The 8 Best Credit Cards That Offer Hotel Free Night Certificates

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The 8 Best Credit Cards That Offer Hotel Free Night Certificates

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Forget about piling up points or earning status. One of the best reasons to open and carry a co-branded hotel credit card is that many offer a free night certificate.

Each year when you renew your card, you'll earn one of these certificates to use for a free one-night stay at many hotels within that chain. Oftentimes, these certificates alone are worth far more than what you're paying in annual fees for the card. And some hotel chains even allow you to put some more points toward your booking to cover a more expensive property.

But these hotel free night certificates are not created equally. Each hotel chain – and their specific credit cards – has different rules that will affect how you can take advantage. But play your cards right, and these free night certificates can easily make keeping these cards in your wallet worth it each and every year.

Read on for a full round-up of the best co-branded credit cards offering hotel free night certificates.

 

World of Hyatt Free Night Certificates

The World of Hyatt Credit Card

World of Hyatt offers both the consumer World of Hyatt Credit Card and a business version, the World of Hyatt Business Credit Card. But only the consumer card offers a free night certificate – and it's among the best

Each year you hold the card (starting on your second full year with the card), you'll receive a free night certificate. These certificates can be redeemed at any category 1 through 4 Hyatt property. That covers Hyatt hotels that cost up to 15,000 points per night – or more when Hyatt is charging peak rates. There are some great properties in the U.S. and abroad like the Andaz in Savannah and San Diego, the Thompson Chicago, Park Hyatt Mendoza in Argentina, Andaz Capital Gate in Abu Dhabi, and many more.

 

andaz savannah hyatt
Andaz Savannah, photo courtesy of Hyatt

 

Considering the card has an annual fee of only $95 each and every year, you shouldn't have to work too terribly hard to get much more value out of the certificate than you are paying for the annual fee. It's the biggest reason I continue to hold this card. Plus, you can earn an additional free night certificate each year for every $15,000 you spend on your card.

Make sure to read our full review of the World of Hyatt Card, and check out the best ways to use Hyatt free night certificates!

 

world of hyatt credit card

 

Click Here to learn more about the World of Hyatt Credit Card.

 

Marriott Bonvoy Free Night Certificates

Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant® American Express® Card

The Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant® American Express® Card is the top dog in Marriott's credit card portfolio. It charges an annual fee of $650 each year (see rates & fees) … but with that, you get a ton of benefits that can easily offset that fee.

To start, each year on your cardmember anniversary, you'll get a free night certificate that can be redeemed for any property that costs 85,000 Marriott Bonvoy points or less. But as Marriott shifts to a dynamic pricing model – eventually charging unpredictable award rates that hinge mostly on the cash cost – there's a silver lining: Marriott is also introducing an award top-off feature starting sometime in April 2022.

That means Marriott Bonvoy credit cardholders will have the ability to “top off” a free night award certificate with up to 15,000 Marriott Bonvoy points. So for example, if you have a free night certificate to use at any Marriott property that costs up to 50,000 points each year, you could apply up to 15,000 of your own Marriott points to book a property that costs up to 65,000 points.

On top of the free night certificate (which you will start receiving in your second year of card membership), you'll also get an annual up to $300 statement credit to use for at restaurants (handed out in $25 monthly increments).

You'll also get complimentary Marriott Bonvoy Platinum Elite status, and earn 6x Bonvoy points for every dollar spent at Marriott Bonvoy Hotels and 3x Bonvoy points at U.S. restaurants and flights booked directly with airlines. Finally, you'll earn 2x points per dollar spent on all other eligible purchases.

To top it all off, the card comes with a Priority Pass Select membership that gives you access to over 1,300 airport lounges across the globe.

