Best Hotel Credit Cards of 2018

Hotel credit cards are designed for the frequent traveler and lover of accommodation upgrades. From the budget-minded to the luxury traveler, the right credit card can enhance your travel experience. The following hotel cards from our partners offer a variety of benefits at some of your favorite hotels including complimentary stays, membership status, and room upgrades. If you have a favorite hotel chain, be it Hilton, Marriott, IHG, or others, applying for their branded credit card is an all-around great way to rack up free nights and experience special benefits. If convenience is top priority when you travel, and you aren’t loyal to one hotel chain, check out some of the flexible rewards cards listed below instead. Flexible rewards cards allow you to redeem points for hotel travel expenses, regardless of the hotel brand.

Editors' Picks: Best Hotel Credit Cards of 2018

  • Capital One® Venture® Rewards Credit Card: Best overall for hotel bookings
  • Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card: Best for a generous sign-up bonus
  • Wells Fargo Propel American Express® Card: Best for no annual fee
  • Hilton Honors American Express Ascend Card: Best for loyal Hilton customers
  • Capital One® VentureOne® Rewards Credit Card: Best for hotel bookings with no annual fee
  • Bank of America Travel Rewards credit card: Best for loyal Bank of America customers
  • Barclaycard Arrival® Plus World Elite Mastercard®: Best for minimal restrictions
  • Starwood Preferred Guest® Credit Card from American Express: Best for SPG loyalists
  • The Platinum Card® from American Express: Best for premium cardholder benefits
  • Starwood Preferred Guest® Business Credit Card from American Express: Best for business travel rewards

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Best overall for hotel bookings

capital-one-venture-rewards-credit-card-032217.png Card Image
Apply Now ON Capital One® Venture® Rewards Credit Card's secure website

Capital One® Venture® Rewards Credit Card

Recommended Credit Score:
670 - 850

A FICO score/credit score is used to represent the creditworthiness of a person and may be one indicator to the credit type you are eligible for. However, credit score alone does not guarantee or imply approval for any financial product.

300 850
N/A
Purchases intro APR
N/A
Balance Transfers intro APR
14.74% - 24.74% (Variable)
Regular APR
$0 intro for first year; $95 after that
Annual Fee

Bankrate Score

94 out of 100

Card Details

  • Enjoy a one-time bonus of 50,000 miles once you spend $3,000 on purchases within 3 months from account opening, equal to $500 in travel
  • Earn 2X miles on every purchase, every day. Plus earn 10X miles on thousands of hotels; learn more at hotels.com/venture
  • Named ‘The Best Travel Card' by CNBC, 2018
  • Receive up to $100 application fee credit for Global Entry or TSA Pre✓®
  • Fly any airline, stay at any hotel, anytime; no blackout dates
  • Miles won't expire for the life of the account and there's no limit to how many you can earn
  • No foreign transaction fees
  • $0 intro annual fee for the first year; $95 after that
Terms and Restrictions Apply

Best for generous sign-up bonus

chase-sapphire-preferred-card-040418.png Card Image
Apply Now ON Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card's secure website

Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card

Recommended Credit Score:
670 - 850

A FICO score/credit score is used to represent the creditworthiness of a person and may be one indicator to the credit type you are eligible for. However, credit score alone does not guarantee or imply approval for any financial product.

300 850
N/A
Purchases intro APR
N/A
Balance Transfers intro APR
17.74% - 24.74% Variable
Regular APR
$0 Intro for the First Year, then $95
Annual Fee

Bankrate Score

95 out of 100

Card Details

  • Earn 50,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $625 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®
  • Chase Sapphire Preferred® named a 'Best Travel Credit Card' by MONEY® Magazine, 2016-2017
  • 2X points on travel and dining at restaurants worldwide & 1 point per dollar spent on all other purchases.
  • No foreign transaction fees
  • 1:1 point transfer to leading airline and hotel loyalty programs
  • Get 25% more value when you redeem for airfare, hotels, car rentals and cruises through Chase Ultimate Rewards. For example, 50,000 points are worth $625 toward travel
  • No blackout dates or travel restrictions - as long as there's a seat on the flight, you can book it through Chase Ultimate Rewards
Terms and Restrictions Apply

Best for no annual fee

wells-fargo-propel-american-express-card-071018.png Card Image
Apply Now ON Wells Fargo Propel American Express® Card's secure website

Wells Fargo Propel American Express® Card

Recommended Credit Score:
670 - 850

A FICO score/credit score is used to represent the creditworthiness of a person and may be one indicator to the credit type you are eligible for. However, credit score alone does not guarantee or imply approval for any financial product.

