Chase Freedom Unlimited®
Why this is one of the best hotel credit cards: Chase Freedom Unlimited earns 5% cash back when you use the Chase Ultimate Rewards portal to book hotel stays or make other travel purchases. You’ll also receive 3% cash back on dining and drugstore purchases and 1.5% back on all other card purchases. See our full review.
Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card
Why this is one of the best hotel credit cards: Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card makes earning hotel rewards simple by offering an unlimited 2 miles per dollar on card purchases. You can redeem miles for hotel stays or other travel expenses, with no restrictions. See our full review.
The Platinum Card® from American Express
Why this is one of the best hotel cards: The Platinum Card from American Express is a premium travel rewards card. Along with a 100,000-point welcome bonus when you spend $6,000 in purchases within the first six months of opening an account, cardholders earn travel rewards. You’ll earn five Membership Rewards points per dollar on hotels booked with amextravel.com and flights booked directly with airlines or American Express Travel (beginning Jan 1, 2021, bonus points on flights booked directly with airlines or American Express Travel will be limited to the first $500,000 in combined purchases each year). This card has a $695 annual fee and offers benefits including up to a $200 airline fee credit, access to the Global Lounge Collection and complimentary perks through the Fine Hotels & Resorts program. See our full review.
Hilton Honors American Express Card
Why this is one of the best hotel credit cards: The Hilton Honors American Express Card is suited for travelers who stay with Hilton. Earn seven Hilton Honors bonus points per dollar when you book with Hilton and five points per dollar at U.S. restaurants, at U.S. gas stations and at U.S. supermarkets. All other eligible purchases earn three points per dollar. As a cardholder, you get complimentary Silver status in the Hilton Honors program to unlock added travel benefits See Rates & Fees). See our full review.
Chase Sapphire Reserve®
Why this is one of the best hotel credit cards: The Chase Sapphire Reserve card combines a generous rewards program with premium travel perks. You can earn three points per dollar on travel immediately after earning your $300 travel credit, three points per dollar on dining and one point per dollar on all other purchases. Your points are worth 50% more when you redeem for travel through the Chase Ultimate Rewards portal, and you can transfer points to partner hotel loyalty programs on a 1-to-1 basis. See our full review.
Citi Premier® Card
Why this is one of the best hotel credit cards: With the Citi Premier Card, you’ll earn three points per dollar spent on hotels. Each calendar year you can receive one $100 discount on an eligible hotel stay of $500 or more (excluding taxes and fees) purchased at the ThankYou Rewards site. You’ll also earn three points per dollar on eligible air travel, gas station, restaurant and supermarket purchases; all other purchases earn one point per dollar. You will also earn a 80,000-point bonus after spending $4,000 in the three months after opening an account. There are no foreign transaction fees, and you can redeem your points for travel, gift cards, online shopping with Amazon or Best Buy, and more. See our full review.
Marriott Bonvoy Bold® Credit Card
Why this is one of the best hotel credit cards: The Marriott Bonvoy Bold Credit Card earns up to 14 points per dollar at eligible Marriott hotels; two points per dollar on select travel expenses; and one point per dollar on all other purchases. This card charges no annual fee or foreign transaction fee, and you’ll be eligible for perks such as baggage delay insurance and lost luggage reimbursement. See our full review.
Capital One Venture X Rewards Credit Card
Why this is one of the best hotel credit cards: The Capital One Venture X Rewards Credit Card offers valuable benefits for frequent travelers. You’ll earn at least 2 miles per dollar on purchases, but hotels and rental cars reserved through Capital One Travel earn 10 miles per dollar and flights earn five miles per dollar. The card also comes with perks such as up to $300 in statement credits to cover Capital One Travel spending, which helps offset its hefty $395 annual fee. See our full review.
The World of Hyatt Credit Card
Why this is one of the best hotel credit cards: Cardholders earn four World of Hyatt bonus points per dollar at Hyatt hotels and resorts and other eligible properties, and two bonus points per dollar on restaurant and local transit and commuting purchases, fitness club and gym memberships, and airline tickets purchased directly with the airline. The World of Hyatt Credit Card also offers two bonus points per dollar on purchases that normally earn one point per dollar in the first six months or on up to $15,000, whichever comes first. New users can get 30,000 bonus points after spending $3,000 on the card in the first three months. Cardholders earn a free night award after their cardholder anniversary and an extra free night when they spend $15,000 in a calendar year. See our full review.
