Best hotel rewards program

Find a program that will best serve your travel needs.

Last updated:

We value our editorial independence, basing our comparison results, content and reviews on objective analysis without bias. But we may receive compensation when you click links on our site. Learn more about how we make money from our partners.

The value you find in a hotel rewards program greatly depends on the hotels you prefer and how frequently you use them. However, some hotel reward programs excel in certain areas and can provide even greater value for the right traveler.

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 1.9 cents a piece 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.

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.

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.

Largest hotel network: Wyndham Rewards

If you often travel for business and never know where your trip may take you, the Wyndham Rewards program can offer you peace of mind. They have more than 8000 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.

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. Radisson also offers a variety of family-friendly amenities, such as a kid-friendly library. You can typically find a Radisson property near most family attractions such as Disney World.

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.

  • More ways to earn miles

    Earn miles

    Cobranded credit cards aren’t the only way you can earn rewards points for many of these hotel rewards programs. Many cards, including the Chase Ultimate Rewards line and Amex Membership Rewards line, can earn points that transfer to your hotel rewards account.

    Compare hotel rewards credit cards

    Name Product Welcome offer Rewards Annual fee Filter values
    75,000 points after spending $1,000 in the first 3 months
    7x points on Hilton Honors purchases, 5x at US restaurants, US supermarkets and US gas stations, 3x on all other purchases
    $0
    Earn 75,000 Hilton Honors Bonus Points after you spend $1,000 in purchases on the card within your first 3 months of card membership. Rates & fees
    75,000 points after spending $3,000 in the first 3 months
    6x points at Marriott Bonvoy hotels and 2x points on all other purchases
    $95
    Earn 75,000 bonus points after you spend $3,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening.
    60,000 points after spending $2,000 in the first 3 months
    5x points at IHG hotels, 2x points at gas stations, grocery stores and restaurants and 1x points on all other purchases
    $0
    Earn 60,000 points after spending $2,000 in the first 3 months from account opening.
    25,000 points after spending $3,000 on purchases in the first 3 months. 25,000 points after spending another $6,000 in the first 6 months
    9x points at Hyatt hotels as a World of Hyatt member, 2x on gyms, commuting, dining and airlines and 1x on all other purchases
    $95
    Earn 25,000 points after spending $3,000 on purchases in the first 3 months. 25,000 points after spending another $6,000 in the first 6 months.
    30,000 points after spending $1,000 in the first 3 months
    3x points at Marriott Bonvoy hotels, 2x on travel and 1x on all other purchases
    $0
    30,000 bonus points after you spend $1,000 on purchases in your first 3 months from your account opening.

    Compare up to 4 providers

    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?
      Luckily, 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.

    How we make our selections

    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, the benefits offered through elite tiers, how many points you need for a reward night, the overall value of points, overall hotel coverage, how much you need to spend to find value and other considerations a consumer might look at when choosing a hotel program.

    Those hotel rewards programs that stood above the others in a particular category or fulfilled a specific niche were chosen for highlight in this year’s “best of” list.

    Hotel booking without a credit card

    Booking a hotel without a credit card can cause you to miss out on a few perks that can make your stay more comfortable – or cheaper. Some of the more common hotel perks associated with hotel credit cards include:

    • Free reward nights
    • Concierge services
    • Elite status
    • Discounts on eligible stays
    • Travel insurance

    Given the value of elite status in many hotel loyalty programs, it’s wise to review cards that offer complimentary silver status or gold status if you’re a frequent traveler.

    Bottom line

    Provided you stick to a hotel brand you enjoy and regularly use, you can’t make “wrong” choice when picking a hotel rewards program. However, if you want to make the absolute most out of your loyalty programs, try selecting based on the strengths described above.

    Frequently asked questions

    Pictures: GettyImages

    Was this content helpful to you? No  Yes

    Ask an Expert

    You are about to post a question on finder.com:

    • Do not enter personal information (eg. surname, phone number, bank details) as your question will be made public
    • finder.com is a financial comparison and information service, not a bank or product provider
    • We cannot provide you with personal advice or recommendations
    • Your answer might already be waiting – check previous questions below to see if yours has already been asked

    Finder.com provides guides and information on a range of products and services. Because our content is not financial advice, we suggest talking with a professional before you make any decision.

    By submitting your comment or question, you agree to our Privacy and Cookies Policy and Terms of Use.

    Questions and responses on finder.com are not provided, paid for or otherwise endorsed by any bank or brand. These banks and brands are not responsible for ensuring that comments are answered or accurate.
    Go to site