What Does the Perfect Hotel Credit Card Look Like?

Posted in Hotel Rewards Programs - Reward 101, Hotel Rewards Programs

hotel credit card

Picking out a hotel credit card can be a difficult task. Most offer great benefits, whether it’s a large sign-up bonus, automatic elite status or even free nights on your cardholder anniversary. The problem is that none of them are perfect, as there will always be benefits we’d enjoy that aren’t included.

Let’s take a look at the benefits that would make up the perfect hotel credit card. Knowing the best perks available will help you determine whether it’s worth opening any one hotel rewards credit card offered.

Read these 6 reasons why you need to join a hotel reward program >>>

6 Best Hotel Credit Card Features

1. Generous Sign-Up Bonus

The sign-up bonus is probably the most important feature when comparing different credit cards. Card issuers use it as a major marketing opportunity, which is probably why the average cash-back bonus had increased by 14.26 percent in the fourth quarter of 2014 compared to the previous year, according to CardHub. Hotel credit cards offer sign-up bonuses in two different forms: The card issuer can either offer a set number of free nights or it can offer hotel points once you sign up and spend a certain amount.

Hyatt currently has one of the most lucrative sign-up bonuses available. You will receive two free nights at any of its properties worldwide. Being able to stay at any hotel, no matter what brand, is extremely valuable and can make booking your trip on rewards significantly easier.

2. Bonus Points for Category Spending

Any credit card can offer a single point per dollar spent, but that won’t give consumers a lot of value and it definitely won’t help the card stand out from the rest. Instead, for a card to be exceptional, it should offer a generous point system not only for purchases made on hotel stays, but also for other everyday expenses.

A feature that makes some cards stand out is that they offer bonus points within specific categories. It could be grocery or drug stores, or even restaurants. Offering category bonuses helps many obtain points more quickly on regular expenses, rather than exclusively on reward bookings.

3. Automatic Elite Status

Even if you don’t spend a lot of time traveling for work or pleasure, you want your hotel stay to be as luxurious as possible. Therefore, receiving elite status for being a cardholder is a worthwhile signing perk.

Most hotel credit cards offer their cardholders some type of elite status. Unfortunately, it’s usually lower tiered and only includes the basics like free internet or late checkout. To get higher-tiered status you often need to spend $20,000 to $40,000 during the year, a spending limit that’s hard to achieve for many.

Instead of requiring large amounts of spending each year, a tiered system is ideal.

  • Spend $10,000 per year for one free suite upgrade
  • Spend $20,000 per year for two free suite upgrades
  • Spend $30,000 per year for three free suite upgrades
  • Spend $40,000 per year for four free suite upgrades

4. Free Anniversary Nights

Everyone wants to earn free nights when they sign up for a credit card, but being rewarded for being a loyal customer is important as well. The perfect hotel credit card offers its cardholders a free night on their anniversary dates. The following cards offer this perk or the equivalent, though some require you spend a certain amount on the card annually:

  • Citi Hilton HHonors Reserve
  • Hyatt Visa
  • IHG Rewards Club Select Visa
  • Marriott Rewards Premier Visa Signature
  • Club Carlson Premier Rewards Visa Signature

The IHG Rewards Visa and Citi Hilton HHonors Reserve cards go over and above by making the free anniversary night available at any hotel worldwide.

5. Lack of Annual Fees

No one likes to pay an annual fee on his credit card, however, most cards that offer high rewards always do. Banks make most of their money from the finance charges that customers accrue. Instead of charging nearly $100 per year the ideal card would eliminate the fee altogether.

6. No Foreign Transactions Fees

Most frequent travelers don’t just stay inside the United States, they tend to travel all throughout the world. If a credit card charges foreign transaction fees, then cardholders might as well just leave it at home. The perfect credit card eliminates these fees for its cardholders.

It’s no secret that hotel credit cards offer a lot of attractive benefits to entice sign up. While there are many exceptional hotel credit cards, none of them are perfect. Finding out what you most care about will help you select a rewards card that works for you.