300 850
0% for 12 months
Purchases intro APR
0% for 12 months
Balance Transfers intro APR
14.24%-26.74% (Variable)
Regular APR
$0
Annual Fee

Bankrate Score

97 out of 100

Card Details

  • New! Earn 30K bonus points when you spend $3,000 in purchases in the first 3 months – that's a $300 cash redemption value
  • Earn 3X points for eating out and ordering in
  • Earn 3X points for gas stations, rideshares and transit
  • Earn 3X points for travel including flights, hotels, homestays and car rentals
  • Earn 1X points on other purchases
  • $0 Annual Fee
  • 0% Intro APR for 12 months on purchases and balance transfers (fees apply), then a 14.24%-26.74% variable APR; balance transfers made within 120 days qualify for the intro rates and fees
  • Select "Apply Now" to learn more about the product features, terms, and conditions
Terms and Restrictions Apply

Best for loyal Hilton customers

hilton-honors-ascend-card-from-american-express-011918.png Card Image
Apply Now ON Hilton Honors American Express Ascend Card's secure website

Hilton Honors American Express Ascend Card

Recommended Credit Score:
670 - 850

A FICO score/credit score is used to represent the creditworthiness of a person and may be one indicator to the credit type you are eligible for. However, credit score alone does not guarantee or imply approval for any financial product.

300 850
N/A
Purchases intro APR
N/A
Balance Transfers intro APR
17.49%-26.49% Variable
Regular APR
$95
Annual Fee

Bankrate Score

89 out of 100

Card Details

  • Earn 125,000 Hilton Honors Bonus Points with the Hilton Honors American Express Ascend Card after you use your new Card to make $2,000 in eligible purchases within the first 3 months of Card Membership.
  • Earn a Weekend Night Reward from Hilton Honors after you spend $15,000 on purchases on your Card in a calendar year.
  • Earn 12X Hilton Honors Bonus Points for each dollar of eligible purchases charged on your Card directly with a hotel or resort within the Hilton Portfolio.
  • Earn 6X Hilton Honors Bonus Points for each dollar of eligible purchases on your Card at U.S. restaurants, U.S. supermarkets, and U.S. gas stations.
  • Earn 3X Hilton Honors Bonus Points for all other eligible purchases on your Card.
  • Spend $40,000 on eligible purchases on your Card in a calendar year and you can earn Hilton Honors Diamond status through the end of the next calendar year.
  • $95 annual fee.
  • Terms Apply.
Terms and Restrictions Apply | Rates and Fees

Best for hotel bookings with no annual fee

capital-one-ventureone-rewards-credit-card-041217.png Card Image
Apply Now ON Capital One® VentureOne® Rewards Credit Card's secure website

Capital One® VentureOne® Rewards Credit Card

Recommended Credit Score:
670 - 850

A FICO score/credit score is used to represent the creditworthiness of a person and may be one indicator to the credit type you are eligible for. However, credit score alone does not guarantee or imply approval for any financial product.

300 850
0% intro on purchases for 12 months
Purchases intro APR
N/A
Balance Transfers intro APR
13.74% - 23.74% (Variable)
Regular APR
$0
Annual Fee

Bankrate Score

80 out of 100

Card Details

  • Enjoy a one-time bonus of 20,000 miles once you spend $1,000 on purchases within 3 months from account opening, equal to $200 in travel
  • Earn 1.25X miles on every purchase, every day and pay no annual fee. Plus earn 10X miles on thousands of hotels; learn more at hotels.com/venture
  • Fly any airline, stay at any hotel, anytime
  • Enjoy a low intro APR on purchases for 12 months; 13.74%-23.74% variable APR after that
  • Travel when you want with no blackout dates
  • No foreign transaction fees
  • Miles won't expire for the life of the account and there's no limit to how many you can earn
Terms and Restrictions Apply

Best for loyal Bank of America customers

bank-of-america-travel-rewards-credit-card-041718.png Card Image
Apply Now ON Bank of America® Travel Rewards credit card's secure website

Bank of America® Travel Rewards credit card

Recommended Credit Score:
670 - 850

A FICO score/credit score is used to represent the creditworthiness of a person and may be one indicator to the credit type you are eligible for. However, credit score alone does not guarantee or imply approval for any financial product.

