Best Hotel Credit Cards: 2018

Brendan Harkness

Brendan Harkness

Updated Nov 16, 2018

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Planning a vacation? Getting ready for a year full of business trips?

A hotel credit card could help you travel in style and luxury, or at least shave a few bucks off your bill. With perks like free night stays, automatic hotel member status, and the ability to earn a wealth of reward points, hotel cards are some of the most lucrative credit cards available.

If you have a favorite hotel brand, or even if you just tend to stay with one brand more than others, it will be worth your time to check out the co-branded cards available. There are also general-use cards that are good for staying at a variety of hotel chains, and one of those might suit you better.

Ready to find the perfect hotel card? Check out your options below.

The Best Hotel Credit Cards

Best for Various Hotels

We're currently unable to link directly to an application for the Capital One® VentureOne® Rewards Credit Card, but you can learn more here, on our advertising partner's website.
  • 10X miles per dollar on purchases from Hotels.com/venture
  • Introductory bonus: 20,000 bonus miles for spending $1,000 in the first 3 months after account opening
  • Standout benefits: Visa Signature perks
  • Annual fee: None

Read more and see why we picked this card below

 

Best for Hilton Hotels

  • 35X points per dollar at Hilton properties
  • Introductory bonus: 150,000 bonus points for spending $4,000 in the first 3 months after account opening
  • Standout benefits: Weekend Night Award, Hilton Honors Diamond status, $600 in annual travel credits, Priority Pass Select membership
  • Annual fee: $450

Read more and see why we picked this card below

 

Best for Hyatt Hotels

We're currently unable to link directly to an application for the The World of Hyatt Credit Card, but you can learn more here, on our advertising partner's website.
  • 9X points per dollar at Hyatt properties
  • Introductory bonus: 40,000 bonus points for spending $3,000 in the first 3 months after account opening, and an additional 20,000 bonus points after you spend a total of $6,000 on purchases within the first 6 months
  • Standout benefits: One free night per year, Hyatt Discoverist status
  • Annual fee: $95

Read more and see why we picked this card below

 

Best for IHG Hotels

We're currently unable to link directly to an application for the IHG® Rewards Club Premier Credit Card, but you can learn more here, on our advertising partner's website.
  • 25X points per dollar at IHG properties
    • 10X Bonus points per dollar from the card
    • 15X Base points per dollar on eligible purchases for being an IHG member
  • Introductory bonus: 80,000 bonus points for spending $2,000 in the first 3 months after account opening
  • Standout benefits: Annual free night stay, IHG Rewards Club Platinum Elite status
  • Annual fee: $89

Read more and see why we picked this card below

 

Best for Marriott and Starwood Hotels

  • 18.5X points per dollar at Marriott and Starwood properties
  • Introductory bonus: 75,000 bonus points for spending $3,000 in the first 3 months after account opening
  • Standout benefits: Annual Free Night Award, $300 hotel credit, Marriott Rewards Gold Elite status, Priority Pass Select membership
  • Annual fee: $450

Read more and see why we picked this card below

 

Best for Radisson and Club Carlson Hotels

  • 35X points per dollar at Radisson properties
  • Introductory bonus: 50,000 bonus points after making the first purchase, 35,000 bonus points for spending $2,500 in the first 90 days after account opening
  • Standout benefits: Up to 3 Free Night E-Certificates for spending $30,000 per year, Radisson Rewards Gold Status
  • Annual fee: $75

Read more and see why we picked this card below

The Best Hotel Credit Cards

Best for Card
Various Hotels Capital One® VentureOne® Rewards Credit Card (Review)
Hilton Hotels Hilton Honors Aspire Card
Hyatt Hotels The World of Hyatt Credit Card
IHG Hotels IHG® Rewards Club Premier Credit Card
Marriott and Starwood Hotels Starwood Preferred Guest® Luxury Card (Review)
Radisson and Club Carlson Hotels Radisson Rewards™ Premier Visa Signature® Card

Best for Various Hotels

The Capital One® VentureOne® Rewards Credit Card (Review) has an excellent reward program for anyone who tends to stay with different hotel brands, thanks to Capital One’s partnership with Hotels.com.

