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These offers are no longer available on our site: Hilton Honors American Express Surpass® Card, Hilton Honors American Express Card, Chase Sapphire Reserve®
Hear from our editors: Best hotel credit cards of January 2022
Updated December 22, 2021
This date may not reflect recent changes in individual terms.
Editorial note: Credit Karma receives compensation from third-party advertisers, but that doesn’t affect our editors’ opinions. Our third-party advertisers don’t review, approve or endorse our editorial content. It’s accurate to the best of our knowledge when posted.
Written by: Tim Devaney
The best hotel credit cards help you save money with free nights and bonus points that help to outweigh the cost of the annual fee.
Their loyalty programs could also make your stay more comfortable with complimentary room upgrades, late checkouts, lounge access, breakfast and other status benefits.
Let’s take a look at the best hotel credit cards of 2022.
- Best for rewards points: Hilton Honors American Express Surpass® Card
- Best for free nights: World Of Hyatt Credit Card
- Best for a more comfortable stay: Hilton Honors American Express Aspire Card
- Best for no annual fee: Hilton Honors American Express Card
- Best for road trips: Wyndham Rewards® Earner℠ Card
- Best for hotel variety: Chase Sapphire Reserve®
- Best for business trips: Marriott Bonvoy Business™ American Express® Card
Here’s why: The Hilton Honors American Express Surpass® Card is one of the most rewarding hotel credit cards in our opinion.
First, the welcome bonus is off the charts. You’ll earn 130,000 Hilton Honors Bonus Points after spending $2,000 on purchases during the first 3 months after opening the account.
Plus, you’ll earn a mind-boggling total of 30 points for every $1 you spend on eligible purchases at Hilton when booking directly with the property. That figure includes 12 points per $1 spent with your card, along with another 18 points per $1 for being a Gold Status member (a complimentary perk of the card).
You’ll also earn six points per $1 spent at U.S. restaurants, U.S. supermarkets and U.S. gas stations; and three points on all other eligible purchases.
Hilton Honors points aren’t worth much individually, according to our valuations, but that kind of earnings rate can add up to big rewards.
Learn more about this card and others in our comparison of Hilton credit cards.
Here’s why: World Of Hyatt Credit Card offers a free night each year at a low- to mid-tier hotel (Category 1 to 4) after your account anniversary. One night at a Hyatt hotel could cost more than the $95 annual fee, which makes this a nice incentive to keep the card open.
If you spend at least $15,000 during a calendar year (or $1,250 per month), you’ll earn a second free night.
You could also earn earn 30,000 points after you spend $3,000 on purchases in the first 3 months after opening your account. Plus, during your first six months with the card, purchases that typically earn just one point per $1 will earn two points per $1 (up to $15,000 spent).
Check out our review of World Of Hyatt Credit Card for more information.
Here’s why: The Hilton Honors American Express Aspire Card offers a luxurious experience for its $450 annual fee.
You’ll automatically qualify for Diamond status, the chain’s highest status level. When you stay at Hilton with Diamond status, you can receive a complimentary room upgrade, access to the executive lounge, and breakfast.
You can capitalize on your Diamond status by booking free rewards nights at Hilton. To start, you’ll receive one free weekend-night rewards night each year just for holding the card.
You can also turn the welcome bonus into even more stays starting at only 5,000 points. If you spend $4,000 on eligible purchases during the first three months after opening your account, you’ll earn 150,000 Hilton Honors Bonus Points.
Our review of the Hilton Honors American Express Aspire Card has more details.
Here’s why: The Hilton Honors American Express Card could help you save money on your next hotel stay.
You’ll earn seven Hilton Honors Bonus Points for every $1 spent on eligible Hilton purchases made — using the card — directly with a hotel or resort within the Hilton portfolio. You can also earn five points for every $1 spent on eligible purchases made using your card at U.S. restaurants, U.S. supermarkets and U.S. gas stations. And you’ll earn three points for every $1 spent on all other purchases made using the card. The Hilton Honors American Express Card also comes with complimentary Silver status in the Hilton Honors program.
The card also features a welcome bonus of 80,000 Hilton Honors Bonus Points after you spend $1,000 on purchases during the first 3 months after opening the account.
Learn more in our review of the Hilton Honors American Express Card.
Best for road trips: Wyndham Rewards® Earner℠ Card
Here’s why: The Wyndham Rewards® Earner℠ Card is a great fit for your next road trip, and it comes with no annual fee.
The card is perfect if you’re planning on making stops because Wyndham operates a number of hotel and motel brands that you might find off the highway, like Baymont, Days Inn, Howard Johnson, La Quinta, Ramada, Super 8, Travelodge, and — of course — its namesake, Wyndham.
