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Choosing the right credit card for you depends on numerous factors. For instance, do you have a specific goal for how you want to use miles and points? Or are you looking for instant elite status, bag fee waivers, or lounge access? All of these should be important considerations when applying for the right card.
When it comes to hotel-branded cards, many come with instant elite status. But they also come with free nights just for signing up or paying the annual fee. We’re talking about free night certificates that are above and beyond the points that come with the signup bonus. These perks, among many others, can outweigh any burden that comes with paying a fee. Here are some of our favorites.
Marriott Rewards Premier Plus from Chase (Expired)
This premium card kicks it out of the water with an automatic free night each year of holding the card after the anniversary date. It can be used at any participating Marriott Rewards hotels (up to 35,000 points). This means that the $95 annual fee could be a wash if using the free night at hotels like the JW Marriott Beijing, Renaissance Philadelphia Airport Hotel, and the Courtyard Bali Seminyak.
The Marriott Rewards® Premier Plus Credit Card comes with automatic Silver Elite for bonus points and free premium wireless internet. If you’re looking for even higher elite status, the card gets you started with 15 elite night credits per year and the ability to automatically get Gold Elite status after spending $35,000 per card anniversary year. Eligible new cardholders can earn 75,000 bonus points after spending $3,000 on purchases in your first 3 months from account opening.
This card brings 6 points per dollar spent at Marriott family hotels and two points per dollar on everything else. The low annual fee and plentiful perks assure that this is a solid bargain for those looking for a travel credit card.
Hilton Honors Aspire from American Express
This card comes with a free weekend night certificate that can be used at some of the most exotic hotels such as the Conrad Maldives Rangali Island, which takes the sting out of the $450 annual fee. It is awarded immediately after being approved for the card and is given each year for holding the card. You can earn a second weekend night after spending $60,000 within each card year.
The Hilton Honors Aspire welcome offer is pretty hefty. AMEX is offering 150,000 points after spending $4,000 within the first three months of account opening. Cardholders receive 14 points per dollar spent at Hilton family properties. They also receive 7 points per dollar spent on flights booked directly with airlines, domestic restaurants, and some car rentals. Finally, they receive 3 points per dollar spent on everything else.
Automatic Diamond status, Hilton Honors’ highest, is a perk of this card with lounge access, suite upgrades, and bonus points with each stay. There’s also a $250 statement credit for use at participating Hilton family resorts. Plus, there’s another $250 statement credit for use with any airline.
Those two alone mean you are being paid for having this card. That doesn’t take into account the free weekend nights, Priority Pass Select membership, and the ability to score a $100 credit for use at Hilton family stays when paying for a two-night (or more) stay with the card.
IHG Rewards Club Premier credit card
IHG has an impressive portfolio of brands including some of its newest high-end tiers like Kimpton and Regent Hotels. This could make holding the IHG® Rewards Club Premier Credit Card that’s much more valuable. It charges only $89 per year but delivers a free night certificate to use at any hotel that charges 40,000 points or less.
This comes after holding the card for one year. You can use it at hotels like the InterContinental Medellin, Holiday Inn Cannes, InterContinental Presidente Cancun Resort, and Crowne Plaza Los Angeles Airport.
Additional perks include automatic Platinum Elite status to score bonuses like premium wireless internet and potential room upgrades. This card also comps the fourth night of any award redemption stay at an IHG hotel (after spending four or more consecutive nights at select IHG properties). That could result in huge savings at some of the higher-end IHG properties or those in resort locations like the Holiday Inn Express Waikiki.
You earn 10 points per dollar spent at any IHG property and 2 points per dollar on dining, gas, and grocery stores. There’s a nice signup bonus of 80,000 points after spending $2,000 within the first three months of having the card.
World of Hyatt Visa from Chase [Expired]
The World of Hyatt credit card comes with a 40,000 bonus points signup offer. This is after you spend $3,000 within the first three months of account opening. An additional 20,000 more bonus points are earned after spending $6,000 total within the first six months of account opening.
After your first anniversary of holding the card, you get a free night at any Category 1-4 property in the World of Hyatt portfolio. Plus, you get an additional free night if you spend $15,000 within your cardmember year. This includes hotels like the Hyatt Regency Boston Harbor, Hyatt Centric Fisherman’s Wharf San Francisco, MGM Grand in Las Vegas, and Grand Hyatt Melbourne.
On top of those perks, it comes with automatic Discoverist status in World of Hyatt. This brings free premium wireless internet and bottled water with every stay. Any spend at Hyatt hotels earns 4 bonus points per dollar spent (on top of the 5 you already receive for being a member). It also earns 2 points per dollar spent on dining, local transit and commuting like taxis, fitness club and gym memberships, and flights booked directly with airlines.
With an annual fee of $95, the free night award (and potential for another) presents immense value for cardmembers.
Starwood Preferred Guest American Express Luxury card
This new card is ripe for special perks. This includes Gold Elite status in Marriott Rewards, Priority Pass lounge access, and TSA Pre-Check and Global Entry fee waivers. While it has a $450 signup bonus, there’s a $300 statement credit to use at Marriott family properties.
The Starwood Preferred Guest Luxury American Express card comes with a free annual hotel night after your first year of holding the card. You can use it at any hotel redeemable up to 50,000 points. This includes properties like the Beijing Marriott Hotel City Wall, the Petra Marriott Hotel in Jordan, and the Cape Town Marriott Hotel Crystal Towers.
Cardholders earn 6 points per dollar spent at Marriott family properties. They also earn 3 points per dollar spent at domestic restaurants and flights booked directly with airlines. Finally, they’ll earn 2x per dollar spent on everything else.
Radisson Rewards Premier Visa Signature
The new Radisson Rewards program can deliver some rich rewards for cardholders. It starts with an 85,000 point signup offer (50,000 points after the first purchase and an additional 35,000 points after spending $2,500 within the first 90 days). It also comes with one free night at a Radisson Rewards hotel for every $10,000 spent within each year of having the card. There are no category restrictions.
Cardholders receive 10 points per dollar spent at Radisson family hotels and 5 points per dollar spent on everything else. The card comes with automatic Gold status for the possibility of room upgrades, bonus points, and late checkout. There’s another pleasant surprise: 40,000 points each year you renew the card. That’s a rare perk for keeping the card.
Summary of Credit Cards That Come With an Annual Free Hotel Night Reward
As you can see above, there are plenty of options when it comes to finding the right card for you. Figure out what is most important to you and apply today to start earning for tomorrow.
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