Discover it® Miles Card
- match all the rewards at the end of first year
- 36,000 miles for everyday spend.
Whether you are a frequent traveler or an occasional vacationer, there are many benefits to having a hotel credit card. Not only can you redeem the points you earn with the card for free hotel stays , but you’ll also get great perks, like complimentary room upgrades, free Wi-Fi , early check-in, late check-out and more. Anyone who’s planning to travel—be it a business trip or dream vacation—should consider getting a hotel rewards credit card.
We’ve compiled a list of the best hotel credit cards. Most of them allow you to earn free hotel nights. There are many different cards to choose from. Finding the right card for you will depend on your travel plans and spending habits. To figure out the best hotel rewards card for free nights and to make an informed hotel reward program comparison, you should think about more than just the reward rate.
If you stay with the same hotel chain often, you should definitely have their card. If you like to use a variety of hotel brands or you are not sure where you will be staying, look for a card that is associated with a wide network of partners for easy redemption options.
It’s important to consider other factors too, such as annual fees, foreign transaction fees, earning potential and the flexibility of the rewards. And don’t forget sign-up bonuses! They’re still the easiest way to get free stays.
As you think about which card to get, keep in mind that you are not limited to just one. Savvy travelers often carry multiple cards to maximize their rewards. Read on to find out which hotel card is best for you and how to earn free hotel stays quickly.
$100 statement credit after spending $1,000 in 3 months
The Starwood Preferred Guest card offers one of the most flexible rewards programs in the industry, making it an excellent choice for many different types of travelers. Since the card doesn’t have an annual fee the first year, you can try it out without any out-of- pocket cost.
The SPG Amex is great for anyone looking to earn free nights with either Starwood or Marriott, because points can be transferred freely between the two programs. It’s an excellent alternative for those who want to earn Marriott points but can’t get any more Chase cards due to the 5/24 rule. The SPG card effectively earns 3 Marriott points per dollar since Starpoints can be transferred at a ratio of 1:3.
Unlimited 1.5X rewards on every purchase
The Discover it Miles card is wonderful for two types of people. The first, and most obvious, is for someone looking for a single credit card that’s easy to use and that can do it all. The Discover it Miles card is a great option because it earns 1.5 miles per dollar spent on all purchases and redemptions areone cent per mile toward any purchase. Plus thereare a couple of other nice benefits, like $30 in annual Wi-Fi credits and no foreign transaction fees. As a no-fee card, all of that is essentially free.
The second type of person that the Discover it Miles card is a great option for is someone who is looking to truly maximize rewards. The Discover it is basically a no-brainer for the first year because all miles are doubled , meaning that it effectively earns 3 miles per dollar spent (1.5 when you purchase and 1.5 at the end of the year). After the first year it deserves a spot in the wallet of someone who wants to maximize rewards for purchases not included in the bonus earning categories of their other rewards credit cards.
100,000 bonus points after you spend $5,000 in the first 3 months
The Marriott Rewards Premier card is perfect for the traveler seeking a co-branded hotel credit card. With Marriott’s extended network of worldwide hotels, which now includes Starwood properties, you’ll have the ability to redeem points at over 5,800 properties in 110 countries. The sign-up bonus of 100,000 points could fund an entire vacation’s worth of free hotel accommodations. However, with no foreign transaction fees, automatic elite status and an annual free hotel night, the ongoing value of the card more than offsets the $95 annual fee.
The ability to earn points through paid hotel stays, everyday purchases, making referrals and adding authorized users results in expedited earnings. Add the flexible transfer opportunity of Marriott Rewards points to the SPG Rewards program and the card becomes a no-brainer.
The wild card is whether the Marriott card will continue to be offered if or when the Marriott Rewards and Starwood Preferred Guest programs are combined or a new program is created. You may want to secure the card while you still can.
20,000 bonus miles once you spend $1,000 on purchases within the first 3 months
If you’re looking for a no-fee rewards card that offers a solid sign-up bonus and hassle-free redemptions, than the the VentureOne card from Capital One is a great option. You’ll get 20,000 miles worth $200 for spending just $1,000 in 90 days, plus you’ll earn a generous 1.25 miles per dollar for every purchase.
Getting the card is a risk-free proposition because it won’t cost you a penny. Whatever miles you earn with the card are pure profit because there aren’t any fees. You can even use the card while traveling internationally, since there are no foreign transaction fees either.
40,000 bonus points after you spend $2,000 in the first 3 months
The Hyatt card can be a great fit for most people, from the frequent business traveler to the occasional vacationer. If you travel often but don’t regularly stay at Hyatt, the perks of Discoverist status can make your stays a little more relaxing.
They Hyatt card also provides a great avenue for earning Hyatt points that can be redeemed for award stays at hundreds of hotel properties around the world. With one of the most competitive award charts in the industry, every point you earn makes a significant dent in the required points for your next award stay.
Even those who travel sparingly can get great value out of the sign-up bonus and the annual free night certificate. A free night at a Category 4 hotel more than covers the $75 annual fee. This basically makes the annual free night certificate a huge discount on an expensive hotel room.
50,000 bonus points after you make $4,000 in purchases within the first 3 months
You can get excellent value out of ThankYou points, particularly if you transfer them to airlines and redeem for expensive premium cabin tickets. If you are a traveler that often books the cheapest economy class ticket, then there can also be strong value in redeeming points through the ThankYou program’s travel portal thanks to the 25 percent discount offered by this card.
