Best Hotel Credit Cards 2018
- September 22, 2016
- Posted by: Andrew Rombach
- Category: Credit Cards
This day and age, there are hundreds of different credit cards being offered. While potential cardholder’s reasoning may only involve building credit, more experienced cardholders may be looking for a card with a specific set of benefits. A credit card that fits this description can be called a “niche” credit card.
There are plenty of niches out there. The broader categories include cash back credit cards or student credit cards, but there are plenty of narrower divisions to keep in mind. One of these specific niches is the hotel credit card.
Hotel credit cards are offered by many different companies with their own hotel chains. The main incentive from the company’s perspective is to increase business. From the cardholder’s perspective a hotel credit card is a great way to build rewards with one specific hotel chain. These benefits normally come in the form of free nights at a hotel location or exclusive access to some sort of club.
At any rate, there are plenty of offers for hotel credit cards out on the market. Here are a few of the top performing credit cards that are specifically offered by hotel chains.
The Top 10 Hotel Credit Cards for 2018
Hilton HHonors Surpass® Card from American Express
APR: 15.49% - 19.49%
Rewards: 12 points/$ at Hilton locations, 6 points/$ at grocery stores, restaurants, and gas stations, 3 points/$ on regular transactions
Bonus Rewards: 75,000 points for spending $3,000 in first 3 months, Gold Status Membership
Fees: $75 annual fee, $5 or 3% on balance transfers, $37 late payment fee, 2.7% foreign transaction fee
American Express dominates the top of this list with its second hotel credit card: the Hilton HHonors Surpass® Card. Like the Starwood Card, this is a credit card that is specifically meant for the hotel chain found in its title: Hilton locations. Like its Amex counterpart, the Hilton HHonors Surpass® Card comes with an excellent set of benefits.
For starters, the introductory bonus offer is staggering. Successful applicants can receive 75,000 Hilton HHonors bonus points for spending $3,000 in the first three months with the card. These points are redeemable for hotel stays at Hilton locations.
There are several different rates at which Hilton points can be earned on transactions. When cardholders spend at Hilton locations, they are eligible for twelve points per dollar. When spending money at a restaurant, supermarket, or gas station, cardholders earn six Hilton points on the dollar. Finally, three points are awarded for every dollar spent on regular purchases. These are much better rates than all other hotel card competitors.
Plenty of additional perks come with the Hilton HHonors Surpass® Card. First and foremost, eligible applicants immediately qualify for Gold Status membership. If cardholders spend $40,000 in a calendar year, then they are upgraded to Diamond Status. These member statuses come with extensive perks such as upgrades at hotels and access to hundreds of airport lounges.
All of these perks come at the annual cost of $75, which is on the low side of annual fees. When a transaction such as a balance transfer or cash advance is performed, there is a fee of $5 or 3%. When spending money overseas, a foreign transaction fee of 2.7% is applicable. To cap it off, there is a maximum late payment fee of $37.
The APR does not deviate from the American Express standard. Balance transfers and regular purchases are associated with an APR range of 15.49% to 19.49%. Cash advance APR is 25.49% while the penalty APR is 29.49%.
The Hilton HHonors Surpass® Card from American Express is definitely a great hotel credit card since it offers so many solid perks. The Hilton hotel frequenter most definitely should consider this credit card before all others. See also the Hilton HHonors Card from American Express.
Starwood Preferred Guest® Card from American Express
APR: 15.49% - 19.49%
Rewards: Maximum 5 Starpoints/$ at Starwood locations, 1 Starpoint/$ on regular purchases
Bonus Rewards: 25,000 Starpoints for spending $3,000 in first 3 months
Fees: $95 annual fee (first year free), $5 or 3% on balance transfers, $37 late payment fee, no foreign transaction fee
The Starwood Preferred Guest® (SPG) Credit Card is one of the premier credit cards specifically tailored to hotel-goers. It is extremely beneficial for anyone who finds themselves consistently visiting a Starwood-affiliated hotel. Here is a breakdown of the benefits, rates, and fees of this hotel credit card.
