The Best Hotel Credit Cards for Free Nights, Elite Status, and More
Issue #20-23 features a look at the best premium hotel credit cards for free nights, hotel elite status, accruing hotel points and more
If you're a frequent traveler, you know that hotel credit cards can be a great way to earn free nights, get elite status, and save money on your stays. There are a number of hotel credit cards that offer free nights as a sign-up bonus or as an annual benefit. In addition to free nights, some hotel credit cards also offer hotel elite status, which can give you access to value-added perks like room upgrades, late checkout, and free breakfast.
But with so many different cards on the market, it can be tough to decide which one is right for you. I often get asked what is the best hotel credit card to have or which hotel program should I put my effort into?
If I was trying to decide on a particular hotel credit card or brand to put my loyalty into, here are the options I would consider for Marriott, Hilton, IHG and Hyatt:
Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant American Express Card
Current sign-up bonus: Earn 95,000 Marriott Bonvoy Bonus Points after you use your new Card to make $5,000 in purchases within the first 3 months.
Annual Fee: $650
How You Earn:
6X On Hotels For eligible purchases at hotels participating in Marriott Bonvoy
3X on Restaurants worldwide
3X on Flights booked directly with the airlines
2X on all other purchases
Key benefits of this card include a $300 annual dining credit, free night award (up to 85k), automatic Platinum status, Fee credit for TSA PreCheck or Global Entry, $100 property credit, 25 Elite Night credits and more
Hilton Honors American Express Aspire Card
Current sign-up bonus: Earn 150,000 Hilton Honors Bonus Points after you spend $4,000 in purchases on the Card within your first 3 months of Card Membership
Annual Fee: $450
How You Earn:
14X on Hotels & Resorts in the Hilton portfolio
7X on select Travel including flights booked directly with airlines or AmexTravel.com and car rentals booked directly with select car rental companies
7X on Dining At U.S. restaurants, including takeout and delivery.
3X on all other purchases
Key benefits of this card include Complimentary Diamond Status, annual free night award, $250 statement credit for Hilton spend, $250 airline fee credit and more.
World of Hyatt Credit Card
Current sign-up bonus: 30,000 Bonus Points after you spend $3,000 on purchases in your first 3 months from account opening. Plus, up to 30,000 More Bonus Points by earning 2 Bonus Points total per $1 spent in the first 6 months from account opening on purchases that normally earn 1 Bonus Point, on up to $15,000 spent
Annual Fee: $95
How You Earn:
4X on all purchases at Hyatt hotels
2X at restaurants, on airline tickets purchased directly from the airline, local transit and commuting as well as fitness club and gym memberships
1X on all other purchases
Key benefits of this card include a free night each year (category 1-4) and Discoverist status.
IHG Rewards Premier Card
Current sign-up bonus: Earn 140,000 points after spending $3,000 in purchases within the first 3 months.
Annual Fee: $99
How You Earn:
10X at IHG hotels & resorts (you also get 10X for being an IHG rewards member and an additional 6X with Platinum status, a benefit of this card)
5X on Travel, Gas Stations and Dining
3X on all other purchases
Key benefits of this card include automatic Platinum Elite Status, free night each year, and a fourth night free when redeeming points.
From the above examples you can see annual fees can vary, as well as the benefits of each card. If I was to pick one of these hotel brands to stay at frequently, these are the credit cards I would choose for each brand, but there are many other credit cards available that have varying benefits and annual fees.
Personally, most of our hotel stays over the past few years have been at Marriott brands (Marriott, Westin, Ritz Carlton, Luxury Collection, etc), as Marriott has hotels in almost every place we want to travel to. We can also unlock extra value-added benefits like free breakfast, lounge access, room upgrades, bonus points and more with our Marriott Bonvoy status, making it tough to select another hotel brand to stay at when Marriott offers great benefits for our stay.
All of the hotel brands above have different award charts for redeeming points so the value of each of these brands hotel points vary and is something to keep in mind as well, but we have found great use of our Marriott Bonvoy points for family trips, even with the recent devaluations and additional points needed for award hotel stays.
The free night award every year, as well as the other card perks like the monthly dining credit, automatic Platinum status, and more make the Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant a worthwhile card for us to keep right now.
Ultimately, the best hotel credit card for you is the one that offers the most benefits for your travel needs or budget and that is something only you truly know and would have to consider.
“There are no seven wonders of the world in the eyes of a child. There are seven million.”
– Walt Streightiff
RECENT BLOG POSTS
Recent hotel posts from The Family Travel Guy you may have missed
Every Third Night Free at The Ritz Carlton Bacara, Santa Barbara
Hotel Review: A Magical Stay at Disney's Saratoga Springs Resort
FAMILY TRAVEL NEWS
Round-up of travel tips, insights and news you can use for your next trip
Don’t get angry when flight attendants won’t lift your bag for you
Disney World is closing its Star Wars: Galactic Starcruiser in September
FAMILY TRAVEL OFFERS & INSIGHTS
Featured Special Offers of the Week
Kaanapali Beach Hotel Flash Sale
Save more than 30% off Premium Room rates, with this promotion including
Premium Partial Ocean View at the rate of a Traditional Partial Ocean View
Premium Ocean View at the rate of a Traditional Ocean View
New Summer Ticket Offers Coming to Walt Disney World Resort
Beginning May 23, 2023, you can purchase the 4-day, 4-Park Magic Ticket for $99 per day plus tax ($396 total plus tax), which includes one day of admission to each of the four theme parks (for a total of 4 admissions, on 4 separate days)
THE FAMILY TRAVEL GUY
I hope this email helped spark some travel inspiration!
Learn More Here: Randy | The Family Travel Guy
Stay Connected: Instagram | Facebook | Twitter | Pinterest | Virtuoso Profile
If you ever have a question or are looking to book a hotel where I can offer extra value and amenities, please reach out to me at Randy@thefamilytravelguy.com
The Family Travel Bulletin is a once weekly newsletter by Randy Singh featuring a curated summary of family travel news, special offers, travel advisor insights and recent blog posts from The Family Travel Guy to help you travel better, travel smarter and optimize value along the way.
The Family Travel Guy is an independent affiliate of 1000 Mile Travel Group, a Virtuoso Member, CST# California: 2129700-40
Copyright ©2023 The Family Travel Guy, All Rights Reserved
Thanks for reading The Family Travel Bulletin! Subscribe for free to receive new posts and support my work.