Five of the Best Hotel Credit Cards That Earn Free Nights

Ritz-Carlton partners with one of the best hotel credit cards


The best hotel credit cards are the ones that offer free nights. We all love free nights in our favorite high-end hotels and we love free nights in hotels that are not so high-end even more (trust me, I’d much rather pay $500 per night to stay somewhere amazing than pay $200 per night to stay somewhere awful because it’s the only hotel option and they can charge whatever they want). Frequent travelers enjoy the concept of using the best hotel credit cards so that they can earn free nights, free stays and free upgrades upon check-in, and for good reason. Those who do travel often understand the value of a free night in a hotel, and that’s why many of them are in the market for a new hotel credit card.

We’ve rounded up five of the best hotel credit cards for frequent travelers and compared them to other hotel credit cards that are not quite the best of the best, broken down what each one has to offer and brought the information to you. Now, when you’re considering which of the best hotel credit cards is the right card for you, you’ll be able to make the most informed and educated decision.

Hyatt Visa Card from Chase

What’s good about it: What’s amazing about this card, and what makes it one of the best hotel credit cards on the market is the fact that this card is designated for Hyatt Hotel properties. With thousands of locations across the globe, Hyatt offers hotels in every category for every budget, travel need and accommodation from high-end to travel on a budget. Additionally, signing up for this card makes you a member of the Hyatt Gold Passport reward system automatically, which means you have opportunities to earn even more free nights, upgrades and special offers through Hyatt hotel properties.

Bonus offer for new cardholders: All new cardholders are offered a great bonus with this amazing new credit card, which is one it is one of the best hotel credit cards available right now. All new members earn 2 free nights at any Hyatt hotel in the world when you spend $1000 in three months time. Additionally, new cardholders have the opportunity to earn an impressive 5,000 bonus points when adding an authorized user to the account who then makes a purchase with his or her authorized card within the same three month period. Since Hyatt offers free nights in their properties starting at 5,000 points, this means you are earning another free night.

Card Benefits: With the Hyatt Credit card by Chase, you are eligible to earn free nights all the time. You earn 3 points on the dollar for every purchase made at a Hyatt property of any kind, you earn two points for every dollar on all restaurant purchases, all airline purchases and all car rental agency purchases, and you earn 1 point for every dollar you spend elsewhere with this credit card. Since your points are good for free nights, you’re earning quickly and taking advantage of free offers more often than with other cards; and that’s why this is one of the best hotel credit cards for frequent travelers. Finally, all cardholders receive one free night at any Hyatt property on their anniversary every single year.

Need to Know: Signing up for this card means a full year without an annual fee, and an annual fee of only $75 per year afterward. There are no foreign transaction fees charged, and card members are offered basic benefits such as 24/7 customer support, card monitoring and fraud protection. You cannot add a card to the list of best hotel credit cards if it’s not working to ensure you are safe from fraudulent purchases.

Club Carlson Premier Rewards Visa Signature Card by US Bank

What’s good about it: The feature that makes this one of the best hotel credit cards available is that it’s for business and budget travelers. Not everyone is a high-end traveler and many hotel credit cards forget that. Additionally, many of the articles you will find online tend to cater toward those who have bigger budget and stay in pricier hotels. However, not everyone prefers a pricey hotel and would like to travel on a budget and still earn free nights. With the Club Carlson Visa card, cardholders earn free nights, bonus points and special offers at hotel brands such as Radisson, Park Plaza and Country Inn and Suites.

Bonus offer for new cardholders: What sets the best hotel credit cards apart from other cards is the fact that they offer impressive signup bonuses. This card offers new cardholders a chance to earn as many as 85,000 bonus points when signing up. You’ll receive 50,000 bonus points immediately once you make your first purchase with this card, and you’ll receive another 35,000 bonus points when you spend approximately $2500 in the first 90 days you are a cardholder. This is the equivalent of 9 free nights at any of these hotel brands. Additionally, all cardholders receive another 40,000 bonus points each year when they choose to renew their card instead of cancelling it. Finally, you’re going to earn another free night if you are able to spend $10,000 on this card per year.

Card benefits: One of the biggest benefits associated with this card, and one of the many reasons it’s considered one of the best hotel credit cards around, is the fact that you are automatically upgraded to elite status with your Club Carlson membership when you are approved for this card. This means more bonuses, more upgrades and more personalized service with every stay. Other bonuses include the fact that you are going to enjoy preferred seating at many sporting and entertainment events, you receive invitations to a number of free food and wine tastings and festivals and you are also eligible to receive 24/7 concierge service free of charge when booking travel with your Signature Visa card.

Need to know: To begin, there is not a pre-set spending limit associated with this card. You can spend what you want and the card company takes it upon themselves to approve or deny your purchases. You are covered in the event that your card is stolen or duplicated, and you are going to see that you have a million dollars in accident coverage while traveling. Additionally, all cardholders are reimbursed for lost luggage, and you also receive roadside assistance and emergency cash and card replacement services if anything should happen to you while you are traveling. The annual fee is $75 and it is waived the first year that you are a cardholder with this card.

Hilton HHonors Reserve Card from Citi

What’s good about it: Hilton hotels are everywhere, and they are mostly good for any budget. Not all of these properties are so high-end that they exclude the average everyday traveler, but they’re also properties that are far nicer than others for those who like to travel upscale all the way. Hilton hotels are all over the world, too, so it’s never a problem to find a hotel near where you have to go or want to go. In addition to being a great card to use for pleasure travel, Hilton hotels are also great conference hotels and a leading brand for many businesses with travel needs.