If you are interested in domestic award travel or simple award redemptions, this card may prove to be too complex. Instead, consider cards with more domestic transfer partners. You may not get quite the same value for your points, but there will be more availability and easier redemptions.
40,000 bonus miles after you spend $3,000 in the first 90 days
The short answer is absolutely. Depending on your travel and spending habits, this card may or not make sense for you after the first year when you start paying the annual fee, but earning 40,000 miles after meeting the minimum spend and earning 2X miles on all purchases are tremendous benefits. Not only that, but if this becomes your go-to card, miles will rack up fast, and with the 5 percent redemption bonus, that’s like earning 2.1 percent back on every purchase, every day. This card is just as good as any other cashback card currently on the market.
50,000 bonus miles after you spend $3,000 on purchases within the first 3 months
With a sign-up bonus of 50,000 miles and the ongoing earning power of two miles for every dollar spent, there’s a good case for owning the Venture card. The $95 annual fee is waived the first year and you’ll have $460 to spend on travel once you’ve made the required $3,000 in purchases within the first three months. That makes this card a solid contender for your everyday spending. However, if you’re not going to be able to spend a minimum of $3,000 a year on the card, you would be better off selecting a card that has no annual fee.
Compare all credit cards by RE® Value, which is an estimate of how much you will earn during first year of credit card use minus annual fees.
When choosing your hotel credit card, there are several things to consider. Following these tips will help you find the best hotel credit card and get the most out of it once you have it. The more you know, the further your miles and points can go.
There are big welcome bonuses to be had, and they are a great way to rack up points fast. One recent hotel credit card sign-up bonus was worth an impressive 100,000 points. The Hyatt Credit Card, for instance, awards 40,000 bonus points after spending $2,000 on purchases in the first 3 months, whereas some other hotel cards offer complimentary nights instead.
Although it can be a good idea to have multiple cards in order to take full advantage of the best hotel rewards, it’s not recommended to apply for more than one card at once or for too many cards over a short period of time. Your credit score could take a hit or the credit card issuer may deny your application.
Getting multiple cards at the same time can also make it challenging to earn the sign-up bonuses. To get a welcome bonus, you typically have to spend a certain amount of money within a designated period of time. It can be difficult to meet that minimum spend on multiple cards at the same time. It’s usually better to spread out new card applications so you can focus spending on one card.
Get familiar with the rate you’ll earn rewards with the cards you’re considering. Figure out how many points you’ll earn per dollar spent for various types of purchases. Earning rates for different categories of purchases can vary quite a bit from card to card. Some may offer a high return on gas, while others may not have any bonus for fuel purchases. A few cards even have rotating bonus-earning categories that change every quarter. Think about what you spend the most money on and figure out which card will offer you the highest returns for those purchases.
For a hotel rewards card, you will surely earn the most points at the hotel associated with the card or with one of its partners. Some of the most lucrative hotel cards can give you as much as 12x the points when paying for a stay.
Consider the flexibility of the points you’ll earn. Will you be able to use the points? How many locations does the hotel chain have? How many partners can you book rewards with? Are the points transferable? Some cards allow you to pool or transfer points to or from other people. Other cards may allow you to transfer to airlines or other partnerships they have.
Most of the better rewards cards are part of a major payment network such as Visa, MasterCard or American Express. These cards are easiest to earn points with because of the broad range of places they can be used.
Consider the potential cost of having a card, such as annual fees, foreign transaction fees and interest rates. Although there are some really good no-annual-fee hotel cards available, many require you to pay every year to keep the card. It can be worth it if you take advantage of what the card has to offer.
For instance, if the welcome bonus is 100,000 points and the annual fee on the card is just $75, which was a recent offer for the Hilton Honors™ Ascend Card, you still come out ahead. Those points more than cover the fee. It’s like buying $1,000 in hotel stays for $75. Many cards will even waive the annual fee for the first year, making the sign-up bonus even more valuable.
If you travel abroad often, it’s important to have a card that doesn’t charge a foreign transaction fee. Those fees are typically around 3 percent, which can add up fast.
Don’t forget about interest rates, either. While it’s best to not carry a balance on your card, it can happen, particularly after making a big purchase. If you think you may be in this situation at some point, be sure to look for a card with the lowest rates. In general, try to avoid carrying a balance and never use more than 30 percent of your credit limit on any single card.
Be sure to join the loyalty program of any hotel you plan to stay at. Becoming a member of the best hotel programs and earning elite status might be easier than you think. Getting the right hotel credit card is often a good way to boost your status quickly.
For instance, the Citi Hilton Honors card gives you instant gold status. That would normally take about 40 stays to earn. Gold status comes with a variety of perks and benefits, though the best one might be the 25 percent boost you’ll get to your rewards earnings. That means you’ll get free nights even faster.
Many cards offer fast-track option to earning elite status, which, in turn, will give you access to more perks.
Promotions are a good way to quickly increase your points and find the great deals. There are usually several promotions available at any one time that will multiply the typical number of points earned for stays. You may have to stay at a certain location or over certain dates, but the offers come and go often and can be very lucrative.
There are several places to look for these hotel promotions, such as the hotel’s website, online booking portals, like hotels.com, blogs and travel sites. Keep an eye out for different kinds of offers too, like discounts and credit card promos.
Most people plan vacations first and then look for ways to save money. However, if you’re collecting points, it can make more sense to plan travel around the best deals, offers and promotions. You’ll be able to earn more points and get the best value for them when you redeem for rewards.
Taking trips based on promotions and specials can be a great way to travel on a budget. Not only can you save more, but you can also earn more toward your next trip.