When it’s time to book a hotel room, using the right credit card can make a big difference in how many rewards you earn. Most hotel chains offer their own credit cards, which can offer a huge number of points on hotel stays.
But if you don’t frequently stay at the same hotel brand, or prefer more flexibility in your rewards points, a credit card that earns flexible rewards points and offers bonus points on travel purchases might be a better bet. Certain credit cards also unlock access to special booking websites, which can earn you both bonus points and special perks for your hotel stay.
In This Article
If you don’t find yourself consistently staying at one hotel chain or you’re looking for maximum flexibility with the points you earn, a credit card that earns flexible rewards points may be the best option.
The Chase Sapphire Reserve earns 3x Ultimate Rewards points on travel purchases, including hotels. Hotel purchases also count toward the card’s $300 annual travel credit, though to avoid double-dipping benefits, you won’t earn points on your first $300 in travel purchases each anniversary year.
The Chase Sapphire Preferred Card credit card earns 2x Ultimate Rewards points on travel purchases, including hotels.
The Chase Ink Business Preferred credit card earns 3x Ultimate Rewards points on travel purchases, including hotels.
The American Express Green Card earns 3x Membership Rewards points on all travel purchases, including hotels.
The Citi Premier Card earns 3x ThankYou Points on travel purchases, including hotels. You also get $100 off a $500 hotel purchase through the ThankYou travel website every year.
Citi Premier Card
60,000 points after $4k spend in 3 monthsLearn more by visiting our
credit cards page.
The Citi Prestige Card offers 3x ThankYou Points on hotel purchases. You can also get the 4th night free on stays of 4 nights or more when booking through the Citi ThankYou travel website, up to 2 free nights per year.
Note that travel bookings through the ThankYou travel website do not earn points in hotel rewards programs.
The value of hotel points varies quite a bit by hotel chain Often, it makes more sense to use a credit card that earns transferable points such as Chase Ultimate Rewards or Amex Membership Rewards points instead of hotel points.
However, there are times when using a co-branded hotel credit card can make sense. Here are the options you’ll have with some of the major hotel chains.
Marriott has a dizzying array of credit cards, but only four are currently available: the Marriott Bonvoy Boundless Credit Card ($95) and Marriott Bonvoy Bold Credit Card ($0) from Chase, and the Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant American Express Card ($450) and Marriott Bonvoy Business Card ($125) from American Express. Many people still have a Marriott Bonvoy American Express Card and/or The Ritz-Carlton Rewards Card from Chase, which are no longer available to new applicants.
Each card earns 6x Marriott Bonvoy points on Marriott purchases and offers an annual free night certificate, except for the no-annual-fee Bonvoy Bold which only earns 3x points (and does not come with a certificate).
In addition, all cards come with automatic elite status – Gold Elite for Bonvoy Brilliant and Ritz-Carlton cardholders, and Silver Elite for everyone else. Bonvoy Brilliant cardholders also get an annual $300 statement credit for Marriott purchases.
Hilton offers four different American Express cards, and each earns a different number of points for Hilton stays. The no-fee Hilton Honors Card earns 7x points; the $95 Hilton Honors Business Card earns 12x points; and the $95 Hilton Honors American Express Surpass Card and the $450 Hilton Honors American Express Aspire Card both earn 14x points.
Each card also comes with Hilton Honors elite status: Silver for the no-annual-fee card, Gold for the Surpass and Business cards, and top-tier Diamond status for the Aspire card. The Aspire also comes with a $250 resort credit, which can be used towards non-prepaid hotel rates.
There are two IHG Rewards Club credit cards from Chase. The $95 IHG Rewards Club Premier Credit Card earns 10x points on IHG hotel stays, and comes with automatic Platinum elite status and an annual free night certificate.
The no-annual-fee IHG Rewards Club Traveler Credit Card earns 5x points on IHG stays and comes with automatic Gold status. Both cards also offer a 4th-night free benefit on award stays of 4 nights or more.
There is also a $49 IHG Rewards Club Select Credit Card, which is no longer available to new applicants. That card earns 5x points on IHG stays, comes with automatic Platinum status and an annual free night certificate, and an automatic 10% rebate on points bookings, up to 100,000 points per year.
Hyatt offers just one credit card, the World of Hyatt Credit Card from Chase, which earns 4x World of Hyatt points for purchases at Hyatt hotels. You’ll also receive automatic Discoverist status, and a free night certificate valid for Category 1-4 hotels every year on your card anniversary.
