Hotel credit cards are almost always co-branded cards, meaning a company like Hilton teams up with Visa to offer a targeted credit card product. These cards are targeted to those consumers who are frequent patrons of specific hotel brands. For the hotels, this can be a really productive means of keeping and building customer loyalty. For the consumer it can mean discounted or free hotel stays, special services during a hotel stay, and other niceties. As good as it sounds, you need to be aware of exactly how any type of reward based credit card works, or you may not get the great deal you think you are getting. Take a few minutes to review some of the details of hotel credit cards before comparing your options.
Most hotel credit cards will promote hotels of the upscale and luxury class. However, most national family class hotels like Hilton and Marriott will also have a hotel credit card program. Similar to other rewards programs, hotel credit cards will offer one reward point for every dollar spent on the card and will often offer double, triple or more reward points for credit purchases at one of the card’s host properties. Some cards will also give you bonus points after spending above a certain amount within a given time period or double points for other travel and leisure purchases like airfare during promotional periods. Also, within the category of hotel credit cards, many full service resorts and cruise lines will have their own hotel card program with similar promotions and benefits.
Hotel Credit Card Points
It may be worth investigating the details regarding the redemption of your accumulated points, because some card products will not allow redemption during peak travel seasons or enforce blackout dates. Other cards will allow redemption without restriction. Also, you will want to regularly check your hotel credit cards schedule of rewards available. Some will offer more than hotel nights or room upgrades. Some additional rewards might include spa services, exclusive concierge services, and other unique goodies like champagne or chocolate welcome baskets and hotel merchandise.
Hotel Credit Cards Interest Rates
Unfortunately, like most other rewards cards, hotel credit cards usually charge a premium interest rate on revolving balances, non-promotional balance transfers, and cash advances. However, unlike other rewards programs, many of these hotel credit cards will offer a rather lengthy introductory promotional period. During these introductory promotions, balance transfers, cash advances, and even regular purchases (depending on the card product) will offer very low to zero interest rates with promotional periods lasting six, 12, and even 15 months.
Hotel Credit Card Fees
These hotel cards often charge annual fees (usually waived in the first year of membership with the better cards), and these can vary widely depending on the hotel chain. Some family hotel chains will charge modest annual fees of $20 – $30, while some upscale hotels will charge much more. However, some luxury hotels may not charge any annual fee at all, so you can’t make assumptions if the annual fee is a consideration for you; always investigate to be certain.
What is really unique within this category is that there are several card products that will give you the option of a variable or fixed annual percentage rate (APR). While this might provide some benefit if properly used, consumers must be incredibly strategically minded about their hotel and travel purchases and the rise and fall of the prime interest rate in order to see much real benefit from this option. As advised on other reward type cards, the best way to maximize the reward benefit of this product is to ensure that you pay off the total balance due within the cycle it is charged. In this way, consumers can avoid the higher than average interest that can make the rewards earned less of a value overall.
Who Needs A Hotel Credit Card?
When considering hotel credit cards, those consumers who would benefit most from this card type would be the business commuters, traveling salespersons, retired travelers, frequent fliers, and regular vacationers who prefer a single hotel or hotel chain, resort, or cruise line and don’t expect to use any other merchant for their travel service needs. These consumers will have the purchasing power to pay off their credit balances within 30 days from the time of purchase. They will have better than average credit and won’t have a great need to take advantage of promotions on cash advances or balance transfers.
Comparing Hotel Credit Cards
All-in-all, hotel credit cards can be a great product if your credit needs and lifestyle fit the promotional program being offered by the particular hotel chain. Do your homework when it comes to these cards, though, there are lots more details to consider compared to other card types. And remember to be honest when evaluating how you will use the card; otherwise you may end up not realizing the greatest benefits the card has to offer you.
To compare offers from numerous different hotels, you can use the free credit card chaser you see above. It is available at no charge to you, and is not affiliated with any single provider. Start getting the hotel credit card rewards you want most, right now!