As a follow-up to my previous post, Libby’s Lifestyle FAQ, a reader asked, “What are the best credit cards for someone who frequently travels and stays in hotels?”
I use and recommend the following cards:
- Marriott Bonvoy Boundless Visa
- Hilton Honors Ascend American Express
- IHG Rewards Club Premier Mastercard
It’s nice to have a Visa and MasterCard for when American Express isn’t accepted. In Europe, sometimes Visa is not accepted, so having a MasterCard or American Express is useful.
Each of these credit cards has an annual fee of less than $100, but this fee pays for itself if you can use the benefits. My credit cards are my only bills, and I have auto-pay set up so that the balance is automatically paid each month directly from my checking account.
- A bonus perk of these credit cards is that you automatically get bumped to an elite status in their loyalty programs (e.g., Gold for Hilton and Platinum for IHG). That allows you to earn points even faster when you stay at those hotels, and you’re more likely to get complimentary room upgrades. Also, being a Gold Hilton Honors member means you get a free breakfast at mid-range and premium Hilton-branded hotels.
- Another benefit is the sign-up bonus. You can earn a significant number of bonus points (usually enough for 1 or 2 free nights at a premium hotel) when you spend a certain amount of money within the first 3 months. The key is to apply for the credit card just a few weeks before you use it.
- All of these cards are chip-enabled, which is critical to avoid fraud, especially while traveling abroad.
The Points Guy credit card section has additional information about the variety of credit cards and perks. However, keep in mind that The Points Guy gets paid by the credit card companies. I share my information just as an objective traveler who’s done her own research.
For more details and more tips, check out my book Hotel Sweet Home on Amazon.