Hotel Credit Cards

In the interest of full disclosure, One Mile At A Time earns a referral bonus for anyone that’s approved through some of the below links. These are the best publicly available offers that we have found for each card. Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of the bank, credit card issuer, airlines or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities. Please check out my advertiser policy for further details about our partners, including American Express, Chase, and Citi, and thanks for your support!


Club Carlson Gold Points

Club Carlson Premier Rewards Visa Signature® Card

Current offer: 50,000 points after the first purchase, 35,000 additional points after spending $2,500 within 90 days
Annual fee: $75 (personal) and $60 (business)
Foreign transaction fees: 3%

Card bonuses: 10x points per dollar spent at Club Carlson properties, 5x points per dollar spent on everything else; 40,000 bonus points upon account anniversary; Club Carlson Gold status for as long as you have the card and 15 nights towards Concierge status if you already have Gold status
Why it’s a great offer: If you frequent Club Carlson properties this could very well be the most useful credit card you’ll have.

Club Carlson Business Rewards Visa Card

Current offer: 50,000 points after the first purchase, 35,000 additional points after spending $2,500 within 90 days
Annual fee: $75 (personal) and $60 (business)
Foreign transaction fees: 3%

Card bonuses: 10x points per dollar spent at Club Carlson properties, 5x points per dollar spent on everything else; 40,000 bonus points upon account anniversary; Club Carlson Gold status for as long as you have the card and 15 nights towards Concierge status if you already have Gold status
Why it’s a great offer: If you frequent Club Carlson properties this could very well be the most useful credit card you’ll have.


Fairmont President’s Club

Fairmont Visa Signature Credit Card

Current offer: Two free nights at any Fairmont property including breakfast after spending $3,000 within three months
Annual fee: $95
Foreign transaction fees: none

Card bonuses: 5x points per dollar spent at Fairmont, 2x points per dollar spent on airlines, car rentals, and on transit; annual free night after spending $12,000 on the card annually; Fairmont Premier status for as long as you have the card
Why it’s a good offer: This card offers a great sign-up bonus, as there are some really phenomenal Fairmont properties around the world.


Hilton HHonors

Citi® Hilton HHonors Reserve Card

Current offer: Two free weekend nights at most Hilton family properties after spending $2,500 within four months of account opening.
Annual fee: $95
Foreign transaction fees: $0

Card bonuses: 10x points on Hilton stays, 5x points per $1 spent on airline and rental car purchases; 3x points on everything else
Why it’s a great offer:
These free night certificates are redeemable all the way up to Category 10 properties, potentially making this sign-up bonus worth the equivalent of 190,000 Hilton HHonors points. In terms of buying power, the value of these certificates has hugely increased compared to the buying power of HHonors points. Furthermore you get HHonors Gold status for as long as you have the card, which gets you free breakfast and internet. As far as I’m concerned those are the two most useful hotel elite benefits, and you get that all for the low annual fee on the card.

Hilton HHonors™ Card from American Express

Current offer: Earn 50,000 Hilton HHonors(TM) Bonus Points after you spend $750 in purchases on the Card within your first 3 months of Card Membership.
Annual fee: $0
Foreign transaction fees: 2.70%

Card bonuses: 7x points per dollar spent at Hilton properties; 5x points per dollar at U.S. restaurants, U.S. gas stations, and U.S. supermarkets; 3x points per dollar spent on everything else; Hilton Silver status for as long as you have the card; Spend $20,000 on eligible purchases on your Card in a calendar year and you can earn HHonors Gold status through the end of the next calendar year.
Why it’s a good offer: This card gets you access to Hilton’s AXON awards, whereby you can redeem 145,000 points for four nights at any category seven Hilton property. This card is worth keeping just for that, given that it doesn’t have an annual fee. Terms and Restrictions Apply. See Rates & Fees


Hyatt Gold Passport

The Hyatt Credit Card

Current offer: Two free nights at any Hyatt property after spending $1,000 within three months
Annual fee: $0 Intro Annual Fee, after that $75.
Foreign transaction fees: none

