The 5 Best Hotel Credit Cards for Travel: Earn Free Reward Nights

Are you looking for a hotel credit card to take advantage or reward nights instead of paying money? If you like saving money on hotels, our list of the best hotel credit cards is going to be of interest to you. We’ve gone through all available hotel rewards credit cards and found the 5 best.

 

Credit Card Introductory OfferAnnual FeeOur Thoughts 
Marriott Bonvoy Boundless75,000 Points$95With an intro offer worth 2 good free nights, plus the annual free night award, it's the best hotel card.LEARN HOW TO APPLY >>
World of Hyatt Credit Cardup to 50,000 Points$95Like the Marriott Bonvoy cards, this comes with an annual free night award. Hyatt points are the most valuable of any hotel chain. If you can meet the second tier of the intro offer, it might as well be the best hotel card.LEARN HOW TO APPLY >>
Hilton Honors Ascend125,000 Points$95While Hilton points aren't worth very much, this card is good because it gives you a special Priority Pass membership with 10 free visits.LEARN HOW TO APPLY >>
IHG Rewards Club Premier80,000 Miles$89While IHG hotels aren't always the best option, these intro offer points are valuable. Plus with the 4th reward night free, you can extend those points. The card also allows you to get Global Entry or TSA PreCheck for 5 years.LEARN HOW TO APPLY >>
Marriott Bonvoy Business75,000 Points$125Similar to the personal card, it's intro offer and yearly free night award make it valuable.LEARN HOW TO APPLY >>

 

These hotel credit cards are the best because of a few different factors. All of them come with introductory offers of points that can be used for free hotel stays. Most of them even come with a free night award each calendar year that counteracts the annual fees of the cards. All of the best hotel credit cards also come with elite status at their related hotel chain, which can often get you perks and upgrades during hotel stays. On top of the benefits I’ve mentioned, a couple of these cards offer even more.

 

Here are the main features we looked at when comparing the best hotel credit cards:

 

This list was actually much harder to nail down than I originally thought it would be. Due to the vast differences in benefits as well as the values of the points associated with each card, I kept swaying back and forth on which cards are better. Like all credit cards, it really depends on the person as to which is better. Be sure to check out all five cards to see which fits you best before applying for one.

 

Let’s go ahead and get into the list of the 5 best hotel credit cards.

 

1. Marriott Bonvoy Boundless

marriott bonvoy card art

Marriott Bonvoy Boundless

75,000 points after spending $3,000 in 3 months

$95 Annual Fee

LEARN HOW TO APPLY >>

 

The Marriott Bonvoy Boundless credit card comes in at the top spot of our best hotel credit cards list. Why? Well, it comes with a lot of value in its introductory offer and annual free night. Marriott is also one of the easiest programs to use points due to the fact that they have so many hotels worldwide.

Marriott hotels

 

Let’s take a deeper dive into the offerings of the Marriott Bonvoy Boundless credit card, our #1 option for best hotel credit cards.

 

Marriott Bonvoy Boundless

LEARN HOW TO APPLY NOW >>
INTRODUCTORY OFFER
You’ll earn 75,000 points after you spend $3,000 in the first 3 months.
REWARDS
You’ll earn 6X points per dollar spent at Marriott hotels, and 2X points on all other purchases.
BENEFITS
One free night award (up to category 5) every account anniversary.
Automatic silver elite status with Marriott Bonvoy
Gold status after spending $35k
15 elite night credits each calendar year.
FEES
$95 annual fee.
TRAVEL FREEDOM THOUGHTS
The introductory offer is just ok, as it will earn you enough points for two free nights at a category 5 hotel. The free night award each year for $95 is well worth it if you can use it on an otherwise expensive night.

 

The Pros

    • Large introductory offer
    • Free night award each year (valid at Marriott category 5 and below)
    • Silver elite status

Earn at least 2X points

    on purchases

 

The Potential Cons

  • Has an annual fee

 

Our Overall Thoughts on the Marriott Bonvoy Boundless Card

The Marriott Bonvoy Boundless is the overall best hotel credit card in our eyes. You get an abundance of points that can easily be redeemed at hotels around the world. There are options in pretty much every city. The free night award you’ll get each year essentially gives you a hotel stay for the price of the annual fee. Considering most hotels will cost over $100, you can come out on top as long as you take advantage each year.

 

At Travel Freedom, we value this cards introductory offer at around $675 towards travel. For more information on this card, you can read our full Marriott Bonvoy Boundless credit card review.