300 850
0% Introductory APR on purchases for 12 billing cycles
Purchases intro APR
N/A
Balance Transfers intro APR
16.74% - 24.74% Variable APR on purchases and balance transfers
Regular APR
$0
Annual Fee

Bankrate Score

85 out of 100

Card Details

  • Earn unlimited 1.5 points per $1 spent on all purchases, with no annual fee and no foreign transaction fees and your points don't expire
  • New Offer: 25,000 online bonus points if you make at least $1,000 in purchases in the first 90 days of account opening - that can be a $250 statement credit toward travel purchases
  • Use your card to book your trip how and where you want – you're not limited to specific websites with blackout dates or restrictions
  • Redeem points for a statement credit to pay for flights, hotels, vacation packages, cruises, rental cars, or baggage fees
  • Comes with chip technology for enhanced security and protection at chip-enabled terminals
  • 0% Introductory APR for 12 billing cycles for purchases, then 16.74% - 24.74% Variable APR
  • Get an additional 10% customer points bonus on every purchase when you have an active Bank of America® checking or savings account
  • If you're a Preferred Rewards client, you can increase that bonus to 25% - 75%
Terms and Restrictions Apply

Best for minimal restrictions

barclaycard-arrival-plus-world-elite-mastercard-111517.png Card Image
Apply Now ON Barclaycard Arrival® Plus World Elite Mastercard®'s secure website

Barclaycard Arrival® Plus World Elite Mastercard®

Recommended Credit Score:
670 - 850

A FICO score/credit score is used to represent the creditworthiness of a person and may be one indicator to the credit type you are eligible for. However, credit score alone does not guarantee or imply approval for any financial product.

300 850
N/A
Purchases intro APR
0% intro for first 12 billing cycles following each BT that posts within 45 days of account opening
Balance Transfers intro APR
17.74%, 21.74% or 24.74% variable based on your creditworthiness
Regular APR
$89
Annual Fee

Bankrate Score

94 out of 100

Card Details

  • Enjoy 60,000 bonus miles after spending $5,000 on purchases in the first 90 days and paying the annual fee
  • Earn unlimited 2X miles on every purchase
  • Book travel your way—no airline, seat or hotel restrictions—and redeem your miles for travel statement credits
  • Get 5% miles back to use toward your next redemption, every time you redeem
  • No foreign transaction fees
  • International Chip and PIN for use at self-service chip terminals around the world
  • Miles don't expire as long as your account is open, active and in good standing
Terms and Restrictions Apply | Rates and Fees

Best for SPG loyalists

starwood-preferred-guest-consumer-081115.png Card Image
Apply Now ON Starwood Preferred Guest® Credit Card from American Express's secure website

Starwood Preferred Guest® Credit Card from American Express

Recommended Credit Score:
670 - 850

A FICO score/credit score is used to represent the creditworthiness of a person and may be one indicator to the credit type you are eligible for. However, credit score alone does not guarantee or imply approval for any financial product.

300 850
N/A
Purchases intro APR
N/A
Balance Transfers intro APR
17.49%-26.49% Variable
Regular APR
$0 introductory annual fee for the first year, then $95.
Annual Fee

Bankrate Score

96 out of 100

Card Details

  • Earn 75,000 Bonus Points after you use your new Card to make $3,000 in purchases within the first 3 months.
  • Earn 6 points for each dollar of eligible purchases at participating SPG® and Marriott Rewards® hotels and 2 points on all other eligible purchases.
  • No Foreign Transaction Fees on International purchases.
  • Receive 1 Free Night Award every year after your Card account anniversary. Award can be used for one night (redemption level at or under 35,000 points) at a participating hotel. Select hotels have resort fees.
  • Enjoy complimentary, unlimited Boingo Wi-Fi on up to four devices at more than 1,000,000 Boingo hotspots worldwide. Enrollment required.
  • $0 introductory annual fee for the first year, then $95.
  • Terms Apply.
Terms and Restrictions Apply | Rates and Fees

Best for premium cardholder benefits

the-platinum-card-from-american-express-060117.png Card Image
Apply Now ON The Platinum Card® from American Express's secure website

The Platinum Card® from American Express

Recommended Credit Score:
670 - 850

A FICO score/credit score is used to represent the creditworthiness of a person and may be one indicator to the credit type you are eligible for. However, credit score alone does not guarantee or imply approval for any financial product.