We chose this no annual fee card over other more expensive cards because it provides a very high return on your hotel spending for no annual fee, about equal to anything you’ll find on high-end general use cards. Although it doesn’t offer much in the way of extra benefits, the VentureOne makes it very easy to get 10% back on your hotel spending, without worrying about how to redeem your rewards.

If you’re looking for more expensive cards designed for use at various hotels check out the alternatives below.

We're currently unable to link directly to an application for the Capital One® VentureOne® Rewards Credit Card, but you can learn more here, on our advertising partner's website.

Rewards

Spending Rewards
  • 1.25X miles per dollar on all other purchases
Introductory Bonus Offer
  • 20,000 bonus miles for spending $1,000 in the first 3 months after account opening

Each mile is worth 1 cent, meaning you’ll be getting an equivalent of 10% cash back at Hotels.com with this card. That’s an excellent deal, almost as good as what you’ll find on co-branded cards, but in this case you have access to a wide selection of hotels rather than being limited to one brand.

Key Features & Terms

  • Luxury Hotel Collection: Provides several benefits at eligible hotels, like a $25 food and beverage credit, complimentary WiFi, automatic room upgrades, and more
  • Shopping Discounts: Get discounts at select retailers, like Overstock.com and Lenovo
  • Fine Wine & Food: Benefits at over 50 wineries in Sonoma County, California
  • Sports & Entertainment offers: Exclusive offers and discounts at sports events and other interesting experiences
  • Shopping and travel protections: Including Purchase Security, Roadside Dispatch, an Auto Rental Collision Damage Waiver, and more
  • Intro purchase APR: 0% for 12 months, then 13.74%, 19.74%, or 23.74% Variable
  • No foreign transaction fees
  • Annual fee: None

The VentureOne comes as a Visa Signature if your credit limit is $5,000 or above, which will have some nice perks like the ones mentioned above. If your credit limit when approved is less than $5,000 you’ll get a Visa Platinum card, which only comes with a few basic protections.

Read more in our Review of the Capital One VentureOne Card

Other Cards for Staying at Various Hotels

There are quite a few credit cards that are good for spending at a variety of different hotels, rather than being co-branded with just one.

 

  • 5X Membership Rewards points on eligible prepaid hotels and flights booked through Amex Travel, and flights booked directly with airlines
  • Introductory bonus: 60,000 bonus points for spending $5,000 on purchases within the first 3 months
  • Hotel statuses: Hilton Honors Gold and Marriott Rewards Gold Elite
  • The Hotel Collection: Get up to $75 in statement credits for incidental fees for every eligible stay of at least two nights
  • Global Lounge Collection: Wide-ranging airport lounge access, including Centurion Lounges, Priority Pass Select, Delta Sky Clubs, and more
  • $200 Annual Airline Incidental Fee Credit
  • $200 Annual Uber Credit
  • $100 Application Fee Credit for Global Entry or TSA Pre✓: A statement credit for the application fee of either Global Entry ($100) or TSA Pre✓ ($85), once every four years
  • $100 Saks Fifth Avenue Credit: $50 in credits from January through June, and $50 from July through December
  • Annual fee: $550

 

We're currently unable to link directly to an application for the Chase Sapphire Reserve, but you can learn more here, on our advertising partner's website.
  • 3X Ultimate Rewards points on travel and dining worldwide
  • Introductory bonus: 50,000 bonus points for spending $4,000 on purchases within the first 3 months
  • Point transfer: To a variety of hotel and airline loyalty programs
  • Hotel status: Accelerated progress toward Club 5C member status with Relais & Châteaux luxury hotel and resort properties
  • Luxury Hotel & Resort Collection: Includes perks like free breakfast for two, free WiFi, room upgrades, and special gifts
  • Complimentary Priority Pass Select membership: Free access for you and two guests to Priority Pass airport lounges and restaurants
  • $300 Annual Travel Credit
  • $100 Application Fee Credit for Global Entry or TSA Pre✓: A statement credit for the application fee of either Global Entry ($100) or TSA Pre✓ ($85), once every four years
  • Annual fee: $450

 