Best Western offers two credit cards through First Bankcard. The $59 Best Western Rewards Premium MasterCard earns 10x points on Best Western stays and offers automatic Platinum status, plus 20,000 bonus points when you spend $5,000 on the card during your account anniversary year. The no-annual-fee Best Western Rewards Mastercard earns just 3x points on Best Western stays and offers automatic Gold status.
The Choice Privileges Visa Signature Card from Barclays earns 15x Choice Privileges points on stays at Choice hotels, as well as 5x when purchasing Choice points or gift cards. It also comes with automatic Gold status and 8,000 bonus points when you spend $10,000 on the card during your account anniversary year.
Radisson offers two credit cards from US Bank. The $75 Radisson Rewards Premier Visa Signature Card offers 10x points at Radisson hotels and automatic Gold status, while the no-annual-fee Radisson Rewards Visa offers a measly 3x points at Radisson hotels.
US Bank also previously offered a $60 business Radisson Rewards card, but it has not been available for new customers since May 2019. Like the Premier card, it earns 10x points at Radisson hotels and automatic Gold status.
With any of these cards, you can also earn a free night certificate for every $10,000 spent on the card, up to 3 free nights per anniversary year.
Wyndham offers two credit cards from Barclays. Confusingly, both cards are called the Wyndham Rewards Visa Card. The version with a $75 annual fee will earn you 5 points per dollar spent at Wyndham hotels, and comes with automatic Platinum status and a 6,000 annual point bonus on your card anniversary.
The no-annual-fee version earns 3 points per dollar spent at Wyndham hotels, and comes with automatic Gold status. While neither card is particularly exciting, they offer one of the only ways to earn Wyndham Rewards points outside of hotel stays.
American Express and Chase both offer access to specialty hotel programs, which offer extra perks and discounts at participating hotels, and in some cases, you’ll also earn bonus points when you pay with your card.
When booking through third-party websites, always check pricing directly with the hotel to make sure that the perks you’re getting are worth more than any price difference compared to booking directly.
If you have a Platinum Card from American Express, American Express Gold Card, or Centurion® Card from American Express (personal or business), you have access to The Hotel Collection, which offers room upgrades and a $100 credit toward dining, spa, and resort activities on stays of two nights or more.
While you generally won’t earn credit with hotel loyalty programs when you book through The Hotel Collection, the $100 credit is likely worth more than the points you’d earn, especially for short stays. You’ll also earn 5x Membership Rewards points when paying for prepaid hotels with a Platinum card or 2x Membership Rewards points with a Gold card.
Exclusive for Platinum, Business Platinum, and Centurion cardmembers, American Express Fine Hotels and Resorts (FHR) offers a slew of benefits at over 1,000 properties across the globe.
You’ll receive perks like early check-in and room upgrades (both subject to availability), guaranteed late check-out, complimentary Wifi, daily breakfast for two people, and a $100 property-specific amenity like a spa or resort credit. Sometimes there are even 3rd and 4th night free rates available exclusively through FHR.
On top of these perks, you’ll generally earn points in hotel loyalty programs, and you’ll earn 5x Membership Rewards points when paying for prepaid hotels.
Certain Chase cardholders have access to the Chase Luxury Hotels & Resorts Collection (LHRC). When booking through LHRC, you’ll enjoy benefits like daily breakfast for two people, complimentary Wifi, room upgrades (subject to availability), early check-in and/or late checkout (subject to availability), and a unique property-specific benefit (typically a credit worth between $25 and $100).
Access to LHRC is an advertised benefit of the Chase Sapphire Reserve, United Explorer Card, United Club Card, and United Club Business cards, but in practice many other Chase cardholders also have access. You’ll earn the same number of points for LHRC bookings as you would for any other travel purchase, depending on the card that you use. Bookings made through LHRC also generally earn points with hotel loyalty programs.
Using different credit cards to book at hotels will earn different numbers of points and may even be able to help you score extra perks. It’s worth considering how you like to travel and with which hotel brands you prefer to stay before deciding on a credit card to use at hotels.
10xTravel is part of an affiliate sales network and receives compensation for sending traffic to partner sites, such as CreditCards.com. This compensation may impact how and where links appear on this site. This site does not include all financial companies or all available financial offers.
Editors Note: Opinions expressed here are author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, hotel, airline, or other entity. This content has not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of the entities included within the post.