Card bonuses: Annual free night certificate valid at category 1-4 Hyatt properties; Hyatt Platinum membership for as long as you have the card, which offers free internet and other benefits; 3x points on Hyatt spend, 2x points on dining, airline, and car rental purchases; two stay credits and five night credits towards status after spending $20,000 on the card annually; another three stay credits and five night credits after spending $40,000 on the card annually
Why it’s a great offer: Hyatt’s top properties go for 22,000 points per night, or 33,000 points per night in a suite. So this sign-up bonus is potentially worth the equivalent of 44,000 Gold Passport points for base members, or 66,000 Gold Passport points for Diamond members. This card is also worth keeping long term for the annual free night certificate, which more than justifies the $75 annual fee.


IHG Rewards Club

IHG® Rewards Club Select Credit Card

Current offer: Earn 60,000 bonus points after you spend $1,000 on purchases in the first 3 months of account opening.
Annual fee: $0 introductory annual fee the first year, then $49
Foreign transaction fee: 0%

Card bonuses: Earn 5 points per $1 spent when you stay at IHG hotels. Earn 2 points per $1 spent on purchases at gas stations, grocery stores & restaurants. Earn 1 point for every $1 spent on all other purchases. Enjoy a free night each year of card membership at over 4,900 hotels worldwide. Bonus points redeemable at hotels such as Intercontinental® Hotels & Resorts, Crowne Plaza® Hotels & Resorts and Holiday Inn®.
Why it’s a good offer: The annual free night certificate valid at any IHG property and Platinum elite status for as long as you have the card make this a winner, especially given how low the annual fee is.


Marriott Rewards

Marriott Rewards® Premier Credit Card

Current offer: Earn 80,000 Marriott Rewards points after spending $3,000 within three months. Plus, earn 7,500 bonus points when you add the first authorized user and make a purchase in the first 3 months from account opening.
Annual fee: $85
Foreign transaction fee: $0

Card bonuses: Earn 5 points per $1 spent at participating Marriott locations & 2 points per $1 spent on airline tickets purchased directly with the airlines, at car rental agencies & restaurants; Earn 1 point per $1 spent everywhere else; annual free night at any category 1-5 property; 15 night credits towards status annually upon account anniversary; additional one night credit towards status for every $3,000 spent
Why it’s a good offer: The annual free night certificate and nights towards elite status annually make this card a keeper.


Ritz-Carlton Rewards

The Ritz-Carlton Rewards® Credit Card

Current offer: Earn 3 Complimentary Nights at any participating Tier 1-4 Ritz-Carlton hotel after spending $5,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. A $300 annual travel credit to use for qualifying airline purchases such as seat upgrades, baggage fees and preferred lounge memberships or passes. A complimentary $100 credit for qualifying dining, spa or other hotel recreational activities on paid stays of 2 nights or longer. A complimentary annual Priority Pass™ Select membership with access to over 900 VIP airport lounges in over 400 cities worldwide (~$399 retail value).
Annual fee: $450
Foreign transaction fees:  0%

Card bonuses: 5 points per $1 spent at any participating Ritz-Carlton hotel or our worldwide partner hotels, including EDITION,® JW Marriott,® Autograph Collection® Hotels, Renaissance® Hotels and Marriott Hotels®. 2 points per $1 spent on airline tickets purchased directly with the airline, and at car rental agencies and restaurants. 1 point per $1 spent on all other purchases.
Why it’s a good offer: While the annual fee on the card is high, it comes with lots of great benefits, such as automatic Gold Elite status during your first account year and each account year thereafter when you spend $10,000 on your card, and the ability to upgrade to The Ritz-Carlton Club® level 3 times annually on paid stays of up to 7 nights.