We're currently unable to link directly to an application for the Capital One® Venture® Rewards Credit Card, but you can learn more here, on our advertising partner's website.
  • 10X miles at Hotels.com/venture; 2X miles for every other purchase
  • Introductory bonus: 50,000 bonus miles for spending $3,000 on purchases within the first 3 months
  • Luxury Hotel Collection: Provides several benefits at eligible hotels, like a $25 food and beverage credit, complimentary WiFi, automatic room upgrades, and more
  • Annual fee: $95, waived the first year

 

We're currently unable to link directly to an application for the Chase Sapphire Preferred Card, but you can learn more here, on our advertising partner's website.
  • 2X Ultimate Rewards points for travel and restaurant purchases
  • Introductory bonus: 50,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening
  • Point transfer: To a variety of hotel and airline loyalty programs
  • Luxury Hotel & Resort Collection: Includes perks like free breakfast for two, free WiFi, room upgrades, and special gifts
  • Annual fee: $95, waived the first year

 

  • 2X miles for every purchase
  • Introductory bonus: 60,000 bonus miles for spending $5,000 in the first 90 days after account opening
  • Annual fee: $89

 

Best for Hilton Hotels

American Express issues four different cards that are co-branded with Hilton hotels, including one luxury card and one business card. The luxury card obviously offers the best perks, and comes with the highest annual fee.

The Hilton Honors Aspire Card will cost $450 per year, but it comes with a variety of rewards and cost-saving benefits to offset that price.

Hilton Honors Aspire Card
Apply Now

Hilton Honors Aspire Card

For People with
Excellent Credit

  • Annual Fee: $450
  • Interest Rate: 17.74%–26.74% Variable
Quick Card Facts
  • 14X Bonus Points per dollar at participating Hilton Portfolio hotels and resorts
  • 20X additional Base Points per dollar at Hilton Portfolio hotels and resorts for your Diamond member status
  • 7X Bonus Points per dollar at U.S. restaurants, flights booked directly with airlines, select car rentals
  • 3X Bonus Points per dollar on all other eligible purchases
  • 150,000 Bonus Points for spending $4,000 in the first 3 months
  • Complimentary Hilton Honors Diamond status and other benefits
  • No foreign transaction fees
  • $450 annual fee
Spending Rewards
  • 34X points per dollar or more at Hilton properties
    • 14X Bonus points per dollar from the card
    • 20X Base points per dollar or more for being a Hilton Honors Diamond member
  • 7X Bonus points per dollar at:
    • U.S. restaurants
    • Select car rentals
    • Flights booked directly with airlines
  • 3X Bonus points per dollar for all other purchases
Introductory Bonus Offer
  • 150,000 Bonus points for spending $4,000 in the first 3 months after account opening
    • Value: $600–$1,500 (assuming 0.4–1 cent per point)
    • Return on spend: 15–37.5%

Key Features & Terms

  • Complimentary Hilton Honors Diamond status: Includes a 100% bonus on Base points earned, room upgrades to suites when available, executive lounge access, a 48-hour room guarantee, and more
  • Annual Free Weekend Night Award: One free night every year, and earn another free weekend night by spending $60,000 in a calendar year
  • $100 Hilton On-property Credit: Good for every eligible stay of two nights or more, valid for incidental fees only
  • Annual $250 Hilton Resort statement credit
  • Annual $250 Airline Fee statement credit: For incidental fees only
  • Airport lounge access: Complimentary access to Priority Pass Select airport lounges and restaurants
  • No foreign transaction fees
  • Annual fee: $450

Hilton Hotel Brands

Although many Hilton brands will provide the full 10X Base points per dollar for your member status, there are a few that only provide 5X.

