The best hotel credit cards with no annual fees give you the ability to earn higher-than-usual rewards when you spend across specific properties. These cards tend to come with other hotel-specific benefits as well.
Best Hotel Credit Cards for No Annual Fee in 2022
No-annual-fee hotel credit cards typically offer higher reward earn rates when you use them to pay at participating properties. Depending on the card you have, you might benefit by getting a membership status upgrade in your hotel loyalty program.
Co-branded hotel cards account for the best cards from this category. These cards are linked to specific groups of hotels and offer brand-specific benefits. For example, the no-annual-fee Hilton Honors Card comes with complimentary Hilton Honors Silver Status and offers 7x points for eligible purchases made at properties within the Hilton portfolio. Similarly, the IHG Rewards Club Traveler Credit Card lets you earn up to 15x points at IHG Hotels and Resorts.
The top no-annual-fee hotel credit cards come without foreign transaction fees. Some such cards offer basic travel insurance coverage as well.
MoneyGeek’s Take: Top 2 Hotel Credit Cards With No Annual Fees
The rewards you stand to earn will vary from one hotel card to the next. While the best hotel credit cards with no annual fee come with introductory bonus offers, not all are equally rewarding. We’ve accounted for these factors when selecting the top no-annual-fee hotel credit cards, and we’ve also paid attention to APRs, foreign transaction fees and other benefits.
- IHG® Rewards Traveler Credit Card
Great card for earning points fast for IHG loyalists
- Good-ExcellentCredit Needed
- $0Annual Fee
- 1–2 Points per $1Rewards Rate
- 15xRewards Rate at Hotels
- 2xRewards Rate on Gas
- Hilton Honors American Express Card
A good travel rewards card for people who are casual guests at Hilton hotels and resorts
- Good-ExcellentCredit Needed
- $0Annual Fee
- 3–7 Points per $1*Rewards Rate
- 7xRewards Rate at Hotels
- 5xRewards Rate on Dining
Summary of the Best Hotel Cards for No Annual Fee
Learn about the best no-fee hotel credit cards by going through this no-annual-fee hotel card comparison table. Here we’ve summarized aspects such as reward rates, welcome offers and foreign transaction fees.
- Credit CardBest ForAvg. Reward RateAnnual FeeCredit Needed
- IHG® Rewards Traveler Credit CardGreat card for earning points fast for IHG loyalists1–2 Points per $1$0Good-Excellent
- Hilton Honors American Express CardA good travel rewards card for people who are casual guests at Hilton hotels and resorts3–7 Points per $1*$0Good-Excellent
- Marriott Bonvoy Bold® Credit CardGreat no-annual-fee card for earning points at Marriot properties1–2 Points per $1$0Good-Excellent
While hotels may offer different versions of their cards, the best hotel cards with no annual fees offer attractive perks for the occasional traveler. These cards provide additional benefits and the ability to earn more points during your stay without needing to commit to one hotel brand. — Lee Huffman, credit card expert at BaldThoughts.com.
How to Compare Hotel Credit Cards & Intro Offers
Even the best hotel cards with no annual fees come with several differences, so it's best practice to compare them across different parameters based on your spending patterns and specific requirements.
Narrow down on a suitable option based on the hotels you use most frequently. This could be Hilton, Marriott, IHG or any other brand.
Take into account the rewards you stand to earn. If you’re a high spender, you might benefit by getting a hotel card with an annual fee that offers a high rewards earn rate. For example, while the no-annual-fee Marriott Bonvoy Bold Card offers up to 14x points on spending at participating Marriott properties, the Marriott Bonvoy Boundless Card with a $95 annual fee lets you earn up to 17x points at participating Marriott properties. The latter also comes with a better new cardholder bonus and other benefits.
Pay attention to the interest you’ll need to pay if you maintain revolving balances. If you don’t plan to pay off your balances in full each month, you might benefit more by taking a look at what the best low APR cards have to offer.
It’s common for the top no-annual-fee hotel credit cards to come with introductory spend- and time-based welcome offers. For example, you might earn 30,000 bonus points if you spend $1,000 within three months from account opening.
You might qualify for a complimentary status upgrade through your hotel credit card’s corresponding loyalty program. For instance, you get complimentary Hilton Honors Silver Status with the Hilton Honors Card.
Foreign transaction fees
If your travels take you outside of the U.S., getting a no-annual-fee hotel credit card that also does away with foreign transaction fees might work best for you. The IHG Rewards Club Traveler Credit Card, the Amex Hilton Honors Card and the Chase Marriott Bonvoy Bold Card fit this bill.
While no-annual-fee hotel credit cards refrain from offering extensive features and perks linked with premium hotel cards, you may still expect some benefits. For instance, the IHG Rewards Club Traveler Credit Card offers a reward night when you redeem points for a stay of four or more nights.
These might come in the form of basic travel insurance coverage, purchase protection, fraud protection and free additional cards.
About the Author
Editorial Disclosure: Opinions, reviews, analyses and recommendations are the author’s alone and have not been reviewed, endorsed or approved by any bank, credit card issuer, hotel, airline, or other entity.
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