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The best hotel credit cards offer perks for frequent travelers, such as automatic elite status, points for paid hotel stays and other spending, and the potential to earn several free hotel nights every year. Some hotel credit cards even offer a free night’s stay as an annual membership benefit, which helps make those cards more valuable and offset a card’s annual fee.
So, which credit cards offer a free night or two as an automatic yearly perk? In this guide, we cover the best hotel credit cards that offer a free night award, plus other important details you should know about each one.
Best hotel credit cards for free nights
|Free night perk
|World of Hyatt Credit Card*
|Receive one free night at any Category 1–4 Hyatt hotel or resort every year after your cardmember anniversary
|Marriott Bonvoy Boundless® Credit Card
|Enjoy a free night award (for stays up to 35,000 points) each year on your cardmember anniversary
|75K Bonus Points after you spend $3,000 on your first 6 months + 50K Bonus Points after you stay 6 eligible paid nights at hotels participating in Marriott Bonvoy® through 1/31/24.
|IHG One Rewards Premier Credit Card*
|Enjoy a Reward Night after each account anniversary year at eligible IHG hotels worldwide. Plus, enjoy a reward night when you redeem points for a consecutive four-night IHG® hotel stay.
|Earn 140,000 bonus points after spending $3,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. Plus, earn up to $100 in IHG® statement credits on purchases at IHG® Hotels and Resorts during the first 12 months from account opening.
|Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant® American Express® Card
|Enjoy a free night award (up to 85,000 points) each year after your card renewal month
|Earn 150,000 bonus points after spending $6,000 on purchases within six months of account opening
|The Hilton Honors American Express Aspire Card*
|Enjoy a free night award each year you’re a cardholder
|Earn 150,000 bonus points after spending $4,000 on purchases within three months of account opening
|Wyndham Rewards® Earner℠ Plus Card*
|Receive an anniversary bonus of 7,500 points, which is enough for one free night, each year you renew your card
|Earn 45,000 bonus points, enough for up to 6 free nights, after spending $1,000 on purchases within 90 days of account opening
World of Hyatt Credit Card
The World of Hyatt Credit Card is an excellent choice for Hyatt enthusiasts who want to earn a generous welcome offer and points for free hotel stays on everything they buy. Plus, cardholders can enjoy one free night at any Category 1–4 Hyatt hotel or resort every year after their cardmember anniversary.
In exchange for the $95 annual fee, cardholders can also enjoy perks like automatic World of Hyatt Discoverist status, 5 qualifying night credits towards their next tier of status every year and a range of included travel insurance benefits.
Marriott Bonvoy Boundless Credit Card
Once you’re approved for the Marriott Bonvoy Boundless Credit Card, you can earn a welcome offer of 75K Bonus Points after you spend $3,000 on your first 6 months and 50K Bonus Points after you stay 6 eligible paid nights at hotels participating in Marriott Bonvoy® through 1/31/24. Beyond that, cardmembers can enjoy a free night award for stays up to 35,000 points each year on their cardmember anniversary.
Other cardholder benefits include the chance to earn up to 17X points on paid Marriott stays, rewards on other spending and automatic Silver Elite status with the Marriott bonvoy program.
IHG One Rewards Premier Credit Card
In addition to its generous sign-up bonus, the IHG One Rewards Premier Credit Card provides cardholders with a free night award for stays of 40,000 points or less each year on their account anniversary date. The free night must be used within 12 months.
Customers can also earn up to 26X points per dollar spent on stays with the hotel brand, plus 5X points on travel, dining and gas station purchases and 3X points on other spending. Cardholders also get Platinum Elite status with IHG One Rewards, and members get a 4th night free when they redeem points for four consecutive nights at participating hotels.
Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant American Express Card
The Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant American Express Card is a premium travel credit card with a $650 annual fee, but frequent travelers can justify this fee with perks like a $300 dining statement credit (given out in increments of $25 per month) and a $100 Marriott Bonvoy statement credit. Cardholders also get automatic Marriott Bonvoy Platinum Elite status, as well as a fee credit for Global Entry or TSA PreCheck membership and a Priority Pass Select airport lounge membership valued at $429. In addition to a generous welcome offer, this card also comes with a free night award up to 85,000 points each year after your card renewal month.
The Hilton Honors American Express Aspire Card
The Hilton Honors American Express Aspire Card is Hilton’s premium hotel credit card, and it offers quite a few perks in exchange for its $450 annual fee. In addition to the free night you get at any property each year you’re a cardholder (including the first year), you can qualify for automatic Hilton Diamond status, a $250 Hilton Resort statement credit, Priority Pass Select airport lounge membership, a $250 airline fee credit and more. Plus, this is all offered on top of the generous welcome offer and the Hilton Honors points you earn for spending.
