If you travel frequently, for business or for pleasure, joining a hotel loyalty program can save you lots of money. Plan your stays within a hotel group and you’ll be able to earn points towards free nights, special loyalty status, and more.
However, before you settle on the first hotel chain that you think of, do you research. Every hotel program is unique and not all will match what you’re looking for.
Check out our list of the best airline loyalty programs here.
Read below for more information on what the best hotel loyalty rewards programs are.
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Finding the Right Hotel Loyalty Program
The right hotel rewards program for you will depend on several personal factors: where you travel, how often, and your preferred type of accommodation. However, you’ll want to consider things like:
- Number of properties. A big portfolio means for you to earn and pick from.
- Property locations. Look for destinations you’ll most likely visit.
- Earning potential. Collect your points fast, and you’ll earn a free night in no time.
- Easy redemption. Your points aren’t worth much if they’re hard to cash in.
- Average point value. The more valuable the points, the more worthwhile the program.
- Hotel perks. Some programs offer extras, like free upgrades and complimentary WiFi.
- Elite status requirements. Know what it takes to unlock valuable VIP perks.
You’ll be hard-pressed to find the “perfect” hotel loyalty program. However, every one has different strengths, and one or two might align well with your travel style. Once you sign up for a hotel rewards program, stick with it. With patience, you’ll see big returns in the long run.
The Top 5 Hotel Loyalty Programs
With the above factors in mind, here’s a combination of all major hotel rewards programs and handpicked five that offer the biggest perks for your loyalty.
Expedia is one of the biggest online ravel agencies and just so happens to offer a very generous loyalty program. Expedia Rewards lets you earn and redeem points for both flights and hotel stays. Compared to other loyalty programs, you’ll be able to collect frequent flyer miles and airline elite status as well. So it’s a great fit for people that don’t travel that much. Or for people that aren’t particular to an airline carrier or hotel group.
|Number of Properties||Over 1 million|
|Base earning rates||2 points for every $1 spent on hotels, car rentals, cruises and vacation packages.
1 point for every $5 spent on airline tickets.
|Redemptions start at||1 point|
|Average point value||$0.007 / point|
|Elite status||Spend $5,000, or stay 7 qualifying nights, within a year|
|Extra perks||Exclusive members-only deals and bonus offers, VIP Access hotel benefits, earn points when you book for others, no blackout dates|
|Drawbacks||Low point value|
The IHG Rewards Club Premier Credit Card offers 150,000 bonus points after spending $3,000 on purchases within the first three months of account opening.
You'll earn up to 25 points total per $1 spent when you stay at an IHG hotel. Earn 2 points per $1 spent on purchases at gas stations, grocery stores, and restaurants. Earn 1 point per $1 spent on all other purchases.
This card offers several perks that you'll sure enjoy like: a free night after each account anniversary (you'll also receive a free night when you redeem points for any stay of 4 or more nights.) And as long as you're a cardmember, you'll have Platinum Elite status.
You'll get Global Entry or TSA Pre✓® Fee Credit of up to $100 every 4 years as reimbursement for the application fee charged to your card.
There is an annual fee of $89.
Participating hotel brands include:
InterContinental Hotels Group properties include hotels like:
|InterContinental Hotels & Resorts||InterContinetal Alliance Resorts||Kimpton Hotels|
|Crowne Plaza||Hotel Indigo||Holiday Inn|
|Holiday Inn Express||Holiday Inn Club Vacations||Regent Hotels & Resorts|
|Staybridge Suites||Candlewood Suites||EVEN Hotels|
|AtWell Suites||Six Senses|
|Number of properties||Over 5,500|
|Base earning rates||10 points for every $1 spent on hotel stays at most IHG properties.
5 points for every $1 spent on hotel stays at Staybridge Suites and Candlewood Suites.
|Free hotel nights start at||5,000 points|
|Average point value||$0.005 / point|
|Elite status||10,000 qualifying points, or 10 qualified nights, within a calendar year.|
|Extra perks||PointBreaks properties, complimentary WiFi, elite rollover nights, no blackout dates|
|Drawbacks||Small selection of luxury hotels, low point value, points expire within 12 months of inactivity|
The Marriott Bonvoy Boundless Credit Card offers 3 Free Nights (each night valued up to 50,000 points) after qualifying purchases + 10X total points on eligible purchases in select categories.
