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This offer is no longer available on our site: Hilton Honors Card from American Express
The best hotel credit cards with no annual fee could save you money with free nights and other discounts at a variety of hotels. While you’re at it, you could also enjoy a more comfortable stay with perks like complimentary room upgrades and late check-outs.
Let’s take a look at our picks.
- Best for hotel variety: Capital One® VentureOne® Rewards Credit Card
- Best for free nights: Choice Privileges® Visa Signature® Card
- Best for budget travelers: Best Western Rewards® Mastercard®
- Best for international travelers: Hilton Honors Card from American Express
- Best for a more comfortable stay: Wyndham Rewards® Visa Signature® Card
- Best for business trips: Bank of America® Business Advantage Travel Rewards World Mastercard® credit card
Here’s why: You’ll be rewarded handsomely with the Capital One® VentureOne® Rewards Credit Card when you book your room through hotels.com.
The Capital One® VentureOne® Rewards Credit Card offers 10 miles for every $1 you spend at hotels.com, which features tons of hotels around the world. Plus, hotels.com has its own perk — for every 10 hotel nights you book through this website (with any card), you’ll earn a free night on a future booking. And don’t forget you also earn 1.25 miles on every purchase everywhere else.
The Capital One® VentureOne® Rewards Credit Card also features a 20,000-mile sign-up bonus after you spend $1,000 on purchases during the first 3 months after opening the account.
You can redeem these miles for $200 worth of statement credits to pay for any certain travel purchases, from airfare to free nights at a hotel.
Check out our review of the Capital One® VentureOne® Rewards Credit Card for a full take on this card.
Here’s why: If you play your cards right, the Choice Privileges® Visa Signature® Card could help you score several free nights during your first year of card membership.
You’ll earn 32,000 bonus points after spending $1,000 on purchases during the first 90 days after opening the account. With rewards nights at Choice hotels starting at 8,000 points, that’s several free nights just from the sign-up bonus.
And you could earn an anniversary bonus of 8,000 points, which you could turn into another free night, after you spend at least $10,000 in purchases on your card during the year.
What’s more: You’ll earn 15 points for every $1 you spend at eligible Choice hotels, including 10 points with an eligible Choice Privileges membership on eligible hotel purchases and five points for making the purchase with your Choice Privileges® Visa Signature® Card (you’ll earn two points per $1 on eligible purchases everywhere else). But your card needs to be linked to the same membership in order to earn the full 15 points.
One thing to note if you’re traveling internationally: This card does have a foreign transaction fee of 3% for each transaction.
Interested in more cost-conscious travel credit cards? Take a look at out our picks for the best credit cards for travel with no annual fee.
Here’s why: Best Western is a popular budget hotel, but with the Best Western Rewards® Mastercard®, you could save even more on your stays. Cardholders will earn a 10% discount on their bookings through bwrcarddiscount.com thanks to the Best Western rewards rate.
You could also earn up to 32,000 points from the sign-up bonus: 16,000 bonus points after making your first purchase, plus another 16,000 after your first stay at a Best Western hotel. With Best Western rewards stays starting at 8,000 points, you’re off to a good start just from the sign-up bonus.
You’ll also receive 13 points for every $1 you spend on a Best Western stay: 10 points for being a Best Western Rewards member and three extra points for making the purchase with your Best Western Rewards® Mastercard®. And you’ll earn two points per $1 on eligible purchases everywhere else.
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Here’s why: The Hilton Honors Card from American Express gives you access to a large hotel chain, with more than 5,600 properties around the world. And since the card charges no foreign transaction fees, you can also use it to make other purchases on your international trip without that additional cost.
The card offers a welcome bonus of 75,000 bonus points after spending $1,000 on purchases during the first 3 months after opening your account.
You might be able to earn a significant number of points with your regular purchases, as well. The Hilton Honors Card from American Express gives you seven points for every $1 you spend on Hilton purchases; five points per $1 spent at U.S. restaurants, U.S. supermarkets and U.S. gas stations; and three points on all other purchases.
The card also provides complimentary Hilton Honors Silver status, which brings 12 points for every $1 you spend when booking with Hilton. Add that to the rate you get from the credit card and you could earn 19 points for every $1 you spend with Hilton.
Here’s why: The Wyndham Rewards® Visa Signature® Card comes with complimentary Gold Level status. Being a Gold Level member entitles you to choose your preferred room (within the same class of room) and check out late.
You’ll also receive 15,000 bonus points after making your first purchase or balance transfer. This almost-instant sign-up bonus could help you score a free night at a Wyndham hotel, which starts at 15,000 points.
You’ll also receive three points for every $1 you spend on purchases at Wyndham hotels, two points for every $1 spent on gas, utility, and grocery store purchases, and one point per $1 on all other eligible purchases.
Best for business trips: Bank of America® Business Advantage Travel Rewards World Mastercard® credit card
From cardholders in the last year
Here’s why: The Bank of America® Business Advantage Travel Rewards World Mastercard® credit card can help you save on your next business trip.
You’ll earn 25,000 bonus points (worth $250 when redeemed for a hotel room or other travel purchase) after spending $1,000 on purchases during the first 60 days after opening your account. You’ll also rake in three points for every $1 you spend on travel purchases (like hotels) that are booked through the Bank of America Travel Center. And you’ll earn 1.5 points for every $1 spent on other purchases.
To redeem your points for travel, pay for a hotel room (or another travel purchase) with your Bank of America® Business Advantage Travel Rewards World Mastercard® credit card and request a statement credit. Because you’re paying for the hotel with your card and not redeeming points, you don’t have to worry about blackout dates.
Read more about this card and others in our rundown of Bank of America’s business credit cards.
How we picked these cards
To find the best hotel credit cards with no annual fee, we started by looking at the options available from budget hotels. We figured people who book at budget hotels are looking to save money, so a credit card with no annual fee would fit with their needs.
But we expanded our scope to other kinds of credit cards, too.
For instance, Hilton is a major hotel chain that offers a credit card with no annual fee, so we included it even though Hilton is more of an upscale brand.
Beyond hotel-branded credit cards, we also looked at generic travel cards with no annual fee. For a limited time, the Capital One® VentureOne® Rewards Credit Card offers 10 miles per $1 at hotels.com, making it the clear winner in this category.
How to make the most of your hotel credit card
To make the most of your hotel credit card, be sure the hotel chain has properties where you travel, or where you hope to travel to in the future. If you’re on a road trip, keep in mind you might not be able to find your preferred hotel at every exit. In that case, it may be smart to check ahead of time the nearest hotel where you can earn benefits and head there.
On the other hand, if you’re not loyal to a specific hotel or want to keep your options open on a road trip, you might find it easier to use a generic travel card that rewards you for staying at many different hotels.
If you like the sound of free rewards nights, see if you can connect your hotel card to your rewards membership. Often, you’ll earn even more points through your membership than you would by swiping your card. You may be able to combine these points to redeem points for free nights more quickly.