Starwood Preferred Guest

Starwood Preferred Guest® Credit Card from American Express

Current offer: Earn 25,000 bonus Starpoints® after you use your new Card to make $3,000 in purchases within the first 3 months
Annual fee: $0 introductory annual fee for the first year, then $95.
Foreign transaction fees: 0%

Card bonuses: Earn free nights at over 1,300 hotels and resorts in nearly 100 countries with no blackout dates. Some hotels may have mandatory service and resort charges. Earn up to 5 Starpoints on purchases at participating SPG hotels — that’s 2 Starpoints for which you may be eligible as a Card Member in addition to the 2 or 3 Starpoints for which you may be eligible as an SPG member. Two stay credits and five night credits towards elite status with Starwood annually per card (you can get both cards for four stay credits and 10 night credits towards elite status annually); Starwood Gold status after spending $30,000 on the card annually; Enjoy complimentary, unlimited Boingo Wi-Fi at more than 1,000,000 Boingo hotspots worldwide (Enrollment required).
Why it’s a great offer: Starpoints are incredible versatile, and are probably my favorite all-around flexible points currency. The four stay credits and 10 night credits towards status with Starwood annually for having both cards (personal and business) are also invaluable to me. Terms and conditions apply. See Rates & Fees

Starwood Preferred Guest® Business Credit Card from American Express

Current offer: Earn 25,000 bonus Starpoints® after you use your new Card to make $5,000 in purchases within the first 3 months. Note: A select few resorts require add’l fees.
Annual fee: $0 introductory annual fee for the first year, then $95
Foreign transaction fees: 0%

Card bonuses: Two stay credits and five night credits towards elite status with Starwood annually per card (you can get both cards for four stay credits and 10 night credits towards elite status annually); Starwood Gold status after spending $30,000 on the card annually; Boingo WiFi access pass; Access to Sheraton Club lounges on eligible stays.
Why it’s a good offer: Starpoints are incredible versatile, and are probably my favorite all-around flexible points currency. The four stay credits and 10 night credits towards status with Starwood annually for having both cards (personal and business) are also invaluable to me. Terms and conditions apply. See Rates & Fees


Non-Affiliate Product Disclaimer: The information for the Fairmont Visa Signature® Card, Marriott Rewards® Visa® and The Hyatt Credit Card has been collected independently by One Mile At A Time. The card details on this page have not been reviewed or provided by the card issuer.

Comments

  1. The offer from Fairmont appears to have gone up to $3,000 spend unless your linking to something other than the public offer.

  2. Hilton Surpass Card now offers Hilton Gold status not only for the first year of card membership, but for the duration of card membership, doesn’t it?

  3. Ben, I have both the Hilton Amex Surpass card and the SPG Amex card. But recently I’ve noticed that both charge foreign transaction fees. Normally, that’s not a big deal, as I would just not use those cards when I travel outside the U.S., since I have other cards that don’t charge such fees.

    But it strikes me as odd that I can’t really use my SPG Amex to pay for my hotel when I stay at a Starwood property outside the U.S. And same goes for staying at a Hilton property in a foreign location. I usually like to use my affinity card when I stay at one of those chains because of the bonus points you get, but in this case, I don’t think the bonus points are worth the high foreign transaction fees.

    Doesn’t this seem like a major oversight on the part of Hilton and Starwood to allow Amex to charge fees that provide incentives for cardholders to NOT use those cards at their properties outside the U.S.? Do you know if this is something the chains are aware of and maybe planning to change at some point in the future?

    I sent an email to Amex complaining about this issue, but I just get a boilerplate response that tells me Amex offers many cards that don’t charge foreign exchange fees and I should just use one of those. Again, I’m not sure Starwood and Hilton would be very happy if they saw Amex urging customers to use competitive products!

  4. Ben,is the fee still waived the first year for the Fairmont card? I clicked through your link, and I don’t see anything on the landing page or pricing / t&c pages indicating that the fee is waived first year . . . But maybe I’m just missing something?

    Thank you for your great content, and happy to use your link if the fee waiver offer is still working.