Wyndham Rewards® Earner℠ Plus Card
The Wyndham Rewards® Earner℠ Plus Card lets you earn 45,000 bonus points, enough for up to 6 free nights, after you spend $1,000 within 90 days of account opening. Plus, you’ll get 7,500 bonus points (enough for a free night) each year on your cardmember anniversary. Cardholders also get automatic Wyndham Rewards Platinum status as well as an introductory APR offer that applies to balance transfers for 15 months. (0 percent intro APR on balance transfers for 15 months on transfers made within 45 days of account opening, 20.49 percent, 24.74 percent or 29.74 percent variable APR thereafter.)
Business hotel cards that earn free nights
Beyond everyday consumer credit cards that offer free hotel nights, there are also several business hotel cards that offer this benefit.
Marriott Bonvoy Business American Express Card
The Marriott Bonvoy Business American Express Card starts new cardholders off with a Limited Time Offer of 125,000 bonus points after they spend $5,000 on purchases within three months of account opening (offer ends 5/3/23), and cardholders get automatic Gold Elite status, 15 Elite Night credits toward the next year’s status and premium on-site internet access at Marriott hotels, to name a few perks. A $125 annual fee applies, but cardholders also get a free night award (up to 35,000 points) each year on their cardmember anniversary. From there, they can earn an additional free night award for spending $60,000 on purchases with their card within a calendar year.
IHG One Rewards Premier Business Credit Card*
Chase also offers a business credit card for IHG rewards enthusiasts who want to earn points for free hotel stays. The IHG One Rewards Premier Business Credit Card starts new customers off with 140,000 bonus points after spending $3,000 on purchases within three months of account opening. Cardholders also get automatic Platinum Elite status (Premier Business card membership required) and a free night (for up to 40,000 points) on their cardmember anniversary each year. A $99 annual fee applies.
Wyndham Rewards® Earner℠ Business Credit Card*
The Wyndham Rewards Earner Business Card offers the same sign-up bonus as the consumer version of this card. Essentially, new customers can earn 45,000 bonus points, enough for up to 6 free nights, although a $2,000 spending requirement on purchases applies in the first 90 days. The $95 annual fee can be offset by a variety of perks: Cardholders get automatic Platinum status, 15,000 points on their cardmember anniversary each year, a cardmember booking discount, cell phone insurance and a handful of other benefits.
How to choose a hotel credit card
Choose your favorite hotel brand
Before you choose a hotel credit card, you need to decide which hotel brand you stay with more often than not. After all, your card will let you earn hotel loyalty points that are specific to a single program. Other card perks, like automatic elite status, will typically only be available for the particular brand you choose, as well.
Budget for the annual fee
Notice that many hotel credit cards charge annual fees, but some charge as little as $75 while some others charge fees of $450 all the way up to $650. These premium hotel credit cards can be worth the fee if you use all their perks, but it still helps to decide what kind of annual fee you’re willing to pay.
Decide on additional perks
You’ll also want to think over which benefits you can really use and want to have. For example, your must-have perks may include automatic elite status, airport lounge membership, fee credits for Global Entry or TSA PreCheck or annual statement credits. If you choose a card with a high annual fee, you’ll want to make sure the perks you get help justify the added costs.
Consider welcome offers
Take the time to consider the initial welcome offer you can earn and whether you can meet the spending threshold. In the meantime, look over hotel redemption options to see how you might use the points you earn with any of these cards. A welcome offer can help fund a great vacation, if you plan carefully.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
The number of points you need for a free hotel stay varies dramatically based on the program. For example, free nights with the World of Hyatt program start at just 3,500 points over off-peak dates while free nights with Hilton start at just 5,000 points. On the other end of the spectrum, booking a top tier luxury resort with any major hotel loyalty program can easily set you back 100,000 points or more per night.
Free hotel night certificates typically let you book a free night up to a certain amount of points with a specific hotel brand. Most free night certificates are awarded after a member has had their credit card for at least one year and choosen to renew by paying the annual fee.
Free hotel night certificates can be well worth it if you use them. After all, many hotel credit card annual fees are less than $100, and you’d be hard-pressed to find a hotel rate lower than that.
The bottom line
The best hotel credit cards for free nights let you earn points for spending and score a generous welcome offer right off the bat. They also offer a free night on each year’s cardmember anniversary, as well as perks like automatic elite status, travel insurance and more.
Make sure to compare the top hotel credit cards to find the right fit for your needs, and always read the fine print surrounding offers for free hotel stays. After all, most cards that offer this perk set a limit on the number of points a free night can cost, and that may prevent you from booking a brand’s most expensive properties for free.
* The information about the World of Hyatt Credit Card, IHG One Rewards Premier Credit Card, Hilton Honors American Express Aspire Credit Card, Wyndham Rewards® Earner Plus Card, IHG One Rewards Premier Business Credit Card and Wyndham Rewards Earner Business Card has been collected independently by Bankrate.com. The card details have not been reviewed or approved by the card issuer.