the life of the account and there's no limit to how many you can earn
    • No foreign transaction fees
    • $0 intro annual fee for the first year; $95 after that

Why we like it

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 and cons

Pros: You’re not restricted to a 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. Through January 2020, you can also earn 10 miles per dollar at Hotels.com/venture. 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.

» MORE: Read our review of the Capital One® Venture® Rewards Credit Card

Best for point transfers to hotel programs: Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card

Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card

Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card

Apply Now on Chase's secure site
  • Recommended Credit Score
  • 690
    850
    Good - Excellent
  • Card Details
  • Pros

    • A large bonus
    • No foreign transaction fee
    • Cool factor - metal card
    • Earn more points on travel and dining at restaurants
    • Premium travel protection benefits

    Cons

    • $0 intro annual fee for the first year, after that $95 per year

    Annual Fees

    $0 for the first year, then $95

    APR

    • APR: 18.24% - 25.24% Variable APR
    • Cash Advance APR: 27.24%, Variable

    Bonus Offers

    Earn 50,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $625 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®

    Intro APR

    • N/A
  • Additional Information
    • Earn 50,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $625 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®
    • Chase Sapphire Preferred named "Best Credit Card for Flexible Travel Redemption" - Kiplinger's Personal Finance, June 2018
    • 2X points on travel and dining at restaurants worldwide & 1 point per dollar spent on all other purchases.
    • No foreign transaction fees
    • 1:1 point transfer to leading airline and hotel loyalty programs
    • Get 25% more value when you redeem for airfare, hotels, car rentals and cruises through Chase Ultimate Rewards. For example, 50,000 points are worth $625 toward travel
    • No blackout dates or travel restrictions - as long as there's a seat on the flight, you can book it through Chase Ultimate Rewards

Why we like it

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 and cons

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 such hotel programs as 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.

» MORE: Read our review of the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card

Best for Orbitz users: Orbitz Rewards Visa Card

Orbitz Rewards Visa Card

Orbitz Rewards Visa Card

Apply Now on Comenity Capital Bank's secure site
  • Recommended Credit Score
  • 720
    850
    Excellent
  • Card Details
  • Pros

    • No annual fee
    • No foreign transaction fee

    Cons

    • Rewards only redeemable for hotel stays

    Annual Fees

    $0

    APR

    • Min APR: 17.99%, Variable
    • Max APR: 26.99%, Variable
    • Cash Advance APR: 28.99%, Variable

    Bonus Offers

    Get $100 statement credit after you spend $1500 in the first 90 days.

    Intro APR

    • N/A
  • Additional Information
    • Earn an EXTRA 5% in Orbucks on Orbitz bookings – that's up to 10% total!
    • Earn 2% back in Orbucks on all other purchases
    • Get a $100 statement credit
    • No annual fee, no foreign transaction fee

Why we like it

Among hotel rewards cards, it 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.

Pros and cons

Pros: It offers broad hotel choice because rewards rates can be earned at any hotel booked through Orbitz, and you’re not restricted to one hotel chain for redeeming rewards. And if you jump through the right hoops with the rewards program, you can earn rates as high as 10% back on hotel bookings. No annual fee is a big differentiator because most hotel-branded cards and lucrative travel cards charge one.

Cons: Earning the card’s highest rewards rates is complex. It depends on what you’re booking and how you’re booking it. You won’t get hotel-specific perks. If you’re loyal to one particular hotel company, it might be worth comparing this card with that company’s co-branded card. Rewards are good for hotel bookings only, unlike general travel cards that offer points that can be used for a variety of travel-related expenses.

» MORE: Read our review of the Orbitz Rewards Visa Card

Best for Marriott: Marriott Bonvoy Boundless™ Credit Card

Brands include Aloft, Courtyard, Delta, Fairfield, Four Points, Marriott, Renaissance, Residence Inn, Ritz-Carlton, Sheraton, Springhill Suites, Towneplace Suites, W Hotels, Westin.