10X Base Points
Canopy Conrad® Hotels & Resorts Curio Collection Doubletree
Embassy Suites Hampton Hilton Garden Inn™ Hilton Grand Vacations™
Hilton Hotels & Resorts Homewood Suites Tapestry Collection Waldorf Astoria™ Hotels & Resorts
5X Base Points
Home2 Suites Tru

Other Cards for Staying at Hilton Properties

  • 30X points at Hilton properties
    • 12X points from the card
    • 18X points from hotel status
  • 6X bonus points at U.S. supermarkets, U.S. restaurants, and U.S. gas stations
  • Introductory bonus: 125,000 bonus points for spending $2,000 in the first 3 months
  • Hotel Status: Complimentary Hilton Honors Gold status, and Diamond status for spending $40,000 per year
  • Weekend Night Awards: Spend $15,000 on purchases in a given year to earn a Weekend Night Award, with another Weekend Night Award for spending $60,000
  • Airport Lounge Access: 10 free visits to Priority Pass Select airport lounges and restaurants
  • Annual fee: $95

 

  • 19X points at Hilton properties
    • 7X points from the card
    • 12X points from hotel status
  • 5X bonus points at U.S. supermarkets, U.S. restaurants, and U.S. gas stations
  • Introductory bonus: 75,000 bonus points for spending $1,000 in the first 3 months
  • Hotel status: Complimentary Hilton Honors Silver status, and Gold status for spending $20,000 per year
  • Annual fee: None

 

  • Business version of the Ascend card above
  • 30X points at Hilton properties
    • 12X points from the card
    • 18X points from hotel status
  • 6X bonus points at:
    • U.S. gas stations, U.S. restaurants, U.S. wireless telephone services, U.S. shipping, select car rental agencies, and flights booked directly with airlines or through Amex Travel
  • Introductory bonus: 125,000 bonus points for spending $3,000 in the first 3 months
  • Hotel status: Complimentary Hilton Honors Gold status, and Diamond status for spending $40,000 per year
  • Weekend Night Awards: Spend $15,000 on purchases in a given year to earn a Weekend Night Award, with another Weekend Night Award for spending $60,000
  • Airport Lounge Access: 10 free visits to Priority Pass Select airport lounges and restaurants
  • Annual fee: $95

 

Best for Hyatt Hotels

Your only option for a Hyatt-branded credit card is the The World of Hyatt Credit Card from Chase, but it comes with quite a few perks you’ll be able take advantage of every year.

We're currently unable to link directly to an application for the The World of Hyatt Credit Card, but you can learn more here, on our advertising partner's website.

Rewards

Spending Rewards
  • 9X points per dollar on eligible purchases from Hyatt
    • 4X points per dollar from the card
    • 5X points per dollar for your Hyatt Discoverist status
  • 2X points per dollar:
    • At Restaurants
    • On Local transit and commuting
    • On Flights purchased directly from airlines
    • On Fitness club and gym memberships
  • 1X point per dollar on all other purchases
Introductory Bonus Offers
  • 40,000 bonus points for spending $3,000 in the first 3 months after account opening
    • Value: $400–$800 (assuming 1–2 cents per point)
    • Return on spend: 13.33–26.67%
  • 20,000 bonus points for spending $6,000 in the first 6 months after account opening
    • Value: $200–$400 (assuming 1–2 cents per point)
    • Return on spend: 3.33–6.67%

Key Terms & Features

  • Free Night Stay: Get one free night stay at a category 1–4 Hyatt hotel or resort, every year after your cardmember anniversary
  • Additional Free Night Stay: Spend $15,000 in an anniversary year to get another free night stay at a category 1–4 Hyatt hotel or resort
  • World of Hyatt Discoverist status: Includes perks like premium internet, free bottled water, room upgrades when available, and more
  • Visa Signature Concierge: Call for help with all sorts of non-emergency tasks, like travel information or dining reservations
  • No foreign transaction fees
  • Annual fee: $95
Hyatt Hotel Brands
Andaz Exhale Spas Grand Hyatt Hyatt Centric
Hyatt House Hyatt Place Hyatt Regency Hyatt Residence Club
Hyatt Zilara, Hyatt Ziva Miraval Park Hyatt The Unbound Collection by Hyatt

 

Best for IHG Hotels

If you’re looking for a credit card branded with the InterContinental Hotels Group the IHG® Rewards Club Premier Credit Card is your best option, allowing you to earn a wealth of points at IHG properties.

We're currently unable to link directly to an application for the IHG® Rewards Club Premier Credit Card, but you can learn more here, on our advertising partner's website.

