Which Credit Card Should People Who Stay In Hotels Use?
When you travel for work and leisure, get the most from your hotel stays. Hotel credit cards get you free rooms, free upgrades, and access to members-only services. Find the hotel credit card that’s best for you, and get the biggest rewards you can.
Credit Cards For People Who Stay In Hotels
Business and leisure travelers spend lots of nights in hotels across the country, and the world. And, with the rise of hotel alternatives, such as Airbnb, the nation’s hotels are working hard to keep your business.
It’s one of the reasons why hotel credit card rewards programs are as aggressive as they’ve ever been.
With a hotel credit card in your wallet, you can earn instant free nights at your favorite hotels, complimentary upgrades at any time, plus a bunch of other benefits to make your hotel stays more comfortable.
- Early check-in so your room is ready as early as you want
- Free nights and free upgrades to larger rooms and suites
- Access to Club Rooms, where breakfast, dinner, snacks, and drinks are free
Most major hotel chains offer a hotel credit card. See which card is best for you.
What Is A Hotel Credit Card?
A hotel credit card is a credit card that awards hotel points and status every time it’s used — even when it’s used for everyday items.
Hotel credit cards are similar to cash back credit cards, which give cash rebates every time they’re used to make a purchase. Instead of awarding cash, though, hotel credit cards award points, which can be redeemed for free nights in hotels, plus other travel-related awards.
Hotel credit cards can help you earn free hotel stays faster than cash-back credit cards, and can save you thousands of dollars in hotel bills each year.
You can use a hotel credit card for everyday purchases, too. You’re not limited to just paying for travel.
When you use your hotel credit card to buy groceries, clothes, or anything else, you can expect to earn one point per dollar spent. For money spent on airline travel, you can expect to earn a little more — sometimes two points per dollar spent.
Money spent at hotels can earn five points or more per dollar spent.
However, it’s not the everyday spending that makes hotel credit cards worth it. It’s the bonus points you get for signing up.
See Hotel Credit Cards Bonuses
When you sign up to get a hotel credit card, most cards award a huge amount of bonus points — often 25,000 or more. This is enough to get at least one free night, and sometimes two.
Then, after using your card for a few months, you can earn additional bonus points, which can net you another handful of free nights in hotels.
If you’re planning to go to a wedding or go on vacation, getting a hotel credit card can be a terrific way to save on lodging; and, to get a great upgrade.
Most hotel credit cards award automatic upgrades on hotel stays to the largest available room on the best available floor, with access to special “club level” amenities including free breakfast, free snacks, and free drinks.
When you use your hotel credit card, you can take advantage of a hotel’s early check-in and late check-out privileges. Your room can be ready as early as 9:00 AM on the day you check-in, and you can keep your room until 4:00 PM on the day you’re ready to leave.
Hotel credit cards are an excellent way for frequent business travelers to maximize rewards; and, for leisure travelers to cut the costs of a vacation.
For People Who Travel In Luxury
The Ritz-Carlton Rewards® Credit Card
The Ritz-Carlton Rewards® Credit Card is a hotel credit card for luxury travelers, linked to the Ritz-Carlton hotel brand.
Ritz-Carlton hotels are owned by Marriott Hotels, which recently merged with Starwood Hotels. And, although Marriott Hotels has its own credit card — as does Starwood — the Ritz-Carlton Rewards® Credit Card is the best way to optimize for traveling and staying in Ritz-Carlton hotels.
Access to the Ritz-Carlton Rewards® Credit Card is $450 per year. Don’t let that scare you off. If you’re going to stay in a Ritz-Carlton hotel, you’ll get that money back and then some.
The Ritz-Carlton Rewards® Credit Card offers a free two-night stay to cardholders who spend $4,000 in their first 90 days with the card. This benefit can be used at most Ritz-Carlton hotels, including Maui, Lake Tahoe, Aruba, and San Juan.
The value of this benefit can be $1,000 or more.
Ritz-Carlton Rewards® Credit Card holders also get $300 cash to spend on travel-related costs annually, such as for baggage fees, seat upgrades, and access to airport lounges.
