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Best Hotel Credit Cards (Updated 2017)

Best Hotel Credit Cards (Updated 2017)

Here are the best hotel credit cards for this year. It took us a long time to gather them together and complete our research, but all our hard work paid off. The winners are credit cards that apply to numerous hotels that are dotted around the country (and the world in many cases), and are credit cards that offer obscenely big starting bonuses and spending bonuses.

I am not encouraging you to bounce around from one credit card to another, but you have to remember that each year there are plenty of credit cards that offer newer and bigger starting bonuses. Sign up with one of these credit cards, use up the starting bonuses, and if something comes along next year that is better, then dump these and use up their starting bonuses. Just make sure you don’t bog yourself down with unpayable debt while you are at it, otherwise the credit card company wins.

Starwood Preferred Guest Credit Card from American Express

The Starwood card is the top of many online “Best hotel credit cards” lists, and I understand why. They have a good rewards system, there are plenty of places to redeem your points, and they give away a sensible number of points for spending money in their hotels. All I can say is that you should examine all the cards on this list before you pick the one for you. The cards are linked to different hotel companies, and there is little point in picking this card if you rarely use or visit Starwood branded hotels in the USA.

Pros

[+]  The annual fee is waived for the first year
[+] There is a sign-up bonus of 25,000 extra points
[+] You only have to spend $3000 in the first three months to get the sign-up bonus
[+] Get one point per dollar spent with most merchants
[+] Get two points per dollar spent with Starwood properties
[+] There are many Starwood branded hotels in the USA
[+] Starwood is part of numerous brands of hotel
[+] Get SPG Elite status and get credit for two stays and five nights each year
[+] You are able to transfer your points to partnered airline companies
[+] There are over 30 airline companies that have partnered up with them
[+] You may earn up to five points at participating SPG locations

Cons

[-]  There is an annual fee of $95
[-] They are a little lacking in international locations when compared to other hotel chains
[-] The annual fee is a little high if you are not a frequent hotel guest
[-] Marriot and Starwood Hotel mixing their rewards schemes has caused some people confusion

Further Information

There are quite a few brands that are part of the entire Starwood hotel network. Take a look through the list to see if there is a hotel you frequently use. If there is, then the Starwood card is probably for you.

[o] Aloft
[o] Tribute Portfolio
[o] St. Regis
[o] Le Méridien
[o] Element Hotels
[o] The Luxury Collection
[o] Four Points
[o] Sheraton
[o] Westin
[o] Design Hotels
[o] W Hotels

Ritz-Carlton Rewards Credit Card

You need a fantastic credit rating and the stomach to pay their annual fee of $450 if you want this card. If you have seriously considered buying their “Priority Pass Membership” for $399, then I strongly recommend you get this credit card because it comes free with the card. If you spend on the card frequently and you enjoy nights in Ritz-Carlton properties, then this is the card for you.

Pros

[+] Earn two complimentary nights at a Tier 1-4 Ritz-Carlton property
[+] Get your complimentary nights by spending $4000 in the first three months
[+] You get five points for spending one dollar at a Ritz-Carlton or one of its partners
[+] Purchase airline tickets directly from an airline to get two points per dollar spent
[+] Get two points per dollar when you spend in restaurants or with car rental firms
[+] Most other purchases will earn you one point per dollar
[+] You may earn up to $300 in annual travel credit
[+] You may be able to earn a priority pass with airport lounge benefits

Cons

[-] There is an annual fee of $450
[-] The fee is very high for a hotel/credit card collaboration
[-] You need an excellent credit rating to get this credit card
[-] It is only suitable for people who are fans of the Ritz-Carlton hotel chain

Further Information

The credit card is more of a premium travel credit card for people who like to travel in style. Some of the rewards below will come with your credit card, and others you will have to opt into.

