9 Best Hotel Credit Cards for a Free Night Certificate [2021]

Castillo Hotel Son Vida, a Luxury Collection Hotel Mallorca

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One of the best, and most rewarding, things about hotel co-branded credit cards is that many of them offer a free night certificate each year on your card’s renewal date.  For many travelers, the value that they receive from these annual free night certificates completely offsets what they pay in the annual fee and then some!

Of course, not all free night certificates are created equally as some can be significantly more valuable than others depending on how you use them. In this guide, we will take a look at the best credit cards that offer a free night certificate across 6 major hotel chains, and why you should consider adding a hotel credit card to your wallet.

Why You Should Consider a Hotel Credit Card

You might be wondering, why should I have a hotel credit card instead of 1 that earns transferable points? Well, while every points and miles traveler should have a transferable rewards credit card as their go-to, adding a hotel credit card as well can help upgrade your travels even further!

For example, in addition to a free night certificate, almost every hotel credit card offers benefits designed to improve your hotel stay, like complimentary elite status, additional points on stays, and even credits for use at the hotel.

Having complimentary elite status with a hotel can get you perks like room upgrades, free breakfast, early check-in, and late checkout. So, if you stay with a certain hotel group at least a few times a year, you can benefits tremendously by keeping a hotel credit card in your wallet.

Here is a look at some of the best cards that can offer you a free night certificate at 6 of the most popular hotel chains.

Credit Cards That Offer Free Night Certificates

Hilton Honors

The Hilton Honors program boasts a portfolio of over 6,000 properties worldwide and offers 3 different credit card options to earn free night certificates.

Hilton Honors American Express Aspire Card

The Hilton Aspire card provides 1 free weekend night award with your new card and every year after renewal. You can earn an additional night after you spend $60,000 on purchases on your card in a calendar year.

Hilton Honors American Express Surpass® Card

While the Hilton Surpass card does not directly offer a free night certificate as a benefit of being a cardholder, you can spend your way to 1 by spending $15,000 on the card within a calendar year.

The Hilton Honors American Express Business Card

As with the Hilton Surpass card, the Hilton Business Amex card requires you to spend $15,000 on the card within a calendar year in order to receive the certificate.

Hot Tip: While only the Hilton Aspire card comes with a free night certificate automatically, the free night certificates that you can earn through spending on other Hilton cards are actually quite valuable because of their ability to be redeemed at any Hilton hotel worldwide, whereas other programs limit you to a free night at hotels within a certain category.  

World of Hyatt

The World of Hyatt program is the smallest chain featured in our guide but is a fan favorite in the points and miles community thanks to its lucrative award chart and generous benefits for top-tier elite members. However, it offers just 1 credit card that allows you to earn free night certificates.

The World of Hyatt Credit Card

With the World of Hyatt card, cardholders receive a free night certificate that can be redeemed at any Category 1-4 Hyatt hotel, plus the opportunity to earn another free night certificate after spending $15,000 on the card within a calendar year.

Hot Tip:World of Hyatt members can also earn an additional Category 1-4 free night certificate after completing 30 elite nights, and a Category 1-7 free night certificate after 60 elite nights. But thanks to the World of Hyatt card’s automatic 5 elite nights credits, the number of nights you’ll actually need drops to 25 and 55, respectively. 

IHG Rewards

IHG is another large chain offering over 6,000 hotels throughout the world, but unlike larger chains, it offers just 1 co-branded IHG Rewards card that offers a free night certificate.

IHG® Rewards Club Premier Credit Card

CREDIT CARDCARD INFO
IHG® Rewards Club Premier Credit Card

IHG® Rewards Club Premier Credit Card
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(at Chase's secure site)
  • Earn 125,000 bonus points after spending $3,000 on purchases within the first three months of account opening
  • Enjoy a Reward Night after each account anniversary year at eligible IHG hotels worldwide. Plus, enjoy a reward night when you redeem points for any stay of 4 or more nights
  • Earn up to 25 points total per $1 spent when you stay at an IHG hotel
  • Earn 2 points per $1 spent on purchases at gas stations, grocery stores, and restaurants. Earn 1 point per $1 spent on all other purchases
  • Platinum Elite status as long as you remain a Premier card member
  • Global Entry or TSA Pre✓® Fee Credit of up to $100 every 4 years as reimbursement for the application fee charged to your card
  • IHG Rewards Club Bonus points are redeemable at hotels such as InterContinental®, Crowne Plaza®, Kimpton®, EVEN® Hotels, Indigo® Hotels & Holiday Inn®
  • Good to Excellent Credit Recommend (670-850)
  • Annual Fee: $89

$625

The IHG Premier card offers you 1 free night certificate on your account anniversary each year that can be redeemed at IHG hotels costing up to 40,000 points per night.

