Updated: Jul 26
Hotel credit cards with an AF’s ($95 - $450), are the easiest cards to find immediate value. The SUB offer can be anywhere from $500 to $2,000 in value. Your second year and on, will offer a free night at the property you hold the credit card with usually. In the travel credit card world, this is referred to as a “sock drawer” card. The meaning is simple, you leave the card at home in a safe place until you need to use it. This sock drawer method only works if you have other credit cards for day to day spend. The hotel card, is only needed to book your stay at the hotel and when you travel to the hotel!
Typically, hotel cards offer close to the same value of the AF with the potential to get higher value in off peak redemption times. This is the typical hotel card, but then you have a few hotel cards that offer up to double the price of the annual fee.
Today I’ll discuss my favorite two hotel credit cards, which I also believe, are the best and most flexible two hotel cards on the market.
Ritz Rewards (AF = $450):
The Ritz-Carlton Rewards Card. This card is a discontinued card so can’t apply but it’s possible to product change to it from the Marriott Bonvoy Bold or the Marriott Bonvoy Boundless card, both by Chase. Here are the benefits:
$300 Airline Accidental Credit (must call)
Free Night Certificate up to 50k points
Bonvoy Elite Gold elite Status
Priority Pass w/ Unlimited Free Guests (normally 2 guests)
Authorized Users get full Priority Pass Membership ($0 per AU)
Primary Rental Car Insurance
6x Marriott properties (23.5x for Me)
3x Dining, Rental Cars & Flights
2x all other purchases
$100 TSA Credit ($25 every 4 years)
$100 Discount on paid stays of two or more nights at the St Regis or Ritz
The reason this is one of my favorite hotel cards and I think it’s the best overall hotel card on the market is because the flexibility it has with credits and benefits to recoup the price of the AF! The airline accidental credit that can be used with any airline worldwide (must call to get credit applied) is better than the Amex airline accidental credit because there is no specific airline limit. The Ritz card has the best Priority Pass membership available allowing as many guests as you would like and allowing authorized users to have full Priority Pass memberships while not charging a fee to add them as an authorized user to your account. Add up all the other benefits this cards has and the value is through the roof.
Hilton Aspire (AF = $450):
The Hilton Aspire card is the best hotel card on the market in terms of value. It has the possibility to triple the costs of its annual fee! If you stay at Hilton 50 times or 3 times, the value from this card will always outweigh the AF! Here are the benefits:
Diamond Status (Top Hilton status)
$250 Airline Credit
$250 Hilton Resort Credit
Free Weekend Night Certificate
Priority Pass Select (2 guests)
14x Hilton properties
7x Flights, Dining & Rental
3x Everything else
$100 Discount on paid stays of two or more nights at the Waldorf Astoria and Conrad
As you can see, the Hilton and airline credits listed are worth $500 compared to an $450 AF. Now add the Free weekend night reward to the mix (which we got used for a $600 room rate) and you can double costs of the cards annual fee before mentioning it’s key benefit, Diamond elite status! Diamond status earns 34x at Hiltons because of an 100% bonus added to the 14x multipler at Hilton properties. You also receive, upgrades to the best available rooms at the property, executive lounge access, premium wifi and elite status gifting. Diamond status at Hilton gives you VIP treatment because it’s Hilton’s top available status.
There you have it, my favorite two cards! They are also, arguably, the best two hotel cards on the market. Depending on which hotel brand you stay at the most, it's a flip of a coin which card is better. If you're like my and I, who love traveling with options, having both cards work perfect!
The reason I choose to hold both is because the Hilton Aspire card gives the top status without having to stay one night at a Hilton property. This makes it the perfect vacation or quick getaway card. One weekend will get you the full worth of the AF back.
The Ritz Rewards on the other hand gets heavy use. My wife and I prefer Marriott branded
hotels for more casual, convenience type stays compared to Hilton’s. This actually works out perfect because we have to earn status with Marriott. We get 15 elite nights from the Ritz Rewards card (another 15 soon from the Bonvoy Business) and have to earn the other nights from stays. ***I’ll explain my thoughts and plan with Marriott Bonvoy in an upcoming post***
I started my career overseas in 2010, I’ve stayed at multiple hotels yearly and if I had one of these hotel cards previously, I would have saved hundreds yearly! I’m happy I have them, with the ability to share my thoughts with all of you!
Until next time, before you pack your bags, don’t forget to PACK YOUR POINTS!
I am not a financial advisor and highly recommend doing your own homework about the credit card you want to apply for! All of the content on my website, page and channel are for entertainment purposes only.
If you’d like my opinion or help in forming an idea of what works, I’m here to help.
Here are REFERRAL LINKS to the credit cards mentioned in today’s post. By using them to apply, you’ll be supporting the website and channel because when approved, I’ll receive bonus points and miles as well!
*Be sure to check the public offer on the credit cards website to compare which is best for you!*
Hilton Aspire Card by Amex
Apply for an American Express Card with this link. We can both get rewarded if you're approved! http://refer.amex.us/KENNEHMKdm?xl=cp105f
Bonvoy Bold & Boundless Card by Chase
Earn 3 Free Night Awards with the Marriott Bonvoy Boundless™ Credit Card or 1 Free Night Award with the Marriott Bonvoy Bold™ Credit Card. I can be rewarded too if you apply here and are approved for a card. Learn More.