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Making your dream trip a reality can be expensive, but if you know the secrets to miles & points, you can take your next getaway for nearly free!
Because the cost of hotel stays can really add up, I put together a list of the top cards for hotel stays.
It’s aimed at folks under Chase’s 5/24 rule, who still qualify for Chase cards. And includes cards from other banks, like American Express and Barclaycard, too!
With these cards, you should be on your way to getting your next hotel stay for free. 😉
Here’s more about the best cards for hotel stays for those under 5/24!
1. 3 Chase Cards Great for Hotel Stays
Chase Ultimate Rewards points are my favorite points because they’re so flexible! Just remember, with Chase’s stricter application rules, dubbed the “5/24” rule, if you’ve opened ~5 or more credit cards (from any bank) in the past 24 months (excluding certain business cards), it’s unlikely you’ll be approved for most of their cards.
For this reason, I recommend applying for Chase credit cards before you sign-up for cards from other banks. Because Chase has some of the most valuable credit cards for getting Big Travel with Small Money. So if you’re under 5/24, it’s important to get these cards now, because you might not be able to later!
Chase Ultimate Rewards are great for hotel stays, because you can transfer your Ultimate Rewards points to Hyatt, and get incredible value from using them for award nights at Hyatt hotels! I recently shared 6 reasons why Hyatt is my favorite Chase hotel transfer partner.
Chase Sapphire Preferred
Link: Chase Sapphire Preferred
You’ll earn 50,000 Chase Ultimate Rewards points after spending $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months of opening your account. That’s worth $625 when you redeem your points for travel through Chase’s travel portal. And potentially more if you transfer your points to travel partners like Hyatt.
You’ll also get:
- 2X Chase Ultimate Rewards points on travel and dining at restaurants & 1 point per $1 spent on all other purchases worldwide
- 5,000 bonus Chase Ultimate Rewards points when you add an authorized user and make a purchase within the first 3 months
- Primary car rental insurance – Covers damage or theft to your rental car, when you pay for the rental with your card
- Trip delay reimbursement – Get up to $500 back per ticket when your trip is delayed more than 12 hours
- NO foreign transaction fees
Chase Sapphire Reserve
Link: Chase Sapphire Reserve
That’s worth $750 in travel, on purchases like flights, hotels, car rentals, and more through the Chase Ultimate Rewards Travel Portal. Because when you have the Chase Sapphire Reserve, your Chase Ultimate Rewards points are worth 1.5 cents each on travel booked through Chase!
Chase Ink Business Preferred
The card also comes with:
- 3X Chase Ultimate Rewards points for every $1 you spend on travel, shipping purchases, internet, cable and phone services, advertising purchases made with social media sites, and search engines (up to a maximum of $150,000 in combined purchases per account anniversary year)
- 1X Chase Ultimate Rewards points on all other purchases
- Up to $600 in cell phone insurance when you pay your cell phone bill with the card
- 25% bonus when you redeem points through the Chase travel portal
- Primary auto rental insurance (CDW) when renting for business purposes, plus purchase and extended warranty protection
Don’t forget, you’ll need to have a small business to get the Chase Ink Business Preferred card. But you might qualify for a small business card without realizing it! And you do NOT need an EIN (Employer Identification Number). You can apply with just your Social Security Number.
2. AMEX Starwood Cards
You’ll also get perks like:
- 2 Starwood points per $1 you spend at Starwood, Marriott, and Ritz-Carlton hotels
- 2 stay credits or 5 night credits toward Starwood elite Status
- Access to AMEX Offers, which can save you money on everyday purchases
- Free in-room internet at participating Starwood hotels
- No foreign transaction fees
And the $95 annual fee is waived the first year on both versions.
That said, if you’re deciding between these 2 cards, I recommend getting the AMEX Starwood small business card. Because it will NOT count against you for Chase’s “5/24” rule if you want to apply for more Chase cards in the future! And the business version offers additional advantages like access to Sheraton Club Room lounges and AMEX OPEN discounts for small businesses.
Just remember, you’re only eligible to earn AMEX sign-up bonuses ONCE per card, per lifetime.
3. Chase Marriott Rewards Cards
And the personal version comes with an additional 7,500 Marriott points when you add an authorized user and make a purchase in the first 3 months of account opening.
You’ll also get:
- 5X Marriott points at Marriott hotels
- 2X Marriott points on restaurants, car rentals, airline tickets purchased directly from airlines
- 2X Marriott points office supply stores, internet, cable, and phone (business version only)
- Free night each card anniversary at Marriott category 1 to 5 hotels
- No foreign transaction fees
- …and more!
The $85 annual fee on the personal card and the $99 annual fee on the business version are NOT waived the first year.
The sign-up bonus from either of these cards is enough points for a night at a luxurious Tier 5 Ritz-Carlton hotel, like the The Ritz-Carlton New York, Central Park. Or 2 free nights at a Category 9 Marriott hotel, like the Cotton House Hotel, Autograph Collection in Barcelona.
And don’t forget, you can use Marriott points at Starwood hotels because of the merger between the 2 chains. So if you don’t want to use your Marriott points at a Marriott hotel, you can transfer your Marriott points to Starwood at a 3:1 ratio.
4. Barclaycard Wyndham Rewards Visa
The annual fee version of the Barclaycard Wyndham Rewards comes with a sign-up bonus of 45,000 Wyndham points.
You’ll earn 30,000 Wyndham points after your first purchase. And another 15,000 Wyndham points after spending $2,000 on purchases within the first 90 days of account opening.
You’ll also get:
- 6,000 Wyndham points on your account anniversary each year
- 5X Wyndham points per $1 you spend at Wyndham hotels
- 2X Wyndham points points per $1 you spend on eligible gas, utility, grocery purchases
- Automatic Platinum status
The $75 annual fee is NOT waived for the first year. But because ALL Wyndham hotels cost 15,000 points per night (even the expensive ones!), it’s worth it.
Folks under 5/24 should plan their credit card strategy wisely. So I made a list of the best cards for hotel stays, for those who aren’t affected by Chase’s stricter application rules!
The list includes Chase Ultimate Rewards earning cards, like Chase Sapphire Preferred (our favorite card for newbies!) and Chase Ink Business Preferred. You won’t be able to get these once you’re over 5/24.
These cards are especially useful for hotel stays, because Hyatt is one of my favorite Chase Ultimate Rewards transfer partners!
A card like the AMEX Starwood small business card, which won’t hurt your chances of being approved for Chase cards in the future, is also a great option.
Are there other cards you’d add to the list? Let me know in the comments!