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Best hotel rewards programs 2021
Consider one of these hotel reward programs depending on your hotel and travel needs.
When choosing the best hotel rewards programs, we looked at a variety of factors for each category. These include:
- How easy it is to gain elite status
- Benefits offered through elite tiers
- How many points you need for a reward night
- Overall points value
- Overall hotel coverage
- How much you need to spend to find value
- Other considerations a consumer might look at when choosing a hotel program
Hotel loyalty programs are free to join and can offer a variety of perks and features useful to frequent customers. But to get the most out of the program and ensure you get all available perks, you’ll want to pair up your membership with an eligible hotel credit card. We’ve listed a breakdown of our favorite loyalty programs below as well as the credit cards we recommend using to maximize your earnings.
Highest value for earning and redeeming rewards: World of Hyatt
The World of Hyatt program pulls ahead of the pack with an average point value of 1.8 cents apiece as of our latest calculations. You’ll get a generally strong redemption rate for spending on hotels, regardless of hotel category, as well as bonuses for transferring points to airlines.
|Average World of Hyatt point value||How to earn World of Hyatt points||World of Hyatt redemption options||World of Hyatt perks||Finder’s credit card pick for World of Hyatt|
|1.8 cents||The World of Hyatt Credit Card – This card offers a great way to jump into the program thanks to a few key features, including a healthy signup bonus as well as Discoverist status for as long as your account is open — a great head start toward earning the next elite tier and enjoying even more benefits.|
Easiest to earn and redeem rewards: Marriott Bonvoy
The newly renovated Marriott Bonvoy program has numerous properties you can earn and redeem points on. It also has a great selection of credit cards for earning points through Chase Ultimate Rewards and Amex Membership Rewards.
This program provides a great variety of tertiary ways to earn points, such as booking cruises, hosting meetings or referring a friend to stay at a hotel. You can also transfer your Marriott Bonvoy points to a variety of partners.
|Average Marriott Bonvoy point value||How to earn Marriott Bonvoy points||Marriott Bonvoy redemption options||Marriott Bonvoy perks||Finder’s credit card pick for Marriott Bonvoy|
|0.9 cents||Marriott Bonvoy Boundless® Credit Card – You can earn three free nights, which are worth up to 50,000 points each, after spending $5,000 within your first 3 months of account opening. Also, within the first six months of account opening, you earn 10x points on up to $2,500 in combined purchases at restaurants, grocery stores and gas stations. You get Silver Elite Status with this card.|
Best for complimentary travel benefits: the Hilton Honors program
While the Hilton Honors program generally caters to luxury travelers, the complimentary benefits offered by the program are hard to ignore. Chief among these benefits is the free night you’ll receive if you book four award nights. Even the lowest elite tier receives this bonus and, depending on where you stay, this benefit alone could be worth hundreds of dollars.
Climb the status ranks and you’ll enjoy complimentary breakfast, room upgrades, welcome amenities, lounge access and milestone awards at a value that few hotel programs can match.
|Average Hilton Honors point value||How to earn Hilton Honors points||Hilton Honors redemption options||Hilton Honors perks||Finder’s credit card pick for Hilton Honors|
|0.5 cents||Hilton Honors American Express Surpass® Card – Complete this card’s welcome offer by spending $2,000 in the first 3 months to earn 130,000 points. Then, spend $10,000 total in the first 6 months to earn an additional 50,000 points.|
Largest hotel network: Wyndham Rewards
If you often travel for business and never know where your trip may take you, the Wyndham Rewards loyalty program can offer you peace of mind. They have more than 8,000 hotels across 66 countries.
This means that no matter where you travel, you’ll almost always be able to earn and redeem rewards for your hotel stays. Compare this to a hotel brand such as Hilton, which has just over 500 hotels worldwide, and you’ll see how Wyndham’s coverage is a great boon for those traveling to parts unknown.
|Average Wyndham Rewards point value||How to earn Wyndham Rewards points||Wyndham Rewards redemption options||Wyndham Rewards perks||Finder’s credit card pick for Wyndham Rewards|
|1.0 cents||Wyndham Rewards® Earner℠ Card – You have just one card available for earning Wyndham Rewards points, the Wyndham Rewards® Earner℠ Card. It comes in two versions: one with an annual fee and one without.|
The version without the annual fee lets you earn up to 30,000 when you make your first purchase or balance transfer. This is on top of an additional bonus rate on eligible Wyndham Hotel purchases.
