What Can You Expect From Hotel Credit Cards?
Rewards earning: About 83% of hotel credit cards earn at least 1.5 points per dollar on hotel purchases.
Rewards redemption: You can redeem hotel rewards flexibly with about 72% of hotel credit cards, either with cash back or through a program that offers redemption or transfer options. Others earn rewards that can be redeemed with multiple partners, such as with a hotel group’s brands.
Sign-up bonus value: You can earn a sign-up bonus worth at least $500 with about 52% of hotel credit cards. All but one card offer a sign-up bonus of at least $100.
Annual fee: You’ll pay an annual fee with 66% of hotel cards, but about 17% of them waive the annual fee the first year.
APR: A minimum APR of 15% to 18.99% is typical for hotel credit cards, as 79% have a minimum APR within this range.
Benefits: Expect excellent benefits from about 59% of hotel credit cards, with perks such as a free hotel stay, hotel status or a travel credit.
How Do Hotel Credit Cards Work?
As you spend with a hotel card, you earn points that can be redeemed for free award nights and other rewards with the hotel or its partners. Most co-branded hotel cards award the most points for spending with the affiliated hotel brand, while general travel cards usually offer a flat rate on all purchases or a higher rate for specific categories, such as travel or dining.
Free award nights are typically the greatest appeal of hotel credit cards, but that’s not all they have to offer. Some hotel cards carry automatic hotel loyalty status, which may provide perks such as late checkout, free room upgrades, complimentary breakfast and guaranteed room availability.
Types of hotel credit cards
Co-branded: A hotel chain may partner with a credit card company to offer a co-branded card that earns the most points through spending at one of the chain’s properties. Points must be redeemed with the hotel brand, although many general travel rewards programs and some hotel loyalty programs allow point transfers to airlines or other partners.
Use of a co-branded hotel card is an excellent way to earn points for a hotel’s loyalty program, as cardholders often earn rewards at a higher rate. Depending on the card, new users may start at the lowest membership level or receive an advanced status level upon sign-up.
The following are some of the most popular co-branded hotel cards:
General travel: General travel cards have their own rewards programs and are not attached to specific hotel brands. They may award travel spending at an elevated rate compared with everyday spending or offer a flat earning rate on all purchases. Rewards can be redeemed for statement credits on travel purchases or for trips booked through the issuer’s travel portal, or they can be transferred to travel partners. Other redemption options, such as cash back, gift cards or merchandise, may be available.
The following are some of the