26
May

The Top 7.5 (yep, 7.5) Hotel Credit Cards

Posted By Trav

Maybe some day the Burj Al Arab will be part of a hotel loyalty program…one can hope!

[UPDATE: Some of these deals may have changed.  Please visit the Hotel Credit Cards page for the most up to date offers]

I’ll admit that I’m not the biggest proponent of hotel points, as I tend to concentrate on amassing airlines miles instead and also enjoy staying at boutique hotels or hostels when I’m traveling.  That being said, hotel points can be certainly provide great value and allow you stay in some really nice properties you couldn’t normally afford or cut accommodation costs big time when traveling.

As the number of top end airline cards I’m eligible for continue to dwindle as I get more and more, I’ll be looking to turn my attention to building up some hotel balances.  With that in mind, I’ve decided to put together a list of the top hotel signup bonuses currently available.

This list will be pretty objective, as I’m coming from the viewpoint of someone who has no elite status with any hotels nor any real loyalty to a specific brand.  In essence, I’m a clean slate when it comes to hotels.  Here’s how I’d rank the deals.

1.  Chase Marriott Rewards Premier Visa

Chase Marriott Rewards Premier Visa Application Link

Signup bonus:  50,000 Marriott points + 1 free night.

Minimum spend:  $1,000 in 3 months

Annual fee:  $0 annual fee the first year, $85 each year after that.

Extra perks:

  • Receive 1 free night (category 1-5) each year.
  • 15 nights credit towards elite status each year meaning you’ll get automatic Silver status (you’ll need 35 more nights to achieve Gold)

Redemption range for Marriott points:  7,500/night (category 1) to 40,000/night (category 8).

Foreign transaction fee:  0%

This card is great for:  Anyone who wishes to earn Marriott points quickly and likes the flexibility they provide across 8 categories.  Also, this is a good card anyone who might want to keep the card longer than a year, since the free night basically cancels out the $85 annual fee.

2.  Chase Priority Club

Chase Priority Club 60k application link

Signup bonus:  60,000 Priority Club points

Minimum spend:  $0.  Points post after your first use.

Annual fee:  $0 annual fee the first year, $49 after that.

Extra perks:

  • PointBreak properties- Every 2 months there is a new list of Priority Club properties that go on sale for only 5,000 points a night.  And these aren’t just their lower end properties;  the list often includes Intercontinental hotels, which are their top end hotels.  If you can score stays at a PointBreak property, you are getting incredible value!  Here is the list of PointBreak properties that are currently available through July 31st.
  • 1 free night each year (any Priority Club hotel)
  • Complimentary Gold Status (early check in, late check out)

Redemption range for Priority Club points:  5,000/night (PointBreak) to 50,000/night.

Foreign transaction fee:  0%

This card is great for:  Anyone who loves flexibility (Priority Club includes 7 hotel chains and is the largest hotel conglomerate in the world) and who might be able to take advantage of a PointBreak property.  The value for this card is off the charts if plan a trip to a PointBreak property and is still pretty good even if you don’t.  The free night each year is also for any level hotel, an extra added perk.

3.  Chase Hyatt Passport Gold

Chase Hyatt Passport Gold application link

Signup bonus:  2 free nights.

Minimum spend:  None.  Points post after first purchase.

Annual fee:  $75 annual fee NOT waived the first year.

Extra perks:

  • Receive 1 free night (category 1-4) each year.
  • Automatic Platinum status (free internet access, late check out, premium rooms if available)

Redemption range for Hyatt points:  5,000/night (category 1) to 22,000/night (category 6).

Foreign transaction fee:  0%

This card is great for:  Anyone who wishes to spoil themselves at top-notch hotels and doesn’t mind paying an annual fee.  Because your 2 free nights can be at any Hyatt, its best to redeem at their best properties, such as the Park Hyatt Vendome, which can run $800 a night!

4.  Bank of America Virgin Atlantic card

BoA Virgin Atlantic card application link

Signup bonus:  50,000 Virgin Atlantic miles which transfer to 100,000 Hilton points

Minimum spend:

Annual fee:  $90 annual fee NOT waived the first year.