To start things off, the SPG Credit Card offers an introductory bonus of 25,000 Starpoints, which are the units for the Starwood rewards program. This offer is awarded for spending at least $3,000 during the first three months with the card. These points are redeemable for cash rewards, but they are most valuable for free hotel stays.
One big aspect of the SPG Credit Card Is the member status system, and there are multiple different tiers to the member system. The tiers are the basic membership, Gold membership, and then finally Platinum membership (Gold and Platinum are both considered elite status).
There are several things to consider with these member statuses. Cardholders with the basic membership receive certain perks and benefits for staying at Starwood locations. To get to Gold Status, cardholders need to stay at Starwood locations at least 25 nights or spend $30,000 in one year. In order to attain Platinum Status, cardholders need to stay at Starwood locations at least 50 nights in one year. There are tons of random perks and upgrades available for both elite member statuses.
The Starpoints accrual on purchases is a bit tricky, and it depends on the member status of the cardholder. Firstly, all regular purchases earn one Starpoint per dollar spent. This is the base Starpoint rate for all members. Increased rates are applicable for purchases made at participating Starwood locations. The maximum Starpoint/dollar rate is five, which is available to Starwood Preferred Guest Elite status members. In some cases, these Elite members only receive four Starpoints per dollar spent.
This credit card starts the year off with no annual fee as an introductory perk, but afterwards, there is an annual fee of $95. Balance transfers and cash advances have a fee of $5 flat or 3% of the total transaction. Fees on late or returned payments can run up to $37, the maximum penalty. There is no foreign transaction fee to worry about.
Annual percentage rates (APR) for balance transfers and regular purchases fall within a certain range: 15.49% and 19.49%. A heftier APR of 25.49% for cash advances is present. The penalty APR is 29.49% when applicable.
Overall, the Starwood Preferred Guest® Credit Card from American Express is a solid card that is pretty essential to the habitual Starwood hotel guest. There are a ton of benefits that can reduce hotel expenses, and members can take advantage of a convenient and enticing elite membership system.
Club Carlson Premier Rewards Visa Signature® Card
APR: 14.24% - 23.24%
Rewards: 10 points/$ spent at Carlson, 5 points/$ spent anywhere, 40,000 points annually for renewing card
Bonus Rewards: 85,000 points for spending $2,500 in first 90 days, immediate Gold Elite Status
Fees: $75 annual fee, 3% or $5 on balance transfers, 2% foreign transaction fee, $37 late payment fee
The American-owned Carlson is one of the largest corporations in the United States that is still owned privately by a family. Its main industry focuses on hotels and travel, which makes it a provider of a prime candidate product on this list. The Club Carlson Premier Rewards Visa Signature® Card is one of the top hotel credit cards.
A staggering introductory bonus of up to 85,000 points is possible with the Club Carlson Card. The first 50,000 of these points are received after making the first purchase with the card, and the next 35,000 are awarded for spending at least $2,500 within the first ninety days with the card. This introductory offer by itself is worth nine nights at a Club Carlson location.
In addition to a huge introductory offer, new cardholders receive a free upgrade to Gold Elite Status. If for some reason a cardholder has already reached Gold Elite Status, then he or she receives fifteen nights at a Carlson location.
There are several other benefits to look forward to. Every year upon card renewal, an additional 40,000 points are awarded. On top of this, when cardholders spend at least $10,000 before card renewal, they receive an additional free night at a Carlson location.
The standard rate of return on purchases is impressive. Cardholders earn ten points per dollar when spending at a Carlson hotel, and they can earn five points per dollar when spending anywhere else.
Cardholders can look forward to a $75 annual fee for card renewal. Several transaction fees apply; for instance, 3% or $5 is charged when a balance transfer occurs. Cash advances produce a fee of 4% or $5. Foreign transactions are subject to a fee. When in American currency, the fee is 2%, the fee increases to 3% for foreign currency. Late payments lead to a maximum penalty fee of $37.
There are not too many numbers to think about when it comes to APR. Balance transfer and regular APR range between 14.24% and 23.24%, which are fairly standard rates for these transaction types. The cash advance APR is 25.24%.