 

2. World of Hyatt Credit Card

chase world of hyatt credit card art

World of Hyatt Credit Card

up to 50,000 points after completing spending tiers

$95 Annual Fee

LEARN HOW TO APPLY >>

 

The World of Hyatt credit card is very similar to Marriott’s Bonvoy Boundless card. It offers an introductory offer of points and also an annual free night award. The difference between the two programs is that Hyatt points are worth far more. Unfortunately, they have a tiered introductory offer which makes it less lucrative.

Hyatt hotels

 

Let’s take a deeper dive into the offerings of the World of Hyatt credit card, our #2 option for best hotel credit cards.

 

World of Hyatt Credit Card

LEARN HOW TO APPLY NOW >>
INTRODUCTORY OFFER
Earn up to 50,000 points. You'll earn 25,000 points after you spend $3,000 in the first 3 months and an additional 25,000 points after spending $6,000 in the first 6 months.
REWARDS
You’ll earn 9X points per dollar spent at Hyatt hotels, and 2X points on restaurants, airline tickets, local transit, and fitness clubs.
BENEFITS
One free night award (up to category 4) every account anniversary.
Another free night award when you spend $15,000 in a calendar year.
Automatic Discoverist elite status with World of Hyatt
5 qualifying night credits each calendar year, plus 2 more bonus night credits each $5,000 in spend.
FEES
$95 annual fee.
TRAVEL FREEDOM THOUGHTS
The introductory offer is decent, but has a high spending limit to earn both tiers. If both tiers are met, it will earn you enough points for up to 10 free nights (category 1). The free night award each year for $95 is well worth it, if you can use it on an otherwise expensive night.

 

The Pros

 

The Potential Cons

  • Tiered introductory offer
  • Has an annual fee

 

Our Overall Thoughts on the World of Hyatt Credit Card

We value this card highly due to the high value of the Hyatt points in general. If you’re able to meet both tiers of the introductory offer, it’s a great deal. If not, it’s not nearly as good. The annual free night award is also a very good perk. There are many very nice category 4 Hyatts around the US. I enjoy staying at Hyatt Place properties when traveling.

 

At Travel Freedom, we value the points from this cards introductory offer at around $425-850 for travel (depending on which spending tier you meet). For more information on this card, you can read our full World of Hyatt credit card review.

 

3. Hilton Honors Ascend Credit Card

 

Now here’s where things get interesting. The Hilton Honors Ascend card has a benefit that’s usually exclusive to premier travel credit cards with high annual fees. It offers a version of Priority Pass that allows you to gain entry to their airport lounges 10 times per year for free. That alone makes it one of the best hotel credit cards, even though it’s not actually a hotel benefit. The card also comes with a large introductory offer. When looking at the number of points you receive, it looks huge, but Hilton points are far less valuable than other hotel programs.

hilton hotels

 

Let’s take a deeper dive into the offerings of the Hilton Honors Ascend credit card, our #3 option for best hotel credit cards.

 

Hilton Honors Surpass

LEARN HOW TO APPLY NOW >>
INTRODUCTORY OFFER
You’ll earn 130,000 Hilton Honors points after you spend $4,000 in the first 4 months.
Earn a free weekend night rewards after spending $15,000 in a calendar year.
REWARDS
You’ll earn 12X points Hilton properties. You'll also earn 6X at US supermarkets, restaurants, and gas stations. 3X on all other purchases.
BENEFITS
Earn diamond status when you spend $40,000 in a calendar year.
Get Priority Pass with 10 free visits per calendar year.
FEES
$95 annual fee.
Terms Apply
TRAVEL FREEDOM THOUGHTS
If you regularly stay at Hilton properties this card could be right for you. If you don't stay at Hilton often, it's probably not the best option.

 

The Pros

  • Large introductory offer
  • Priority Pass membership (10 free visits)

 

The Potential Cons

  • Has an annual fee
  • Annual free night is only awarded after meeting a high spend
  • Hilton points are not very valuable.

 

Our Overall Thoughts on the Hilton Honors Ascend Card

The Priority Pass benefit of this card, alone, is enough to warrant paying the annual fee. Along with that great travel perk, you’ll also get an introductory offer of points that should be enough for at least a couple free nights at Hilton properties.

 

At Travel Freedom, we value this cards introductory offer at around $750 of travel. For more information on this card, you can read our full Hilton Honors Ascend card review.