[o] Global Entry Application Fee Reimbursement
[o] Application Fee Reimbursement Is Valued At $100 every 5 years
[o] Priority Pass Membership With A $399 Value
[o] Trip Delay Reimbursement
[o] Baggage Delay Insurance
[o] Trip Cancellation/Trip Interruption Insurance

IHG Rewards Club Select Credit Card

If you are a frequent IHG visitor or user, then you should seriously consider signing up for this card. The starting bonus is very easily attainable, and you get five points per dollar when you spend money in IHG hotels. There is a little confusion about rewards redemption because it is possible to get a night’s stay in a cheaper IHG hotel for the same amount of points it would cost you in a more expensive IHG hotel. Nevertheless, there is no getting around the fact that frequent IHG visitors will get more out of this card than they will the other on this best hotel credit cards list.

Pros

[+] There is a sign-up bonus that earns you 60,000 points
[+] You have to spend $1000 in the first three months to earn the points
[+] Earn an extra 5000 points if you add an authorized user who then makes purchases
[+] The annual fee is waived for the first year
[+] You get five points per dollar spent at IHG hotels
[+] Get two points per dollar you spend at gas stations and in restaurants
[+] Earn two points per dollar when you spend in most grocery stores
[+] Get one point per dollar spent when you spend with most other merchants
[+] You get a free night’s stay at one of their hotels for having your card a full year
[+] There are over 5000 hotels worldwide where you may use your free night’s stay
[+] Opt in for platinum elite status that continues while your account is open and active

Cons

[-] There is an annual fee of $49
[-] You have to call in advance to tell them you are going to spend abroad
[-] Points redemption isn’t as even or fair as it should be
[-] You could end up spending too many points for a stay at a lower cost hotel

Further Information

You may redeem your points at InterContinental Hotels & Resorts, at Crowne Plaza Hotels & Resorts and the Holiday Inn. That is more than 5000 places where you may redeem your points. The people who will benefit the most are people who regularly use IHG hotels anyway. If you are an off/off IHG user, then another card may be preferable.

Chase Sapphire Preferred

If you prefer Chase, and you are not a frequent user of IHG hotels or resorts, then the Chase Sapphire Preferred card may suit you more than the Chase IHG card. I have added this card despite it not being linked directly with a hotel because it offers a good alternative to the cards listed on this article, and Chase does have numerous cards linked with hotels.

Pros

[+] The first year’s annual fee is waived
[+] Get 50,000 bonus points starting bonus
[+] Earn the starting bonus by spending $4000 on your card within the first three months
[+] The starter reward equals $625 in travel if you redeem them through Chase Ultimate Rewards
[+] Earn an extra 5000 points if you add an authorized user who makes purchases in the first three months
[+] Get two points per dollar spent in restaurants and on travel
[+] Earn one point per dollar spent on most other things
[+] They have a 1:1 point transfer system to their partners
[+] Their partners includes 11 airline and various hotels and hospitality companies
[+] There are no foreign-transaction fees with this card
[+] You may use and earn discounts on your travel if you redeem via their Chase Ultimate Rewards platform

Cons

[-] There is an annual fee of $95
[-] The annual fee is a little high if you are not a frequent hotel guest
[-] Being restricted to the Ultimate Rewards program and Chase partners may be restrictive for very frequent travelers

Further Information

The customer service will not win any awards. I was not happy with the way they handled my questions, and reports from other member of the research teams have echoed my feelings. In addition, they seem to favor the merchants when we contest charges. They make it overly difficult to contest charges, and they also make the process a very long one. If this were my card for my personal use (i.e. not something I was testing with a research team), then I would probably cancel it the second I received a charge I want to query because I am not confident that Chase Sapphire Preferred would fight in my corner.

Marriott Rewards Premier Credit Card

The Marriott Rewards Premier credit card does deserve its place on our list because it is a very good hotel credit card. The reason it appears last is because I have a few problems with their small print and customer service department. Nevertheless, I have listed their pros and cons below. You should consider this card very strongly if you are a frequent Marriot guest.