300 850
N/A
Purchases intro APR
N/A
Balance Transfers intro APR
N/A
Regular APR
$550
Annual Fee

Bankrate Score

95 out of 100

Card Details

  • Earn 60,000 Membership Rewards® points after you use your new Card to make $5,000 in purchases in your first 3 months.
  • Up to $200 for Uber rides annually. Credit and Uber VIP status available to Basic Card Member only.
  • 5X Membership Rewards® points on flights booked directly with airlines or with American Express Travel.
  • 5X Membership Rewards® points on eligible hotels booked on amextravel.com.
  • As a Platinum Card Member, you can enjoy access to the Global Lounge Collection, the only credit card airport lounge access program that includes proprietary lounge locations around the world.
  • Receive complimentary benefits with an average total value of $550 with Fine Hotels & Resorts. Learn More.
  • $200 Airline Fee Credit, up to $200 per calendar year in baggage fees and more at one qualifying airline.
  • Get up to $100 in statement credits annually for purchases at Saks Fifth Avenue on your Platinum Card®. That's up to $50 in statement credits semi-annually. Enrollment required.
  • $550 annual fee.
  • Terms Apply.
Terms and Restrictions Apply | Rates and Fees

Best for business travel rewards

starwood-preferred-guest-business-081115.png Card Image
Apply Now ON Starwood Preferred Guest® Business Credit Card from American Express's secure website

Starwood Preferred Guest® Business Credit Card from American Express

Recommended Credit Score:
740 - 850

A FICO score/credit score is used to represent the creditworthiness of a person and may be one indicator to the credit type you are eligible for. However, credit score alone does not guarantee or imply approval for any financial product.

300 850
N/A
Purchases intro APR
N/A
Balance Transfers intro APR
17.49% - 26.49% Variable
Regular APR
$0 introductory annual fee for the first year, then $95
Annual Fee

Bankrate Score

96 out of 100

Card Details

  • Earn 100,000 bonus points after you use your new Card to make $5,000 in purchases within the first 3 months of Card Membership. Offer ends 10/31/2018.
  • Earn 6 points for each dollar of eligible purchases at over 6,500 participating SPG® and Marriott Rewards® hotels across 110 countries worldwide.
  • Earn 4 points at U.S. restaurants, U.S. gas stations, wireless telephone services purchased directly from U.S. service providers, and on U.S. purchases for shipping. Earn 2 points for all other eligible purchases.
  • Receive 1 Free Night Award every year after your Card account anniversary. Select hotels have resort fees.
  • Enjoy complimentary Silver Elite status with your Card.
  • Plus, spend $35,000 on eligible purchases on your Card in a calendar year and earn an upgrade to Gold Elite status through the end of the next calendar year.
  • No Foreign Transaction Fees on international purchases and $0 introductory annual fee for the first year, then $95.
  • Terms Apply
Terms and Restrictions Apply | Rates and Fees

Editorial disclosure: All reviews are prepared by Bankrate.com staff. Opinions expressed therein are solely those of the reviewer and have not been reviewed or approved by any advertiser. The information, including card rates and fees, presented in the review is accurate as of the date of the review. Check the data at the top of this page and the bank’s website for the most current information.


Author: Griffin Miller | Last Updated: September 7, 2018


Table of contents

Editor’s take: The best hotel credit cards of 2018

Capital One® Venture® Rewards Credit Card

With a simple hotel and travel rewards program that offers a generous 2X points rate on every purchase, the Venture card is a solid choice for beginners and experienced travelers. Capital One’s partnership with Hotels.com gives you even more ways to rack up points quicker than the average general travel credit card.

Card Details

  • Card Type: General Travel
  • Best For: Straightforward, flat rate hotel rewards
  • Credit Needed: Good/Excellent
  • Bankrate Score: 94/100
  • Sign-Up Bonus: 50,000 miles after you spend $3,000 within the first 3 months of card ownership
  • Rewards Rate: 2 miles/dollar
  • Hotel Rewards Rate: 10 miles/dollar spent when booked and paid on hotels.com/venture
  • Annual Fee: $95, waived in the first year

Read our full review

Chase Sapphire Preferred Card

A staple in the travel and hotel rewards game, the Chase Sapphire Preferred is a smart choice for collecting valuable points that can be used in a variety of ways. Chase’s Ultimate Rewards shopping portal offers extra value for cardholders and a wide range of options when choosing airlines in addition to hotels.

Card Details

  • Card Type: General Rewards
  • Best For: A generous sign-up bonus
  • Credit Needed: Good/Excellent
  • Bankrate Score: 95/100
  • Sign-Up Bonus: 50,000 points after you spend $4,000 within the first 3 months of card ownership
  • Rewards Rate: 2X points/dollar on restaurant and travel, 1X point/dollar on everything else
  • Hotel Rewards Rate: 2X points/dollar
  • Annual Fee: $95, waived in the first year

Read our full review

Bank of America Travel Rewards credit card

With no annual fee, the Bank of America Travel Rewards credit card offers a nice rewards rate and generous sign-up bonus. The simple earning structure makes it easy to track rewards and plan vacations to any hotel using any booking site.