  5. My gf and I will be travelling to Africa in September, and this trip will include a 3 night stay in Botswana for safari along the Chobe River. Are any of the major hotel rewards programs useful for staying at any of the lodges/chalets in this area, or is this a job for just using Barclay Arrival+ miles to defray the net cost?

    Btw, I have been trying to access the Ask Lucky page but I just get a blank page whether I use Chrome or IE. Is there a certain browser that is best for viewing the page?

  6. @ Kenny — In that case Barclaycard Arrival miles are indeed your best bet. Hmmm, if you’re still having issues accessing the page, mind sending me an email? Very odd…

  7. Hi, I read your experience about staying in Grand Hyatt Hong Kong. And now thinking about to apply Hyatt visa card as it offers 2 free nights to stay at any Hyatt properties. However, when I read the terms and condition, it said free nights only apply to “Standard” room. When I check the Grand Hyatt Hong Kong for reservation. The room type only has Grand King or Club King but no standard. Does it mean the 2 free night cannot be applied to Grand Hyatt Hong Kong? I also checked other two Hyatt properties in Hong Kong ( There are only 3 properties available in Hong Kong) None of them came out with any Standard room. Do you know the 2 free nights are not able to apply to Grand Hyatt Hong Kong or any other properties in Hong Kong?

    Thanks.

  8. @ Coolgo — In the case of the Grand Hyatt, the Grand King is a standard room. Similarly at a Hyatt Regency, a Regency King will often be the standard room.

  9. Hi Lucky,

    Thanks for your advice!

    I was wondering if I can use the 2 free night certificates to upgrade to Club king room or suite which include access to Grand Club lounge and breakfast with the platinum membership status I earned from Hyatt visa card? Or can I pay the difference with points to upgrade to Club King room? I looked at the gold passport reservation page the standard room for Grand deluxe king is 25000 points and Club King is 33000 points. Can I transfer points from my AE or Chase to gold passport.

  10. Fairmont 1st year is waived.

    My husband and I were approved for a Fairmont card. I paid two work invoice and got reimbursed for them. We are off to Canada and staying at the Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise for free and a zero balance.

    Question: how long should i wait until i can cancel the card?

  11. does buying amex giftcards through their portal count towards them minimum spend for this card? when i got the card in the email, on of the papers said that I’d get no starpoints for purchasing “cash equivalents”, which I am thinking giftcards are.

  12. Ben,

    I was going to use your link to sign up for the AmEx Hilton Surpass but the link it takes me to says the bonus is only for 60,000. Do you have an updated link? Thanks!

  13. I really enjoy your page and articles, but i must admit im a little bummed to notice that you dont seem to keep up with the credit card offers. A few of these (havent checked the rest) are out of date offers and currently will be losing people possible points. I understand you have a lot of stuff you work on, just almost seems like you shouldnt have this section on your page though if your not going to keep it update. Like i said I do enjoy your blog, read it almost daily, just this part was a little saddening because I wanted to help and click on your link, but decided to go elsewhere because I realized your info was incorrect.

  14. If I sign up for both the Starwood Preferred AMEX and Starwood biz Amex, will I be able to claim both sign up bonuses towards the same account or will it be 2 different ones?

  15. @ Joe — You can absolutely claim it towards the same account. Let me know if you have any other questions.

  16. What does “The four stay credits and 10 night credits towards status with Starwood annually for having both cards (personal and business) are also invaluable to me,” mean? Can you point to to a definition of a ‘stay credit and night credit?’

    THANKS,
    Jeff

  17. Hey Lucky,

    I love the blog! I’ve always been fairly savvy with credit cards; however, your blog took my understanding of how to maximize the benefits to the next level. I’ve been making a point to use your links to apply. I happened to notice Hilton is doing a better promotion than your link has through the hhonors site with Amex. It is only until the end of the month so it isn’t too big of a deal, but I figured you would appreciate the heads up.

    https://www262.americanexpress.com/dapply/partner/preacq/hil/hil-105/carddetails/#/cshop

    Josh

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