 

4. IHG Rewards Club Premier

ihg rewards club premier credit card art

IHG Rewards Club Premier

125,000 points after spending $3,000 in 3 months

$89 Annual Fee

LEARN HOW TO APPLY >>

In all honesty, before I started the research for this list, I figured the IHG Rewards Club Premier card wouldn’t come into play as a contender for best hotel credit cards. That changed when I realized the value that actually comes with the card. While there aren’t as many high-end properties to choose from in the IHG chain, there are still good award nights to be had.

ihg hotels

 

The card comes with an introductory offer that is worth approximately two free nights at a good hotel. It also comes with elite status at IHG hotels. There are two things that really make this hotel credit card one of the bests. With the card, you’ll receive the 4th night free when redeeming points for a stay. That means that if you have enough points for a 3-night stay, you can add on a night to make it four. That alone is a great benefit, but it’s not the only great benefit of the card. It also comes with a Global Entry or TSA PreCheck statement credit. These programs allow you to go in an expedited security line at airports (keep your shoes on, leave laptops and liquids in your bag, etc). The IHG Rewards Club Premier is a sneaky-good hotel credit card.

 

Let’s take a deeper dive into the offerings of the IHG Rewards Club Premier credit card, our #4 option for best hotel credit cards.

 

IHG Rewards Club Premier

LEARN HOW TO APPLY NOW >>
INTRODUCTORY OFFER
You’ll earn 125,000 points after you spend $3,000 in the first 3 months.
REWARDS
You’ll earn 40X points per dollar spent at IHG hotels for first 12 months (25X after), and 4X on everything else for 12 months. After 12 months, earn 2X points at gas stations, grocery stores, and restaurants.
BENEFITS
One free night award every account anniversary.
4th night free when redeeming points for a stay of 4 nights or more.
Automatic platinum elite status with IHG.
Global Entry or TSA PreCheck statement credit every four years.
FEES
$89 annual fee.
TRAVEL FREEDOM THOUGHTS
The introductory offer can be worth up to 12 free nights. The free night award each year for $89 is well worth it if you can use it on an otherwise expensive night.

 

The Pros

  • Large introductory offer
  • Elite status
  • Global Entry or TSA PreCheck
  • 4th night free (on award stays)

 

The Potential Cons

  • Has an annual fee
  • Hotel selection is not the greatest

 

Our Overall Thoughts on the IHG Rewards Club Premier

As a huge underdog, the IHG Rewards Club Premier has secured a spot as one of the best hotel credit cards. Its introductory offer is standard for the best hotel credit cards, but its other travel benefits go above and beyond. Getting TSA PreCheck from a non-premium credit card is rare. The 4th-night free benefit is also huge.

 

At Travel Freedom, we value this cards introductory offer at around $400 for travel. For more information on this card, you can read our full IHG Rewards Club Premier review.

 

5. Marriott Bonvoy Business Card

marriott bonvoy business card art

Marriott Bonvoy Business

75,000 points after spending $3,000 in 3 months

$125 Annual Fee

LEARN HOW TO APPLY >>

 

The Marriott Bonvoy Business credit card is nearly identical to the Bonvoy Boundless card. The differences are that you’ll have to have a business to be approved, the annual fee is higher, and you’ll earn bonus rewards on certain purchases that the personal card doesn’t offer. The introductory offer and free annual night credit are the exact same as the personal Marriott card.

 

Let’s take a deeper dive into the offerings of the Marriott Bonvoy Business credit card, our #5 option for best hotel credit cards.

 

Marriott Bonvoy Business

LEARN HOW TO APPLY NOW >>
INTRODUCTORY OFFER
You’ll earn 75,000 points after you spend $3,000 in the first 3 months.
REWARDS
You’ll earn 6X points per dollar spent at Marriott hotels.
Earn 4x points at US restaurants, US gas stations, on US cell phone services and US shipping purchases.
Earn 2x points on all other purchases.
BENEFITS
One free night award (up to category 5) every account anniversary.
Earn an additional free night award after spending $60,000 on your card in a calendar year.
Automatic silver elite status with Marriott Bonvoy
Gold status after spending $35k
15 elite night credits each calendar year.
ANNUAL FEE
$125 annual fee.
Terms Apply
TRAVEL FREEDOM THOUGHTS
The introductory offer is good, as it will earn you approximately enough points for three free nights at a category 5 hotel. The free night award each year for $125 is worth it if you can use the award on an otherwise expensive stay.

 

The Pros

    • Large introductory offer
    • Free night award each year (valid at Marriott category 5 and below)
    • Silver elite status

Earn at least 2X points on purchases

 

 

The Potential Cons

  • Has a higher annual fee
  • Must have a business

 

Our Overall Thoughts on the Marriott Bonvoy Business Card

The Marriott Bonvoy Business is a very good hotel card if you have a business. It’s very similar to the Bonvoy Boundless personal card. You get an abundance of points that can easily be redeemed at Marriott hotels. There are options in pretty much every city. The free night award you’ll get each year essentially gives you a hotel stay for the price of the annual fee. Considering most hotels will cost over $100, you can come out on top as long as you take advantage each year. The downside is that the annual fee is higher than the personal card for pretty much the same benefits.

