Hotel Credit Cards Worth Keeping


Credit cards that offer points that can be redeemed for hotel stays are an important part of our points and miles journey.  Sometimes, we get a card and don’t want to pay the annual fee, but did you know that there are hotel credit cards worth keeping every year? I have several that I get so much value out of that I can’t imagine ever closing them. Between the free nights they offer each year when I pay the annual fee and the benefits they offer, they are a permanent part of my wallet. Let’s talk about my favorites and why I keep them.


Marriott Credit Cards

Marriott Bonvoy Boundless Credit Card

Chase offers the Marriott Bonvoy Boundless Credit Card. It has an annual fee of $95.  It gives an anniversary night up to 35K points yearly when I renew it. It also gives the cardholder Silver Elite status, but that is not that valuable. I keep it because I like Marriott hotels and can stay at a hotel every year with my free annual night certificate that is worth 2-3 times what I pay for the annual fee.  One of my favorite hotels I’ve ever stayed at is the JW Marriott Phu Quoc in Vietnam, and it runs under 50K points/night, so I could stay there with a free night by topping off my certificate with points. It is usually priced at $300-$400, so well worth my $95 annual fee. My husband and I each have this card, so it is worth two free nights a year to us.


hotel living room

Hotel upgrade to a suite in Phu Quoc, Vietnam, thanks to hotel status!

Ritz Carlton Credit Card

Fortunately for me, I was able to sign up for this card just before it was taken off the market. I will keep this card in my wallet because it is no longer available and benefits me greatly. It has a high annual fee of $450, but I get the following benefits:

  • $300 travel credit (baggage fees, upgraded seats, lounge access, cancellation fees)
  • Anniversary night award of 85K point certificate – this is huge for me!
  • Automatic gold status which gives me room upgrades, sometimes breakfast
  • Priority Pass lounge access including access to the Priority Pass restaurants

I can use the 85K certificate for hotels that go as high as $1,000.  I can really make good use of this credit card.


Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant Credit Card

This card and the next card are offered by American Express. The Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant Credit Card has a high annual fee of $650. At first glance, that may sound horrible and not worth paying, except for the first year when you would receive 95,000 Marriott points. I really like the 85K certificate, so it may be worth the annual fee.

  • $300 credit used at restaurants ($25 monthly)
  • Anniversary night award of 85K point certificate
  • Automatic gold status which gives me room upgrades, sometimes breakfast
  • Priority Pass lounge access
  • Application fee credit for TSA PreCheck or Global Entry
  • Boingo Wifi Access
  • Elite Nights

When you take off the $300 credit, the card is only $350 and worth it for the other benefits. The 85K point certificate has gotten me a free night at the Wailea Beach Resort in Maui. It is a room that costs about $800/night.


Infinity pool overlooking ocean

Will I pay a $650 annual fee for a stay at this resort each year?


Marriott Bonvoy Business Credit Card

The Marriott Bonvoy Business Credit Card is another credit card my husband and I both have, and we have no plans to cancel it. The annual fee is $125. Each year, you will receive a 35K certificate to spend for a free night.  As I wrote above, this is worth around $300.

With these four credit cards (x2 for my husband’s cards), we have eight great redemptions a year at Marriott properties. I can’t imagine canceling any of these cards unless Marriott devalues them a lot in the future. They certainly work well for me now. I got the Chase and American Express Marriott cards when you could have both of them. Unfortunately, there are stricter rules, and you can’t get all of these cards simultaneously anymore.


IHG Premier Credit Card

The IHG Rewards Club Premier card is another hotel credit card I plan on keeping.  I think it is totally worth the $99 annual fee because of the following benefits:

  • Anniversary night up to 40,000 points (I have redeemed for hotels from $180-$350)
  • Automatic Platinum Elite status (I have had several upgrades to a suite with this, especially internationally)
  • Global Entry or TSA PreCheck credit
  • 3x on gas, travel, dining and restaurants
  • 4th night free on award stays

For these reasons, my husband and I keep our IHG credit cards year after year. This gives us two more free nights a year after paying a small annual fee and great benefits, too!


IHG Dubai

Free breakfast and room upgrade in Dubai at this IHG hotel!


World of Hyatt Credit Card

The World of Hyatt Credit Card also offers an annual free night certificate. Because you can find hotel nights at just 5,000 points, it is a great card to have. Additionally, it gives a free night certificate at a category 1-4 Hyatt hotel on your anniversary. With an annual fee of only $95, it is worth keeping each year.


Park City Hyatt Place Hotel Pool

You can use your free night certificate to stay at this Hyatt Place in Park City, Utah.


Other Hotel Credit Cards

I’ve had other hotel credit cards in the past, like Hilton, Wyndham, and Choice. None of these gave me an anniversary night (Hilton does give free nights, but the particular card I had did not), so I didn’t see a need to keep them past the first year. Wyndham and Choice did not have very luxurious redemptions but they made for nice airport stays for early flights out. I may reapply for them later.

I have not had the Hilton Aspire Credit Card yet, so I will probably get that sometime soon to add to my Hilton points. That card comes with some amazing benefits. If you are a Hilton loyalist, then you may want to consider adding that card to your wallet.


Bottom Line

Hotel credit cards are worth keeping. I like the annual free night certificates I get with each of them, and I find that it’s like getting a hotel for half price or less when I factor in my annual fee. If you travel a lot, it is worth thinking about keeping these cards.



Hotel, pool and palm trees

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  1. Michelle says:

    Hi Pam! I read that you can still get the Ritz Carlton card if you have another Chase Marriott card for a year and then ask to switch. Does it matter the order? Meaning, can you get the Bonvoy Boundless and then get the Bonvoy Brilliant? I know Amex is weird sometimes. Id like to have both but dont want to mess up the order!

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