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Who doesn’t love a free night stay or two with their favourite hotel chain? Besides that, it’s also nice to take advantage of room upgrades, late check-outs, and complimentary Wi-Fi during a hotel stay, among other things. 

While you can always pay for these extra perks, you can also get them for free with the use of a hotel credit card that offers a way to earn these bonuses without having to pay for them outright. 

That’s precisely what hotel credit cards are designed for, as they come with various perks such as those just mentioned. The thing is, there are only a couple of decent hotel credit card options to choose from. 

In Canada, you’ve got the Marriott Bonvoy American Express and the Best Western Mastercard credit cards available to you. Let’s take a closer look at each to help you decide which card to apply for that best suits the type of traveller you are

Best Hotel Reward Credit Cards

Marriott Bonvoy American Express® CardBest Western Mastercard credit card
Annual Fee$120$0
Interest Rate19.99%19.99%
Cash Back Interest Rate21.99%22.99%
Free Stays1 Free Night Award every year1 free night with 20,000 welcome bonus points
Welcome offerUp to 50,000 Marriott Bonvoy PointsUp to 20,000 Best Western Rewards Points

Looking for even more perks? Check out our list of credit cards with airport lounge access.

Marriott Bonvoy American Express Card

Not only does the Marriott Bonvoy American Express Card offer rewards to help you take advantage of free hotel stays and room updates, but it takes things a step further by offering luxury experiences at the more elite hotel chains in the country. 

As a cardmember, you’ll earn 5 points for every dollar spent at participating Marriott Bonvoy hotels, and 2 points for every $1 spent for all other purchases. 

As a Welcome Bonus, you can earn up to 50,000 Marriott Bonvoy points after your first $1,500 charge to the card within the first 3 months. That’s the equivalent of 3 free nights at a Category 2 hotel. You can earn another 10,000 points by referring a friend. 

Plus, every year on the anniversary date of getting your Marriott Bonvoy American Express Card, you’ll receive a Free Night Award to be applied to a hotel stay. 

The Marriott Bonvoy American Express Card comes with a $120 annual fee. 

Redeeming Your Marriott Bonvoy Points

You’ll become a Marriott Bonvoy member by signing up for this credit card, after which you can redeem the points you’ve accumulated for free hotel stays at more than 7,000 hotel properties across the globe with no blackout dates. These include some of the more upscale hotels, including W Hotels, The Ritz-Carlton St. Regis, Westin, JW Marriott, Le Méridien, Sheraton, and Element, to name a few.

If you’d rather use your points for free flights, you can transfer your points to frequent flyer miles instead. The card is pretty flexible that way. If you transfer 60,000 points to frequent flyer miles, you’ll receive 15,000 bonus points from the Marriott Bonvoy program.

You can also take advantage of the Marriott Bonvoy Moments program that allows you to gain access to rare and unique events and experiences, including backstage passes to concerts, meet-and-greets, and more.  

Insurance Benefits

There’s no need to pay extra for travel insurance when you’re abroad, as the Marriott Bonvoy American Express Card comes with a comprehensive insurance package that will keep you covered. More specifically, the card offers 7 types of travel insurance:

  • Travel Emergency Assistance – Offers emergency medical help and appropriate legal referrals.
  • Travel Accident Insurance – Up to $500,000 of Accidental Death and Dismemberment Insurance coverage when your tickets are fully charged to your Marriott Bonvoy American Express Card.
  • Car Rental Theft and Damage Insurance – Coverage against theft, loss, or damage of your rental car.
  • Flight Delay Insurance – Up to $500 in coverage for accommodations and food when your flight is delayed for at least 4 hours or you’re denied boarding.
  • Baggage Delay Insurance – Up to $500 in coverage for emergency purchases for clothing and other necessary items when your checked baggage is delayed at least 6 hours.
  • Lost or Stolen Baggage Insurance – Up to $500 in coverage for lost, stolen, or damaged baggage.
  • Hotel Burglary Insurance – Up to $500 in coverage against theft of most personal items.

You’ll also receive coverage for purchases made using your Marriott Bonvoy American Express Card:

  • Buyer’s Assurance Protection Plan – Manufacturer’s original warranty will be automatically extended up to 1 additional year when you fully charge eligible purchases to your Marriott Bonvoy American Express Card.
  • Purchase Protection Plan – Eligible items charged to your card will be covered for 90 days after purchase in the event of theft or accidental damage for up to $1,000 per incident.

Additional Perks

In addition to the amazing benefits that the Marriott Bonvoy American Express Card already offers, it also comes with other perks, including the following:

  • American Express Invites for memorable and entertaining experiences, such as advanced ticket access, special offers, and e-updates.
  • American Express Installment Program that allows you to choose part of your balance to pay in installments
  • Complimentary Marriott Bonvoy Silver Elite status
  • Upgraded membership to Marriott Bonvoy Gold Elite status after spending at least $30,000 in purchases each year
  • 15 Elite Night Credits every year to be used towards reaching the next level of Elite status
  • 24/7 customer service
  • Emergency card replacement
  • Fraud protection 
  • Online account management

Best Western Mastercard Credit Card

When you first sign up for the Best Western Mastercard credit card, you can earn 20,000 Best Western Rewards points with your first purchase, which equals a free night’s stay at certain hotel properties.

Earn 5 points for every dollar spent on qualifying purchases at a Best Western property and 1 point for every dollar spent on all other purchases. 

Every point you earn gets you closer to a free hotel stay at participating hotels. There are no restrictions on how to earn Best Western Rewards points, and they never expire. Plus, there are no black-out dates and no annual fee to pay.

Redeeming Your Best Western Rewards Points

Once you’ve got enough points accumulated, you can redeem them for hotel stays, restaurant cards, and more. 


  • Car rental insurance – Covers against collision, damage or loss of personal effects, and more.
  • Extended warranty – Doubles the manufacturer’s warranty for up to 1 additional year on eligible purchases made with your Best Western Mastercard credit card.
  • Purchase assurance – Covers most items paid for in full with your Best Western Mastercard for the first 90 days from the date of purchase.

Additional Perks

  • Get automatically upgraded to Gold Elite Status after your first eligible purchase.
  • Emergency services for assistance with lost documents, ticket replacement, lost luggage, pre-trip information, and legal referrals.
  • Save at least 10% on car rentals with Avis and Budget.

Final Thoughts

If you like the idea of getting a free night stay at a hotel on occasion and appreciate VIP treatment in the form of room upgrades and travel insurance, then you may want to consider one of these hotel credit cards. The Marriott Bonvoy American Express Card requires an annual fee, but you can take advantage of stays at high-end hotels. If you’d rather forgo the annual fee and are fine with regular hotel stays, consider the Best Western Mastercard.

Lisa Rennie avatar on Loans Canada
Lisa Rennie

Lisa has been working as a personal finance writer for more than a decade, creating unique content that helps to educate Canadian consumers in the realms of real estate, mortgages, investing and financial health. For years, she held her real estate license in Toronto, Ontario before giving it up to pursue writing within this realm and related niches. Lisa is very serious about smart money management and helping others do the same.

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