Marriott Bonvoy

Perhaps the most popular chain on our list amongst award travelers, Marriott offers a network of over 7,000 hotels, and Marriott Bonvoy members have 3 credit card options with which to earn free night certificates.

Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant™ American Express® Card

CardHotel RewardsSample Benefits/Fees
Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant™ American Express® Card


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(at Amex's secure site)
  • 6 Marriott Rewards Points/$1 spent at hotels participating in the Marriott Bonvoy program
  • Up to $300 in statement credits each year of card membership for eligible purchases at hotels participating in the Marriott Bonvoy program
  • Gold Elite status, Priority Pass Select Membership, complimentary anniversary night, premium internet access
  • Annual Fee: $450
  • Terms Apply. For rates and fees of the Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant card, click here.

Marriott’s premium card option, the Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant card, offers 1 free night certificate every year on your account anniversary that can be used at any hotel costing at or under 50,000 Marriott Bonvoy points. This allows you to redeem your certificate up to a Category 5 property on peak nights, up to a Category 6 property on standard nights, and up to a Category 7 property on off-peak nights.

Marriott Bonvoy Boundless® Credit Card

The lower annual fee Marriott Bonvoy Boundless card also offers an annual free night certificate but it is limited to hotels costing up to 35,000 Marriott Bonvoy points per night. This would allow you to redeem your certificate at up to a Category 4 hotel on peak nights, or a Category 5 hotel on standard and off-peak nights.

Marriott Bonvoy Business™ American Express® Card

Those with the Marriott Bonvoy Business card will earn 1 free night certificate useable at any Marriott hotel costing up to 35,000 points, plus the ability to earn an additional certificate after you spend $60,000 in purchases on your card in a calendar year.

Hot Tip: Have free night certificates from multiple Marriott Bonvoy credit cards? You can stack those free night certificates together to book a longer award stay! 

Radisson Rewards Americas

While not as popular as many of the hotel chains featured, the Radisson Rewards Americas program can still provide great value to travelers and offers 2 credit card options that allow you to earn multiple free night certificates.

Radisson Rewards™ Premier Visa Signature® Card

The Radisson Rewards Premier card does not technically come with a free night certificate at your account renewal; instead, you receive 40,000 Radisson Rewards Americas points that you can redeem any way you wish. This could be anywhere from 1 night in a Category 4 hotel, or 4 nights in a Category 1 hotel. In fact, many might argue that this added flexibility is actually better than a standard free night certificate.

That’s not all, though — cardholders can also earn 1 free night e-Certificate for every $10,000 they spend on the card each year, up to 3 total e-Certificates. These e-Certificates are valid for a free night in any Radisson hotel in the U.S. — even top-tier Category 7 properties that cost 70,000 points per night!

Radisson Rewards™ Visa® Card

The no-annual-fee Radisson Rewards card does not offer a free night certificate or any points on your account renewal each year, but as with the Radisson Rewards Premier card, you’ll have the ability to earn 1 free night e-Certificate for every $10,000 you spend on the card each year, up to 3 total e-Certificates.

Wyndham Rewards

Last but not least, Wyndham, the largest hotel chain featured with over 9,000 properties, offers 3 separate card options to Wyndham Rewards members looking to earn free nights.

Wyndham Rewards® Earner℠ Plus Card

The Wyndham Rewards Earner+ card offers an annual point bonus instead of a free night certificate. Each year, cardholders receive 7,500 Wyndham Rewards points that can be redeemed however they choose. 7,500 points are enough for a free night at tier-1 Wyndham hotel, or you could put those points towards a more expensive hotel.

Wyndham Rewards® Earner℠ Card

Since the Wyndham Rewards Earner card charges no annual fee, you don’t receive points annually for holding the card, but you can earn 7,500 bonus points each anniversary after you spend $15,000 on purchases in a calendar year.

Wyndham Rewards® Earner℠ Business Card

Wyndham Rewards Earner Business cardholders receive the best annual bonus of the bunch, getting 15,000 points when they renew their card each year. This is enough for a free night at a tier-2 Wyndham hotel, or 2 free nights at a tier-1 hotel.

Hot Tip: Wyndham cardholders also get a 10% discount on the number of points needed for a free night, bringing the usually tiers of 7,500, 15,000, and 30,000, down to 6,750, 13,500, and 27,000, respectively. 

The 9 Most Valuable Credit Card Free Night Certificates

If you’re wondering which credit card free night certificates can offer you the most value, we’ve got you covered! Below we’ve placed a monetary value on each certificate and then ranked them in descending order.

