The 5 Best Hotel Credit Card Offers Available Now

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As travel restrictions begin to lift, banks have really upped their game with hotel credit card welcome bonuses. Currently, there are four hotel credit cards with elevated welcome bonuses worth considering.

The IHG® Rewards Club Traveler Credit Card is currently at an all-time high. Meanwhile, the IHG® Rewards Club Premier Credit Card brings back a bonus we've only seen once before. At the same time, Hilton's two mid-tier cards continue to provide generous welcome offers that—though they've been around awhile—still manage to compete with these other, rarer offerings.

IHG® Rewards Club Traveler Credit Card

Most cards with no annual fee are noticeably light on perks and benefits. While it's true that the IHG Rewards Traveler Card isn't loaded with bells and whistles, it does offer an incredible uncapped free night benefit on all award stays of 4 or more nights. This alone can make the card compelling to hold long-term.

IHG® Rewards Club Traveler Credit Card
IHG® Rewards Club Traveler Credit Card
Annual Fee$0
Welcome Bonus Earn 100,000 bonus points after spending $2,000 on purchases within the first three months of account opening
The IHG Rewards Traveler Card features a high-value welcome bonus of 100,000 bonus points, no foreign transaction fees, fourth night free on award bookings, and no annual fee.
  • Earn 100,000 bonus points after spending $2,000 on purchases within the first three months of account opening
  • No Annual Fee
  • Earn up to 15 points total per $1 spent when you stay at an IHG hotel
  • Earn 2 points per $1 spent on purchases at gas stations, grocery stores, and restaurants. Earn 1 point per $1 spent on all other purchases
  • No Foreign Transaction Fees
  • Fourth Reward Night Free
  • IHG Rewards Club Bonus points are redeemable at hotels such as InterContinental®, Crowne Plaza®, Kimpton®, EVEN® Hotels, Indigo® Hotels & Holiday Inn®
  • 15x points total per $1 spent when you stay at an IHG hotel
  • 2X points per $1 spent on purchases at gas stations, grocery stores, and restaurants.
  • 1X point per $1 spent on all other purchases

The earning for spending at IHG hotels breaks down as follows:
  • Earn 5X points for being a IHG® Rewards Club Traveler Credit Cardmember
  • Earn 10X points from IHG® for being an IHG® Rewards Club Member (Being a cardholder is not required to earn this bonus for participating in the IHG® loyalty program)

To be blunt, this is just an exceptionally generous bonus for a card with no annual fee. IHG Rewards nights start at just 10,000 points per night. So, you can get up to 10 free nights from this one sign-up bonus—or even more if you utilize the 4th-night free benefit. That makes snagging 100,000 bonus points with a “free” card is pretty enticing.

Learn more about this offer: IHG Rewards Traveler Card-Point Bonus and No Annual Fee

IHG® Rewards Club Premier Credit Card

The IHG Rewards Premier Card (review) offers valuable perks—including Platinum Elite status and 4th night free—for a modest annual fee. The card comes with an anniversary free night certificate good for a night costing up to 40,000 points. That alone makes this card a great long-term keeper.

IHG® Rewards Club Premier Credit Card
IHG® Rewards Club Premier Credit Card
Annual Fee$0 introductory annual fee for the first year, then $89
Welcome Bonus Earn 140,000 bonus points after spending $3,000 on purchases within the first three months of account opening
  • Earn 140,000 bonus points after spending $3,000 on purchases within the first three months of account opening
  • Enjoy a Reward Night after each account anniversary year at eligible IHG hotels worldwide. Plus, enjoy a reward night when you redeem points for any stay of 4 or more nights
  • Earn up to 25 points total per $1 spent when you stay at an IHG hotel
  • Earn 2 points per $1 spent on purchases at gas stations, grocery stores, and restaurants. Earn 1 point per $1 spent on all other purchases
  • Platinum Elite status as long as you remain a Premier card member
  • Global Entry or TSA Pre✔® Fee Credit of up to $100 every 4 years as reimbursement for the application fee charged to your card
  • IHG Rewards Club Bonus points are redeemable at hotels such as InterContinental®, Crowne Plaza®, Kimpton®, EVEN® Hotels, Indigo® Hotels & Holiday Inn®
  • Earn 25 points total per $1 spent when you stay at an IHG hotel
  • 2X points per $1 spent on purchases at gas stations, grocery stores, and restaurants
  • 1X point per $1 spent on all other purchases

