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Hotel credit cards are the often quiet, but very powerful workhorses of the miles and points world. Maybe it’s just me, but I see and hear much more about airline credit cards than hotel cards, even though I don’t think hotel points are any less valuable for most of us than airline miles.
One of my favorite things about hotel credit cards (in addition of course to the big sign-up bonuses) are the annual perks that so many of them seem to deliver. For whatever reason, lots of airline credit cards don’t give you much of anything at the anniversary renewal dates, but lots of hotel credit cards give you a very valuable perk in the form of a free award night or bonus points. Not only that, but the annual fees for hotel credit cards tend to be lower than for airline cards.
Here are three examples of hotel credit cards that reward you very well for keeping the card around year after year.
IHG® Rewards Club Select Credit Card: free night to use at each anniversary around the world
There are many versions of the sign-up bonus for this card, but the best truly public offer I know of awards 70,000 points after spending $1,000 in the first three months. The card also gives 10% of redeemed points back, up to 100,000 annually. Those are great features of the card, but I think the anniversary night is one of the best features.
This card carries a $49 annual fee that in turn will provide you with a night to use each year at any IHG property around the world. If you are looking to get the biggest return possible for that night you can look to cities like London, Paris, Vail, New York, and Davos. It is not hard to get $300 – $400+ return for that night if your travels take you to a major international city. For more ideas, check out this post dedicated to using the annual award night.
Club Carlson Premier Rewards Visa Signature® Card: 40,000 points awarded at each anniversary
This card gives you 50,000 Gold Points after your first purchase, then 35,000 points once you spend $2,500 on your card within the first 90 days, but that’s only the start of why I love it. It gives you the last award night free, which basically turns your two night award stays into Buy One, Get One Free situations. This is a perk unheard of on any other card out there.
Then, at each anniversary the card awards you 40,000 Club Carlson points for the payment of the $75 annual fee. This is essentially like buying Club Carlson points at a rate of .18 cents each, which is a much better rate than via the Daily Getaways sale that sold out instantly earlier this week (those were .44 cents each). For those not familiar, free nights in standard rooms with Club Carlson start at 9,000 points per night and go up to 50,000 and 70,000 points per night for the top two tiers.
We have used Club Carlson points to stay in London, Paris, Norway, Aruba, Amsterdam, Madrid, and more resulting in thousands of dollars in accommodations thanks to the card and Club Carlson points. Club Carlson doesn’t always offer the fanciest accommodations, but some properties can be pretty nice. This card is a big workhorse for us and one I recommend to almost any traveling family!
Hyatt Visa: Free night at a Category 1-4 Hotel Each Anniversary
I just recently got this card (thanks to the 20% points rebate they are offering to card holders) and I’m thrilled not only by the two award nights I will get for spending $1,000 in the first three months, but by the anniversary award night I will get to use at any Category 1-4 Hyatt around the world at each renewal.
Some examples of eligible Category 1-4 Hyatts on my radar include: Grand Hyatt Washington DC, Hyatt Grand Cypress in Orlando, Hyatt Escala Lodge at Park City, Andaz Peninsula Papagayo Resort, Hyatt Regency Paris Étoile, Hyatt Place Waikiki, Hyatt Regency Boston, and many others. A peak season night at many of those properties can easily be $200-$300+ per night, so that annual award night certainly more than covers the $75 annual fee for my family.
There are other hotel credit cards that award similar perks each year, but these three should give you a good idea of the awesome rewards that can come from hotel credit cards. Remember the rewards are there not just when you get them initially, but when you hold onto them year after year.
What hotel credit cards do you hold onto year after year for the ongoing perks?
Editorial Note: The opinions expressed here are mine and not provided, reviewed, by any bank, card issuer, or other company unless otherwise stated.