Bonus offer for new cardholders: The bonus offer that makes this one of the best hotel credit cards on the market is a free weekend when you sign up. Instead of bonus points, Hilton simply offers new cardholders the chance to enjoy a weekend getaway on them if you spend more than $2500 within 4 months of opening the card. Where most of the best hotel credit cards only allow you three months to spend money and make purchases, this card allows you to spend and earn in four months; that little bit of extra time always does help. These free nights are good at any Hilton property in the world, and they can be combined with another trip so that you can extend a vacation or stay a little longer somewhere else.

Card benefits: Like all the best hotel credit cards around, this one offers some great benefits. However, what sets this Citi card apart from others is the number of points earned per dollar spent. When you spend money at any Hilton hotel in the world, you will earn 10 points for every dollar that you spend. That’s above and beyond what any other hotel has to offer in terms of bonus points available. When you spend money on flights and rental cars, you’ll earn 5 points for every dollar. When you spend money anywhere else, you’ll earn 3 points for every dollar you spend. Most hotel credit cards call themselves the best, but they only offer 1 point per dollar spent on most purchases. Another one of the great benefits associated with this credit card includes the ability to earn one free weekend per year on the anniversary of your card membership if you spend at least $10,000 per year on the card.

Need to know: The annual fee for this credit card is $95, and it is waived the first year that you are a cardholder. Having a credit card from Hilton enables you to automatically become a Hilton HHonors Gold Status member, which means more rewards, better offers and a lot more personal service at all Hilton hotels worldwide. Your status is upgraded to diamond, which is the best of the best, when you spend $40,000 per year on this card. There are no limits associated with now many points you can earn or when they expire, and there are no foreign transaction fees charged when you use this card, which can save you significantly.

Starwood Preferred Guest Card from American Express

What’s good about it: What makes this one of the best hotel credit cards on the market is the fact that it has more to offer than just about any other hotel credit card. This particular card is one that is versatile in that you earn points everywhere you go, and the hotel category that it encompasses is among one of the nicer once. Starwood hotels include brands such as W, Sheraton, Le Meridien and St. Regis, just to name a few. This allows travelers to book a wide range of travel across the globe in a variety of hotels suited for every budget, occasion and amenity need.

Bonus Offer for New Cardholders: Any new cardholder who spends $3,000 or more with the SPG credit card from American Express within 90 days of opening an account will earn 25,000 bonus points. ***The Starwood Preferred Guest Credit Card website from American Express does not currently specify when this particular sign up bonus offer expires, but one of the reasons this is one of the best hotel credit cards on the market is that the company is always running very similar offers to allow new cardholders to earn bonus points with the card.

Card Benefits: One reason that the SPG card is one of the best hotel credit cards on the market is the fact that you can earn a number of other benefits, too. This includes up to 5 points for every dollar spent at SPG hotel properties; two points for being a cardholder and an addition 2-3 points if you are also a Starwood Preferred Guest member through the hotel line. Additionally, all cardholders earn one point for every dollar spent everywhere else when using the card.

Need to Know: We consider this one of the best hotel credit cards available right now because of the competitive interest rates, but also because the annual fee is waived the first year. After that, the SPG annual fee is $95. Another bonus point for this card is that it does not charge foreign transaction fees, and it does offer extended warranties on many purchases, roadside assistance, car rental insurance and many other perks that might benefit you when you are on the road.

Marriott Rewards Credit Card by Chase

What’s good about it: What makes the Marriott rewards card one of the best hotel credit cards in the world is that you are going to earn points in many locations you might not even realize. For example, you book a night at the Casa Monica hotel in St. Augustine and you earn points, because there are a number of hotels across the world that belong to the Marriott family even though they do not tout the Marriott logo. This card is great for cardholders who want to enjoy high-end travel as well as travel on a budget, which is what many people are looking for when they apply for a new credit card. Additionally, Gaylord hotels are part of the Marriott family, and you’ll receive discounts on things like visits to the ICE! Show at Christmas.

Bonus offer for new cardholders: If you are able to spend $2,000 in three months time, you’re going to earn an impressive 50,000 bonus points with this credit card. An addition 5,000 points is yours when you add an authorized user to your account and that user makes any purchase in the same timeframe. Free nights begin as low as 7500 points (6000 points if you pay a little in cash and a lot in points) and can mean you earn as many as 6 free nights in a Marriott hotel from the time you sign up. Finally, the Marriott brand has partnered with the Ritz-Carlton brand to bring you free nights, upgrades and other benefits at these high-end hotel properties, too.

Card benefits: Aside from all the free nights you earn with this card upfront, it’s one of the best hotel credit cards available because you also earn a free night every year on your anniversary of cardholder membership, and you earn free nights throughout the year as you earn more and more points through your Marriott hotel reward program, too. You also earn points by spending. All cardholders earn 5 points for every dollar at all Marriott hotels – including Ritz-Carlton locations – and 2 points on every dollar spent on airline tickets, airline travel, car rentals and restaurants. All other purchases are worth 1 point for every dollar that you spend. You can earn and use as many points as you’d like whenever you feel the need to redeem them.

Need to know: The annual fee for new cardholders of the Marriott Rewards credit card is waived, and it’s one of the best hotel credit cards to consider otherwise because the annual fee after that first year is a little bit lower than other hotel cards, coming in at only $85 per year. New cardholders also receive 15 points toward elite status automatically and earn 1 point toward elite status with every $3000 spent on this card throughout the year. There are no foreign transaction fees associated with this card, and business owners who choose to use this card in their businesses are often eligible for even more perks and upgrades associated with card usage.

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