- Co-Branded Hotel Credit Card: These are cards affiliated with a certain brand of hotels. Typically (but not always) these will give you the best rewards when staying at their affiliated properties. Hotels that offer their own branded cards include Marriott, Starwood, and Hilton.
- General Travel Card: Even though they're not co-branded with a specific hotel, some have rewards which are even more valuable than what the hotel's own branded card offers.
The Platinum Card® from American Express
If you typically stay at premium hotels and want VIP treatment when flying, then the Platinum Card is a must. Why? Because you get complimentary benefits during each stay at over 700 hotels and resorts worldwide through AmEx's Fine Hotels & Resorts program. These perks include (1) noon check-in upon arrival, when avail (2) room upgrade upon arrival, when avail (3) 4:00 pm late checkout (4) daily breakfast for two (5) an additional amenity unique to each property, such as a dining credit or a massage. This benefit will vary by property.
- Option of transferring Membership Rewards points to the following loyalty programs: Best Western Rewards, Starwood Preferred Guest, Hilton HHonors, and Choice Privileges. Or transfer to nearly a dozen frequent flyer programs, usually at a 1:1 conversion.
- Access to over 600 airport lounges worldwide when you enroll in Priority Pass™ Select. You also enjoy complimentary access to participating Delta Sky Club, American Airlines Admirals Club, and US Airways Club lounges with your Platinum Card, when flying with the respective airline.
- Up to $200 annually in a statement credits with the airline of your choice to use towards incidental fees they charge you.
- Platinum Card Concierge service is available 24/7 to help you with things like restaurant reservations, travel arrangements, etc.
- No foreign transaction fees.
- Terms and restrictions apply.
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Marriott Rewards® Premier Credit Card – 50,000 Points Offer
Since Marriott is the leading hotel chain with over 3,600 locations worldwide, there will be plenty of places to earn and redeem your points. It only costs 7,500 points for a free night stay at a Category 1 hotel. If you prefer nice & mid-tier properties then this is arguably the best hotel credit card for the co-branded category. It comes with global Chip & Signature technology.
- 50,000 points after spending $1,000 in your first 3 months from account opening.
- You will also receive 1 Free Night Stay for a Category 1-4 property after your account is approved!
- Then every year after your account anniversary date, you will receive 1 Free Night Stay for a Category 1-5 property.
- You earn 5 points per dollar spent at 3,600 Marriott locations, 2 points per dollar on airline ticket purchases directly with airlines, at car rental agencies & restaurants, 1 point per dollar on all other purchases. There's no cap on how many points you can earn.
- This card can really help your Marriott Elite Status! You get 15 Elite Credits after account approval and every year after your account anniversary. Since you get Silver Elite Status for having 10 credits, that means as a cardholder you will always be at least Silver. And for every $3,000 spent on your credit card you will earn 1 Elite Credit.
- No foreign transaction fees.
- Introductory Annual Fee of $0 the first year, then $85.
Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card
If you aren't always loyal to the same brand, then this is the best credit card for hotels. It's the only one that lets you transfer points on a 1 for 1 basis to the following loyalty programs: IHG Priority Club Rewards (Holiday Inn, Crowne Plaza, Intercontinental, Staybridge Suites, etc), Hyatt Gold Passport, Ritz-Carlton Rewards, and Marriott Rewards. You can also do 1:1 transfers with some frequent flyer programs like United and British Airways.
- 40,000 bonus points after you spend $3,000 in the first 3 months from account opening.
- 5,000 additional bonus points if you add an authorized user and they make a purchase in the first 3 months.
- 2x points on travel (which includes hotels) and dining at restaurants. 1 point per dollar on all other purchases.
- Transfer points to partner hotel loyalty programs -OR- redeem them through Ultimate Rewards and get 20% off airfare, hotels, car rentals & cruises (so your 40,000 bonus points are worth $500 in travel rewards!).
- 7% Annual Points Dividend each year (a bonus equal to 7% all new points earned on purchases during the preceding year).
- No foreign transaction fees + chip and signature technology.
- Introductory Annual Fee of $0 the first year, then $95.
Barclaycard Arrival World MasterCard
While not specifically for hotels, this brand new card from Barclays has one of the best travel reward programs available. In a nutshell, you earn rewards worth 2.2% on every purchase. They call them “miles” but you can actually convert them to statement credits to pay for virtually any travel purchase, including hotels and resorts.
- 2 miles per dollar on everything you buy. Each mile is worth one cent, which means you’re getting 2%. Better yet, when you redeem your miles, you get back 10% of them to use again. When you factor that in, it’s like earning 2.2% on your spending!