There are other key benefits, too, in having the Ritz-Carlton Rewards® Credit Card:
- $100 in hotel credits for dinner, spa, or anything else on paid stays of at least two nights
- $100 voucher to use for the Global Entry Fee application
- Upgrades to Ritz-Carlton Club Level service
Earning points is easy with the Ritz-Carlton Rewards® Credit Card.
Earn one point for every dollar spent on everyday items; two points for every dollar spent on restaurants, airline tickets, and car rentals; and 5 points for every dollar spent at any Ritz-Carlton hotel, Marriott hotel, and Starwood hotel.
Also, get a 10% annual points bonus with the Ritz-Carlton Rewards® Credit Card on all reward points earned.
For People Who Vacation Two Weeks Per Year
The Hilton HHonors™ Surpass® Card from American Express
The Hilton HHonors™ Surpass® Card from American Express is a hotel credit card linked to the Hilton family of hotels, which includes Waldorf-Astoria hotels, DoubleTree by Hilton, and the Hilton Garden Inn.
The Hilton HHonors™ Surpass® Card from American Express is a good fit for people who vacation for fifteen nights or less each year. Using the card, your entire stay could be free.
Access to the Hilton HHonors™ Surpass® Card from American Express is $75 per year. There is good value here. If you’re going to stay in Hilton-owned hotels, your annual credit card fee is a worthwhile investment.
Points add up quickly with the Hilton HHonors™ Surpass® Card from American Express:
- Get 12 points for every dollar spent at Hilton-owned hotel or resort
- Get 6 points for every dollar spent at a restaurant, grocery store, or gas station
- Get 3 points for every dollar spent on everything else
Plus, after spending $3,000 in your first 90 days with the card, you earn a 75,000-point bonus, which is enough to cover two weeks of hotel rooms in most of Hilton’s three-star hotels; and, up to a week in its 4-star and 5-star properties.
You also get automatic Gold status in Hilton’s rewards program, HHonors, for keeping the Hilton HHonors™ Surpass® Card from American Express in your wallet.
Gold members get access to early check-ins, late check-outs, and a 25% boost on all points earned for staying at a Hilton-owned properties.
Rewards add up quick with the Hilton HHonors™ Surpass® Card from American Express.
Get Free Hotel Nights
For People With No Hotel Brand Loyalty
Chase Sapphire Preferred® credit card
The Chase Sapphire Preferred® credit card is a flexible travel credit card with no specific hotel affiliation and no annual fee in its first year.
Reward points earned using the Chase Sapphire Preferred® credit card can be redeemed for any hotel, in any city. Points can also be redeemed for airfare.
The Chase Sapphire Preferred® credit card is a fit for people who vacation regularly and have no brand loyalty.
It’s a traditional travel rewards credit card, and points can build quickly:
- Get 2 points for every dollar spent on airfares, hotels, and rental cars
- Get 2 points for every dollar spent at restaurants, cafes, and grocery stores
- Get 1 point for every dollar spent everywhere else
Plus, you’ll get a 50,000-point bonus after spending $4,000 in your first three months with the card. These points have a real-world value of $625 when they’re redeemed to reserve hotel rooms.
Chase Sapphire Credit Card Review
There are other benefits that come with keeping the Chase Sapphire Preferred® credit card in your wallet.
All Chase Sapphire Preferred® credit card holders get access to trip cancellation insurance coverage of up to $10,000; automatic rental car collision insurance; and, baggage and trip delay reimbursement, which pays you back when something goes wrong in your travel plans.
Plus, for people who travel overseas, the Chase Sapphire Preferred® credit card waives foreign transaction fees, which can lower your costs by as much as 10% per transaction.
Where Can I Compare Hotel Credit Cards?
Hotel credit cards help you earn instant free nights at your favorite hotels, complimentary upgrades to bigger rooms, and a bunch of other benefits to make hotel stays more comfortable.
Find the hotel credit card that fits your life and budget. Apply for the right card today.