The best hotel credit cards of 2019

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In a Nutshell

Save money, sleep in or stay longer on your next trip with one of the best hotel credit cards of 2019. We’ve made our picks for the best cards for rewards points, free nights, more-comfortable stays, no annual fee, hotel variety, homestays and business travel.

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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 2019.



Best for rewards points: Hilton Honors American Express Surpass® Card

From our partner

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 125,000 Hilton Honors Bonus Points after spending $2,000 on purchases during the first three 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 Hilton Honors Ascend Card from American Express, 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.

Due to the high earnings rate on Hilton stays, you could recoup this card’s $95 annual fee by spending about $675 at Hilton each year. We figure that amounts to anywhere between one long weekend and one week of bookings.

Learn more from our cardholder reviews of the Hilton Honors American Express Surpass® Card.

Best for free nights: The World Of Hyatt Credit Card

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The World Of Hyatt Credit Card

From cardholders in the last year

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Here’s why: The 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 typically costs 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 the year (or $1,250 per month), you’ll earn a second free night.

You could also earn up to 50,000 bonus points after spending a total of $6,000 on purchases during the first six months after opening the account. You’ll earn 25,000 points after you spend $3,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening and an additional 25,000 bonus points after spending at least $6,000 in the first six months.

Check out cardholder reviews of The World Of Hyatt Credit Card for more information.

Best for a more comfortable stay: Hilton Honors American Express Aspire Card

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 (all the way to a suite), access to the executive lounge, breakfast and a late checkout.

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 free nights 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.

If you fancy staying at a Hilton resort, you can receive up to $250 per year in statement credits, as well. You’ll also receive a $100 property credit during eligible stays of two nights or longer at Waldorf Astoria Hotels & Resorts and Conrad Hotels & Resorts.

Our rundown of the best Hilton credit cards has more on this card and other ways to earn hotel perks.

Best for no annual fee: Hilton Honors Card from American Express

From our partner

Here’s why: The Hilton Honors Card from American Express could help you save money on your next hotel stay.

Not only does the Hilton Honors Card from American Express charge no annual fee, but it also features a welcome bonus of 75,000 Hilton Honors Bonus Points after you spend $1,000 on purchases during the first three months after opening the account.

Learn more in our review of the Hilton Honors Card from American Express.

Best for hotel variety: Capital One® Venture® Rewards Credit Card

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Here’s why: The Capital One® Venture® Rewards Credit Card could help you save money at hotels around the world.

If you don’t want to be tied down to a particular hotel chain, you’ll appreciate earning 10 miles for every $1 you spend at hotels.com until January 2020. Hotels.com offers access to thousands of hotels around the world. Plus you’ll earn two miles on your other purchases. Capital One miles are worth 1 cent each, according to Credit Karma valuations, and can be redeemed for future hotel bookings.

Plus, when you pay for 10 nights through hotels.com (with any card), you’ll earn a free night for a future booking.

The Capital One® Venture® Rewards Credit Card comes with an annual fee of $0 intro, $95 after first year.

Take a look out some of this card’s other benefits from our review of the Capital One® Venture® Rewards Credit Card.

Best for homestays: Chase Sapphire Reserve®

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Chase Sapphire Reserve®

From cardholders in the last year

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Here’s why: If you’re a traveler who doesn’t like staying at hotels, the Chase Sapphire Reserve® might be just the card for you. That’s because it can help you save money with Airbnb and other homestay services.

You’ll receive a $300 travel credit each year that you can use to pay for a multitude of expenses, like Airbnb. 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.

But you’ll have to weigh these and other benefits against the card’s $450 annual fee.

Learn more from our review of the Chase Sapphire Reserve®.

Best for business trips: Marriott Bonvoy Business™ American Express® Card

From our partner
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Here’s why: The Marriott Bonvoy Business™ American Express® Card could help you cut costs on your next business trip.

You’ll earn 75,000 bonus points after spending $3,000 on purchases during the first 3 months after opening the account. With the card, you’ll get complimentary 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 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 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 that’s waived the first year.

Read more about what Credit Karma members think of the Marriott Bonvoy Business™ American Express® Card.


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 want a more-luxurious experience or who are traveling on business.

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 you find a card that offers this perk it can help you earn points faster. And 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.

The answers to these questions can help you find the best hotel credit card for your situation.