The earning for spending at IHG hotels breaks down as follows:
  • Earn 10X points for being a IHG® Rewards Club Premier Credit Cardmember
  • Earn 5X points from IHG® with Platinum Elite Status, a benefit of having this card
  • Earn 10X points from IHG® for being an IHG® Rewards Club Member (Being a cardholder is not required to earn this bonus for participating in the IHG® loyalty program)

This is the highest signup bonus ever offered for IHG's flagship card, and we've only seen it this high once before. It provides a lot of points, plus the flexibility to use them however you'd like. Need to book two weeks at a Candlewood Suites hotel? You can do that. Want to blow it all on two nights at a luxury resort? Sure—why not! 140,000 points give you plenty of options.

The current signup bonus for the IHG® Rewards Club Premier Credit Card provides enough points for two nights at the Intercontinental Bora Bora Resort and Thalasso Spa.

Learn more about this offer: New 140,000 Point Bonus for IHG Rewards Premier Card

Marriott Bonvoy Business™ American Express® Card

The latest offer on the Marriott Bonvoy Business™ American Express® Card offers an incredible welcome bonus of 100,000 points and Marriott Platinum Elite status for the 2021 status year, plus up to $150 in statement credits for U.S. advertising in select media.

The 100,000 point bonus is a sizable increase over the card's standard offer of 75,000 bonus points. Throw in a year of Platinum status and the $150 in statement credits, and this offer catapults into one of the best offers we've seen from a card with such a modest annual fee. Particularly when you factor in that the card receives an anniversary free night award each year up to the value of 35,000 points!

As an Amex business card, the Marriott Bonvoy Business Card won't contribute to your personal 5/24 count with Chase, making it a great option if you are trying to get back under 5/24 to round out your Chase card portfolio.

It's worth noting that the luxury Marriott co-brand card, the Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant™ American Express® Card is running an even higher bonus, although it also charges a much higher annual fee of $450 each year. (Rates & Fees)

Although it doesn't offer the same luxury benefits as its premium counterpart, we see the Marriott Bonvoy Business Card as the sweet spot for current Marriott card offers.

Marriott Bonvoy Business™ American Express® Card
Marriott Bonvoy Business™ American Express® Card
Annual Fee$125
Welcome Bonus Limited Time Offer: Earn 100,000 Marriott Bonvoy points after you use your new Card to make $5,000 in purchases within the first 3 months.
  • Limited Time Offer: Earn 100,000 Marriott Bonvoy points after you use your new Card to make $5,000 in purchases within your first 3 months of Card Membership. Earn up to $150 in statement credits within your first 6 months of Card Membership for all eligible purchases on your Card on U.S. Advertising in select Media. Plus receive complimentary Marriott Bonvoy Platinum Elite status for one year (February 1, 2021-January 31, 2022). Offer ends 1/13/21.
  • 6x points at participating Marriott Bonvoy hotels.
  • 4x points at U.S. restaurants, at U.S. gas stations, on wireless telephone services purchased directly from U.S. service providers and on U.S. purchases for shipping. 2x points on all other eligible purchases.
  • Receive 1 Free Night Award every year after your Card account anniversary. Plus, earn an additional Free Night Award after you spend $60K in purchases on your Card in a calendar year. Awards can be used for one night (redemption level at or under 35,000 Marriott Bonvoy points) at a participating hotel. Certain hotels have resort fees.
  • Terms apply.
  • Rates & Fees
  • 6x points at participating Marriott Bonvoy hotels
  • 4x points at U.S. restaurants, at U.S. gas stations, on wireless telephone services purchased directly from U.S. service providers and on U.S. purchases for shipping
  • 2x points on all other purchases

Learn more about this offer: Earn Up To 125k Marriott Points and Platinum Elite Status

Hilton Honors American Express Surpass® Card

The Hilton Honors American Express Surpass® Card (review) falls squarely in the middle of Hilton's co-branded card offerings. It easily justifies its $95 annual fee (Rates & Fees) by offering a free weekend night reward every year. Add in lucrative bonus categories and complimentary elite status, and you can understand why it's a favorite among Hilton fans.

