The Starwood Preferred Guest® from American Express
This is one of the best cards for frequent travellers. Great rewards for hotel stays and nice benefits for points redemption on airfare included. Rewarding structure makes this card focused on hotel spendings; other options don’t bring that much rewards.
- Relatively low variable APR;
- Cost-efficient rewards offer for hotel stays;
- No foreign transaction fee;
- Opportunity to move towards elite Starwood Preferred Guest® (SPG®) status;
- List of benefits at SPG brand hotels, such as free in-room Wi-Fi.
- Best rewards available only if you stay at Starwood brand hotels (Sheraton, Westin, Four Points, etc.);
- annual fee waived for the first year.
To get a 25,000 points signup bonus, spend $2,000 within first 3 months. For each $1 spent on eligible purchases at Starwood properties you get 5 reward points. You also get 2 points per $1 – at Marriott properties, and 1 point per $1 for all other purchases.
The Starwood Preferred Guest® credit card truly shines when it comes to the redemption rates. If you redeem reward points for hotel stays at SPG® properties, you can reach redemption rate up to 2 cents per 1 points. Other redemption options are quite regular. The Starwood Preferred Guest® from American Express mostly is a card for SPG lovers who want to earn points to spend towards even more SPG® stays. In addition, this card grants you special benefits and perks when you stay at SPG® properties. For example, you get free in-room Wi-Fi (which costs $15 for regular customers).
The Starwood Preferred Guest® credit card is also quite valuable for points transfer on airfare. For each 20,000 points you transfer to one of the 30 SPG® airlines partners, you get additional 5,000 points on your account.
How much it costs
annual fee is waived for the first year. A variable APR applies according to your creditworthiness. % penalty APR to new transactions on your account might be applied (for at least 6 months) if you make any payment late or your payment is returned. Also up to $ fee might be charged for late or returned payments.
To learn more about The Starwood Preferred Guest® from American Express credit card, read our full review.
Marriott Rewards® Premier credit card
Great travel credit card that allows you to earn fat amount of points within two hotel brand chain – Marriott and SPG®. Provides huge signup bonus together with opportunity to move quite fast towards Elite status of Marriott loyalty program.
- Great rewards for hotel stays and spendings at Marriott and SPG® properties – 5 points per each $1;
- Huge 100,000 points signup bonus;
- Free night stay awarded each year;
- Opportunity to move towards Elite status;
- No foreign transaction fee.
- Highest amount of rewards might be earned only if you often stay at Marriott and SPG® properties.
The Marriott Rewards® Premier credit card comes with the one of the best signup bonuses among hotel credit cards – you get 100,000 points as soon as you spend $5,000 on this card within first 3 months. You get 5 reward points per each $1 spent at Marriott, Ritz-Carlton and SPG® properties, 2 points per each $1 spent towards airfare (if you buy directly at airlines), dining out and car rental agencies, and 1 points per $1 spent on all other purchases. Together with nice points earning rate, each year you get a complimentary night at Marriott properties (categories 1-5), and a free 5th night if you redeem your points for 4 consecutive night at Marriott properties.
The Marriott Rewards® Premier credit card allows you to reach Elite status of Marriott Rewards loyalty program. To do this, you have to earn 15 Elite credits (Silver status), 50 credits (Gold status), or 75 Elite credits (Platinum status). As usual, the more you spend on the card the faster you reach Elite status. To earn 1 Elite credit, spend $3,000 on this card. Plus, each year you get 15 Elite status automatically.
How much it costs
Variable APR on purchases and balance transfers will be applied based on your creditworthiness. Cash advance APR is %. Also, penalty fee up to $ (based on balance) might be charged for late payment, as well as $ fee might be applied for returned payments. Remember, that this card has shorter grace period as compared to most other credit cards – days.
To learn more about the Marriott Rewards® Premier credit card, read our full review.
The Ritz-Carlton Rewards® Credit Card
A premium credit card designed for customers striving for comfort and luxury services during a hotel stay. Also grant a juicy rewards for purchases within Ritz-Carlton, Marriott and SPG® properties together with huge signup bonus.
