Many credit cards offer predictable perks like travel insurance and airport lounge access, but a select few also make sure you’re taken care of after your flight through great hotel benefits like free room upgrades and breakfast for every day of your stay.
Some cards achieve this by unlocking elite status in the various hotel loyalty programs, others provide similar perks when booking via the bank’s concierge service, and the best combine both benefits for a well-rounded ream of extras.
Whichever your pick or preferred hotel chain, here are the top five Australian credit cards for hotel perks and privileges that frequent travellers can use to improve their journeys or slash their travel costs by taking advantage of those included freebies.
American Express Platinum Charge Card
With the American Express Platinum Charge Card, there’s no need to spend time in hotels before you begin unlocking useful benefits: instead, you’re boosted instantly to Hilton HHonors Gold, Starwood Preferred Guest Gold, Shangri-La Golden Circle Jade and Club Carlson Gold Elite status before you’ve even left home, in return for the card’s $1,200 annual fee.
That means you can enjoy complimentary room upgrades and welcome amenities with Starwood, free breakfast and guaranteed room availability with Shangri-La and priority assistance and bonus points with Club Carlson right from the get-go.
You’ll also pocket a $300 Platinum Travel Credit every year which can go towards hotel stays booked via the AMEX website, and have access to the Fine Hotels and Resorts program, promising free breakfast, guaranteed 4pm late check-outs and free WiFi at some of the world’s most luxurious hotels.
Among them, the Park Hyatt Sydney, Crown Towers Melbourne, the Pudong Shangri-La in East Shanghai and The Ritz-Carlton in Hong Kong, with early check-ins and room upgrades also offered where available, along with an extra ‘special amenity’ that varies between hotels.
Citi Prestige Visa Infinite
Citi Prestige cardholders have more flexibility to book and stay exactly where they desire with one free hotel night included each year at any hotel or resort in the world – provided you book via Citibank’s concierge desk and are staying for four nights or more, including the free night.
Further, you’ll also enjoy a free night each year at one of Citibank’s web of four- and five-star partner hotels, and can be fast-tracked to Hilton HHonors Gold status after just four nights or two stays with hotels like Hilton, Conrad, Waldorf Astoria and DoubleTree by Hilton.
Rounding out the $700/year card are free room upgrades, daily breakfast for two and a late check-out at Starwood, Ritz-Carlton and Mandarin Oriental hotels, subject to availability when booked via the Citibank concierge team.
Hilton HHonors Macquarie Platinum Visa
Keeping things simple, the $295/year Hilton HHonors Macquarie Platinum Visa promises instant HHonors Gold status, which you’ll retain automatically for as long as you keep the card open.
What’s more, spending at least $40,000/year on the card sees you bumped up to Hilton HHonors Diamond status, and if you continue to spend above this amount you’ll never drop below Diamond – even if you stay with Hilton but several times a year.
Sweetening the deal is a free weekend night every year when spending at least $12,000 on the card (just $1,000 per month), plus a bonus weekend stay for new cardholders who spend $2,000 within the first three months.
HSBC Premier World MasterCard
A raft of Australian World MasterCards unlock free SPG Gold status after just one night, and the HSBC Premier World MasterCard is no exception.
Setting it ahead of the pack, you’ll pay no annual fee whatsoever and by registering for the Starwood fast-track promotion, need only spend one night in a Starwood hotel like Westin, W, Sheraton or Four Points in the Asia Pacific region (including Australia) to enjoy SPG Gold for a year.
Just call HSBC’s concierge desk to obtain your unique ‘bank promotion code’ for the offer, head to the Starwood website to register your details and pay for your stay with the HSBC World MasterCard.
Emirates Citi World MasterCard
Also boasting the same SPG Gold fast-track as with HSBC is the Emirates Citi World MasterCard…
… yours for $149 in the first year and $299 thereafter: more expensive than HSBC for the same perk, but with other features like free airport lounge access and chauffeured airport transfers that might help balance the equation.
Also among the roster of World MasterCards in Australia are the Commonwealth Bank Diamond Awards, Diners Club + World MasterCard and Westpac Altitude Black duos, but which all come with higher first-year annual fees than the two we’ve included.
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