To determine a value for a given free night certificate, we took the highest point value that a free night certificate could be redeemed for and then multiplied that by our cent per point valuations for that hotel group. We then discounted that figure by 10% due to the fact that a free night certificate is less flexible than its point equivalent, and rounded up to the nearest whole number.

For example, 35,000 Marriott Bonvoy points are worth $245 based on our valuations, but after the 10% discount, we’ve assigned the value of a Marriott free night certificate (redeemable at a hotel costing up to 35,000 points per night) at $220 due to its lack of flexibility in comparison.

We’ve also only included cards in our rankings that offer an annual free night, or points, as a benefit of holding the card, and have omitted cards that require you to meet a certain level of spend in a calendar year to receive one.

Of course, any sort of valuation for points or free night certificates is entirely subjective, so feel free to do your own analysis to determine what a card’s free night certificate is worth to you based on your own travel habits.

With that said, here are our top 9 most valuable credit card free night certificates.

1. Hilton Aspire Card ($428 Value)

Hilton Seychelles Labriz Resort Spa Pool
Get a free night at the Hilton Seychelles Labriz Resort and Spa. Image Credit: Hilton

The free night certificate from the Hilton Aspire card is valid at virtually any Hilton property in the world, with a few notable exceptions like all-inclusive resorts, most Hilton Grand Vacations properties, and other select “distinctive resorts.”

Hilton no longer publishes an award chart, but top-tier hotels in the program can cost up to 95,000 points per night, like the luxurious Hilton Seychelles Labriz Resort and Spa.

Hot Tip: Usually, Hilton free night certificates can only be redeemed on weekend nights, but now through the end of 2021, Hilton free night certificates can be redeemed on any day of the week!

2. Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant Card ($315 Value)

Castillo Hotel Son Vida, a Luxury Collection Hotel Mallorca
Castillo Hotel Son Vida, a Luxury Collection Hotel, Mallorca. Image Credit: Marriott

Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant cardholders receive an annual free night certificate that can be redeemed at any Marriott property costing up to 50,000 points per night. That is enough for a free night at the Castillo Hotel Son Vida in Mallorca, Spain that costs 50,000 points on standard nights and 40,000 points on off-peak nights.

3. World of Hyatt Card ($243 Value)

Park Hyatt Zanzibar
Park Hyatt Zanzibar. Image Credit: Hyatt

World of Hyatt cardholders receive an annual free night certificate that can be redeemed at any Category 1-4 hotel in the Hyatt portfolio. The Park Hyatt Zanzibar, a Category 4 hotel, is an excellent option in this case as Park Hyatt is Hyatt’s flagship luxury brand, and many other Park Hyatt’s throughout the world are Category 7 hotels costing 30,000 points per night.

Hot Tip: Hyatt will be switching to a peak/off-peak award chart in late 2021, similar to the Marriott Bonvoy award chart. However, Hyatt free night certificates will continue to be able to be used at any Category 1-4 property on any night, even if the night is under peak pricing. 

4. Marriott Bonvoy Boundless Card and Marriott Bonvoy Business Card ($220 Value)

JW Marriott Phu Quoc Emerald Bay Resort Spa
JW Marriott Phu Quoc Emerald Bay Resort Spa. Image Credit: Marriott

Free night certificates from both the Marriott Bonvoy Boundless card and the Marriott Bonvoy Business card, can be redeemed at any Marriott hotel costing up to 35,000 points per night. This will allow you to book up to a Category 4 property on peak nights or up to a Category 5 property on standard or off-peak nights.

The JW Marriott Phu Quoc Emerald Bay Resort Spa is one such Category 5 property that would be eligible for your free night; it offers 5 restaurants, a spa, a gym, a hot tub, 3 outdoor pools, a kids’ club, and a private beach.

5. IHG Premier Card ($180 Value)

InterContinental Budapest
Enjoy amazing views of Budapest from the InterContinental Budapest. Image Credit: IHG

The free night certificate from your IHG Premier card can be redeemed at any IHG hotel that costs less than 40,000 points per night. While IHG Rewards no longer uses an award chart, and hotels are priced using a dynamic pricing model, there are still many great hotels in the program whose award night cost averages around 40,000 points per night.

One such example is the Intercontinental Budapest, which is one of the nicest hotels in the city and comes with views of the Danube, the second-longest river in Europe and a UNESCO World Heritage Site that separates the city into Buda and Pest.

6. Wyndham Rewards Earner Business Card ($135 Value)

Wyndham Mirabello Bay
Wyndham Grand Crete Mirabello Bay. Image Credit: Wyndham

Wyndham Rewards Earner Business cardholders receive 15,000 points each year on their account anniversary when they renew their card.

