Hotel programs from Amex, Visa, and more can get you free elite benefits like room upgrades and on-property credits — here's how
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- Many travel rewards cards offer elite-like hotel benefits when you book with their online portals.
- Amex, Chase, Mastercard, and Visa all field hotel-booking portals with varying benefits.
- The prices through credit card travel portals are often on par with booking directly through hotels.
- Read Insider’s guide to the best travel rewards credit cards.
Top-tier hotel credit cards like the Hilton Honors American Express Aspire Card and the Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant™ American Express® Card offer members hundreds of dollars in credits each year toward hotel room rates and on-property purchases like dining or spa treatments.
However, you don’t need to carry a specific hotel program’s co-branded card to enjoy such benefits. Depending on the issuer and type of credit card you carry, you might have access to special online booking portals where reservations include these sorts of freebies, too.
American Express fields both The Hotel Collection and the Fine Hotels & Resorts program for different cardmembers. For its part, Chase has a Luxury Hotel & Resorts Collection. Depending on your credit card, you might be eligible to book through either the Visa Signature Hotels or Visa Infinite Hotels sites, and World Mastercard and World Elite Mastercard holders can access their own specialized portal.
Here are the details on these hotel programs and what you can expect when you book through each.
We’re focused here on the rewards and perks that come with each card. These cards won’t be worth it if you’re paying interest or late fees. When using a credit card, it’s important to pay your balance in full each month, make payments on time, and only spend what you can afford to pay.
American Express Hotel Collection and Fine Hotels & Resorts
Amex fields not one, but two, online hotel booking portals for certain cardholders. The first is called The Hotel Collection and is available to those with The Platinum Card® from American Express, The Business Platinum Card® from American Express, the American Express® Gold Card, the American Express® Business Gold Card, and the Centurion Card.
With the various versions of the Amex Platinum card, you’ll earn 5 points per dollar on prepaid bookings made through these portals.
Read more: How to use the Amex Travel Portal to book flights, hotels, car rentals, cruises, and more — and make the most of your Membership Rewards points
The Hotel Collection
With The Hotel Collection, cardholders who book a stay of two consecutive nights (either paid or using Pay With Points) receive the following benefits:
- A $100 hotel credit to spend on qualifying dining, spa, and other resort activities (but not room rates, taxes, gratuities, or fees)
- A room upgrade at check-in, if available
Given that room rates through The Hotel Collection are generally the same as you’ll find through pretty much any other channel, adding an extra $100 in value to your stay and a good shot at an upgrade are reason enough to book through here instead. Although you won’t earn hotel points or credit toward elite status by booking through this portal, the $100 credit will likely make up for it. Plus, many of the hotels that participate are not in the major chains, so you won’t really be missing out.
You can book these hotels through American Express Travel Services online or by phone at 800-297-2977. The collection of partner properties includes over 600 hotels worldwide, and is a mix of luxury hotels, chain hotels, and smaller boutique properties. A few examples include the NoMad Hotel in New York City, the Andaz Amsterdam Prinsengracht, Atlantis The Palm in Dubai, and the Mauna Kea Beach Hotel in Hawaii.
American Express® Gold Card
15.99% – 23.99% Variable
Good to Excellent
60,000 bonus ThankYou® Points after you spend $4,000 in purchases within the first three months of account opening
- Strong welcome bonus
- Generous bonus categories
- Doesn’t offer much in the way of statement credits or other perks
- Citi ThankYou Rewards may not be as convenient as other points for US-based travelers
- Earn 60,000 bonus ThankYou® Points after you spend $4,000 in purchases within the first 3 months of account opening
- Earn 3 Points per $1 spent at Restaurants and Supermarkets
- Earn 3 Points per $1 spent at Gas Stations, Air Travel and Hotels
- Earn 1 Point per $1 spent on all other purchases
- Annual Hotel Savings Benefit
- 60,000 Points are redeemable for $600 in gift cards when redeemed at thankyou.com
- No expiration and no limit to the amount of points you can earn with this card
- No Foreign Transaction Fees on purchases
There are over a dozen World and World Elite Mastercard products that are eligible for bookings made through Mastercard’s hotel collection. They include the:
- Citi Premier® Card
- Chase Freedom Flex℠
- Citi® / AAdvantage® Executive World Elite Mastercard®
- IHG® Rewards Club Premier Credit Card
- Citi® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® World Elite Mastercard®
- JetBlue Plus Card
The collection includes hundreds of hotels around the world, such as the Delano South Beach and the Mandarin Oriental New York. Like the other booking portals, this one bestows benefits like early check-in, late check-out, upgrades based on availability, daily breakfast, and on-property credits of around $50 to $100 depending on the hotel.
Read more: Credit cards like the new Chase Freedom Flex are part of the Mastercard World Elite program, which can score you Lyft credits and cell phone insurance
You might not have a premium hotel credit card or elite status with one of the major loyalty programs. However, that doesn’t mean you can’t take advantage of credit cards’ booking portals to enjoy perks like room upgrades, free breakfast, and on-property credits. Before booking anything, double-check which portals you might be eligible to use, and which one will give you the benefits that best suit your needs.
Eric Rosen is a travel and credit card expert who has been helping readers reap the rewards of loyalty programs for over a decade. Eric is based in Los Angeles, though you’ll often find him globetrotting to destinations like Australia, Kenya, and Laos on assignment.
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