Hotel credit cards offer valuable perks for travelers who are loyal to one hotel brand. One of the most valuable benefits available on some hotel credit cards is a free night’s stay after your cardholder anniversary. Most hotel credit cards charge an annual fee, but if your renewal also comes with a free hotel stay, it could more than offset the charge.
Hotel Credit Cards That Offer a Free Anniversary Night’s Stay
Several hotel credit cards offer a free anniversary night, including:
— Hilton Honors American Express Ascend Card
— Hilton Honors Aspire Card from American Express
— The Hilton Honors American Express Business Card
— IHG Rewards Club Premier Credit Card
— Marriott Rewards Premier Plus Credit Card
— Chase Marriott Rewards Premier Plus Business Credit Card
— Radisson Rewards Visa Card
— Radisson Rewards Premier Visa Signature Card
— Radisson Rewards Business Visa Card
— Starwood Preferred Guest Credit Card from American Express
— Starwood Preferred Guest Business Credit Card from American Express
In most cases, you’ll get the free night’s stay automatically when you pay your annual fee. But with some cards, you’ll need to meet a minimum spend requirement to qualify.
“For most hotel credit cards that give a benefit like a free night, the annual fee is $100 or less,” says Adam Sterling, founder of The Sterling Traveler, a blog about using points and miles for travel. “It’s very easy to find a hotel room that is greater than $100, even for a cheap hotel.”
Hilton Honors American Express Ascend Card. The card offers a free weekend night award if you spend $15,000 in eligible purchases each calendar year. You typically get the reward code by email within eight to 12 weeks of meeting the minimum spending requirement. You can redeem the reward for a stay on a Friday, Saturday or Sunday night at any Hilton property, excluding all-inclusive and distinctive properties. You’ll need to call to book the stay on or before the code’s expiration date, which is one year after it’s been issued. The card has a $95 annual fee.
[Read: Best Hotel Credit Cards.]
Hilton Honors Aspire Card from American Express. Cardholders receive a free weekend night award when they first get the card and every year when they renew and pay the annual fee. They also receive a statement credit of up to $250 for eligible purchases at participating Hilton resorts. You’ll receive a code for the free night eight to 14 weeks after you open your account and each year after you pay the card’s $450 annual fee. As with the Hilton Honors American Express Ascend Card, the reward is good for a stay on Friday, Saturday or Sunday nights at eligible properties and expires a year after it’s issued.
The Hilton Honors American Express Business Card. The card offers the opportunity to earn two free weekend night awards — one after you spend $15,000 in eligible purchases in a calendar year and a second after you spend $60,000 in eligible purchases in a calendar year. Once you’ve met the spending requirement, you’ll get the award code via email within eight to 12 weeks. Call Hilton to book a Friday, Saturday or Sunday night at an eligible property within a year of the date of issuance. The card charges a $95 annual fee.
IHG Rewards Club Premier Credit Card. The card offers a free night after your first anniversary and every year thereafter when you pay the $89 annual fee. The award is good for any IHG property, which includes brands like InterContinental Hotels & Resorts, Holiday Inn and Kimpton Hotels & Restaurants, with a redemption level of 40,000 points per night or less. The free night expires 12 months after it’s been issued, and you’ll receive it on your account anniversary date each year. You can book your stay online through your IHG Rewards Club account or by calling IHG.
Marriott Rewards Premier Plus Credit Card. With this card, you get a free night every year after your account anniversary, in the form of an e-certificate, when you pay the card’s $95 annual fee. The award is valid for a stay at a property with a redemption level of 35,000 points or less. The e-certificate will be automatically deposited into your Marriott Rewards account within eight weeks of your account anniversary date. You can book it directly through your online account. It expires 12 months after you receive it.
[Read: Best Business Credit Cards.]
Chase Marriott Rewards Premier Plus Business Credit Card. On your first account anniversary with the card and every year after that, you’ll receive a free night’s stay worth up to 35,000 points. It can take up to eight weeks for the e-certificate to be deposited into your Marriott Rewards account, after which you can use it to book your stay online. The e-certificate expires in 12 months, and the card has an annual fee of $99.
Radisson Rewards Visa Card. You can earn up to three free nights each year with this card: one e-certificate for each $10,000 you spend with the card during an account membership year, for up to $30,000 total. The card doesn’t have an annual fee. Your e-certificates will be deposited into your Radisson Rewards account within six to eight weeks of your anniversary month, and you can use them to book a stay at any Radisson Blu, Radisson, Radisson RED, Park Plaza, Park Inn by Radisson or Country Inn & Suites by Radisson hotel located in the U.S. The free nights expire 12 months after their issue date.
Radisson Rewards Premier Visa Signature Card. In addition to 40,000 bonus points every year, you can earn up to three free night e-certificates for each $10,000 you spend. The e-certificates will be available in your Radisson Rewards account within six to eight weeks of paying the card’s $75 annual fee. You can use your e-certificates to book a stay online at any eligible Radisson property within 12 months of their issuance date.
Radisson Rewards Business Visa Card. Cardholders get 40,000 bonus points each anniversary and a free night e-certificate for every $10,000 they spend, for up to $30,000 total. You’ll receive your e-certificates within six to eight weeks of paying the $60 annual fee, and you can use them to book online at any eligible Radisson hotel. They expire 12 months after they’re issued.
Starwood Preferred Guest Credit Card from American Express. This card offers a free award night worth up to 35,000 points every year after your account anniversary. The free night will automatically be added to your rewards account within eight to 12 weeks of your account anniversary, and you can book it through your online account. The free night expires 12 months after issuance, and the card charges no introductory annual fee, then $95 after that.
Starwood Preferred Guest Business Credit Card from American Express. Every year on your account anniversary, you receive a free night award worth up to 35,000 points. You receive the free night in your rewards account within eight to 12 weeks after your account anniversary. After that, you have 12 months to use it by booking a free stay online. The card has no annual fee the first year, then $95 each year after that.
How to Maximize Your Free Night Award
If you have a hotel credit card that offers a free hotel stay every year, make sure you take advantage of the perk:
Check the cost. When you’re booking a hotel, it’s usually best to choose the property that best fits your travel plans. But if the nightly rate is low, consider paying for it in cash and keeping your free night for a pricier redemption. Don’t go overboard to get the best redemption, though. “Using points is about traveling to where you want to go without shelling out tons of money,” says Stephen Au, credit card points expert at travel rewards website UpgradedPoints.com. “If you end up losing sight of the places you want to go to just because you want to get the best cash value, then it defeats the purpose of traveling.”
Watch out for added fees. Some hotel brands have properties that charge resort fees or parking fees. In general, the free night benefit won’t cover these costs, so check the fine print before you book to avoid spending more than you want.
Keep track of your spending. If you have a card with a minimum spending requirement, make sure you know where you stand before the end of the year. You don’t want to miss out because you fell short by just a few dollars.
Don’t be afraid to switch hotels. If you have a multinight trip, Sterling recommends using your free night at an aspirational property like the InterContinental New York Times Square or The Palazzo Las Vegas, then staying at an inexpensive hotel nearby for the rest of your trip.
As for which card to choose, Au recommends basing your decision on your spending habits and travel needs. If you spend a lot of time in Hilton hotels, for instance, one of the Hilton cards may be best for you. But if you don’t think you can manage meeting a spending requirement, it may be better to go with a card that offers the perk just for holding onto the card.
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Which Credit Cards Offer a Free Hotel Stay Every Year? originally appeared on usnews.com
Source : https://wtop.com/news/2019/02/which-credit-cards-offer-a-free-hotel-stay-every-year/