Hotel Credit Cards in Canada (Get Free Hotel Stays!)

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Most of the conversation in the travel hacking world is centred around getting free flights. Free flights are great, but it is also important to talk about the hotel credit cards in Canada.

Hotel credit cards offer great perks and can save you a lot of money. It is in your best interests to have at least on Canadian hotel credit card in you wallet!

Most people will tell you that there are only two hotel credit cards in Canada, but they are wrong. In addition to the widely known Marriott Bonvoy American Express Canada card and MBNA Best Western Rewards Mastercard, there is also the American Express Cobalt Canada card. The Amex Cobalt Canada card earns MR Select points that can only be transferred to hotel partner programs. This essentially makes it a hotel credit card as well.

The three hotel credit cards in Canada allows Canadians to mix and match cards to earn the points that suit their needs.

If you don’t need anything fancy and hate annual fees, go for the MBNA Best Western Rewards Credit card.

Enjoy luxury? The Marriott Bonvoy American Express Canada is the card for you!

Enjoy luxury and choice? Go for the American Express Cobalt Canada card. You can transfer your MR Select points to either Marriott Bonvoy or Hilton Honors.

Better yet! Have a combination of two cards or even get all three if you’re a hardcore travel hacker.

Hopefully more travel credit cards will come on the market in Canada, but, for now, this is a good start!

In this post, we’re going over the pros and cons of all three hotel credit cards in Canada. This helps you choose the right hotel credit card for you and your travel needs!

Luxury overwater bungalow

Marriott Bonvoy American Express Canada

The Marriott Bonvoy Amex Canada card is the crème de la crème of hotel credit cards in Canada.

It has the best sign-up bonus, comes with an annual free night stay, and earns points at a decent rate.

The Marriott Bonvoy American Express is the first hotel credit card in Canada I suggest you target when you first get into travel hacking.

Marriott Bonvoy American Express Canada Card Highlights

  • Earn 50,000 Bonvoy points as a sign-up bonus
  • Get a free night’s stay certificate every year you hold the card
  • Earn 5 Bonvoy points for every $1 spent at Marriott
  • Earn 2 Bonvoy points for every other $1 spent
  • Receive 15 nights towards Marriott status every year
  • Automatically receive Silver Bonvoy status every year
Hotel Room

Other Important Information

  • You have to spend $1,500 in the first 3 months to earn the sign-up bonus
  • The annual fee is $120
  • There is no minimum income requirement
  • You need an excellent credit score to be approved for Amex cards

MBNA Best Western Rewards Mastercard

I love the MBNA Best Western Rewards Mastercard and think it is highly underrated.

Of all the hotel credit cards in Canada, it is the only one that doesn’t have an annual fee, and it even comes with healthy sign-up bonus!

This is definitely one of those credit cards you get and hold onto forever!

I don’t really see a reason why people wouldn’t hold the MBNA Best Western Rewards Mastercard in their wallet.

It is completely free to hold, and you get a lot more out of the card than most other no annual fee credit cards in Canada!

Highlights of the MBNA Best Western Rewards Mastercard

  • No annual fee
  • Receive 20,000 Best Western Rewards as a sign-up bonus
  • Earn 5 points for every $1 spent at Best Western
  • Automatically upgraded to gold statue
Fancy Hotel

Other Important Information

  • Only earn 1 point per $1 spent on non-Best Western purchases
  • MBNA has a 5/24 rule where you won’t be approved if you have applied for 5 or more credit cards in the past 24 months
  • There is no minimum income requirement

American Express Cobalt Canada Card

The Amex Cobalt Canada card is always left out of the best hotel credit cards in Canada discussion.

People don’t mention it because it isn’t branded to a specific hotel chain like the Marriott Bonvoy Amex Canada and MBNA Best Western Rewards Mastercard.

But that is a mistake!

You should not overlook this card! It is one of the best best credit cards in Canada.

I consider the Amex Cobalt Canada card a hotel credit card because you earn MR Select points rather than the standard MR points other Amex cards earn.

MR points can be transferred to partner airline and hotel partner programs, but MR Select points can only be transferred to hotel partner programs.

This makes the Amex Cobalt Canada card a hotel credit card in my mind.

You can transfer your MR Select points to either Marriott Bonvoy points or Hilton Honors points.

These are both great hotel chains, and it is nice to have an option that is more flexible than having to redeem points just for the chain that is co-branded on the credit card.