The Club Carlson Premier Rewards Visa Signature Card is a solid deal that comes with extensive benefits. Whoever happens to constantly stay at a Carlson location absolutely needs this credit card.
Wyndham Rewards® Visa Signature® Card
APR: 15.49% - 20.49%
Rewards: 5 points/$ spent at Wyndham hotels, 3 points/$ spent on regular purchases
Bonus Rewards: 30,000 points for making first purchase with card
Fees: $69 annual fee, $5 or 3% for balance transfers, 3% foreign transaction fee, $37 late payment fee
Wyndham Hotels and Resorts began back in the 80s, and was surprisingly named after a Fortune magazine writer. It has survived several mergers throughout the decades, and is now a successful company with many locations. Successful companies often reward its customers; in this case, customers are rewarded with the Wyndham Rewards® Visa Signature Card.
New cardholders can enjoy a quick bonus offer with the Wyndham Rewards Card; 30,000 points are awarded for simply making the first purchase with the card. When cardholders decide to renew their credit card with Wyndham, they are eligible for 6,000 more points, which is redeemable every year.
There is a 5 point per dollar rate for purchases made at a Wyndham location, and cardholders can earn two points for every dollar spent on any other regular purchase.
Every year, cardholders are expected to pay a $69 fee (this is offset by the 6,000 bonus points). Common transactions have fees tacked onto them; for instance, balance transfers cost up to $5 or 3%, while cash advances are charged $10 or 5%. All foreign transactions cost up to 3% of the transaction total in U.S. dollars. Late and returned payments are charged up to $37 at maximum.
The annual percentage rates for both balance transfers and regular purchases fall between 15.49% and 20.24%; however, there is a 0% introductory APR period on these transactions for fifteen months and six months, respectively. There is a cash advance APR of 25.49%.
Overall, the Wyndham Rewards® Visa Signature® Card is a solid card with some pretty standard benefits. These benefits are perfect for Wyndham location visits, but they are likely to be of no use anywhere else.
Citi® Hilton HHonors™ Visa Signature® Card
APR: 15.49% - 29.49%
Rewards: 6 HHonors points/$ spent at Hilton locations, 3 HHonors points/$ spent at supermarkets, drug stores, and gas stations, 2 HHonors points/$ spent on regular purchases, 10,000 HHonors points annually for spending $1,000
Bonus Rewards: 40,000 HHonors points for spending $1,000 during first 4 months, complimentary Hilton Silver status
Fees: No annual fee, $5 or 3% for balance transfers, 3% foreign transaction fee, $37 late payment fee
Citi Bank is a well-established company that offers plenty of different financial services, and one of those services is a slew of credit cards. The bank wasted no time in delving its way into the hotel industry by providing the Citi® Hilton HHonors™ Visa Signature® Card.
To start things off, the Hilton HHonors Card from Citi comes with an introductory bonus offer of 40,000 points for spending at least $1,000 during the first four months after opening an account. To top this off, cardholders are immediately upgraded to HHonors Silver status when an account is opened; additionally, cardholders can reach HHonors Gold status after four Hilton stays during the first ninety days with the card.
Here are some of the benefits of Hilton Silver status. Silver members earn 15% more points on all transactions as a bonus. The 5th night of a stay at a Hilton location is free of charge; additionally, there are exclusive perks at check-out and check-in as well as access to special internet access. Gold members get all of these benefits, but they receive a 25% bonus on rewards points.
It does not end there because there are more benefits that come standard with the Citi HHonors Card. When spending at a Hilton location, every dollar spent earns six HHonors points. Purchases made at a gas station, drug store, or grocery store earns three HHonors points. All other purchases accrue two points per dollar spent. In addition to these point rates, an annual bonus of 10,000 points are awarded for spending at least $1,000 during the year.
One of the highlights of the Citi Hilton HHonors Visa Signature Card is the lack of an annual fee; despite this, there are still a few transaction fees to worry about. The fees for a balance transfer are $5 or 3%, while the fees for a cash advance are either $10 or 5%. All foreign transactions warrant a 3% fee. Late or returned payments will generate a $35 fee at maximum.