Read More: The Best Ways to Use a Marriott Free Night Certificate

 

marriott bonvoy briliant american express card

 

Click Here to learn more about the Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant® American Express® Card

 

Marriott Bonvoy Boundless® Credit Card

The Chase Marriott Bonvoy Boundless® Credit Card is the mid-tier card in Marriott's credit card portfolio with a much more palatable annual fee of $95 each year. But even with that smaller annual fee, the card still offers a lot of value that can easily offset it. Add in the free night certificate you get starting in your second year, and it is a great reason to keep this card in your wallet.

While the Boundless card offers a free night certificate like the more expensive Brilliant card, you have fewer choices: It is only valid for properties costing 35,000 Bonvoy points or less each night.

With the ability to top off free night award certificates with up to 15,000 Marriott Bonvoy points starting sometime in April 2022, you could use the certificate plus 15,000 points to book a free night at any property that costs up to 50,000 points each night.

The card also earns 3x Bonvoy points for each dollar spent up to $6,000 in combined purchases each year at grocery stores, gas stations, and on dining, and 6x Bonvoy points per dollar spent at Marriott hotels. You'll earn 2x points per dollar spent on all other eligible purchases.

Finally, the card provides complimentary Bonvoy Silver Elite status and earns 15 elite night credits towards Marriott Bonvoy elite status each year you hold the card.

Read More: The Best Ways to Use a Marriott Free Night Certificate

 

Marriott Bonvoy Boundless® Credit Card

 

Click Here to learn more about the Marriott Bonvoy Boundless® Credit Card

 

Marriott Bonvoy Business™ American Express Card

The Marriott Bonvoy Business™ American Express® Card also offers an annual free night certificate for properties that can be booked for 35,000 Bonvoy points each night. This benefit starts in your second year after you renew your card.

But again, you'll be able to apply up to 15,000 additional Bonvoy points to this free night certificate that allows you to book a property costing up to 50,000 points each night.

The card carries an annual fee of $125 (see rates & fees). But if you use this certificate right, you can easily offset that.

The card also earns 6x Bonvoy points per dollar spent at hotels participating in the Marriott Bonvoy program, 4x Bonvoy points per dollar spent at restaurants worldwide, U.S. gas stations, on wireless telephone services purchased directly from U.S. service providers, and on U.S. purchases for shipping. You'll earn 2x Bonvoy points on all other eligible purchases.

Finally, by spending $60,000 in a calendar year, you can earn an additional free night certificate which can be redeemed at properties costing 35,000 points each night.

Read more: The Best Ways to Use a Marriott Free Night Certificate

 

Marriott Bonvoy Business Card

 

Click Here to learn more about the Marriott Bonvoy Business™ American Express® Card

 

Hilton Honors Free Night Certificates

Hilton Honors American Express Aspire Card

We think the Hilton Honors Aspire Card from American Express might just be the best hotel card, period.

While it does have an annual fee of $450, it comes with an insane amount of benefits that can easily offset that. And it starts with a lucrative hotel night certificate.

Each year you hold the card, you'll get a free weekend night certificate that can be used for a standard room at almost any Hilton hotel in their entire portfolio (subject to availability). But throughout the pandemic, Hilton and American Express have made these free weekend night certificates more valuable: Through Dec. 31, 2022, all free weekend night certificates can be used any night of the week – not just on weekends.

For the time being, that makes the hotel night certificate on the Aspire card  these are the most powerful hotel free night certificates you'll find. You can even earn an additional free night certificate by spending $60,000 or more on the card in a calendar year. I was able to use two of mine last fall at the iconic Hotel Del Coronado in San Diego.

 

hotel del coronado san diego

 

In addition to the powerful free night certificate, the Hilton Aspire Card also provides automatic Hilton Honors top-tier Diamond status just for holding the card. It's the only hotel card that will give you top status just for holding the card, unlocking benefits like room upgrades and certificates of up to $25 each day to use for dining during your stay.