Marriott Bonvoy Boundless™ Credit Card

Marriott Bonvoy Boundless™ Credit Card

Apply Now on Chase's secure site
  • Recommended Credit Score
  • 690
    850
    Good - Excellent
  • Card Details
  • Pros

    • High rewards rate
    • No foreign transaction fee

    Cons

    • Has annual fee
    • High APR

    Annual Fees

    $95

    APR

    • APR: 18.24% - 25.24% Variable APR
    • Cash Advance APR: 27.24%, Variable

    Bonus Offers

    Earn 75,000 Bonus Points after you spend $3,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening.

    Intro APR

    • N/A
  • Additional Information
    • Earn 75,000 Bonus Points after you spend $3,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening.
    • New Name. New Look. Same Great Benefits. The Marriott Rewards Premier Plus card is now the Marriott Bonvoy Boundless™ card!
    • A Free Night Award (valued up to 35,000 points) every year after account anniversary.
    • Earn 6X Bonvoy points per $1 spent at over 6,700 participating Marriott Bonvoy hotels.
    • 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.
    • Earn unlimited Marriott Bonvoy points and get Free Night Stays faster.

Why we like it

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 and cons

Pros: A typical downside of a hotel-branded card is a lack of places to earn and redeem points, but Marriott is huge, with 6,700 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. See our Marriott program review for the full list.

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

» MORE: Read our review of the Marriott Bonvoy Boundless™ Credit Card

Best for Hilton: Hilton Honors American Express Ascend Card

Brands include DoubleTree, Embassy Suites, Hampton Inn, Hilton, Hilton Garden Inn, Waldorf-Astoria.

Hilton Honors American Express Ascend Card

Hilton Honors American Express Ascend Card

Apply Now on American Express's secure site
  • Recommended Credit Score
  • 690
    850
    Good - Excellent
  • Card Details
  • Pros

    • High rewards rate
    • No foreign transaction fee

    Cons

    • Has annual fee

    Annual Fees

    $95

    APR

    • APR: 17.99% - 26.99% Variable APR
    • Penalty APR: 29.99%, Variable
    • Cash Advance APR: 27.49%, Variable

    Bonus Offers

    Earn 125,000 Hilton Honors Bonus Points with the Hilton Honors American Express Ascend Card after you use your new Card to make $2,000 in eligible purchases within the first 3 months of Card Membership. Terms Apply.

    Intro APR

    • N/A
  • Additional Information
    • Earn 125,000 Hilton Honors Bonus Points with the Hilton Honors American Express Ascend 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.

Why we like it

If you’re loyal to hotels under the Hilton umbrella, the  Hilton Honors American Express Ascend 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 and cons

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.

» MORE: Read our review of the Hilton Honors American Express Ascend Card

Best for Holiday Inn/IHG: IHG® Rewards Club Premier Credit Card

Brands include Candlewood Suites, Crowne Plaza, Holiday Inn, InterContinental, Staybridge Suites.

IHG® Rewards Club Premier Credit Card

IHG® Rewards Club Premier Credit Card

Apply Now on Chase's secure site
  • Recommended Credit Score
  • 690
    850
    Good - Excellent
  • Card Details
  • Pros

    • No foreign transaction fee

    Cons

    • Has annual fee
    • High APR

    Annual Fees

    $89

    APR

    • APR: 18.24% - 25.24% Variable APR
    • Cash Advance APR: 27.24%, Variable

    Bonus Offers

    Earn 80,000 bonus points after spending $2,000 on purchases within the first three months of account opening

    Intro APR

    • N/A
  • Additional Information
    • Earn 80,000 bonus points after spending $2,000 on purchases within the first three months of account opening
    • Enjoy a Free Night after each account anniversary year at eligible IHG hotels worldwide. Plus, enjoy a free reward night when you redeem points for any stay of 4 or more nights
    • Earn 10 points 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®

Why we like it

If you stay at the brands of InterContinental Hotel Group, the 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 and cons

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.