Best hotel rewards program for free nights: Radisson Rewards
While the Radisson Rewards program may not have the highest point values, using the cobranded card earns you free night stays for each $10,000 you spend using your card, up to three nights total.
This means you can earn vacation days just for spending money on everyday purchases. You’ll also find a variety of family-friendly amenities, courtesy of Radisson, such as a kid-friendly library. You’ll typically find a Radisson property near most family attractions such as Disney World.
|Average Radisson Rewards point value||How to earn Radisson Rewards points||Radisson Rewards redemption options||Radisson Rewards perks||Finder’s credit card pick for Radisson Rewards|
|0.4 cents||Radisson Rewards Premier Visa Signature® Card – Though all of the Radisson Rewards cobranded cards can earn free nights, the Radisson Rewards Premier Visa Signature® Card allows you to earn 6 points for each dollar spent on eligible Radisson purchases and 3 points on all other purchases.|
Best for points transfers: IHG Rewards Club
The IHG Rewards Club encompasses properties such as the InterContinental, Holiday Inn, Crowne Plaza and more. It’s a transfer partner of Chase, which means you can earn points with products like the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card and Chase Sapphire Reserve® and convert rewards to IHG points.
|Average IHG Rewards Club point value||How to earn IHG Rewards Club points||IHG Rewards Club redemption options||IHG Rewards Club perks||Finder’s credit card pick for IHG Rewards Club|
|0.6 cents||IHG® Rewards Club Premier Credit Card – With the IHG® Rewards Club Premier Credit Card you’ll earn 150,000 points after you spend $3,000 on purchases within the first 3 months of account opening.|
How to choose the best hotel rewards program for you
Ask yourself these questions to help determine which hotel rewards program is right for you.
- Do you have a preferred hotel?
Few hotel reward programs are worth skipping completely, so take your hotel preferences into account when making your selection.
- What’s the hotel coverage?
If you’re traveling frequently for business, you’ll want to make sure the hotel brand offers enough worldwide coverage to let you take advantage of the rewards program.
- How often do you travel and how much do you spend?
Some hotel reward programs only really start paying off if you can ascend through their elite status ranks. For hotel programs that don’t have a shortcut to elite status through a cobranded card, gaining sufficient rank could require a large number of hotel stays.
- What are the additional perks?
Aside from point value, look at whether the additional perks for signing up — and sticking to the program — is worth the commitment. For some programs, the biggest value comes from these perks.
- What kind of credit card do you want?
While you don’t need a credit card to sign up for a hotel rewards program, a card can help you make the most out of the program. While cobranded cards are often a great choice for pure point gains, cards that can transfer to the hotel program can also be great choices since they tend to have more expansive earning categories.
Cobranded hotel credit card or general hotel credit card?
Like airline credit cards, hotel cards come in two flavors: cobranded and general. A cobranded hotel credit card comes with bigger earnings on spending associated with that hotel, along with additional perks and features to synergize with the hotel’s loyalty program. General hotel cards on the other hand may earn fewer points on hotel purchases, but can earn points with any hotel chain and may have general travel perks more suited to those without a favorite hotel chain. Read more about the cobranded card differences in our full guide.
Compare hotel rewards credit cards
If our recommended cards don’t fit your needs, use our comparison table to view more hotel card options and select up to four to compare them directly.
Provided you stick to a hotel brand you enjoy and regularly use, you can’t make a “wrong” choice when picking a hotel rewards program. However, if you want to make the absolute most out of your loyalty programs, try selecting a hotel card based on the strengths described above. And if you’re interested in learning more about loyalty programs, you can check out our favorite credit card reward programs and airline loyalty programs for more information.
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