The 7 Best Hotel Perks Offered By Credit Cards

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Update: These offers for the Starwood Preferred Guest® Business Credit Card from American Express and the Hilton Honors Surpass card have expired. Learn more about the current offers here.

There are many reasons to pick up a credit card — some are worth picking up for the sign-up bonus, some are worth picking up for the return they offer on everyday spend, and some are worth picking up for the long-term perks they offer.

While there are all kinds of perks offered on cards, in this post I figured I’d look at the best hotel perks you can get with credit cards. Here are my favorites, roughly in order:

Get a fourth night free on all stays

The Citi Prestige® Card has my single favorite perk offered by any credit card. While a lot of credit cards offer some type of “free night” hotel benefit, there are usually major strings attached. Citi Prestige’s fourth night free benefit is the most straightforward out there. To sum up the basics:

  • You need to call the Citi Prestige concierge to book (that service is provided by Aspire Lifestyle Concierge)
  • They can book virtually any chain hotel for you, and even many independent hotels
  • They can book pre-paid rates, AAA rates, promotional rates, etc.; if the rate is publicly available, they can book it for you and apply a fourth night free
  • You earn points and stay credits for your stay as if you booked directly with the hotel
  • Citi reimburses the cost of the fourth night on the back end, so you even earn stay credits and hotel points for the full cost of the four nights (you need to use your Citi Prestige Card to pay for the stay)

It is worth noting that as of July 23, 2017, this benefit will be changing somewhat. Specifically, the fourth night free benefit will be calculated based on the average nightly rate of your complete stay, and taxes will no longer be included in the statement credit.

This benefit saved me thousands of dollars last year, and I hope it saves me a similar amount this year.

St-Regis-Bali-Lagoon-Villa - 17
I‘ve used the fourth night free benefit at the St. Regis Bali

A free night without category caps every year

While a few hotel credit cards offer an annual free night certificate, the one offered by the IHG® Rewards Club Select Credit Card is my favorite. Why?

  • The card has an annual fee of just $49, and it’s waived the first year, meaning it has the lowest annual fee of any hotel card offering an annual free night
  • The free night is valid at any IHG property, and there’s no category cap
  • The free night can be redeemed for a stay after the expiration date, as long as it’s booked before the expiration date

Almost everyone should be able to get $49 worth of value out of that free night certificate alone.

Redeem your annual free night at the InterContinental Sydney

3 useful hotel statuses with one credit card

The Platinum Card® from American Express and The Business Platinum® Card from American Express come with both Hilton HHonors Gold status and Starwood Preferred Guest Gold status. On top of that, you can match your Starwood Gold status to Marriott Gold status. So getting three useful mid-tier statuses with one card is pretty great.

Get club lounge access at Marriott hotels with Marriott Rewards Gold status

Top tier hotel status for $40,000 of spend

Both the Citi® Hilton HHonors Reserve Card and Hilton HHonors Surpass® Card from American Express offer Gold status for as long as you have the card. However, you can also earn Diamond status by spending $40,000 per year on the card.

While personally I don’t think there’s a huge difference between Hilton Diamond and Gold status, $40,000 is the lowest amount of spend required to earn top tier status with any of the major hotel chains.

Hilton-Queenstown - 11
I got a suite upgrade as a Diamond member at the Hilton Queenstown

A free Hyatt night annually

Those with The Hyatt Credit Card receive an annual free night at a Category 1-4 Hyatt, which covers a majority of their properties globally. For example, I used this last year at the Hyatt Capital Gate Abu Dhabi, which is a gorgeous property. The card has just a $75 annual fee, so it’s easy to get value out of that.

Use your annual free night certificate at the Hyatt Capital Gate Abu Dhabi

A free night annually at the world’s largest hotel chain

Those with the Marriott Rewards® Premier Credit Card receive a free night annually at any Category 1-5 property. The card has an $85 annual fee, and the annual free night certificate covers a stay at a majority of Marriott’s property (though unfortunately not the most desirable ones, as hotels keep creeping up in category). Still, most people should be able to get more than $85 of value out of this.

The Marriott Astana qualifies for the annual free night certificate

Free club lounge access

The Starwood Preferred Guest® Business Credit Card from American Express offers free lounge access at Sheraton properties around the world in conjunction with a stay. Given the card’s $95 annual fee (Rates & Fees), it’s easy to recoup that value after just one stay.

The beautiful club lounge at the Sheraton Grand London Park Lane

Bottom line

There are a lot of cards offering great hotel perks to members, though the above are what I consider to be the best ones out there. Whether you’re looking for an annual free night, elite status, or other perks, there’s lots of value to be had.

Are there any other great hotel credit card perks that I left out?

The following links will direct you to the rates and fees for mentioned American Express Cards. These include: Starwood Preferred Guest® Business Credit Card from American Express (Rates & Fees).

Regarding Comments: The comments on this page have not been provided, reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any advertiser, and it is not an advertiser's responsibility to ensure posts and/or questions are answered.


  1. CLUB CARLSON – no love but gets you 40,000 CC points – 75 fee

    also CC spend 10,000 get a night free in usa

    just my pick over spend 40,000 to get diamond – great post

  2. Citi Prestige 4th night free is perfect for us that are reimbursed from our company for our expenses. I can get my loyalty points, reimbursed for all 4 nights, then have the credit applied to my card balance at a later date. One of the best perks around.

  3. @Lucky continues to misfire: “While personally I don’t think there’s a huge difference between Hilton Diamond and Gold status…”

    You just have to really educate yourself about the program and know how to take advantage of your Diamond status because there is a HUGE difference between being a HH Gold and HH Diamond — unless free breakfast is your idea of an ideal perk and the only thing you care about.

    To get exec lounge access a HH Gold must first be upgraded to the exec floor, which is not guaranteed, especially in the US.
    — HH Golds do not enjoy the mother of all perk, the HH “Diamond Force”, makes a HUGE difference and a must-have perk when the chips are down.
    — Suite upgrades are NOT a stated HH Golds perk.
    — HH Golds earn significantly fewer points per spend than Diamonds, meaning that Diamonds also have an easier time affording “aspirational” properties like the Conrad Koh Samui.
    — HH Gold have no automatic 1000 points Diamond MyWay benefit…

    I can go on, but anyone who knows anything about the HH program would not keep making the silly statement about how HH Gold and Diamond are not different. There is no way I would settle for Gold having been a Diamond.

    In my book, HGP Diamond is much closer than HH Gold (free breakfast, limited suite upgrades per year) than the latter is to HH Diamond. REALLY


  4. Let me say that again: “In my book, HGP Diamond is much closer TO HH Gold (free breakfast, limited suite upgrades per year) than the latter is to HH Diamond. REALLY.”

  5. Does the card holder have to redeem the Hyatt and IHG free night themselves?

    If my girlfriend gets these cards, can I use the free night when I travel? (Without being an AU?)

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