The Citi hotel card comes with fairly low APRs overall, but the minimum is slightly higher than some competitors (15.49% to 19.49%) which is true for both regular purchases and balance transfers. There is a 25.49% APR for cash advances, and the penalty APR is 29.99%.
The Citi Hilton HHonors Visa Signature Card is a great card for hotel expenses. It comes with an awesome set of benefits that are not hard to get. In short, this credit card does not require the cardholder to spend excessive amounts to get benefits.
Choice Privileges® Visa Signature® Credit Card
APR: 15.49% - 25.24%
Rewards: 15 points/$ spent at Choice hotels, 5 points/$ spent on eligible purchases, 2 points/$ spend on regular purchases
Bonus Rewards: 32,000 points for spending $1,000 within 90 days
Fees: No annual fee, $5 or 3% for balance transfers, 3% foreign transaction fee, $37 late payment penalty fee
Choice Hotels International happens to be based out of Maryland. While Choice hotel may not sound familiar, the Comfort Inn, Quality Inn, or Econo Lodge probably do sound familiar. Choice International owns many locations across the globe, so it is enormous. Looking to provide for its returning customers, Choice Hotels International offers the Choice Privileges® Visa Signature® Credit Card for convenience and benefits.
The Choice Credit Card comes with straightforward perks and benefits. When cardholders spend at least $1,000 during the first 90 days with the card, a sum of 32,000 points is awarded to the cardholder’s account. On top of this, an extra 8,000 bonus points are awarded for spending at least $10,000 every calendar year (so this is an annual bonus).
There are three different rates at which cardholders can build up points towards redemptions. Fifteen points per dollar are awarded when spending at a Choice Hotel location. An increased rate of five points per dollar is given when cardholders spend on eligible purchases. To top it off, two points per dollar are earned when spending on regular purchases.
On top of the standard and bonus offers, new account members automatically receive Elite Gold Status which comes with a 10% points bonus when spending at Choice hotel locations. Additionally, these Gold status members can book fifty days in advance as opposed to thirty days.
There is no annual fee for using this credit card. There is a balance transfer fee of $5 or 3%, and there is a cash advance fee of $10 or 5%. In addition to these transaction fees, there is a foreign transaction fee of 3%. Cardholders can expect a maximum penalty of $37 on late or returned payments.
Depending on creditworthiness, cardholders can qualify for an APR from 15.49% to 25.24% for regular purchases and balance transfers. There is an introductory period for balance transfers where the APR is 0% for fifteen months. There is a cash advance APR of 25.49%.
Overall, the Choice hotel credit card is a decent credit card, but it does not reward much for spending outside of the Choice hotel chain. Overall, there are other hotel credit cards that offer better deals and better rates.
Marriott Rewards Premier Credit Card
APR: 16.24% to 23.24%
Rewards: 5 points/$ spent at Marriott, 2 points/$ spent at airlines, auto rentals, and restaurants, 1 point/$ spent on regular purchases, annual free night stay at Marriott
Bonus Rewards: 80,000 points for spending $3,000 in first 3 months, 7,500 points for authorizing secondary cardholder
Fees: $85 annual fee, $5 or 5% for balance transfers, no foreign transaction fee, $37 late payment fee
Chase Bank extends its reach by partnering with the Marriott hotel chain and offering the Marriott Rewards® Premier Credit Card. For those who do not know, Marriott International is a worldwide hotel chain that reaches out to various different countries. Given its reach, this hotel credit card has the potential to reach millions of customers.
The Marriott Rewards Premier Credit Card comes with fairly desirable offers that cardholders can attain for simply spending. 80,000 bonus points are credited to an account if the primary member spends at least $3,000 in the first three months with the card. In addition to this bonus, another 7,500 points are available if the primary account member adds an authorized user during the first three months.