Rewards

Spending Rewards
  • 25X points per dollar at IHG properties
    • 10X Bonus points per dollar from the card
    • 15X Base points per dollar on eligible purchases for being an IHG member
  • 2X Bonus points per dollar at:
    • Grocery stores
    • Gas stations
    • Restaurants
  • 1X Bonus point per dollar for all other purchases
Introductory Bonus Offer
  • 80,000 Bonus points for spending $2,000 in the first 3 months after account opening
    • Value: $320–$800 (assuming 0.4–1 cent per point)
    • Return on spend: 16–40%
Annual Bonus Offer
  • 10,000 Bonus points for spending $20,000 and making one additional purchase in an account anniversary year
    • Value: $40–$100 (assuming 0.4–1 cent per point)
    • Return on spend: 0.2–0.5%

Key Features & Terms

  • Free Night Stay: An annual free night’s stay at any eligible IHG property worldwide
  • Fourth Night Free: Fourth reward night is free when redeeming points for stays of four nights or more
  • Point Discount: 20% discount when purchasing points
  • Complimentary IHG Rewards Club Platinum Elite status: Includes a 50% bonus on base points earned, free internet, priority check-in, room upgrades when available, and guaranteed room availability (72 hours in advance)
  • No foreign transaction fees
  • Annual fee: None

IHG Hotel Brands

Most IHG hotel brands will provide 10X Base points per dollar, but there are couple that only provide 5X.

10X Base Points
InterContinental Hotels & Resorts® Hualuxe Hotels and Resorts® Crowne Plaza Hotels & Resorts® Hotel Indigo®
Even® Hotels Holiday Inn® Staybridge Suites® Candlewood Suites®
5X Base Points
Staybridge Suites Candlewood Suites

Other Cards for Staying at IHG Properties

  • IHG® Rewards Club Traveler Credit Card: $29 annual fee; 5X points at IHG properties; Gold Elite member status; fourth reward night is free when redeeming points; 20% discount when purchasing points

 

Best for Marriott and Starwood Hotels

Since the merger of Marriott with Starwood, which included Ritz-Carlton, there are now three consumer cards and two business cards that are co-branded with these hotel chains.

That includes one luxury card with a $450 annual fee, the Starwood Preferred Guest® Luxury Card (Review).

Starwood Preferred Guest® Luxury Card
Apply Now

Starwood Preferred Guest® Luxury Card

For People with
Excellent Credit

  • Annual Fee: $450
  • Interest Rate: 17.74%–26.74% Variable
Quick Card Facts
  • 6X points per dollar at SPG and Marriott Rewards hotels
  • 3X points per dollar at U.S. restaurants and on flights booked directly with airlines
  • 2X points per dollar spent on all other purchases
  • $300 SPG or Marriott Rewards annual statement credit
  • Free Night Award every year after your card anniversary
  • Complimentary Gold Elite status, Platinum Elite status after spending $75,000 per year
  • Priority Pass Select membership
  • Fee credit for Global Entry or TSA Pre✓ application
  • $450 annual fee

Rewards

Spending Rewards
  • 18.5X points per dollar at SPG and Marriott properties
    • 6X Bonus points per dollar from the card
    • 12.5X Base points per dollar on eligible purchases for being a Marriott member
  • 3X Bonus points per dollar:
    • For flights booked directly from airlines
    • At U.S. restaurants
  • 2X Bonus points per dollar for all other purchases
Introductory Bonus Offer
  • 75,000 Bonus points for spending $3,000 in the first 3 months after account opening
    • Value: $600–$1,500 (assuming 0.8–2 cents per point)
    • Return on spend: 20–50%

Key Features & Terms

  • $300 Annual Marriott/SPG Hotel Credit: Up to $300 in statement credits for eligible purchases
  • Free Night Award: Every year after your account anniversary you’ll get a Free Night Award, good for redemption values of 50,000 points or less
  • Priority Pass Select membership: Free access to Priority Pass airport lounges and restaurants for you and up to two guests
  • $100 Application Fee Credit for Global Entry or TSA Pre✓: A statement credit for the application fee of either Global Entry ($100) or TSA Pre✓ ($85), once every four years
  • Complimentary Gold Elite hotel status: Includes perks like a 25% bonus on base points, 2 p.m. late checkout, and more
  • 15 Elite Night Credits: Each year you’ll get 15 Elite Night Credits towards a higher member status
  • Bonus points for airline transfers: Get 15,000 bonus points for every 60,000 points transferred to airline programs
  • Annual fee: $450

Read more in our Review of the Starwood Preferred Guest Luxury Card

Marriott/Starwood Hotel Brands

You’ll earn 10X Base points per dollar at most brands, but there are several that provide fewer points per dollar.

