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Popular hotel credit cards

By Mitch Strohm ·
Thursday, June 22, 2017
Posted: 9 am ET

Best credit cards for hotels | Image Source/Getty Images

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Popular among frequent travelers, the top hotel credit cards offer generous rewards and desirable perks like free internet, free stays and flexible checkout options.

But not all hotel credit cards are created equally, so you'll need to make sure you pick a card that fits your travel needs.

Here are the three quality hotel credit cards, as chosen by the experts at

Hotel credit cards
Card Annual fee Rewards
Starwood Preferred Guest $0 introductory annual fee for the first year, then $95 2 points for every $1 dollar spent at participating Starwood hotels
Club Carlson Premier Rewards Visa Signature $75 10 points per $1 spent at Carlson Rezidor hotels
Best Western Rewards Premium Mastercard $0 introductory annual fee for the first year, then $59 10 points per $1 spent at Best Western hotels

1. Starwood Preferred Guest

The Preferred Guest card issued by American Express is a legend in travel circles because of its outstanding rewards and perks, including a sweet sign-up bonus.


  • Earn two points for every $1 dollar spent at participating Starwood hotels.
  • Earn two points per $1 at Marriott Rewards hotels and one point per $1 on all other purchases.
  • Earn 25,000 points when you spend $3,000 within the first three months.

Who should get this card
The Preferred Guest credit card is ideal for the traveler who frequents Starwood and Marriott hotels. You can redeem points for free stays at more than 10 brands, and you can transfer points to more than 30 airline partners. There are no foreign transaction fees.

But while Starwood offers more than 1,300 hotels and resorts worldwide, you may find that you're limited in hotel options when traveling, which is the main disadvantage to this card.

Its $95 annual fee is waived the first year. The variable APR is between 16.24 percent and 20.24 percent. Before you act, compare the rates on this card with other hotel credit cards.

2. Club Carlson Premier Rewards Visa Signature Card

The Club Carlson card earns a spot among the top hotel cards because of its big bonus opportunities.


  • Earn 50,000 points when you make your first purchase with the card. Earn an extra 35,000 points after you spend $2,500 within 90 days.
  • Earn 10 points per $1 spend at Carlson Rezidor hotels and five points per $1 spent on general purchases.
  • Earn 40,000 points each year you renew your card and one free hotel stay when you spend $10,000 and renew your card.

Who should get this card
If your hotel stays typically fall within the Carlson Rezidor portfolio of hotels and you can utilize the bonus offers, this card could be a good choice. Hotels range from budget options like Country Inn & Suites to the more luxurious Radisson Blu.

But Club Carlson points aren't worth as much as the average card's points. That can mean less savings overall.

This card has a $75 annual fee and a variable APR of 14.99 to 23.99 percent.

3. Best Western Rewards Premium Mastercard

The Best Western Rewards Premium Mastercard comes with some significant bonuses and a rewards program tailored for travelers.


  • Earn 10 points per $1 spent on hotel stays at a Best Western portfolio, another 10 points per $1 if you're a member of their loyalty program and two points per $1 spent on general purchases.
  • Earn a 50,000 points sign-up bonus if you spend $1,000 within the first three months. Cardholders can earn another 20,000 bonus points each year after spending at least $5,000.
  • Travel perks include automatic elite platinum status, 10 percent discount on hotel stays, free room upgrades and a 15 percent point bonus on stays.

Who should get this card
If you travel frequently and want to be rewarded with free nights, this card could be a worthwhile choice. It doesn't take a lot of points to earn free stays so you can quickly be on your way to earning a free trip.

The card's biggest downside is that Best Western hotels aren't as high-end as some other properties so if you're looking to earn luxury stays, this may not be for you.

It has a $59 annual fee and a variable APR of 17.49 percent to 23.49 percent.

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Leah wilkerson
June 28, 2017 at 10:55 pm


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