Battle of the Hotel Credit Cards, Marriott, Hyatt, IHG, And Hilton 0

Marriott Data Breach

Which is the right hotel co-branded credit cards is the right one for you? Is a difficult question to answer? There are several factors you need to take into account including, earning potential, welcome bonus, stay patterns, and locations. So of the IHG® Rewards Club Premier Credit Card, The Marriott Rewards® Premier Plus Credit Card, The World Of Hyatt Credit Card, and the Hilton Honors Ascend Card From American Express is the best hotel credit card for you?

Credit cards

Card Overview

The Marriott Rewards® Premier Plus Credit Card
  • 75,000-point bonus after spending $3,000 within the first 3 months of card membership
  • Free Night Award every card membership anniversary (Can be redeemed at properties up to 35,000 points per night)
  • $95 annual fee
  • Complimentary Silver status with Marriott Rewards as long as you hold the card
  • Earn Marriott Rewards Gold after spending $35,000 each year
  • 15 Elite Night Credits each year from 2019
  • Earn 6X points per dollar spent at SPG and Marriott Hotels (hotel restrictions apply)
  • Earn 2X points per dollar on everything else

The World Of Hyatt Credit Card
  • 40,000 bonus points after spending $3,000 in the first 3 months of card membership
  • Earn a further 20,000 bonus points after spending a total of $6,000 in the first 6 months of card membership
  • One free night per year at any Hyatt category 1-4 properties
  • Earn an additional free night if you spend $15,000 (valid at Hyatt category 1-4 properties) in a card membership year
  • Earn a total of 9 Hyatt points per dollar spent at Hyatt properties- 5 base points per dollar plus 4 bonus points for paying for your stay with your card
  • Earn 2 Hyatt points per dollar on airfare (booked directly with airlines), restaurants, fitness and gym memberships, and commuting and transit
  • For every $5,000 you spend you earn 2 Elite qualifying night credits towards your next tier status
  • Complimentary mid-tier Discoverist status

IHG® Rewards Club Premier Credit Card
  • 80,000-point welcome bonus after spending $2,000 in the first 90 days
  • Earn 10 points per dollar spent at IHG properties worldwide
  • Free night certificate issued yearly on account anniversary
  • Free award night on award stays of 4 nights or more
  • 20% discount on the purchase of IHG points
  • Complimentary Platinum Elite status with IHG Rewards Club
  • $100 statement credit every 4 years towards TSA PreCheck, or Global Entry application
  • Earn 2 points per dollar at grocery stores, restaurants, and gas stations
  • Earn 1 point per dollar on all other expenses
  • $89 annual fee

The Hilton Honors Ascend Card From American Express

  • 125,000-point signup bonus after spending $2,000 in qualifying expenses in the first 3 months of card membership
  • Earn 12X points for spending with Hilton directly
  • Earn a Free Weekend Night Reward after you spend $15,000 on your card in a calendar year
  • Earn 6X points at supermarkets, gas stations and restaurants
  • Earn 3X points on all other spending
  • Earn Diamond status after spending $40,000 on your card in a calendar year
  • $95 annual fee

Welcome Bonus

Based on our current point valuations, the clear winner is the The World Of Hyatt Credit Card, with the 60,000-point welcome bonus being worth $1,080. Next comes the Hilton card, that even though it has one of the lower valuations of the four hotels at 0.6 cents per points, the size of the signup bonus more makes up for it. We value the welcome bonus from The Hilton Honors Ascend Card From American Express at $750. In third place comes the The Marriott Rewards® Premier Plus Card, we value the 75,000-point welcome bonus at $675. Finally, the IHG® Rewards Club Premier Card which has a bonus of 80,000 points is valued at $480.

Grand Hyatt Seattle
Grand Hyatt Seattle

Earning Potential

In terms of sheer number, the Hilton Ascend card is top with 12X points per dollar for spending at Hilton properties. However, this is not the full picture since you need to take into account the value of the points you are earning. In dollar terms the World Of Hyatt Card is the most rewarding, earning you a total of 9X per dollar on Hyatt stays. Based on our current valuation this works out as 16.2 cents for every dollar you spend at Hyatt, which is a fantastic value.

Hermitage Hotel in Jakarta
Photo: Marriott

Point Flexibility

If you look to earn airline miles with your credit cards or look to transfers your hotel, points to airline miles there is only one clear winner. The The Marriott Rewards® Premier Plus Credit Card offers by far the best option to convert hotel points to airline miles. You can transfer points earned from your Marriott stays and the The Marriott Rewards® Premier Plus to over 40 airline programs.

What makes Marriott stand out is its transfer ratio, which is far better than any other hotel program. Marriott points transfer to airlines at a ratio o 3:1, and for every 60,000 points you transfer you will receive a 5,000 miles bonus. So, transferring 60,000 points yields 25,000 miles or a transfer ratio of 2.4:1.

Stay Patterns

Whichever card program works for you will also largely depend on your stay patterns. Hyatt has a much smaller footprint of hotels across the globe and has a significant number of its properties in the US. IHG, Marriott, and Hilton have a huge array of properties across the world. If the bulk of your stays are at lower end properties, and airport locations, you are best off opting for the IHG® Rewards Club Premier Credit Card  or the Hilton Card. On the other hand, if the bulk of your stays are at mid and higher-end properties outside of the US, you are better served with Marriott and the The Marriott Rewards® Premier Plus Credit Card. If most of your stays are in the US at higher-end properties, then the World Of Hyatt Credit Card and Hyatt loyalty program is a great option.

Conrad Cartagena hotel
© 2018 Hilton

Final Thoughts

There is no perfect hotel credit card or loyalty program. You need to balance out several factors when determining which hotel card is the best for you. If you have no desire to use your hotel points for award stays, then the The Marriott Rewards® Premier Plus Card is your best option since you can transfer your points to a wide variety of airlines at a pretty good ratio. If you want to use your hotel points for award stays, then IHG and the IHG® Rewards Club Premier Card card or the Hilton card are good options for international stays at mid to lower tier properties, while the The World Of Hyatt Credit Card card and World of Hyatt is the choice for high-end awards and stays mainly in the US.

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