The right hotel credit card is different from one person to the next. These tips can help you find the best hotel credit card or travel credit card for your needs.
Choosing a Hotel
Make sure you know which hotel brand would work best with where you want to travel. Before you apply for a travel credit card affiliated with a specific hotel brand, take the time to see where each brand has properties around the world. It’s very common for one hotel brand to work better than others based on where the bulk of their properties reside, whether that’s mostly in the U.S., in Europe or somewhere else.
If you’re unsure which hotel brand might fit best with your travel plans, make sure to consider flexible cards that let you redeem your rewards for various types of hotel stays. Some let you transfer points to hotel partners or use your points to book travel through a portal, which means you’ll never be tied down.
What is a sign-up bonus?
Hotel credit cards frequently offer a one-time welcome bonus to new cardmembers who meet required spending amounts or other criteria. These bonuses vary by card and may come in the form of free night certificates or bonus points and are often valued at the equivalent rate of two free nights or more.
What is an earning rate?
Earning rates on hotel credit cards often look especially high, such as earning 10 or more points per dollar on select purchases. Since not all hotel points are created equal—and most are worth less than a cent a piece—it’s important to carefully consider the cash value of those earning rates before committing. It may look impressive, but be more in line with the competition when you look at the dollar amount.
That said, there are still some great deals to be found, especially if you can line up the earnings rate on bonus categories with purchases you tend to make anyway. All hotel credit cards reward spending at their line of hotels, but some others offer generous earnings on other purchase categories, too.
Frequent travelers in particular may make out like bandits when considering other benefits included on hotel credit cards.
Ultra-premium hotel cards may come with a ton of perks ranging from property credits to airport lounge access. If you’re thinking everyone would benefit from those, it’s true but it comes at a price.
Some of the best hotel cards come with high annual fees, which is something to keep in mind if you don’t travel often. If you only travel once or twice per year, luxury travel credit cards with high annual fees should likely be ruled out. These cards offer a ton of travel benefits and perks that are only worth it when you’re able to use them enough to justify the fee.