10X Base Points
AC Hotels® Aloft® Autograph Collection® Hotels
Courtyard® Delta Hotels® Design Hotels™
EDITION® Fairfield by Marriott® Four Points®
Gaylord Hotels® JW Marriott® Le Méridien®
Marriott Hotels® Marriott Vacation Club® Moxy® Hotels
Protea Hotels® Renaissance® Hotels Sheraton®
SpringHill Suites® St. Regis® The Luxury Collection®
The Ritz-Carlton® Tribute Portfolio® W® Hotels
Westin®
5X Base Points
Residence Inn® TownePlace Suites® Element®
2.5X Base Points
Marriott Executive Apartments® ExecuStay®

Other Cards for Staying at Marriott and Starwood Properties

  • 6X points at SPG and Marriott hotels
  • Introductory bonus: 75,000 bonus points for spending $3,000 in the first 3 months
  • Hotel status: Marriott Silver Elite
  • Annual fee: $95, $0 the first year

 

We're currently unable to link directly to an application for the Marriott Rewards Premier Plus Credit Card, but you can learn more here, on our advertising partner's website.
  • 6X points at SPG and Marriott hotels
  • Introductory bonus: 2 Free Night Awards (each valued up to 35,000 points) after you spend $3,000 on purchases in the first 3 months
  • Hotel status: Marriott Silver Elite
  • Annual fee: $95

 

  • Business version of the consumer Starwood card above
  • 6X points at SPG and Marriott hotels
  • 4X points at U.S. restaurants, U.S. gas stations, and U.S. wireless telephone providers
  • Introductory bonus: 75,000 bonus points for spending $3,000 in the first 3 months
  • Hotel status: Marriott Silver Elite
  • Free additional cards to distribute to employees
  • Annual fee: $95, $0 the first year

 

  • Business version of the consumer Marriott card above
  • 6X points at SPG and Marriott hotels
  • 4X points at office supply stores, and on Internet, phone, and cable services
  • Introductory bonus: 75,000 bonus points for spending $3,000 in the first 3 months
  • Hotel status: Marriott Silver Elite
  • Free additional cards to distribute to employees
  • Annual fee: $95

 

Best for Radisson and Club Carlson Hotels

You’ll have four different options for Radisson-branded hotel cards, including one business card. The Radisson Rewards™ Premier Visa Signature® Card is the best consumer card offer, and the business version is just as good (it also has a slightly smaller annual fee).

Radisson Rewards™ Premier Visa Signature® Card
Apply Now

Radisson Rewards™ Premier Visa Signature® Card

For People with
Good Credit

  • Annual Fee: $75
  • Interest Rate: 15.99%–24.99% Variable
Quick Card Facts
  • 10X points per $1 spent in eligible net purchases at participating Radisson Family of Hotels.
  • 5X points per $1 spent in eligible net purchases everywhere else.
  • 40,000 renewal bonus points each year when you renew your card.
  • Up to 85,000 Bonus Points - receive 50,000 points after your first purchase plus 35,000 points once you spend $2,500 on your card within the first 90 days.
  • Earn up to three Free Night E-Certs when you charge up to $30,000 then renew your card. One E-Cert per $10,000.
  • Exclusive Gold Status Radisson Rewards membership upgrade with included benefits.
  • Earn free stays at more than 1,100 hotels across the globe.
  • $75 annual fee.

