Flights are huge savings for us when it comes to travel hacking but another area where we see big savings is on hotel stays. One of my favorite things about travel hacking is being able to stay in fancy hotels that would normally be outside of my budget. We have saved thousands of dollars by using hotel points that we have earned from credit card bonuses.
There are four major hotel chain brands, each with its own credit cards, Marriott, Hyatt, Hilton, and IHG. Let’s compare the four major hotel brand credit cards so you can see which is the best fit for you. If you are like us you will eventually hold credit cards from many, if not all of these brands!
When it comes to choosing a hotel card there are some things you may want to take into consideration:
Marriott has a very large footprint all over the world with 30 brands and over 7,000 hotels globally. Marriott used to have an award chart but has moved to dynamic pricing. Unfortunately, that means that their stays now cost more in points.
There are six Marriott credit cards you can choose from, three issued by Chase and three issued by American Express. You won’t be able to open both a Chase and American Express card, you will need to choose just one brand. Marriott has a great benefit of your 5th night free when booking award stays. Here is a list of all of the Marriott credit cards:
Hyatt keeps things simple! There are only two Hyatt credit cards, The World of Hyatt card and The World of Hyatt Business Card which is both issued by Chase. Hyatt offers no resort fees on award stays and this can be a big saving! I really like Hyatt because I can transfer my Chase Ultimate Rewards into my Hyatt account. I can do this with Marriott and IHG as well but it’s not a good value. It is a good value with Hyatt because of Hyatt’s reasonable award chart. Nights start at just 5,000 points a night. One of my favorite resorts, the Grand Hyatt Kauai costs 25,000 points a night. If you already have a Chase Sapphire Preferred, Reserve or Ink Business Preferred then the World of Hyatt Card would be a great fit for you.
The World of Hyatt card has a free annual night certificate that can be used at a category 1-4 hotel. You can also earn another free night if you spend $15,000 on the card in a year. To learn more about the Hyatt card and why I love it, check out this post.
Hilton offers four credit cards- a no annual fee card, a personal card with a $95 annual fee, a business card, and a luxury card. What is great about Hilton is they allow you to hold each card which gives you the potential to rack up a lot of Hilton points! Add on your significant other to the mix and you can REALLY accumulate a lot of Hilton points. As a holder of any Hilton card, you will get your 5th night free on award stays.
Hilton cards are issued by American Express which means these cards fall under the “once per lifetime” rule…meaning you can’t receive the bonus on these cards more than one time. Hilton also makes it easy to get elite status. Just by holding the Hilton Aspire card, you will have Diamond Status, Hilton’s top-tier status. If elite benefits are important to you then Hilton may be the way to go! Below I’ll give you a list of their cards, but if you would like a more detailed guide to the Hilton cards, check out this post.
This is IHG’s entry-level card. It doesn’t have an annual fee and does not come with a free night certificate each year. I would only get this card if I wanted to increase my IHG points.
IHG stands for Intercontinental Hotel Group. These include brands like Intercontinental, Kimpton, Crowne Plaza, Holiday Inn, Staybridge Suites, Candlewood Suites, and more. The IHG card is offered by Chase This card has a $99 annual fee. It also comes with an anniversary-free night valued at up to 40,000 points. My mom was able to get upgraded to a suite and an amazing free buffet breakfast while in Dubai, all for holding this card. You can learn more about the IHG card here.
This is a new card to the IHG brand. Since business cards don’t count against your 5/24, we are happy to have the addition of this new card. I feel better recommending this card as it will not take a 5/24 spot.
Between these four major hotel brands, you will find a lot of credit card choices! We recommend going with an annual fee card, you won’t get as big of a signup bonus or lasting benefits (like an annual free night certificate) from a no annual fee card. Remember the things to consider that were listed at the beginning of this post when trying to decide which card is right for you. As always, send us an email anytime if you’d like a more personalized recommendation.
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