Card Details

  • Card Type: Travel Rewards
  • Best For: No annual fee
  • Credit Needed: Good/Excellent
  • Bankrate Score: 85/100
  • Sign-Up Bonus: 25,000 bonus points when you spend at least $1,000 within the first 90 days of opening an account
  • Rewards Rate: 1.5 points/dollar spent
  • Hotel Rewards Rate: 1.5 points/dollar spent
  • Annual Fee: $0

Read our full review

Starwood Preferred Guest® Business Credit Card from American Express

More than 6,500 resorts and hotels in over 110 countries fall under the SPG and Marriott brand. The Starwood Preferred Guest Business Credit Card from American Express offers generous rewards on spending alongside flexible redemption options for businesses that require frequent travel, both domestic and international.

Card Details

  • Card Type: Hotel
  • Best For: Businesses
  • Credit Needed:Excellent/Good
  • Bankrate Score: 96/100
  • Welcome Offer: 100,000 bonus points after $5,000 spent within the first three months of card membership
  • Rewards Rate: 4 points at U.S. restaurants, U.S. gas stations, wireless telephone services purchased directly from U.S. service providers, and on U.S. purchases for shipping. Earn 2 points for all other eligible purchases.
  • Hotel Rewards Rate: Earn 6 points per dollar at eligible SPG and Marriott Rewards purchase
  • Annual Fee: $95, waived in the first year

Read our full review

The Platinum Card® from American Express

Luxury travelers will reap exclusive perks from the Platinum Card from American Express that simply don’t exist anywhere else. The high annual fee will turn some people away, but the Centurion Lounge access and additional benefits make it a unique hotel rewards credit card that many travelers will find compelling.

Card Details

  • Card Type: Travel Rewards
  • Best For: Premium cardholder benefits
  • Credit Needed: Excellent
  • Bankrate Score: 95/100
  • Sign-Up Bonus: 60,000 Membership Rewards points if you spend $5,000 within the first 3 months of card ownership
  • Rewards Rate: 5 Membership Rewards points for every $1 spent on airfare, 1 point/dollar on all other spending
  • Hotel Rewards Rate: 5 Membership Rewards points for every $1 spent on eligible hotels booked through American Express’ travel portal
  • Annual Fee: $550

Read our full review

How do hotel cards work?

Hotel credit cards reward loyalty with free nights, room upgrades, complimentary breakfast, and more. Benefits come in the form of points, which can be redeemed for all of those great perks. Most hotel cards offer big point totals on purchases made at their properties, and at least 1X points everywhere else. For frequent travelers, points add up quickly and can turn the average hotel stay into a luxurious trip.

Hotel credit cards are either co-branded cards like the Starwood Preferred Guest Credit Card from American Express, or are general travel rewards cards like the Capital One® Venture® Card.

To make the most of a hotel rewards credit card, combine it with a membership to the hotel’s loyalty program for truly impressive benefits.

Questions to ask yourself before applying for a hotel card:

  1. How often do you stay at hotels?
  2. Which hotel chain(s) do you prefer?
  3. Which hotel chain has the most locations in the destinations that you most often travel to?
  4. What are your travel goals?
  5. What other rewards credit cards do you already have?

The answer to these questions will help you find the right hotel credit card for you. The perfect hotel card will:

  • Give you benefits you actually use
  • Complement the benefits that you get from other credit cards
  • Upgrade your hotel experience during every stay

Pros and cons of hotel credit cards

Pros:

  • Sign-up bonuses. Hotel cards regularly dish out sign-up bonuses in excess of 50,000 points, which is among the highest of all rewards credit cards.
  • High rewards rates. Rewards from on-brand purchases usually come at 8X rates and higher.
  • Perks you won’t find anywhere else. Late check-in, complimentary breakfast, and room upgrades are pretty standard across co-branded hotel credit cards.
  • Rewards increase with spending. Hotels with loyalty program tiers reward customers with greater benefits for greater spending.