U.S. Bank FlexPerks® Gold American Express® Card
Why this is one of the best hotel credit cards: With the U.S. Bank FlexPerks® Gold American Express® Card, earn five FlexPoints per dollar on prepaid hotels and car rentals booked through the FlexPoint Rewards Center; three FlexPoints per dollar on restaurant spending; two FlexPoints per dollar on airlines, gas stations, and electric vehicle charging stations; and one FlexPoint per dollar on all other eligible purchases. You can also earn 30,000 bonus FlexPoints worth $450 on airfare, hotel stays, car rentals and more when you spend at least $2,000 within the four months of account opening. See our full review.
As you spend with a hotel card, you earn points that can be redeemed for free stays and other rewards. Co-branded hotel cards typically award the most points for spending with the affiliated hotel brand, while general travel cards may offer a flat rewards rate on all purchases or higher rates for specific categories, such as travel or dining.
Earning free nights might make hotel credit cards appealing, but that’s not all they have to offer. Other benefits can include automatic hotel loyalty status, which may provide perks such as late checkout, bonus points on stays and more room choice.
A hotel chain may partner with a credit card company to offer a co-branded card that earns points through spending at one of the chain’s properties. Points must be redeemed with the hotel brand, although many general travel rewards programs and some hotel loyalty programs allow point transfers to airlines or other partners.
Use of a co-branded hotel card is an excellent way to earn points for a hotel’s loyalty program, as cardholders often earn rewards at a higher rate. Depending on the card, new users may start at the lowest membership level or receive an advanced status level upon sign-up.
The following are co-branded hotel cards highly ranked by U.S. News:
General travel cards have their own rewards programs and are not attached to specific hotel brands. They may award travel spending at an elevated rate compared with everyday spending or offer a flat earning rate on all purchases. Rewards can be redeemed for statement credits on travel purchases or for trips booked through the issuer’s travel portal, or they can be transferred to travel partners. Other redemption options, such as cash back, gift cards or merchandise, may be available.
The following are some of the general travel credit cards highly ranked by U.S. News:
Hotel brand loyalty, spending habits and other preferences are different for every traveler, so the best hotel card for you may not be the same as another traveler’s. A co-branded hotel card may offer excellent rewards value, but it’s not as valuable to you if you don’t regularly stay with that hotel brand or can’t reach the sign-up bonus spending threshold.
When choosing a hotel credit card, consider these criteria:
- Pick the right rewards program for you. The key in choosing a hotel card is to determine which type of program fits your reward goals and travel habits. A co-branded card can deliver exceptional value, especially if you travel enough to earn elite member status and assuming you pay off your balance each month, but your earning and redemption options are more limited. A general travel card or travel rewards program offers greater flexibility but may earn more slowly or come with fewer hotel perks.
- Calculate earning potential. Hotel credit cards may reward cardholders at different rates for different spending categories. For co-branded cards, the highest rate applies to spending with a specific hotel brand. Both co-branded and general travel cards may also offer bonus points for other types of spending, such as gas, grocery or dining purchases. Opt for a card that lets you maximize your point earnings with categories where you do the most spending.
- Factor in introductory bonuses. Some hotel cards offer one-time bonuses for signing up if you meet a certain spending level within the first few months. These bonuses can be worth hundreds of dollars in free hotel stays, but they are only valuable if you would normally spend the amount needed to achieve the introductory bonus within the given time period. It’s not advisable to exceed your budget just to receive a bonus or reward.
- Calculate redemption value. Points are typically worth about 1 cent each with general travel rewards programs. In contrast, hotel loyalty programs may offer points that range in value even among properties of a single brand. Point values may also change depending on whether you redeem your points for hotel purchases or other types of rewards, with hotel rewards typically offering the best value with co-branded cards.
Check out our points guide to learn more about the value of hotel points.
U.S. News has been helping consumers make money decisions for decades. For our Best Hotel Credit Cards list, we consider annual fee, annual percentage rate, balance transfer fee, cardholder benefits, foreign transaction fee, hotel rewards earning rate, issuer satisfaction data, rewards redemption process, rewards redemption value and sign-up bonus. Issuer satisfaction data are based on an annual nationwide U.S. News consumer survey.
Some credit cards on our list are co-branded, meaning they’re best suited for consumers who are loyal to one hotel brand, while other cards earn rewards for general travel purchases. Which card is right for you may depend on whether you prefer to stay in certain hotels when you travel, whether you want to avoid paying an annual fee, or whether you can benefit from rewards.