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In addition to credit cards that earn airline miles or transferable currencies which can be used for free flights, there exists a separate niche for cards that earn hotel points for free stays. These points can be extremely valuable when used efficiently, and an added benefit of many hotel co-branded credit cards is that they come with an annual free night certificate for use at the associated hotel chain.

Today we’ll take a look at some of the best credit cards that offer an annual free night certificate as part of their benefits.

Free Night Certificates

Welcome drinks at the Park Hyatt Siem Reap, which we booked with a Free Night Certificate from the World of Hyatt credit card. The cash rate during our stay was $350 per night.

One of the major differences between credit cards that earn airline miles or transferable currencies and those that are co-branded with hotels are the incentives. Both offer various benefits to entice customers to open and use the products, but many hotel credit cards offer free night certificates as well to sweeten the pot.

In recent years, many hotel chains have moved from static to dynamic pricing and have also capped their free night certificates at a particular value, meaning that it’s harder (though not impossible) to get incredibly outsized value from these benefits. Still, it’s not difficult to completely offset the cost of the card’s annual fee using free night certificates for nights you may have otherwise paid for and so it makes sense to utilize hotel credit cards as part of your award travel strategy.

Top Hotel Credit Cards with Annual Free Night Certificates The World Of Hyatt Credit Card

Hilton Honors American Express Aspire Card

IHG(R) Rewards Club Premier Credit Card

Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant American Express Card

Marriot Bonvoy Boundless Visa Signature Credit Card

Marriot Bonvoy(TM) Business Card from American Express

Final Thoughts

The view from our Sea View room at the Intercontinental in Beirut, Lebanon. The cash rate for this night was $318 plus tax, but we stayed for free with our certificate from the IHG credit card.

As I’ve discussed above, there are several excellent co-branded credit cards that offer free night certificates for hotel stays. Marriott Bonvoy offers the most number of credit cards with this feature, and due to current increased welcome bonuses they are even better. That being said, the Hilton Aspire card is the only one which also includes top-tier hotel status along with a free night certificate, which can be extremely valuable for award stays. Do note that the World of Hyatt, IHG Premier, and Bonvoy Boundless cards are offered by Chase so their 5/24 rule applies. Likewise, the Bonvoy Brilliant, Bonvoy Business, and Hilton Aspire cards are offered by American Express which has a once-per-lifetime limitation on earning welcome bonuses.

I have personally used dozens of free night certificates over the years with great success. I happily pay the annual fee for cards I have with this feature because I am always able to use the certificates for good (but not always excellent) value. It’s incredibly handy to have them in addition to points you earn from welcome bonuses and earnings from regular spend on your cards and should not be overlooked.



Brandon Chase is a financially independent writer, endurance athlete, and travel hacking enthusiast originally from Maine. He is a former Foreign Service Officer with the U.S. Department of State and spent nearly a decade overseas serving at embassies in Cairo, Egypt, and Nicosia, Cyprus, and Islamabad, Pakistan. Since getting hooked on “the hobby” in 2013, he and his wife have accumulated and redeemed millions of points and miles for luxury travel, including a $35,000 trip around the world for 97% off retail which he wrote about on his blog Fit For Miles. In addition to travel, he loves to be outdoors and has summited Mr. Kilimanjaro, thru-hiked the Appalachian Trail, and completed ultramarathons at the 50k, 50-mile, and 100-mile distances. Brandon is thrilled to share his knowledge of credit cards, award travel, and optimization with the Go Curry Cracker readers and hopes to help people travel more and better than they ever thought possible.

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Editorial Note – Opinions expressed here are author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, hotel, airline, or other entity. This content has not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of the entities included within the post.

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