This is the 2nd part of my analysis into which of the UK hotel-branded credit cards are worth keeping for the long-term. If you missed Part 1 yesterday, I recommend that you click here to read it before carrying on.
Today I looking at which cards perform best if you are a big spender, able to put £25,000 per year through your card.
Return for spending £25,000 (25% overseas, 5% with the hotel chain that issues the card)
Compared to our £10,000 spend analysis yesterday, there is no change to the results for the first three cards – Hilton, Marriott, free IHG card – because none of these cards offer a bonus for hitting a spend target (click through the blue links to read my full review of each card):
Hilton HHonors Platinum Visa:
Base spend: 50,000 points @ 0.3p = £150
Extra points on £1250 of Hilton spend: 1250 points @ 0.3p = £3.75
Extra benefit: Spending £10,000 triggers a free Hilton HHonors Gold card
Return to cardholder: £153.75 plus a Hilton HHonors Gold card (0.61% of spend plus the value of HH Gold, this has value as you will receive free internet and free breakfast)
IHG Rewards Club Visa (free version):
Base spend: 25,000 points @ 0.5p = £125
Extra points on £1250 of IHG spend: 1250 points @ 0.5p = £6.25
Fee: nil, you also receive IHG Gold status – this has no real value however
Return to cardholder: £131.25 (0.52% of spend)
Marriott Rewards Mastercard:
Base spend: 25,000 points @ 0.5p = £125
Extra points on £1,250 of Marriott spend: 1250 points @ 0.5p = £6.75
Extra points on £6,250 of foreign spend: 6250 points @ 0.5p = £31.25
Fee: nil, you also receive Marriott Silver status – this has only very modest benefits however
Return to cardholder: £163 (0.65% of spend)
The return on the IHG Rewards Club Black Visa falls. It was a 2.8% return when you spent £10,000 – this is the ‘sweet spot’ because it triggers the free night voucher which is potentially worth £250. Beyond £10,000 of spend, your return falls away. When you spend £25,000:
IHG Rewards Club Premium Visa (paid card):
Base spend: 50,000 points @ 0.5p = £250
Extra points on £1,250 of IHG spend: 2,500 points @ 0.5p = £12.50
Extra points on £6,250 of foreign spend: 12,500 points @ 0.5p = £62.50
Fee: £99, you also receive IHG Platinum status – this has only very modest benefits however
Extra benefit: Spending £10,000 triggers a voucher for a free night at ANY IHG hotel. I assume you use this at an InterContinental for a room worth £250
Return to cardholder: £325 of points + £250 of free night – £99 fee = £476 (1.9% of spend)
The only card to improve its return at £25,000 of spending is the SPG Amex. When you hit £25,000 in a year, you receive a voucher for a free weekend night in a Category 1-4 Starwood property. Unfortunately these hotels are generally poor – not weekend break destinations unless the Excel conference centre is a weekend break target for you! – and I only value the voucher at £75.
Spending £15,000 also triggers a free Starwood Gold card. This has a number of benefits but the only one of real value is free internet (you can choose between a free drink, bonus points or free internet). At £25,000 spend the numbers are:
Starwood Preferred Guest American Express:
Base spend: 25,000 points @ 1.5p = £375
No foreign or SPG spend bonus
Fee: £75, you also receive SPG Gold status – the main monetary benefit of this is free internet
Extra benefit: Free weekend night for £25,000 spend at a Category 1-4 hotel, valued at £75
Return to cardholder: £375 of points – £75 fee + £75 free night value = £375 (1.5% of card spend)
As you can see, even at £25,000 of annual spending, the Starwood Amex delivers £100 less of value (net of fee) than the IHG Rewards Club Premium Visa card. In reality, though, anyone who has the IHG Black card is likely to stop using it when they hit the £10,000 target to trigger the free night and then move their spend elsewhere.
In the US, the Starwood Amex was the best loyalty credit card for many years and it is still very well regarded. With an overhaul it could become a real winner here as well. At the moment, if you want a hotel credit card to hold long-term alongside an airline card you should focus on IHG Rewards Club Premium Visa as these two articles show.
Want to earn more points from credit cards? – June 2022 update
If you are looking to apply for a new credit or charge card, here are our top recommendations based on the current sign-up bonuses.
In February 2022, Barclaycard launched two exciting new Barclaycard Avios Mastercard cards.
Until 18th July 2022 there is an astonishing special offer on these cards. You get 50,000 Avios on the Avios Plus Mastercard and 10,000 Avios on the free Avios Mastercard. You can apply here. We strongly recommend getting the Avios Plus card whilst this offer is running.
You qualify for the bonus on these cards even if you have a British Airways American Express card:
You can see our full directory of all UK cards which earn airline or hotel points here. Here are the best of the other deals currently available.
SPECIAL OFFER: The sign-up bonus on Amex Gold is increased from 20,000 Membership Rewards points to 30,000 Membership Rewards points until 19th July 2022. This card is free for the first year.
British Airways American Express Premium Plus
25,000 Avios and the UK’s most valuable card perk – the 2-4-1 voucher Read our full review
American Express Preferred Rewards Gold
Your best beginner’s card – 30,000 points, FREE for a year & two airport lounge passes Read our full review
The Platinum Card from American Express
30,000 points and an unbeatable set of travel benefits – for a fee Read our full review
Virgin Atlantic Reward+ Mastercard
15,000 points bonus and 1.5 points for every £1 you spend Read our full review
Earning miles and points from small business cards
If you are a sole trader or run a small company, you may also want to check out these offers:
American Express Business Platinum
40,000 points sign-up bonus and a long list of travel benefits Read our full review
American Express Business Gold
20,000 points sign-up bonus and free for a year Read our full review
British Airways Accelerating Business American Express
30,000 Avios sign-up bonus – plus annual bonuses of up to 30,000 Avios Read our full review
Capital On Tap Business Rewards Visa
10,500 points bonus – the most generous Avios Visa for a limited company Read our full review
For a non-American Express option, we also recommend the Barclaycard Select Cashback card for sole traders and small businesses. It is FREE and you receive 1% cashback on your spending.