When you're in the market for a travel credit card, it's easy to become overwhelmed with your options. You've got flexible travel credit cards, fixed-value travel cards, airline credit cards, and hotel credit cards to choose from, after all. Since these offers can be drastically different, it can be difficult to compare.
But if you want free hotel stays specifically, there are few options that would leave you better off than a hotel credit card. Not only do hotel credit cards let you remain loyal to your favorite brand, but they come with unreal benefits to boot.
If you're on the fence about adding a hotel credit card to your portfolio, here are a few reasons you should go ahead and pull the trigger.
Reason #1: You Can Earn Hotel Points Redeemable for Free Nights, Room Upgrades and More
While each hotel credit card doles out points in its own way, they all let you rack up points redeemable to free hotel stays and upgrades. Take the Starwood Preferred Guest® Credit Card from American Express, for example. Once you sign up, you'll earn up to 5 points for each dollar spent at Starwood properties and 1 point per dollar spent elsewhere. Over time, and if you use your card regularly, the points you earn can add up to several free nights rather quickly.
Reason #2: Some Hotel Credit Cards Let You Earn Special Status
If you're extremely loyal to one brand, it makes sense to try to earn status with that brand. With special status, you can qualify for special incentives, access to deals and discounts, room upgrades and more. Some hotel credit cards give you special status just for holding their co-branded hotel credit card and nothing else. The Citi® Hilton HHonors™ Visa Signature® Card is a good example. With this card, you'll get Hilton HHonors silver status automatically.
Reason #3: Signup Bonuses Can Be Huge
While ongoing rewards can let you earn lots of free travel, most cards offer a huge signup bonus to lure you in. Depending on the card, these signup bonuses can be worth several free nights or more. Most of the time, you need to spend a certain amount of money within three months to earn them, so you should make sure these offers make sense with your finances before you dive in.
Reason #4: You Might Get a Freebie Every Year
While many hotel credit cards let you earn ongoing rewards and an epic signup bonus, some keep doling out the rewards year after year. A good example of this is the IHG® Rewards Club Select credit card. With this card, you'll earn 1-5 points for every dollar you spend, a large signup bonus to incentivize you, and a free night at any InterContinental Hotels Group property each year on your account anniversary.
Reason #5: Some Hotel Cards Give You Additional Perks
With the best hotel credit cards, the rewards keep coming. Depending on which card you have, you could earn even more perks for playing along. Some cards offer a free "welcome gift" when you show up for your stay, for example, while others promise to upgrade your room depending on availability. Which perks you'll get depends on which card you sign up for, so make sure to do your research ahead of time.
Reason #6: You Can Pair Some of These Cards for Even More Rewards
While the Chase Sapphire Preferred® isn't a hotel credit card, the points you earn can transfer to certain hotel loyalty programs at a 1:1 ratio. Included hotel loyalty programs are Hyatt, Marriott, IHG, and Ritz Carlton. Obviously, this makes having the Chase Sapphire Preferred® and a co-branded hotel credit card ideal. With both cards in your wallet, you can maximize your rewards and earn more points over time.
In the world of travel credit cards, hotel credit cards have earned their place. Not only do these cards let you score free travel, but you can get additional perks and benefits as well. Before you sign up, however, you should read the fine print and know your loyalty program inside and out.
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