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For me, first class flights would be out of reach without miles. I can’t spend $10,000 for a first class flight on an airline like Emirates.

Luckily I don’t need to because I have plenty of miles, and I could fly economy class in a pinch.

Fancy hotels are similar. I can’t pay $1,000 a night for a hotel like the Park Hyatt Sydney.

And luckily I don’t ever need to stay in fancy hotels. When I travel, all I need is a roof and a pillow. But for those special occasions when I want to indulge in absolute luxury, I can by opening a single credit card.

What are the three best credit cards for luxury hotel experiences?

3. Citi® Hilton HHonors™  Reserve Card  

The Citi® Hilton HHonors™  Reserve Card earns two free weekend nights at almost any Hilton worldwide after spending $2,500 in the first four months. Weekend nights are Friday, Saturday, and Sunday nights.

Hilton recently massively devalued its award chart, so that the top tier Category 10 hotels can cost up to 95,000 points per night. But that devaluation didn’t affect this card, which can be used for a luxury weekend anywhere in the world.

Using Hilton’s complete listing of its hotels’ categories, I looked up two night stays at a few Category 10 properties, many of which were Conrads. I’ve listed the rack rate for two nights at a few of the properties.

Weekend at Grand Wailea (Maui): $1,238

Weekend at Conrad Maldives: $1,250

Weekend at the Conrad Koh Samui: $1,662

Weekend at Hilton Seychelles: $1,501

Other Benefits

The Citi® Hilton HHonors™  Reserve Card confers Gold Status to its holder. The card earns 3 HHonors points per dollar on all purchases, and 10 points per dollar on Hilton stays.

The card has a $95 annual fee, which is not waived.

The Citi® Hilton HHonors™  Reserve Card grants access to some truly incredible, aspirational properties all over the world for an indulgent weekend.

Application Link: Citi® Hilton HHonors™  Reserve Card

But there are two better cards for luxury hotels.

2. Chase Hyatt Card

The Hyatt Card comes with two free nights at Hyatts worldwide after spending $1,000 in the first three months of holding the card.

Here’s a complete list of Hyatt’s top tier Category 6 hotels, many of which are Park Hyatts:

I looked up a few properties to see what the rack rate for two nights would be.

Two nights in January at the Park Hyatt Sydney overlooking Sydney Harbour: $1,826

Two nights at the Park Hyatt Maldives: $1,500

Other Benefits

The Hyatt Card earns 3 Gold Passport points per dollar on Hyatt stays; 2 points per dollar on airlines, car rentals, and dining; and 1 point per dollar on everything else.

The card has a $75 annual fee, which is not waived.

I give the Hyatt card the nod over the Citi Hilton Reserve because the two nights can be used any day of the week instead of only on the weekend, but both cards are excellent. I would recommend the one that is affiliated with the specific hotel where you want two free nights.

Application Link: Chase Hyatt Card

And the card that is king of luxury hotel nights is the…

1. Chase Ink Bold or Chase Ink Plus

(The Ink Bold and Ink Plus are identical except that the Ink Bold is a charge card that must be paid off in full in each month, and the Ink Plus is a credit card on which you can run balances. Since Chase considers them different products, you can get both for your business if you value the flexibility of having both.)

The Chase Ink Bold comes with 50,000 bonus Ultimate Rewards after spending $5,000 in the first three months of card membership. After meeting the spending requirement, you will have at least 55,000 Ultimate Rewards.

Ultimate Rewards transfer to a multitude of airlines and hotels including Hyatt. Ultimate Rewards transfer 1:1 instantly to Gold Passport Points. What can 55,000 Ultimate Rewards get you?

The Hyatt chart has some of the lowest point requirements of any hotel award chart. The top tier Category 6 hotels we would book with the Hyatt Card’s free night cost only 22,000 points per night.

That means the 55,000 Ultimate Rewards could get the same two nights at the Park Hyatt Sydney as the Hyatt Card with 11,000 points left over.

Or the 55,000 Ultimate Rewards transferred to 55,000 Hyatt points could get three free nights at Category 5 hotels.

While not the very top of the Hyatt award chart, Category 5 hotels are no slouches.

Category 5 Hyatt Hotels

The Category 5 list includes some expensive cities like New York and several Park Hyatts and Andaz hotels. I’ve listed the rack rates for three nights at a few of the properties.

Three nights at the Park Hyatt Buenos Aires: $1,560

Three nights at the Park Hyatt Beijing: $1,216

Three nights at the Park Hyatt Shanghai: $1,165

The Ink Bold earns 5X points on the first $50,000 spent annually at office supply stores, and on cellular phone, landline, internet, and cable TV service; 2x points on the first $50,000 spent annually at gas stations and hotels booked directly through the hotel; and 1 Ultimate Reward per dollar on everything else.

The Ink Bold has no annual fee the first year, then $95 thereafter.

The Ink Bold and Ink Plus are business cards. Read this post to see if you are one of the many people who qualify for business cards without knowing it.

The Ink Bold is the best credit card for luxurious hotel stays because its sign up bonus is worth three nights at Park Hyatts around the world, and the card carries no annual fee the first year.

Application Links:

  • Chase Ink Bold
  • Chase Ink Plus

Recap

The top three cards for free hotel nights are the Citi® Hilton HHonors™  Reserve Card, Chase Hyatt Card, and Chase Ink Bold/Ink Plus. All three can get at least two nights at some of the most luxurious (and expensive) hotels in the world that would ordinarily be out of our reach.




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