» MORE: Read our review of the IHG® Rewards Club Premier Credit Card

Best for Hyatt: The World Of Hyatt Credit Card

Brands include Andaz, Hyatt, Grand Hyatt, Hyatt Regency, Park Hyatt.

The World Of Hyatt Credit Card

The World Of Hyatt Credit Card

Apply Now on Chase's secure site
  • Recommended Credit Score
  • 690
    850
    Good - Excellent
  • Card Details
  • Pros

    • No foreign transaction fee

    Cons

    • Has annual fee
    • High APR

    Annual Fees

    $95

    APR

    • APR: 18.24% - 25.24% Variable APR
    • Cash Advance APR: 27.24%, Variable

    Bonus Offers

    Earn up to 50,000 Bonus Points - 25,000 Bonus Points after you spend $3,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. Earn an additional 25,000 Bonus Points after you spend a total of $6,000 on purchases within the first 6 months of account opening - free nights start at 5,000 points

    Intro APR

    • N/A
  • Additional Information
    • Earn up to 50,000 Bonus Points - 25,000 Bonus Points after you spend $3,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening
    • Earn an additional 25,000 Bonus Points after you spend a total of $6,000 on purchases within the first 6 months of account opening - free nights start at 5,000 points
    • Receive 1 free night every year after your cardmember anniversary at any Category 1-4 Hyatt hotel or resort
    • Earn an extra free night at any Category 1-4 Hyatt hotel or resort if you spend $15,000 during your cardmember anniversary year
    • Get automatic World of Hyatt Elite status for as long as your account is open and 5 qualifying night credits toward your next tier status every year
    • Earn 2 qualifying night credits towards your next tier status every time you spend $5,000 on your card
    • Earn 9 points total per $1 spent at Hyatt - 4 Bonus Points per $1 when you use your card at Hyatt hotels & 5 Base Points per $1 you can earn as a World of Hyatt member
    • Plus, 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

Why we like it

If you prefer to stay at Hyatt-brand hotels, the 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 and cons

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 groups, which limits places to earn and redeem points.

» MORE: Read our review of the The World Of Hyatt Credit Card

Major hotel brands and their credit cards

Although dozens of hotel chains operate in the U.S., most of the major brands are owned by a handful of companies. The table below lists major hotel companies, their best-known brands and NerdWallet’s recommended credit card:

Hotel companyMajor brands Recommended credit card
Best Western Hotels & Resorts
Best Western, SureStay

Best Western Rewards Premium Mastercard

Choice HotelsCambria, Clarion, Comfort Inn, Econo Lodge, Mainstay, Quality, Rodeway Inn, Sleep Inn
Choice Privileges® Visa® Card
Hilton Hotels & ResortsDoubleTree, Embassy Suites, Hampton Inn, Hilton, Hilton Garden Inn, Waldorf-Astoria

Hilton Honors American Express Ascend Card
Hyatt Hotels Andaz, Hyatt, Grand Hyatt, Hyatt Regency, Park Hyatt The World Of Hyatt Credit Card
InterContinental Hotel Group (IHG)Candlewood Suites, Crowne Plaza, Holiday Inn, InterContinental, Staybridge Suites IHG® Rewards Club Premier Credit Card
Marriott International (including the former Starwood Hotels & Resorts)
Aloft, Courtyard, Delta, Fairfield, Four Points, Marriott, Renaissance, Residence Inn, Ritz-Carlton, Sheraton, Springhill Suites, Towneplace Suites, W Hotels, WestinMarriott Bonvoy Boundless™ Credit Card
Radisson Hotel GroupCountry Inn & Suites, Park Inn, Park Plaza, Radisson, Radisson Blu, Red RadissonRadisson Rewards™ Premier Visa Signature® Card
Wyndham Hotels & Resorts
Baymont Inn & Suites, Days Inn, Hawthorn Suites, Howard Johnson, La Quinta, Microtel, Ramada, Super 8, Travelodge, Wingate, Wyndham Wyndham Rewards® Visa® Card

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