Of course, you can then spend these points however you choose, as points have much more flexibility over a standard free night certificate, but 15,000 points are enough for a free night at any tier-2 Wyndham hotel. The Wyndham Grand Crete Mirabello Bay would be a great use of these points as it is a beautiful property and nightly rates can reach upwards of $300 a night!

7. Radisson Rewards Premier Card ($100 Value)

Radisson Blu Cebu
Radisson Blu Cebu. Image Credit: Radisson Hotels

The 40,000 annual points you’ll receive for being a Radisson Rewards Premier cardholder is enough for a free night at up to a Category 4 hotel, which ordinarily costs 38,000 points per night.

Radisson Blu, one of Radisson’s premium brands, has a handful of excellent Category 4 properties throughout the world like the Radisson Blue Cebu that offers a beautiful outdoor pool, onsite spa, and an excellent location in Cebu, Philippines.

8. Wyndham Rewards Earner+ Card ($67.50 Value)

TRYP by Wyndham Mexico City World Trade Center Area
TRYP by Wyndham Mexico City World Trade Center Area. Image Credit: Wyndham

Those with the Wyndham Earner+ card receive 7,500 bonus points on their account anniversary each year, which can either be put towards more expensive stays or used towards a free night at a Tier-1 Wyndham property.

While you’ll be hard-pressed to find many luxury properties in Wyndham’s Tier-1 category, there are many that can still offer great value thanks to their prime location, like the TRYP by Wyndham Mexico City World Trade Center Area that is nestled right in the heart of the Mexican capital.

Final Thoughts

With the sheer number of points and miles credit cards out there, it can be easy to overlook hotel credit cards — but you should really think twice before doing so! After all, if you stay with a hotel group with any sort of regularity, you won’t just earn extra points on those stays, but you could also receive automatic elite status, room upgrades, late checkout, and of course those coveted free night certificates.

Ultimately, hotel credit cards are an excellent way to enhance your stays, and the free night certificates you receive largely offset the annual fee you pay each year. So for travelers, the question is not if you should get a hotel credit card, it is just a matter of which one(s) you should choose!


The information regarding the Hilton Honors American Express Aspire Card, Hilton Honors American Express Surpass® Card, Radisson Rewards™ Premier Visa Signature® Card, Radisson Rewards™ Visa® Card, Wyndham Rewards® Earner℠ Plus Card, Wyndham Rewards® Earner℠ Card, and Wyndham Rewards® Earner℠ Business Card was independently collected by Upgraded Points and not provided nor reviewed by the issuer. 

For rates and fees of The Hilton Honors American Express Business Card, click here.
For rates and fees of the Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant™ American Express® Card, click here.
For rates and fees of the Marriott Bonvoy Business™ American Express® Card, click here.


Frequently asked questions

Which hotel credit cards have free nights?

There are many hotel credit cards that offer a free night certificate on your account anniversary. In fact, just about every major chain offers one. Refer to the cards listed in our post for each chain for all of the details.

What is the best hotel credit card?

The best hotel credit card is the one that you get the most value from! Meaning that there really isn’t a best card per se, but rather a card that is best for you based on your travel habits.

If you never stay at Marriott hotels, then it makes no sense for you to have a Marriott credit card, no matter how great it may be. Think about your travel patterns and the hotel group you prefer to stay with, and then get a card from that chain to help enhance those stays.

How do hotel credit card free night certificates work?

For the most part, each year on your account anniversary you will receive a certificate that is valid for select properties that cost a set number of points, though some certificates can be redeemed at any property.

You can then redeem your certificate for a free night at one of those eligible properties similar to how you would if you were booking a free night with points.

Are there hotel credit cards with no annual fee?

Yes, there are hotel credit cards that do not charge an annual fee. But there are none that offer a free night certificate as a benefit of holding the card. So if that is something you’re looking for, you’ll want to consider a hotel card that does charge an annual fee.

Are hotel credit cards worth it?

If you stay with any hotel chain at least once a year and would benefit from earning extra points on your stays, getting elite status, having perks like late checkout, and getting a free night certificate each year, then yes, having a hotel credit card is definitely worth it.

Jarrod West

About Jarrod West

Jarrod first became fascinated with the world of points and miles as the perfect way to visit dream destinations without breaking the bank. On his first major award trip, he spent 3 months traveling through Europe, financed nearly entirely with points; while flying in premium cabins and staying in 5-star hotels along the way. Now, he is on a mission to help others realize their travel goals and upgrade their travel experiences. Jarrod has been writing about credit cards and travel loyalty programs for 4 years, and his work has been featured by Travel and Leisure, Matador Network, Yahoo Finance, and U.S. News.

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