Cons:

  • Rewards structures can be complicated. To get the most from your card, you will have to be a member of loyalty programs and book at the best-category property with an available room.
  • Hotel credit card point values are usually inflated. For example, the Hilton Honors American Express Ascend Card has a welcome offer of 125,000 Hilton Honors Bonus Points after you use your new Card to make $2,000 in eligible purchases within the first 3 months of Card Membership. But those points are only valued at about 0.6 cents apiece, according to The Points Guy’s April, 2018 valuation. Most general travel rewards points are worth at least one cent.
  • Rewards are limited to hotel spending. Although you can usually transfer hotel rewards points to partnering airlines for discounts on flights, points lose their value dramatically when used that way.
  • Annual fees & high APR. Whether you opt for a co-branded hotel card or a general travel rewards card, you’ll most likely have to pay an annual fee of $95 or more. Make sure you don’t carry a balance either, as APRs are typically on the higher side.

Co-branded Hotel Cards vs General Travel Cards

Most of the best rewards credit cards generally offer points for travel and can potentially be used to book free nights at hotels. If you’re considering a hotel rewards credit card, you’re most likely looking for a co-branded hotel card or a general travel card.

Co-branded hotel cards offer big points when you book nights at their specific properties, and small point totals on everything else. The good news is that many of the best hotel credit cards are attached to hotels with thousands of locations. Forbes reports that after its 2016 acquisition of Starwood, Marriott has over 6,000 locations worldwide. So, if you apply for the Marriott® Rewards Premier Credit Card, even though your benefits are mostly limited to Marriott properties, you are likely never far from one of their locations.

General travel cards offer fewer points on hotel purchases but are never limited to one specific brand or location. For example, every time you use your Chase Sapphire Preferred card to book a room, you’ll collect 2X points, no matter where you are. The points you’ll get from a general travel card are also more flexible in terms of what you redeem them for. Bundle your hotel room and flight through Chase Ultimate Rewards and the value of a point jumps to 1.25 cents.

The bottom line: If you travel frequently and prefer a certain hotel, opt for their co-branded card. If you’d rather keep a flexible rewards program rolling, go for the general travel card.

Do hotel points expire?

Hotel rewards points don’t usually expire if your account is open, active, and in good standing. For the specific card you are considering, check out the following chart or visit the points expiration resource at CreditCards.com.

Hotel Rewards Program Rewards Expiration Date
Hilton Honors No expiration as long as points are earned or redeemed every 12 months.
IHG Rewards Club Select No expiration as long as points are earned or redeemed every 12 months
Hyatt Visa Signature from Chase No expiration as long as points are earned or redeemed every 24 months.
Marriott Rewards Premier No expiration as long as points are earned or redeemed every 24 months.
Ritz-Carlton Rewards Visa No expiration as long as points are earned or redeemed every 24 months. E-certificates expire one year after issue date.
Starwood Preferred Guest from American Express No expiration as long as points are earned or redeemed every 24 months. Starwood points issued/earned through Vistana expire after six years.
Wyndham Rewards Signature Visa Points expire four years after post date. Account must also be active every 18 months.

How to maximize hotel rewards points

Whether you’re interested in a Hilton, Marriott, or other hotel card, first consider what it takes to get the most value out of that card. Take these steps before applying and you’ll be well on your way to soaking up the rewards:

  1. Join hotel loyalty programs. They’re free to sign up for and will provide you with extra resources on how to get the most out of your booking. As a loyalty member and co-branded cardholder, you’ll earn points in two ways for every stay.
  2. Be strategic about how you use it. Your new hotel credit card will give you big point totals for hotel purchases, but not so much on everything else. Hotel cards are excellent complementary cards—use them in addition to cash back cards and other cards with higher rewards rates on spending in other categories.
  3. Book directly through the hotel or issuer’s shopping portal. You usually glean extra value by booking your room through the hotel’s website or an issuer’s shopping portal, like Chase Ultimate Rewards. Booking through third-party sites may not qualify for the expected rewards rate.

Recap: Bankrate’s favorite hotel credit cards

Card Name Bankrate Score Best For
Capital One® Venture® Rewards Credit Card 94/100 Straightforward, flat rate hotel rewards
Chase Sapphire Preferred Card 95/100 Generous sign-up bonus
Bank of America Travel Rewards credit card 85/100 No annual fee
Starwood Preferred Guest® Business Credit Card from American Express  96/100 Business
The Platinum Card® from American Express 95/100 Premium cardholder benefits

* See the online application for details about terms and conditions for these offers. Every reasonable effort has been made to maintain accurate information. However all credit card information is presented without warranty. After you click on the offer you desire you will be directed to the credit card issuer's web site where you can review the terms and conditions for your selected offer.