The card also provides a $250 Hilton Resorts statement credit for incidentals charged to your card at participating Hilton resorts. This can be used for just about anything you charge to your room, including spa treatments, restaurant charges, and more. You will also get a $100 Hilton on-property credit when you book at least a two-night paid stay at Waldorf Astoria and Conrad properties through HiltonHonors.com/aspirecard

And if that isn't enough, you'll get an annual $250 airline fee credit for incidental charges on your select airline each year. If you are familiar with the $200 credit provided by the Platinum Card® from American Express, this works the same way.

Related Reading: 10 Great Ways to Maximize Your Amex Airline Credits This Year

And as a cherry on top, the card comes with a Priority Pass Select membership that gives you access to over 1,300 airport lounges across the globe.

Read More: Why the Amex Hilton Aspire Card is the Best Hotel Credit Card

 

Hilton Honors American Express Aspire Card

 

Apply Here for the Hilton Honors Aspire Card (for full disclosure, this is our personal referral link)

 

All information about the Hilton Aspire Card has been collected independently by Thrifty Traveler and has not been reviewed by the issuer.

 

Hilton Honors American Express Surpass® Card

The Hilton Honors American Express Surpass® Card also provides a free weekend night certificate, but only after you spend $15,000 on your card in a calendar year. Through the end of 2022, these certificates can be used for stays on any night of the week.

The card also provides a Priority Pass Select membership – though you'll be limited to only ten visits each year.

You'll also get Hilton Honors Gold status just for holding the card. This will get you free breakfast at almost any Hilton hotel abroad, or a daily food and beverage credit at U.S. properties.

The Hilton Surpass card has a $0 introductory annual fee for the first year, and then an annual fee of $95 (see rates & fees).

 

Hilton Honors American Express Surpass® Card

 

Click Here to learn more about the Hilton Honors American Express Surpass® Card.

 

Hilton Honors American Express Business Card

Like the Hilton Surpass Card, The Hilton Honors American Express Business Card provides a free weekend night certificate … but only after you spend $15,000 on your card in a calendar year. And through the end of 2022, these certificates can be used for stays on any night of the week. You can earn a second weekend night certificate when you spend an additional $45,000 on the card in the same calendar year.

The card also provides a Priority Pass Select membership – though you'll be limited to only ten visits each year.

You'll also get Hilton Honors Gold status just for holding the card. This will get you free breakfast at almost any Hilton hotel abroad, or a daily food and beverage credit at U.S. properties.

The Hilton Honors American Express Business Card has an annual fee of $95 (see rates & fees).

 

Hilton Honors American Express Business Card

 

Click Here to learn more about the Hilton Honors American Express Business Card.

 

Intercontinental Hotels Group (IHG) Free Night Certificates

IHG® Rewards Premier Credit Card

The Chase IHG Rewards Premier Credit Card provides an annual free night certificate for properties costing up to 40,000 IHG points each night. Like many other cards on this list, that benefit becomes available in your second year of holding the card.

But starting later this month, IHG is making some big changes to its loyalty program. Among the most notable of those changes is that IHG is adding the ability to add an unlimited amount of IHG Rewards points on top of the 40,000 point certificates to essentially book any hotel in the IHG portfolio.

You'll also be able to link your United MileagePlus account and get up to $50 of United TravelBank cash each calendar year that you hold the card. And there's no spending threshold required to earn this benefit.

The card has an annual fee of $99.

Read More: The Best Ways to Use an IHG Free Night Certificate

 

IHG Rewards Traveler Credit Card

 

Click Here to learn more about the IHG Rewards Premier Credit Card

 

Bottom Line

Credit cards offering hotel free night certificates can be a great way to easily recoup the annual fee you pay each year. In fact, many of the free night certificates provided by these credit cards can easily allow you to get two to four times the value you pay for the fee each year. It's the biggest reason to keep many of these cards in your wallet each year.

But just what you get with each of these cards varies – especially when you are comparing hotel loyalty programs.

 

Lead photo courtesy of Hilton Hotels

Editorial Disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airlines or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

Disclaimer: The responses below are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser’s responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.

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