Rewards

Spending Rewards
  • 35X points per dollar at Radisson properties
    • 10X Bonus points per dollar from the card
    • 25X Base points per dollar on eligible purchases for being a Radisson Gold member
  • 5X Bonus points per dollar on all other purchases
Introductory Bonus Offers
  • 50,000 Bonus points after making your first purchase
    • Value: $150–$500 (assuming 0.3–1 cent per point)
  • 35,000 Bonus points for spending $2,500 in the first 90 days after account opening
    • Value: $105–$350 (assuming 0.3–1 cent per point)
    • Return on spend: 4.2–14%
Annual Bonus Offer
  • 40,000 Bonus points each year after renewing your card
    • Value: $120–$400 (assuming 0.3–1 cent per point)

Key Features & Terms

  • Radisson Rewards Gold status: Includes perks like a bonus on Base points, a 15% discount on food and drink, welcome gifts, room upgrades, and more
  • Free Night E-Certificates: Earn one Free Night E-Cert for each $10,000 spent in a given year, up to 3 free nights per year
  • Concierge: Call for non-emergency help with travel planning, making reservations, finding restaurants, and more
  • Visa Signature perks: Like entertainment offers, shopping discounts, and invites to sports events
  • Foreign transaction fee: 2%
  • Annual fee: $75
Radisson Hotel Brands
Country Inn & Suites® by Radisson Park Inn® by Radisson Park Plaza® prizeotel
Radisson Blu® Radisson Collection Radisson RED Radisson®

Other Cards for Staying at Radisson Properties

  • 28X points at Radisson hotels
  • Introductory bonus: 50,000 bonus points after the first purchase; 10,000 bonus points for spending $1,500 in the first 90 days
  • Annual bonus: 25,000 bonus points each year after renewing the card
  • Hotel status: Radisson Rewards Silver
  • Annual fee: $50

 

  • 23X points at Radisson hotels
  • Introductory bonus: 30,000 bonus points for spending $1,000 in the first 90 days
  • Hotel status: None
  • Annual fee: None

 

  • 35X points at Radisson hotels
  • Introductory bonus: 50,000 bonus points after the first purchase; 35,000 bonus points for spending $2,500 in the first 90 days
  • Annual bonus: 40,000 bonus points each year after renewing the card
  • Hotel status: Radisson Rewards Gold
  • Annual fee: $60

Other Hotel Credit Cards

Best for Card
Best Western Best Western Rewards® Premium Mastercard®
Choice Privileges Choice Privileges® Visa Signature® Credit Card (Review)
Diamond Resorts Diamond Resorts International® MasterCard®
RCI RCI® Elite Rewards® Mastercard® (Review)
Wyndham Rewards Wyndham Rewards® Visa Signature® Card - $75 Annual Fee

 

  • 20X points at Best Western properties
  • Introductory bonus: 50,000 bonus points for spending $1,000 in the first 3 months
  • Hotel status: Best Western Rewards Platinum status
  • Annual fee: $59, waived the first year

 

  • 15X points at Choice Privileges properties
  • Introductory bonus: 32,000 bonus points for spending $1,000 in the first 90 days
  • Hotel status: Choice Privileges Gold Elite status
  • Annual fee: $0

 

  • 2X points on Diamond Resorts International purchases
  • Introductory bonus: 2,500 bonus points after the first purchase
  • Annual fee: $0

 

  • 2X rewards on RCI purchases
  • Introductory bonus: 2,500 bonus rewards after the first purchase
  • Annual fee: $0

 

  • 15X points at Wyndham Rewards properties
  • Introductory bonus: 15,000 bonus points after the first purchase, 15,000 bonus points after spending $1,000 in the first 90 days
  • Hotel status: Wyndham Rewards Platinum status
  • Annual fee: $75

Is A Hotel Credit Card Right For You?

Hotel-branded cards come with some of the best rewards and benefits available on all credit cards, and frequent travelers who don’t take advantage of them are missing out.

How do perks like free night stays, automatic elite hotel status, and complimentary WiFi sound? What about room upgrades, early check-in, and late check-out?

Hotel credit card users are enjoying these benefits, and many more, just by using the right cards for their trips. Hotel-branded cards are designed to be used with one particular hotel brand, or family of brands, where they provide excellent incentives. There are also some general-use travel cards that are good for purchases from any hotels, but they typically don’t offer as much in the way of rewards and perks.

Most of the major hotels offer co-branded cards that can be very valuable. If you stay at several hotels or resorts per year you could probably find an offer that will help save money and make your stays more comfortable, and may even turn a run-of-the-mill business trip into something worth writing home about.