Other offers make this credit card even more attractive; for instance, a free night at a Marriott location is awarded every calendar year. On top of this, cardholders will find it is easy to earn Elite status with Marriott. Every year, fifteen Elite credits are awarded to an account; additionally, an extra Elite credit is awarded for spending at least $3,000.
When spending money at a Marriott hotel, cardholders earn a solid five points for every dollar spent. When spending money at an airline, restaurants, or car rental agency, a decent two points per dollar spent is awarded to an account. On all other purchases, consumers can expect one point per dollar spent.
There is a membership fee that amounts to $85 annually. In addition to the annual fee, there is a balance transfer transaction fee of either $5 or 5%. For cash advances, there is a fee of either $10 or 5%. The maximum late payment fee is $37. Despite these fees, there is no fee for foreign transactions.
When making regular purchases, cardholders can expect an APR within 16.24% and 23.24%, which is true for balance transfers as well. Both overdraft and cash advances are accompanied with an APR of 25.24%.
Cardholders with the Marriott Rewards Premier Credit Card can expect to be rewarded well for continued patronage at Marriot. The card has a relatively high APR, and it does not come with extremely beneficial rewards for purchases outside of a Marriott location.
IHG Rewards Club Select Card
APR: 16.24% - 23.24%
Rewards: 5 points/$ spent at IHG locations, 2 points/$ spent at gas stations, restaurants, and grocery stores, 1 point/$ spent on regular purchases
Bonus Rewards: 60,000 points for spending $1,000 in first 3 months, 5,000 points for adding authorized user
Fees: $49 annual fee (first year free), $5 or 5% on balance transfers, $37 late payment fee, no foreign transaction fee
The Intercontinental Hotels Group has teamed up with Chase to offer a hotel credit card for its consistent customers (Chase seems to do this a lot). The credit card in question is known as the IHG Rewards Club Select Card, and it aims to provide benefits and incentives to IHG customers to continue their patronage.
After spending just $1,000 during the first three months with the IHG Credit Card, cardholders receive 60,000 bonus points. On top of this, an extra 5,000 points are awarded when the primary cardholder adds an additional authorized user to an account. This amounts to a total introductory offer of 65,000 bonus points.
With the IHG Rewards Club Select Card, users automatically get upgraded to Platinum Elite Status which offers a 50% bonus on all point earnings. On top of this, you get complimentary room upgrades and guaranteed room availability.
This credit card follows a basic set up when it comes to accruing points from purchases. All purchases made at an IHG hotel earn five points per dollar of transaction. When making a purchase at a gas station, restaurant, or grocery store, cardholders can expect two points for every dollar spent. Every other type of purchase generates just one point per dollar.
The annual membership for the IHG hotel Credit Card is only $49, but there is no fee for the first year. When performing a balance transfer, a fee of either $5 or 5% is applied; a fee of either $10 or 5% is applicable to cash advances. No foreign transaction fee is present in the terms on this credit card. The maximum fee for a late payment is $37.
Since this is a credit card from Chase bank, the APR does not differ from its set standards. The APR on balance transfers and regular purchases is between 16.24% and 23.24%. An APR of 25.24% is applied to cash advances and overdraft advances.
The IHG Rewards Club Select Credit Card sounds like an exclusive deal in title, but in reality, it is a fairly basic credit card with decent rewards. The special club status does not offer very impressive perks since it only offers a bonus rate on points. Despite this, the annual fee is low, so while it lacks in the benefits department, it makes it up as a low cost credit card.
Hyatt Credit Card
APR: 16.24% - 23.24%
Rewards: 3 points/$ spent at Hyatt locations, 2 points/$ spent at airlines, 1 point/$ spent on regular purchases
Bonus Rewards: Two free nights after spending $2,000 during first 3 months, 5,000 points for adding authorized user
Fees: $75 annual fee, $5 or 5% for balance transfers, no foreign transaction fee, $37 late payment fee
Hyatt offers lodging and hospitality across the globe as an international owner of hotels and resorts. Hyatt partnered up with Chase to offer a credit card to customers who want to get a little bit more out of Hyatt expenditures. This credit card is known as the Hyatt Credit Card.