Not only could you earn five points for every $1 you spend at these Wyndham hotels, but the card can also fuel your road trip with five points per $1 on qualifying gas purchases. If you get hungry while you’re driving, you’ll also get two points per $1 at restaurants and grocery stores (not including Target and Walmart), and one point per $1 on all other purchases.
In addition, you could earn 30,000 bonus points after spending $1,000 on purchases during the first 90 days after opening your account — that could be enough to book up to four free nights at participating Wyndham hotels.
Check out more options in our list of the best travel cards with no annual fee.
Here’s why: If you’re a traveler who likes to stay at a variety of hotel chains, the Chase Sapphire Reserve® might be just the card for you. That’s because it can help you save money and earn a high rewards rate on a number of different qualifying travel purchases.
You’ll receive a $300 travel credit each year that you can use to pay for a multitude of travel expenses, including hotels. Plus, you’ll earn three points for every $1 you spend on travel purchases (after earning the $300 travel credit) and on dining at restaurants. You’ll earn one point per $1 on other purchases.
You’ll also receive a 50,000-point sign-up bonus after spending $4,000 on purchases during the first 3 months after opening the account.
Better yet, your points are worth 1.5 cents each when you redeem for travel through the Chase Ultimate Rewards® portal, which includes hotel offers. You can also transfer your points to several travel partners, including hotel brands, at a 1:1 ratio.
But you’ll have to weigh these and other benefits against the card’s $550 annual fee.
Learn more from our review of the Chase Sapphire Reserve®.
Here’s why: The Marriott Bonvoy Business™ American Express® Card could help you cut costs on your next business trip.
New cardholders will earn 75,000 bonus points after spending $3,000 on purchases during the first 3 months after opening the account. You’ll also receive statement credits of up to $150 after making eligible purchases within the first three months.
Plus, you’ll get complimentary Marriott Bonvoy Silver Elite status that can earn you extra points on hotel stays.
When you use the card, you’ll earn six points on every $1 of eligible purchases at Marriott Bonvoy hotels. As a Marriott Bonvoy member, you’ll earn another 10 points per $1 spent on qualifying hotel charges. And with Silver Elite status, you’ll get 10% more points on every eligible hotel purchase. That means you can earn 17 points for every $1 you spend when you use your card to book a Marriott hotel.
With the Marriott Bonvoy Business™ American Express® Card, you’ll earn four points per $1 spent on purchases at U.S. restaurants and U.S. gas stations, on U.S. wireless telephone service and on U.S. shipping charges. Plus, you’ll get two points per $1 on other eligible purchases.
You can redeem your points to book rewards nights at Marriott hotels, and you can earn another free night (choosing from hotels with single nights valued at up to 35,000 points) each year after your card membership anniversary.
The Marriott Bonvoy Business™ American Express® Card comes with a $125 annual fee.
Read more about the Marriott Bonvoy Business™ American Express® Card in our review.
How to make the most of your hotel credit card
Hotel credit cards can help you save money and make your stay more comfortable. But before you apply for a hotel card, it’s important to ask yourself a few questions.
1. Does the hotel card offer a free anniversary night?
You can get a hotel card to pay for itself if it offers a free anniversary night that’s worth more than the cost of the annual fee.
2. Does the hotel card offer a fifth night free?
With some cards, when you use your points to book a fifth-night-free stay, you’ll only be charged enough points to cover the first four nights. It’s a great way to make your points go further.
But it’s important to keep in mind, the fifth night free may only apply to rewards bookings (not when you pay with cash), and it may only apply during the same stay. (So you won’t earn a free night by piling up rewards stays over the years.)
If your card has this perk, it can help to book rewards stays strategically in five-night increments to take full advantage so that you’re not leaving an extra night on the table.
3. Do you prefer the luxury of hotel status or the flexibility of being able to stay at any hotel you like?
When you’re dealing with the gigantic sign-up bonuses and free anniversary nights that often come with hotel credit cards, it’s easy to overlook the benefit of a complimentary hotel status. If the card offers complimentary status, check to see whether you can request a room upgrade or late checkout on your next trip.
On the other hand, if you’re not ready to commit to one particular hotel brand (or you prefer other travel booking options), you might want to look for a generic travel card that will reward you for any hotel or stay you book.
How we picked these cards
To find the best hotel credit cards, we looked at both hotel-branded credit cards and generic travel cards that feature hotel perks.
It’s important to recognize that no hotel card is best for everyone. To fit a variety of needs, we tried to provide a range of hotel cards that appeal to all sorts of travelers, from those who are on a budget to those who want a more-luxurious experience or who are traveling on business.