Gabe Douek

Editorial Disclosure: The editorial content on this page is not provided by any of the companies mentioned, and has not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities. Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone.


“The editorial content on this page is not provided by any of the companies mentioned, and has not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities. Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone.”

Finding a hotel travel credit card can be a daunting task. With so many cards affiliated with hotel rewards programs, weighing which options will give you the best return can be a hassle. However, if you’re a fan of staying at Hilton properties, we have some information to help you decide. 

Overview: Best hotel travel credit card 

After researching several hotel travel credit cards and their benefits, we’ve found that the Hilton Honors Ascend from American Express offers users the most bang for their buck. Here’s why.

Hilton Honors Ascend from American Express

With the Hilton Honors Ascend credit card, users will be able to earn 12x Honors points on purchases made with Hilton or their affiliated partners. You’ll earn 6x Honors points for charging purchases made with restaurants, supermarkets, and gas stations in the United States. To sweeten the deal even more, you’ll reap 3x Hilton Honors points on all other purchases. 

All of these points can be combined to earn free night stays at Hilton properties through the Hilton Honors rewards program. Hilton Honors offers nearly 5,000 hotels to stay at, with no blackout dates for rewards redemption. In order to redeem, you’ll need at least 5,000 Hilton Honors points. Generally, Hilton Honors points are valued at 0.4 cents per point. To use your points for a free night stay, you’ll need to find the hotel you want to stay at, the room you’re looking to book, and your desired travel dates. All these factors will contribute to how many points you’ll need to earn your free night. Most free night stays are valued anywhere between 38,000 to 45,000 points per night. You can even look for available rooms with their cost in points on Hilton’s websites. 
Once you’re approved for the Hilton Honors Ascend Card, you’ll be awarded complimentary Gold status with the Hilton Honors rewards program. Gold members receive a ton of benefits with Hilton, including:

  • 80% bonus on all points earned
  • Complimentary continental breakfast when available
  • Upgrades to preferred rooms
  • A free second guest
  • Late checkout when available
  • Every fifth-night stay for free
  • Complimentary access to fitness centers
  • Two bottles of water for each stay

New members will also have the opportunity to earn 125,000 Hilton Honors points when they make $2,000 in eligible purchases in the first three months of the Hilton Honors American Express Ascend Card being opened. You can even earn a Weekend Night Reward after spending $15,000 on purchases with the card in one calendar year. 

The Hilton Honors Ascend card from American Express charges a $95 annual fee and no foreign transaction fees. Although annual fees aren’t ideal, you can easily make up for this cost by using your card and reaping rewards points. Not to mention, you’ll receive an 80% bonus on all points earned with Gold status.

Why you should use a credit card when traveling 

If you’re traveling, it’s always a good idea to use a credit card. This is because you’ll reap great rewards for travel-related purchases with a travel card like the Hilton Honors Ascend from American Express. Even if you don’t have a travel credit card, many other credit options offer cash back rewards on purchases. If you’re already going to be making a large purchase, you might as well reap some rewards in the process.

You’ll also want to use a credit card while traveling abroad. This is incredibly important, as most card issuers will offer you protection if your card is lost or stolen. If you lose all the cash you have for your vacation, there’s nothing you can do about it. With credit cards, you’ll at least be refunded any suspicious charges made with the card if you can prove it’s been stolen. You should, however, bring some cash, as you’ll never know when certain merchants won’t accept credit as a form of payment.

What to look for in a travel credit card 

The most important aspect of researching a travel credit card is finding a card that meets your personal needs. If you like to road trip over flying, it wouldn’t make sense to get an airline-affiliated travel credit card. Similarly, if you’re a fan of a certain hotel property, you’d be better suited seeking a credit option with them. This will give you a higher rewards rate you can actually capitalize on. 

You’ll also want to evaluate what kind of traveler you are. For those who like to travel in luxury, plenty of travel credit cards offer access to premier airport lounges and priority boarding. 

If you’re an international traveler, you should definitely seek a credit card with no foreign transaction fees. Even if you don’t travel overseas often, having a card that doesn’t charge foreign transaction fees will come in handy. This is because many other credit cards charge as much as 3% on all purchases made internationally. If you’re primarily using your credit card while traveling abroad, this fee can really start to add up.

Which travel card is right for your trip? 

If you’re looking for a hotel travel card that easily earns rewards, consider applying for the Hilton Honors Ascend card from American Express. This credit option makes it easy to earn rewards as well as the elite Gold status through the Hilton rewards program. Adding on the complimentary elite status can be a significant perk for luxury travelers. However, if you don’t frequently stay with Hilton, you may want to seek another travel card.

The Capital One Venture Card, for instance, may be more up your alley. This credit card earns flat-rate rewards of 2 miles on every dollar spent and allows users to redeem miles for whatever travel expense they want. This is definitely a more flexible travel card option, with no foreign transaction fees and a $0 annual fee the first year. After that, the fee is $95 annually. Even though the Capital One Venture Card is great for flexible redemption, it doesn’t offer any fancy elite status with hotel rewards programs.

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