Advertiser Disclosure

The Best Credit Cards for Hotel Bookings

Dec. 5, 2019
Travel, Travel Credit Cards
At NerdWallet, we strive to help you make financial decisions with confidence. To do this, many or all of the products featured here are from our partners. However, this doesn’t influence our evaluations. Our opinions are our own.

Whether you’re staying at luxury resorts or budget hotels, lodging expenses are often a significant part of any trip. And with so many rewards credit cards offering bonus points in this spending category, it makes sense to maximize your earnings.

In this post, we break down the best credit cards to charge your hotel bookings to.

The Platinum Card® from American Express

The Platinum Card® from American Express has several notable features that make it worth charging your hotel bookings to. The card earns 5x Membership Rewards points per $1 spent on prepaid hotel bookings made through amextravel.com. Terms apply.

Cardholders who book hotels through the American Express travel portal may get additional perks through Fine Hotels & Resorts and The Hotel Collection. This includes complimentary breakfast, space-available room upgrades, hotel credits and more. Terms apply. Basically, having this card gets you elite benefits at participating hotels. The catch, of course, is that you have to charge your hotel booking to this card to qualify for these benefits.

» Learn more: American Express Platinum review: Luxury isn’t cheap

Chase Sapphire Reserve®

The Chase Sapphire Reserve® earns 3x points per $1 spent on travel and dining worldwide, including hotels. You don’t have to book your hotel through a specific booking site — just one that gets coded as travel. In other words, pretty much any hotel website or online travel agency (Expedia, Orbitz, etc.) will earn 3x points on the Chase Sapphire Reserve®.

Best of all, this card comes with a $300 annual travel credit that applies to virtually any travel purchase, including hotel bookings. That comes in handy if you don’t quite have enough points for an award night but don’t want to pay for a hotel out of pocket.

» Learn more: Chase Sapphire Reserve review: A first-class premium travel card

Hotel rewards cards

Hotel rewards credit cards have really been stepping it up when it comes to incentivizing members to charge their bookings to co-branded cards. In addition to bonus points, some of these cards come with elite status and statement credits for a more rewarding and cheaper stay.

Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant American Express Card

If you’re looking for a rewarding card to charge your Marriott hotel bookings to, the Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant American Express Card is our top pick. The card earns 6x points per $1 spent at participating Marriott Bonvoy hotels. The card comes with complimentary Gold elite status, so you’ll earn a 25% bonus on base points earned through Marriott Bonvoy. Terms apply.

Best of all, the card offers a $300 annual Marriott statement credit and a $100 credit on qualifying two-night stays at Ritz-Carlton and St. Regis properties. Terms apply. So not only can you earn lots of points by charging Marriott hotel stays to this card, but you could offset some of your travel expenses.

Hilton Honors American Express Aspire Card

The Hilton Honors American Express Aspire Card has tons of benefits that make it a great choice for Hilton stays. The card earns 14 points per $1 spent on Hilton hotel stays and includes top-tier Diamond elite status. Diamond members earn an additional  20 points per $1 through the Hilton Honors program, so you’re looking at a combined 34 points per $1 spent at Hilton hotels using this card. Terms apply.

The card’s annual $250 Hilton resort credit comes in handy when you’re traveling to an expensive destination, like the Maldives. Hilton Honors Aspire cardholders can get a $100 resort credit on qualifying stays booked through HiltonHonors.com/aspirecard. Terms apply.

The World Of Hyatt Credit Card

The World Of Hyatt Credit Card is a great card option for Hyatt stays. The card earns 4 points per $1 spent on Hyatt stays, which is pretty substantial when combined with the 5 points per $1 earned through the World of Hyatt program. Since the card comes with automatic Discoverist status, you’ll earn a 10% bonus on base points. Translation: That 5x bonus increases to 5.5x points per $1 spent.

Cardholders also earn a free night at a Category 1-4 Hyatt hotel when they spend $15,000 on this card in a calendar year. Charging your hotel bookings to The World Of Hyatt Credit Card is a good start to achieving that goal.

The bottom line

Many hotel cards offer generous rewards and extra perks that make them quite competitive for hotel charges. Between the category bonuses, elite status perks and statement credits, they’re often your best bet when you’re staying at an accompanying chain. If you’re staying outside a particular chain, then a credit card that offers a flexible reward currency will usually be the way to go.

All information about the Hilton Honors American Express Aspire Card and the Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant™ American Express® Card has been collected independently by NerdWallet. The Hilton Honors American Express Aspire Card and the Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant™ American Express® Card are 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 2020, including those best for:

Planning a trip? Check out these articles for more inspiration and advice:
Find the best hotel credit card for you
Snag these hotel loyalty perks, even if you’re disloyal
Earn more points and miles with these 6 strategies

About the author