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Best hotel rewards programs 2021

Consider one of these hotel reward programs depending on your hotel and travel needs.

The best 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.

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 valueHow to earn World of Hyatt pointsWorld of Hyatt redemption optionsWorld of Hyatt perksFinder’s credit card pick for World of Hyatt
1.8 cents
  • Stay at Hyatt properties
  • Make purchases with eligible credit cards
  • Book a FIND experience
  • Book or dine at partnered outlets
  • Host a meeting or event on a Hyatt property
  • Rent an Avis car
  • Purchase points directly
  • Full list of options
  • Book an award night at a Hyatt property
  • Book a night at a Hyatt or Miraval resort
  • Upgrade your room
  • Transfer points to a partnered airline

Full list of options

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 valueHow to earn Marriott Bonvoy pointsMarriott Bonvoy redemption optionsMarriott Bonvoy perksFinder’s credit card pick for Marriott Bonvoy
0.9 cents
  • Stay at eligible Marriott Bonvoy hotel properties
  • Spend with eligible credit cards
  • Book cruises
  • Host meetings or events on Marriott Bonvoy properties
  • Refer a friend to stay at a Marriott hotel
  • Full list of options
  • Stays at Marriott Bonvoy properties
  • Marriott experiences such as concerts or guided tours
  • Transfer your points to partnered airlines
  • Full list of options
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 valueHow to earn Hilton Honors pointsHilton Honors redemption optionsHilton Honors perksFinder’s credit card pick for Hilton Honors
0.5 cents
  • Stay at Hilton branded properties
  • Spend with eligible credit cards
  • Book a cruise through Hilton
  • Dine with the Hilton Honors Dining program
  • Full list of options
  • Free nights at Hilton properties
  • Book Hilton experiences including guided tours and concerts
  • Dine and shop using points
  • Full list of options
  • Fifth reward night free
  • Elite tier rollover nights
  • Executive lounge access
  • Room upgrades when available
  • Full Hilton Honors Guide
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 valueHow to earn Wyndham Rewards pointsWyndham Rewards redemption optionsWyndham Rewards perksFinder’s credit card pick for Wyndham Rewards
1.0 cents
  • Stay at Wyndham properties
  • Spend with eligible credit cards
  • Shop or dine at partnered brands
  • Fill up on fuel
  • Book an experience such as a concert or guided tour
  • Stays at Wyndham properties
  • Stays at Caesars resorts
  • Gift cards or merchandise
  • Vacation packages
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 valueHow to earn Radisson Rewards pointsRadisson Rewards redemption optionsRadisson Rewards perksFinder’s credit card pick for Radisson Rewards
0.4 cents
  • Stay at Radisson hotel properties
  • Spend with the Radisson cobranded credit card
  • Host a meeting or event with Radisson
  • Stays a Radisson hotel properties
  • Airline miles
  • Priority Pass membership
  • A members-only rate
  • Free breakfast
  • Rollover nights
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 valueHow to earn IHG Rewards Club pointsIHG Rewards Club redemption optionsIHG Rewards Club perksFinder’s credit card pick for IHG Rewards Club
0.6 cents
  • Make purchases with eligible credit cards.
  • Stay at eligible IHG properties.
  • Book activities through the IHG Trip Extras program.
  • Rent cars through Hertz.
  • Take advantage of increased earnings through IHG promotions.
  • Full list of options
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.

Name Product Welcome Offer Rewards Annual fee Filter values
Hilton Honors American Express Card
Earn 80,000 points after spending $1,000 in the first 3 months. Also, earn another 50,000 points after spending a total of $5,000 in the first 6 months.
7x points on eligible Hilton purchases, 5x at US restaurants, US supermarkets and US gas stations, 3x on all other eligible purchases
$0
With a massive welcome offer for a no-annual-fee card and up to 7x points on eligible Hilton purchases, this is a solid pick for Hilton fans and occasional travelers. Terms apply, see rates & fees
Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant™ American Express® Card
Limited Time Offer: 150,000 points and a bonus Free Night Award after spending $5,000 in eligible purchases in the first 3 months. Resort fees may apply, offer expires 11/3/2021
6x Marriott Bonvoy points for each dollar of eligible purchases at hotels participating in the Marriott Bonvoy™ program, 3x at US restaurants and on flights booked directly with airlines and 2x points on all other eligible purchases
$450
Earn a huge limited time welcome offer worth up to $1,500. Offer expires November 3, 2021. Terms apply, see rates & fees
The World of Hyatt Credit Card
30,000 points after spending $3,000 on purchases in the first 3 months. Plus 2x instead of 1x points on up to $15,000 (up to 30,000 more points) in the first 6 months
9x total 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 30,000 points after spending $3,000 on purchases in the first 3 months. Plus earn 2x instead of 1x points on up to $15,000 (up to 30,000 more points) in the first 6 months.
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Compare up to 4 providers

Bottom line

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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