Moreover, many of the best hotel cards are issued by Chase. That means that anyone that's gotten more than 5 cards in the past 24 months is locked out of getting those excellent bonuses. However, Hilton cards are issued by American Express—which doesn't turn away potential new cardholders based on cards you've gotten from other banks. That said, beware of Amex's once-per-lifetime rule.

While this offer has been around for a while, the value still holds up compared to other, less common hotel card offers.

Hilton Honors American Express Surpass® Card
Hilton Honors American Express Surpass® Card
Apply Now
Rates & Fees
(Terms apply)
Hilton Honors American Express Surpass® Card
Annual Fee$95
Welcome Bonus Earn 130,000 Bonus Points after you use your new Card to make $2,000 in eligible purchases within the first 3 months of Card Membership.
  • Earn 130,000 Hilton Honors Bonus Points with the Hilton Honors American Express Surpass® 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.
  • Rates & Fees
  • 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
  • 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
  • 3X Hilton Honors Bonus Points for all other eligible purchases on your Card

Learn more about this offer: Extract Maximum Value from the Amex Hilton Surpass Card

The Hilton Honors American Express Business Card

If Chase has you worried about your 5/24 status, there's another option. The Hilton Honors American Express Business Card (review) offers a similar welcome bonus to the Hilton Surpass with the same lifetime rules. However, unlike the Hilton Surpass, the Hilton Business Card won't show up on your personal credit report. That makes it a way to get a similar bonus and similar benefits without the adverse effect on your Chase 5/24 limit.

The Hilton Honors American Express Business Card
The Hilton Honors American Express Business Card
Apply Now
Rates & Fees
(Terms apply)
The Hilton Honors American Express Business Card
Annual Fee$95
Welcome Bonus Earn 130,000 Bonus Points after you spend $3,000 in eligible purchases on the Card in the first 3 months of Card Membership.
  • Welcome Offer: Earn 130,000 Hilton Honors Bonus Points with the Hilton Honors American Express Business Card after you spend $3,000 in eligible purchases on the Card in the first 3 months of Card Membership.
  • Earn Hilton Honors Bonus Points for each dollar of eligible purchases on your Card: 12X at hotels and resorts in the Hilton portfolio, 6X on Select Business & Travel Purchases, 3X on all other eligible purchases. Terms & Limitations Apply.
  • Enjoy complimentary Gold Status with your Hilton Honors Business Card.
  • Earn a Weekend Night Reward from Hilton Honors after you spend $15,000 in purchases on your Card in a calendar year.
  • Earn another Weekend Night Reward from Hilton Honors after you spend an additional $45,000 in purchases on your Card in the same calendar year.
  • Relax with 10 free airport lounge visits each year once enrolled in complimentary Priority Pass™ Select membership, which offers access to over 1,000 lounges in over 120 countries.
  • Terms apply.
  • Rates & Fees
  • 12X at hotels and resorts in the Hilton portfolio
  • 6X on Select Business & Travel Purchases
  • 3X Everywhere Else

Comparing These Hotel Credit Card Offers

Of the two IHG offers, I'm most struck by the IHG Rewards Premier Card. In addition to the 140,000-point bonus, the $89 annual fee (which is waived for the first year) grants cardholders an annual free night worth up to 40,000 points. It's hard to find a decent hotel for less than this annual fee. So, if you stay with IHG one night a year, the card can pay for itself. Though if you're annual fee avoidant, earning 100,000 points with the IHG Rewards Traveler Card for no annual fee is also a spectacular offer.

Lastly, I like the two Hilton cards for their accessibility. They differentiate themselves from Chase's offerings due to Amex's less restrictive application rules. Basically, if you haven't had the card before, you're probably eligible for the welcome offer now.

Final Thoughts

When it comes to hotel loyalty, I fall into the camp of people who like to build entire trips out of aspirational hotel redemptions. Each of these cards can offer a shortcut to a luxury hotel redemption, particularly the Marriott cards that offer complimentary top tier elite status.

Just make sure that before you apply for a hotel card, be sure to consider your stay preferences and future travel plans.

Which kind of bonus do you prefer: free nights or points?