Highlights of the American Express Cobalt Canada

  • Earn up to 30,000 MR points as a sign-up bonus
  • Earn 5 points per $1 spent on eligible grocery, restaurant, and food delivery purchases in Canada
  • Earn 2 points per $1 spent on travel and transportation
  • Receive a $100USD hotel credit to be used on hotel amenities like the spa and dining
Luxury hotel

Other Important Information

  • The annual fee is billed monthly at $10
  • The sign-up bonus is awarded monthly, and you have to spend $500 per month to earn that month’s 2,500 point award
  • You need an excellent credit score for American Express to approve you
  • There is no minimum income requirement

How to Choose the Right Hotel Credit Card for You

It can be a bit tricky to decide which of the hotel credit cards in Canada is right for you.

There aren’t many options, but it can still be a tricky decision!

You have to consider a number of factors:

  • What hotel chain best suits your preferences
  • How much you’re willing to pay in annual fees
  • What card gets you the most points based on your spending habits

I suggest you going onto the Marriott website, Best Western website, and Hilton website and play around with searching different locations.

See what hotels appeal to you, are in your price range, and what you likely will stay at most and use this information to help guide your decision.

There is no sense getting one of the hotel credit cards in Canada if you aren’t likely to stay at their properties semi-regularly.

You won’t earn many points that way!

You may be drawn to the Marriott Bonvoy American Express Canada because of the sweet sign-up bonus and free night’s stay every year.

The card may still be worth getting if you never stay at Marriott properties, but it also may not be.

Take the time to consider what card is best for you and don’t automatically go for the most popular one!

Who is the Marriott Bonvoy American Express Canada Best for?

The Marriott Bonvoy Amex is without a doubt the most attractive hotel credit card in Canada.

It is hard to pass up getting a free night’s stay every year you hold the card!

I think most people can benefit from holding this card, and there is a reason it is so popular.

If you travel frequently and enjoy Marriott properties, you should seriously consider getting this credit card.

The perks are hard to pass up, and even if you only stay at a Marriott hotel once or twice a year, you can still earn points pretty quickly.

Even if you don’t collect a lot of points with this card, the free night’s stay every year normally makes up for the $120 annual fee.

Luggage

Who is the MBNA Best Western Rewards Mastercard Best for?

This is the perfect hotel credit card for young people who budget travel or people who don’t have a super high credit score.

I love that it doesn’t have an annual fee, comes with a sign-up bonus, and has decent points earning on Best Western purchases.

It is a great introduction into travel hacking and hotel credit cards in Canada!

That being said, I think everyone can benefit from having the MBNA Best Western Rewards Mastercard in their wallet.

It has no annual fee, so there is no downside to holding this credit card for years.

The no annual fee combined with the sign-up bonus makes this card very attractive even if you don’t frequent Best Western properties.

I personally find myself staying at Best Western properties when I’m in transit. They often have hotels near airports and train stations, so they are the perfect choice when you have an early morning departure!

Who is the American Express Cobalt Canada Best for?

American Express has Millennials and Gen Zers in mind when they designed the Amex Cobalt Canada card!

The high earning categories in food and travel means young people who tend to spend a lot of money in those categories can earn points like no tomorrow!

I highly suggest young people seriously consider applying for this card. You will be stunned at how quickly you can earn points and how many free hotel stays you can get!

There is hardly a better feeling than earning tons of points and getting free travel just for spending your money like you normally do!

It is also nice to have the option to choose between Marriott and Hilton.

You can choose to transfer your points to the program you use the most or split them between the two programs and redeem your points at whatever hotel is the best value!

Champagne in hotel room

Other Credit Cards You Might Like

Conclusion

There aren’t many hotel credit cards in Canada, but the ones we have are pretty decent.

I would love for American Express to introduce a Hilton credit card similar to the ones they have in the US, but, for now, I’m satisfied with what we have.

My strategy when it comes to hotel credit cards in Canada is to hold at least one of the premium American Express cards with an annual fee and the no annual fee MBNA Best Western Rewards Mastercard.

It is the best way to maximize your rewards, and it gives you a bit more flexibility in where you can redeem points.

It is nice to be able to choose between the higher end hotels offered by the American Express cards and the mid-range and more affordable Best Western hotels.

No matter what, I think it is important that everybody holds at least one hotel credit card in their wallet. It is part of a well-rounded travel hacking strategy!

Hotel Credit Cards in Canada (Get Free Hotel Stays!)Hotel Credit Cards in Canada (Get Free Hotel Stays!)Hotel Credit Cards in Canada (Get Free Hotel Stays!)

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