- No rewards cap, no foreign transaction fees, and no annual fee for your first year ($89 after that).
- 0% intro APR on purchases for the first 12 months. After that, 14.99% or 18.99% variable APR based on creditworthiness.
- Limited-time offer: 40,000 bonus miles, just spend $1,000 on purchases within your first 90 days. That’s good for $400 worth of hotel purchases (and remember you get 10% back – $40 worth – to use again!)
Starwood Preferred Guest® Credit Card from American Express
When it comes to co-branded cards, it’s hard to beat what Starwood offers. Aside from having great benefits, it is also the best credit card for airline miles. Why? Because it’s the only one that allows you to transfer points to nearly 30 airline frequent flyer programs, usually on a 1 pt = 1 mile conversion. Plus for every 20,000 Starpoints transferred within the same transaction, Starwood will automatically add another 5,000 Starpoints.
- Earn up to 25,000 bonus Starpoints: 10,000 points after your first purchase and another 15,000 points after you spend $5k within the first 6 months of Cardmembership. That's enough points to score you a weekend getaway at a Category 4 Hotel!
- Among the largest hotel companies in the world, their brands include W Hotels, Le Meridian, Westin, Sheraton, St. Regis, and many others. In total they have over 1,100 properties in nearly 100 countries where you can redeem Starpoints for free hotel nights with no blackout dates. Please note that some hotels may have mandatory service and resort charges.
- There's no limit to how many points you can earn.
- $0 introductory annual fee for the first year, then $65.
- Terms and Restrictions apply.
Capital One® Venture® Rewards
You already know this is a popular choice for airfare rewards, but did you also know that you can redeem your miles for any travel expense, including hotel rooms? Each mile is worth a full $0.01 when redeemed for travel expenses. That makes this card a top choice for hotel rewards.
- 2 miles per dollar on every purchase, every day.
- As seen in Money® Magazine's "Best" issue three years in a row. - Money® Magazine May 2010, 2011, 2012.
- Earn 20,000 bonus miles when you spend $2,000 on purchases within the first 3 months, equal to $200 in travel.
- Redeem your miles for any travel expense.
- No limit on the miles you can earn and miles don't expire.
- Fly on any airline, any time with no blackout dates.
- No foreign transaction fees.
- $0 intro annual fee for the first year; $59 after that.
Capital One® VentureOne® Rewards
This card has no annual fee, no foreign transaction fees, and a killer rewards program. You can use your miles for any travel expense, including hotel rooms. Take a look at it and you will see why it’s one of the most popular credit cards on the market right now.
- 1.25 miles per dollar on every purchase, every day and no annual fee
- One-time bonus of 20,000 miles once you spend $2,000 on purchases within the first 3 months, equal to $200 in travel
- Redeem miles for airline tickets, hotel rooms, car rentals, and more
- No limit on the miles you can earn and miles don't expire
- Fly on any airline, any time with no blackout dates
- 0% intro APR on purchases until December 2014
- No foreign transaction fees
Citi® Hilton HHonors™ Visa Signature® Card
With more than 3,700 properties worldwide, this is another excellent choice for the co-branded category. Unlike the other hotel rewards credit cards on the list, this one has no annual fee. That means that even if you don't always stay at their properties, it can still be a great choice for you, especially since it provides automatic HHonors Silver status as long as you're a cardmember.
- Earn 6 HHonors Bonus Points per dollar spent at participating hotels within the Hilton HHonors portfolio*.
- Earn 3 Hilton HHonors Bonus Points per dollar spent on purchases at gas stations, supermarkets, and drugstores*.
- Earn 2 Hilton HHonors Bonus Points per dollar spent on all other purchases*.
- No annual fee* which is a rare feature for a branded hotel credit card.
- Excellent Bonus: Earn 40,000 Hilton HHonors Bonus Points after you spend $1000 within 4 months of account opening*.
Blue Sky from American Express®
Although this is not specifically a hotel/motel credit card, it's another good choice if you want no annual fee and a rewards program that let's you spend points on hotel stays (as well as other travel purchases). Since it's an American Express card, you will get benefits like Purchase Protection, Extended Warranty, and the Global Assist hotline.
- Earn 1 point for virtually every dollar you spend on eligible purchases.
- Redeem points for statement credits to pay for travel purchases made with the card. These points are quite valuable since each 7,500 points can be redeemed for a $100 statement credit. For example, use 15,000 points to pay for a $200 motel stay.
- 0% intro APR on purchases and balance transfers for 15 months, then a variable rate, currently 17.24%- 22.24%.
- 7,500 bonus points after you use your new Card to make $1,000 in purchases within the first 3 months.
- No annual fee.
- Terms and Restrictions apply.