 

At Travel Freedom, we value this cards introductory offer at around $675 towards travel. For more information on this card, you can read our full Marriott Bonvoy Business review.

 

(BONUS) Chase Sapphire Preferred: The Best Travel Card of All? !?

chase sapphire preferred credit card art

Chase Sapphire Preferred

60,000 points after spending $4,000 in 3 months

$95 Annual Fee

LEARN HOW TO APPLY >>

 

If you’re looking for value with a little more flexibility in redemption, you may want to consider the Chase Sapphire Preferred card instead of a branded hotel card. The Sapphire Preferred earns Chase Ultimate Rewards points that can be transferred to not only hotels but airlines too. Ultimate Rewards transfer to Hyatt, Marriott, and IHG at a 1:1 ratio. That means that you have way more redemption options for your points when it comes to hotel stays.

 

As mentioned, you can also transfer Ultimate Rewards to airlines at a 1:1 ratio. There are more than a handful of transfer airlines including Southwest, United, and British Airways. If you’d rather just book your travel through the Chase travel portal, your points will be worth 1. 25 cents each toward flights, hotels, car rentals, cruises, activities and more.

 

Let’s take a closer look at the Chase Sapphire Preferred.

 

Chase Sapphire Preferred

LEARN HOW TO APPLY NOW >>
INTRODUCTORY OFFER
You'll earn 60,000 points after spending $4000 in the first 3 months.
REWARDS
You'll earn 2X points on travel and dining.
BENEFITS
Points are worth 25% more when used in the Chase travel portal.
No foreign transaction fees.
1:1 point transfer partner hotels and airlines.
FEES
$95
No foreign transaction fees.
TRAVEL FREEDOM THOUGHTS
This is the best first travel credit card to get. It has a valuable signup bonus with easy to redeem points. You also get a boost to your points value in the Chase travel portal.

 

The Pros

  • Large introductory offer
  • Flexible redemption options
  • Transfer points to hotels or airlines
  • Most valuable travel points

 

The Potential Cons

  • Has an annual fee
  • Not many extra travel benefits

 

Our Overall Thoughts on the Chase Sapphire Preferred

As you can see, the Chase Sapphire Preferred is the best of both worlds. Airlines, hotels, and more can be booked using Ultimate Rewards. Plus, there are other Chase Ultimate Rewards credit cards that can be paired with the Sapphire Preferred to earn even more. If you’d like more flexibility than a branded hotel card, the Chase Sapphire Preferred is the superior choice.

 

At Travel Freedom, we value this cards introductory offer at over $1000 for travel. For more information on this card, you can read our full Chase Sapphire Preferred review.

 

*PS: There’s also a premium travel version of this card. See our full review of the Chase Sapphire Reserve.

 

Decision Time: Which is the Best Hotel Credit Card for You?

Well, that’s it. Our best hotel credit cards list has concluded. We’ve gone through the top five hotel credit cards, plus added a potentially better option to consider with the Chase Sapphire Preferred card. The offers above are all very similar, so it will depend on your preferences as to which is best for you. Good luck deciding on your best hotel credit card, and happy travels.

 

Credit Card Introductory OfferAnnual FeeOur Thoughts 
Marriott Bonvoy Boundless75,000 Points$95With an intro offer worth 2 good free nights, plus the annual free night award, it's the best hotel card.LEARN HOW TO APPLY >>
World of Hyatt Credit Cardup to 50,000 Points$95Like the Marriott Bonvoy cards, this comes with an annual free night award. Hyatt points are the most valuable of any hotel chain. If you can meet the second tier of the intro offer, it might as well be the best hotel card.LEARN HOW TO APPLY >>
Hilton Honors Ascend125,000 Points$95While Hilton points aren't worth very much, this card is good because it gives you a special Priority Pass membership with 10 free visits.LEARN HOW TO APPLY >>
IHG Rewards Club Premier80,000 Miles$89While IHG hotels aren't always the best option, these intro offer points are valuable. Plus with the 4th reward night free, you can extend those points. The card also allows you to get Global Entry or TSA PreCheck for 5 years.LEARN HOW TO APPLY >>
Marriott Bonvoy Business75,000 Points$125Similar to the personal card, it's intro offer and yearly free night award make it valuable.LEARN HOW TO APPLY >>
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