- Great sign bonus: 2 complimentary nights at Tier 1-4 hotels (equivalent of 120,000 reward points);
- Automatic Gold Elite status after first year, opportunity to move towards Platinum Elite status;
- Discounts on hotel services, round-trip domestic airfare, and travel-related services;
- % foreign transaction fee.
- High annual fee – .
The Ritz-Carlton Rewards® Credit Card grants you quite unusual signup bonus – E-certificate for 2 complimentary nights at Tier 1-4 Ritz-Carlton hotels instead of regular reward points. Nevertheless, this bonus is extremely lucrative – to get free night at Tier 4 hotel you have to spend up to 60,000 reward points. Thus, E-certificate offered as signup bonus is equal to 120,000 reward points.
With The Ritz-Carlton Rewards® Credit Card you earn 5 reward points per $1 spent at participating Marriott, Ritz-Carlton and SPG® properties. 2 points will be granted for each $1 spent on car rental, dining out and airfare bought directly at airline company. Each year you get additional 10% of reward point you earned throughout the last calendar year. You also get 10,000 points for the first user you authorize to your card.
The Ritz-Carlton Rewards loyalty program includes two types of Elite status – Gold and Platinum. If you obtain The Ritz-Carlton Rewards® Credit Card, you will get Gold status automatically for a year. However, to maintain Gold status after the first year, each year you have to spend $10,000 on your card. To reach Platinum status (and maintain it), you have to spend on your card no less than $75,000. Elite status is valuable for the list of additional perks and benefits, such as late checkout, complimentary in-room Wi-Fi, arrival gifts and others, but we love it for the higher amount of reward points you earn for purchases. With Gold status you get 25% bonus on reward points, with Platinum – 50% bonus.
How much it costs
Annual fee is . Variable APR on purchases and balance transfers will be applied based on your creditworthiness. APR on cash advances is %. Penalty APR is not applicable for this card. However, for each late or returned payment a fee of up to $ might be charged based on your balance. Balance transfer fee is $ or % of transfer amount (whichever is greater), cash advance fee is $ or % of transaction (whichever is greater). Foreign transaction fee %.
To learn more about The Ritz-Carlton Rewards® Credit Card, read our full review.
Hilton Honors™ Surpass® Card from American Express
Great card that rewards frequent Hilton guest with one of the most lucrative points earning rate among hotel credit cards.
- High earning rate (up to 12 points per $1 on eligible purchases);
- Automatic Gold status;
- Great signup bonus – 75,000 Hilton HHonors bonus points.
- annual fee.
You get 75,000 points signup bonus to your account if you spend $3,000 on the card within first 3 months.
With this card you get 12 points per each $1 spent at Hilton properties, 6 points per each $1 spent at drugstores, gas stations, and supermarkets, and 3 points per each $1 on all other purchases.
Points earning rate is a distinctive feature of this card – most of hotel credit cards offers lower amount of points on purchases beyond properties that participate in hotel loyalty program. Points have no earning cap and don’t expire as long as you have at least one earning activity on this card within a year.
The Hilton Honors™ Surpass® Card from American Express offers you complimentary Gold status in Hillton HHonors loyalty program. Silver status grants of HHonors loyalty program provides you additional 15% to the points earning rate and free 5th night at Hilton properties.
Also, other regular benefits, such as late check-out and complimentary in-room Wi-Fi, are provided. Gold status includes all benefits of Silver status, but instead of additional 15% to the earning rate you get 25% increase.
Despite the great points earning rate that the Hilton Honors™ Surpass® Card from American Express offers, points redemption has limited utility – redemption rate is good only if you redeem points for hotel stays at Hilton properties. Points lose their cost significantly if you redeem them for other options as well as when you transfer them to airline partners.
How much it costs
Annual fee is . A variable APR applies based on your creditworthiness. A penalty APR up to % may apply for at least 6 months indefinitely if you make any payment late or your payment returns. Also, for late and returned payment a penalty fee up to $ might be charged.
To learn more about the Hilton Honors™ Surpass® Card from American Express, read our full review.