Extra perks:

  • Earn 1.5 VA miles (3 Hilton points)/$1 spent on all purchases

Redemption range for Hilton points:  7,500/night (category 1) to 50,000/night (category 7).

Foreign transaction fee:  1%

This card is great for:  Anyone who wants the biggest hotel signup bonus out there and doesn’t mind paying an annual fee for it.  No one card can match the 100,000 points you’ll get with this card, but you will have to pay the largest annual fee for it.

5.  Starwood Preferred Guest American Express

Amex SPG personal application link

Amex SPG business application link

Signup bonus:  25,000 SPG points

Minimum spend:  $5,000 in 6 months

Annual fee:  $0 annual fee the first year, $65 after that.

Extra perks:

  • Starwood Points and Cash allows you to pay a fraction of what the hotel would normally cost and also only use a small amount of your points.  You can stretch both your points and your cash!  Read more about it here.
  • Stay 4 nights using points, get the 5th night free!
  • 5 free nights towards elite status

Redemption range for SPG points:  2,000 (category 1)- 35,000 (category 7)

Foreign transaction fee:  3%

This card is great for:  Anyone who doesn’t mind meeting a minimum spend and also spending a little bit on a hotel room to stretch their points.  A huge perk of the SPG card is the Cash and Points option.  You can get a Category 5 hotel for $90 and only 4,800 SPG points, whereas that same hotel might cost $350 if you paid in cash or 16,000 if you paid in just SPG points.

6.  American Express Hilton Honors

Amex Hilton Hhonors application link

Signup bonus:  40,000 Hilton points

Minimum spend:  $750 in 3 months.

Annual fee:  No annual fee, ever.

Extra perks:

  • Complimentary Silver Status 

Redemption range for Hilton points:  7,500/night (category 1) to 50,000/night (category 7).

Foreign transaction fee:  3%

This card is great for:  Anyone who wants to get some Hilton points and never have to worry about paying an annual fee or canceling the card.  This is one of the few cards out there that doesn’t implement an annual fee after the first year, so if you are looking for something that is super low hassle and will get you started with Hilton points, this is a great card.

7A.  Bank of America Hawaiian Airlines Card

BoA Hawaiian Airlines card

Signup bonus:  35,000 Hawaiian Airlines miles which transfers to 70,000 Hilton points

Minimum spend:  $1,000 in 4 months

Annual fee:  $79 annual fee NOT waived the first year

Extra perks:

  • 2,000 Hawaiian airlines miles each year (4,000 Hilton points)

Redemption range for Hilton points:  7,500/night (category 1) to 50,000/night (category 7).

Foreign transaction fee:  3%

This card is great for:  Anyone who wants to rack up Hilton points FAST and doesn’t mind paying an annual fee.    You can both this and the Bank of Hawaii Hawaiian Airlines card listed below (they are the same card, but different lenders, so you can get both of them at the same time) and pull in a total of 140,000 Hilton points for $158 ($79 annual fee for each).

7B.  Bank of Hawaii Hawaiian Airlines Card

BoH Hawaiian Airlines card

Signup bonus:  35,000 Hawaiian Airlines miles which transfers to 70,000 Hilton points

Minimum spend:  $1,000 in 4 months

Annual fee:  $79 annual fee NOT waived the first year

Extra perks:

  • 2,000 Hawaiian airlines miles each year (4,000 Hilton points)

Redemption range for Hilton points:  7,500/night (category 1) to 50,000/night (category 7).

Foreign transaction fee:  3%

This card is great for:  Anyone who wants to rack up Hilton points FAST and doesn’t mind paying an annual fee.    You can both this and the Bank of America Hawaiian Airlines card listed above (they are the same card, but different lenders, so you can get both of them at the same time) and pull in a total of 140,000 Hilton points for $158 ($79 annual fee for each).

Have a favorite hotel or signup bonus that you want to defend?  Think my rankings are dead on (or totally whack)?  Let us know in the comments below.

Disclaimer: This content is not provided or commissioned by the credit card issuer. Opinions expressed here are author’s alone, not those of the credit card issuer, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the credit card issuer. This site may be compensated through the credit card issuer Affiliate Program.

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