The right hotel card for you will depend on the specific hotels you typically stay at. If you love Marriott, for example, look for a co-branded Marriott or Starwood Preferred Guest card (they recently merged to become a single program). If you prefer Hilton or Radisson hotels, look for their co-branded cards. If you stay at a variety of hotels you might want a variety of credit cards as well, or you could just go with a general-use card that could be used anywhere.

Ask yourself a few questions to help figure out which hotel card (or cards) you should apply for:

  • What’s my favorite hotel brand?
  • Which hotel brand will I stay with the most?
  • Am I trying to gain an elite status with a particular hotel brand?
  • How much am I willing to pay for a hotel credit card?

How Much Should You Pay?

You’ll have to decide how much you’re willing to pay for a hotel credit card: nothing, or quite a bit? There are three basic tiers to consider:

  • Low-end (no annual fee)
  • Mid-range (annual fee of usually $95, or less)
  • High-end (annual fee of usually $450)

If you spend a lot of time and money with a particular hotel brand each year, it probably makes sense to go with the high-end card product. These come with plenty of cost-saving benefits, like free nights and travel credits, that will often offset the annual fee down below $100, or may even offset it completely. Don’t be afraid of a high annual fee: you’ll find that the rewards and perks you can earn make the effective annual fee quite affordable.

Even if you don’t spend a lot of time and money at hotels, it might still be a good idea to go with a high-end card offer. You might be surprised at how affordable some of these $450 cards can be — take the Starwood Preferred Guest® Luxury Card (Review), for example. It costs $450 per year, but comes with a $300 travel credit and one Free Night Award every year after your cardmember anniversary, along with other perks. The $300 credit reduces the effective annual fee to just $150, and the Free Night Award can provide as much as $500 in value at the upper end, or perhaps even more. Make good use of those perks, and that would mean you’re actually profiting by $350 per year!

Mid-range and low-end hotel cards don’t come with the same level and variety of cost-saving benefits, so in some cases they could actually have a higher effective annual fee than a high-end card. In general, we encourage you to take a look at the high-end cards to see how they’d fit into your travel plans, even if you typically shy away from credit cards with high annual fees.

But if you can’t justify paying a high annual fee, you may decide that a mid-range or low-end card would be better for you, especially if you don’t travel often or are less familiar with credit cards. There would be less pressure to make good use of it every year to get your money’s worth, and you wouldn’t have a $450 card in your pocket begging to be used.

Before applying for any hotel card you should do some sample calculations to see how much value you’ll get, and compare the results from different cards. Figure out how much you can expect to earn in hotel rewards, and what you’ll get from perks like travel credits, free nights, and complimentary hotel statuses. You may find that a high-end card would be far more profitable than a mid-range or low-end card.

Selection Criteria: What Makes a Great Hotel Credit Card?

  • Annual fee that works for you: Pick a card that fits your travel plans and level of spending, but remember that high-end cards offer many cost-saving perks to reduce their effective annual fees.
  • A good rewards program: Not all reward programs are created equal. The best credit cards offer high reward rates for purchases, with decent point values when redeeming.
  • A sizable introductory bonus: Look for a large signup bonus to get you started earning points — these can often pay for a few hotel stays.
  • Free night stays: Free night stays, along with the next benefit below, are the bread and butter of hotel credit cards. Use them wisely and you can easily save hundreds of dollars per year.
  • Hotel status: Credit cards are an easy way to get an upgraded hotel status, which often comes with bonus points, free WiFi, and quality of life improvements like room upgrades, early check-in, and late check-out.
  • Valuable extra perks: The better hotel cards come with more cost-saving benefits like annual travel credits, or even complimentary access to airport lounges (usually via Priority Pass Select).
  • No foreign transaction fees: This isn’t a concern for domestic travel itineraries, but if you’ll be traveling outside the U.S. you should make sure your hotel card has no foreign transaction fees.
We hope you found the perfect hotel credit card for you! But if not, don’t worry. You can see more travel card options in the Best Travel Rewards Cards: 2018. Or, to help get you to your destinations, check out the Best Airline Credit Cards: 2018.
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