The introductory bonus offer is not too impressive; for instance, cardholders receive two free nights at Hyatt for spending $2,000 during the first three months. On top of this, adding an additional authorized user warrants 5,000 bonus points. Despite these intro offers, cardholders receive one free night stay at Hyatt every year.
There are three different rates at which card users can build up rewards points. They can earn three points for every dollar spent at a Hyatt location, and two points are earned for each dollar spent at an airline. All other purchases add one point per dollar spent. These points do not expire at any point so long as the account is kept open.
In order to maintain an account, cardholders have to pay an annual fee of $75. There are a few transaction fees to keep in mind. Balance transfers generate a fee of either $5 or 5% while cash advances come with a fee of $10 or 5%. There is no foreign transaction fee with the Hyatt Credit Card. Late payments are charged $37 at maximum.
Regular purchase and balance transfer annual percentage rates sit between 16.24% and 23.24%. There is one APR for both cash advances and overdraft advances: 25.24%.
Overall, the Hyatt Credit Card is a decent card that comes with a little bit of return for expenditures, but it lacks any serious benefits compared to other competitors.
Ritz-Carlton Rewards Credit Card
APR: 16.24% - 23.24%
Rewards: 5 points/$ spent at Ritz-Carlton locations, 2 points/$ spent at restaurants, airlines, and car rental agencies, 1 point/$ on regular purchases
Bonus Rewards: 3 free nights for spending $5,000 during first 3 months, complimentary Gold Elite Status for 1 year
Fees: $450 annual fee, $5 or 5% on balance transfers, $37 late payment fee, no foreign transaction fee
Based out of Boston, MA, the Ritz-Carlton Hotel Chain operates less than a hundred hotels in different locations throughout the world. Needless to say, this is an exclusive and luxurious chain. In partnership with Chase Bank, Ritz-Carlton offers a credit card product known as the Ritz-Carlton Rewards Credit Card.
This hotel credit card offers an introductory bonus of three complimentary nights at a Ritz-Carlton location; cardholders simply need to spend at least $5,000 before the first three months pass by with the credit card. There is more to look forward to; for instance, 10,000 bonus reward points are awarded for adding an authorized user during the first three months with the Ritz-Carlton Rewards Credit Card.
While the introductory bonus sounds weak, the true strength of the Ritz-Carlton hotel card is in the hotel benefits. Cardholders receive a $100 credit towards hotel expenses when booking two or more nights at a Ritz-Carlton location; additionally, cardholders are upgraded to Club level when staying at a Ritz-Carlton hotel for seven nights or more (Club level is an exclusive privilege). On top of all this, cardholders are eligible for a $300 annual travel credit towards baggage fees and seat upgrades, and additional airfare discounts are available at eligible airlines.
New account members are automatically upgraded to Gold Elite status, which offers unique benefits and exclusive access. After the first year, this status must be maintained by spending at least $10,000 annually with the Ritz-Carlton Credit Card. The next tier status, Platinum Elite Status, can be obtained by spending at least $75,000 annually with the hotel credit card.
Rewards points can be earned by simply spending with the credit card. Five points per dollar are earned when spending at a Ritz-Carlton hotel or partner hotel. Two points for each dollar spent are earned for purchases made at an airline, car rental agency, or restaurant. On all other purchases, only one point is earned for every dollar spent.
The Ritz-Carlton Rewards Credit Card is accompanied by a large annual fee of $450, which is explained by the exclusive club benefits offered by the card. Aside from the annual fee, all other fees are standard for a Chase credit card. Balance transfers warrant a fee of either $5 or 5% while cash advances are charged $10 or 5%. A late or returned payment generates a maximum fee of $37. There is no need to worry about a fee when spending in foreign countries.
There are only two different annual percentage rates to worry about. The APR for balance transfers and regular purchases resides between 16.24% and 23.24%. An APR of 25.24% is applicable towards cash advances and overdraft advances.
The main attraction of the Ritz-Carlton Rewards Credit Card is the exclusive access to special deals and privileges that only cardholders receive. If these benefits are worth the trouble, then this is definitely the right card to pick