For rates and fees of the cards mentioned in this post, please visit the following links: Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant™ American Express® Card (Rates & Fees), Marriott Bonvoy Business™ American Express® Card (Rates & Fees), Hilton Honors American Express Surpass® Card (Rates & Fees), and The Hilton Honors American Express Business Card (Rates & Fees)

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Comments

  • Avatar

    In the past I earned HHonors Diamond the hard way, via annual stays. I have since used Amex Aspire to gain this status by virtue of holding this card. My question about this and any other status via a credit card – do the hotel front desk agents or CS agents know if you have status via the “hard” way or the credit card way? I’ve wondered if they could see this data and grant or deny room upgrades based on this information, if they can even see such. Of course, in my years of being a HHonors Diamond I almost always get an upgrade (basically a better view or similar) and a slightly extended checkout time (never anything like Marriott’s guaranteed 4PM though) but rarely, very rarely, have I received an upgrade to a suite.

    Thanks all!

  • Avatar

    Erik

    I think it probably depends on the competence and willingness of agent.
    I had one Marriott agent tell me they would research and get back with me – they never did .
    However, when I called in with the certificate number, reservation confirmation, and cancelation number I was able to get certificate restored while on phone.

    I now have the post by date for each credit card free night certificate as repeating event in in my online calendar with a reminder to call Hilton, IHG or Marriott and get the number for my spreadsheet. Tracking these would be so much simpler if hotels chains posted your certificate number online but obviously it is to their advantage to make accountability as difficult as possible so certificates expire unused.

    Unless I have missed it on website Hilton does not even post certificates online or allow online booking with them.
    Yet, they pressed customers to accept them in lieu of long delayed cash refunds for Covid cancelations.

  • Avatar
    Nelson Pirolo says:

    Very useful information. The comparison is very good and easy to follow. Thanks!

  • Avatar

    I’m happy to do a couple of these to hoard the miles for a year or two from now, but it’s a bit of a shame to mostly miss out on the status benefits in the meantime (both due to limited travel and because several brands have suspended some).

  • Avatar

    if you do this offer call Marriott an get all the certificate numbers as soon as they post

    KEEP RECORDS!

    When you cancel reservation made with a certificate it often does not (as promised) automatically be returned to your account.

    If you do not have the certificate number your are SOL.

    Watch out for “amenity fees” (a scam to understate the hotel’s $ rate)

    Some properties are currently waiving or reducing these due to Covid restrictions on pools and gym use – but not all properties are.

    Call hotel directly and ask about amenity fee. Also get hotels email and email the question with your stay date so you have a written response.

    On the plus side

    Marriott (exclusively) does have a really great flexible award search to help you find best $ value of where to use your certificate

    Do not forget to factor in that award stays not generally subject to tax.

    • Avatar

      Thanks Jon. I noticed one of my certificates didn’t return after cancellation. Others have said agents can see them if you call. I haven’t called yet about mine. You had trouble tracking one down without a cert #?

  • Avatar

    I feel like a lot of these reward cards have severely cut back on their value of purchase to reward point values

  • Avatar

    Wow! These offers are really good right now. If I have the old Marriott visa for $89 annual fee with free Anniversary award nights, an I eligible for the bonus offer?

  • Avatar

    Recommend Hilton Surpass from my personal experience.

  • Avatar

    I got the IHG traveler card recently when it was 75k. I politely asked if they would give me the increased bonus — they did and the 100k hit my account a few days ago (I had just finished the spend when the new bonus was announced.). I thought that was very classy of them. So it never hurts to ask.

  • Avatar

    Lots of great card offers and lower frequent flyer miles requirements. I am Leary of any travel until we either get better testing or a vaccine.

  • Avatar

    Aren’t the Amex offers for each card just once per lifetime?

  • Avatar

    Would much rather have 250K Marriott points as opposed to five certificates. Would prefer to have the flexibility of using the points at higher end properties or just saving them knowing they don’t *have* to be used within a year, especially in COVID times.

  • Avatar

    Too bad almost all international is still shut down to Americans greatly diminishing the value of cards like these

  • Avatar

    I prefer free nights as a heavy user.

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    Hyatt points are more valuable. Wish it has a card with no annual fee.

  • Avatar

    Oh How I wish that many of these card offers were applicable to me in Canada, we have some but not nearly with these benifits.

  • Avatar

    I think the boundless card takes it here but would prefer a lower minimum spend. Loved the old Hyatt card with 2 free nights after I think a 2 or 3k spend