Pros

[+] There is a sign-up bonus of 80,000 points
[+] You only have to spend $3000 within the first three months to earn the rewards
[+] Add another authorized user to get an extra 7500 points if your user makes purchases
[+] Get five points per dollar with Marriott properties
[+] Get two points per dollar when you spend money with certain airlines
[+] Earn two points per dollar spent in restaurants and at car rental agencies
[+] Earn one point per dollar with most other purchases
[+] Get a free night’s stay every anniversary at one of the category 1-5 locations
[+] They do not add foreign transaction fees onto your account
[+] They have over 4300 hotels in 81 different countries/territories
[+] You may use your card and your point overseas in their hotels
[+] You may sign up for Silver Elite status
[+] They allow you to transfer your points to participating airlines

Cons

[-] There is an annual fee of $85
[-] You need excellent credit to get the best Marriot credit cards
[-] It is sometimes overly confusing figuring out which offer goes with which program
[-] The customer service phone lines put you on hold for too long
[-] There is fine print that gives the Marriot ways to disqualify you from their rewards

Further Information

The Marriot card may have ranked higher, but as we read their small print, we found numerous ways in which they may get out of giving you your rewards and your free night on the anniversary of your account opening. Take a look at a few online user reviews and you may find other people who have used the Marriot card in good faith and have not received their rewards. Also, their customer service waiting times are truly awful. We don’t have time to sit on hold for two hours, so we had to keep trying repeatedly at different times of the day to reach somebody.

Best Hotel Credit Cards Honorable Mentions

Here is a little information about three hotels that didn’t make our “Best Hotel Credit Cards” list, but that I still feel are good and relevant cards for certain hotel users. Like all the others on this list, they are especially useful if you happen to frequent the hotels that are linked with them.

Stash Hotel Rewards Visa Card

It is more for people who prefer boutique hotels. If you find yourself staying in applicable hotels, then you may like to shun the bigger credit cards a go for the Stash Hotel rewards Visa card. After all, what is the point in signing up for credit cards with great rewards for hotels you rarely stay in. With this card, you get three points per dollar for staying in Stash hotels, you get two points per dollar for spending on other hotels, and you get two points per dollar for spending at gas stations and for dining out. You get one point per dollar on most other purchases. There is a 10,000 bonus point incentive for spending more than $1500 on purchases within the first three months of your account opening. There is also an annual fee of $85 that is waived for the first year.

The Hyatt Credit Card

If you make $2000 worth of purchases in the first three months, then you get two free nights at Hyatt hotels. They have international locations that you may use for your two free nights. You also get 5000 bonus points if you add an authorized user who goes out and makes purchases within the first three months. This card comes with an annual fee of $75. You earn three points per dollar when you use your card for nights at Hyatt properties. You get two points per dollar if you spend on airline tickets that you purchase directly from the airline. In addition, you get two points per dollar if you spend in restaurants or at car rental agencies. You get one purchase per dollar for money spent in most other places.

Hilton Honors Surpass from American Express

The Hilton Honors card has an annual fee that is lower than some of the cards on this best hotel credit cards review, but there is still a fee to take into account. Nevertheless, the card does have quite a few perks that frequent Hilton visitors should strongly consider. You get 75,000 bonus points if you spent $3000 on your card within the first three months of the account being opened. You also get twelve points per dollar whenever you spend money on Hilton stays.

They give you six points per dollar if you spend money in US restaurants, US gas stations and US supermarkets. You get three points per dollar when you spend money on most other things. You get automatic Hilton Hotel silver status if you have this credit card. If you spend $20,000 on your card within a year, then you get automatic Hilton Hotel gold status. There is a chance of also earning Hilton Honors bonus points, but we didn’t manage to qualify for them, so I can’t go into details.

About The Author

Ash The Great

After a varied career in different industries from the hospitality industry to the financial consultancy industry, Ash now spends his days working as a professional writer.

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