You'll earn up to 17X total Bonvoy points per $1 spent at over 7,000 hotels participating in Marriott BonvoyTM & 2X Bonvoy points for every $1 spent on all other purchases.
You gain an automatic Silver Elite Status each account anniversary year. Path to Gold Status when you spend $35,000 on purchases each account year.
You'll receive 15 Elite Night Credits each calendar year & an additional Free Night Award (valued up to 35,000 points) every year after account anniversary.
This card does carry a $95 fee; there are no foreign transaction fees.
The new and improved Marriott rewards program features incredible rewards flexibility with the ability to transfer partner airline loyalty programs at a 3:1 ratio (with a few exceptions) for award flights or upgrades. Additionally, you’ll earn 5,000 miles bonus when you convert 20,000 points.
Similar to IHG’s PointBreaks, Marriott Bonvoy offers PointSavers promotions. This discount program enables you to book hotel properties for less than their normal award rates. However, this is only for a limited time.
The Marriott loyalty program also comes with another great offer. Get one free night when you redeem for 5 consecutive nights. In other words, stay for 5 nights and pay for only 4.
Participating hotel brands are:
Marriott properties will include:
|AC Hotels||Aloft Hotels||Autograph Collection Hotels|
|Courtyard by Marriott||Delta Hotels||Design Hotels|
|EDITION Hotels||Element||Fairfield Inn & Suites|
|Four Points||Gaylord Hotels||JW Marriott|
|The Luxury Collection||Marriott Hotels||Marriott Executive Apartments|
|Marriott Vacation Club||Moxy Hotels||Le Meridien|
|Protea Hotels||Renaissance Hotels||Residence Inn|
|The Ritz-Carlton||Sheraton||SpringHill Suites|
|St. Regis||Tribute Portfolio||TownePlace Suites|
|Number of properties||Over 7,000|
|Base earning rates||10 points for every $1 spent on eligible hotel charges at most Marriott Bonvoy properties.
5 points for every $1 spent on eligible hotel charges at Element, Residence Inn and TownePlace Suites.
|Free hotel nights start at||6,000 points|
|Average point value||$0.009 / point|
|Elite status||10 eligible nights within a calendar year.|
|Extra perks||PointSavers options, exclusive member rates, complimentary WiFi, mobile key, no blackout dates, points don’t expire|
|Drawbacks||Some luxurious Marriott brands do not participate in Marriott Bonvoy|
World of Hyatt
The World Of Hyatt Credit Card offers 30,000 Bonus Points after you spend $3,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. Plus, 2 Bonus Points per $1 spent on purchases that earn 1 Bonus Point up to $15,000 in the first 6 months of account opening.
Limited Time offer: Apply by 9/30/21 and upon approval you'll receive 2 Tier-Qualifying Night Credits for each night you stay from 8/16/21 through 12/31/21.
You'll earn 9 points total for Hyatt stays - 4 Bonus Points per $1 spent at Hyatt hotels & 5 Base Points per $1 you can earn as a World of Hyatt member. To add, you'll earn 2 Bonus Points per $1 spent at restaurants, on airlines tickets purchased directly from the airlines, on local transit and commuting and on fitness club and gym memberships.
You'll earn 2 qualifying night credits towards tier status every time you spend $5,000 on your card.
This card does carry a $95 annual fee, however, the perks sure make up for it. For instance, you'll get 1 free night each year after your Cardmember anniversary at any Category 1-4 Hyatt hotel or resort and an extra free night at any Category 1-4 Hyatt hotel if you spend $15,000 during your cardmember anniversary year.
Even though it has a relatively small global footprint, Hyatt is one of the best hotel chains in the world. They have world-class brands like Park Hyatt and Andaz in their portfolio as well. If you prefer to stay at luxurious hotels in the United States, Mexico, Europe, or Asia, then you’ll want to take a deeper look at the World of Hyatt.
The Hyatt rewards program has almost 30 airline partners, allowing you to pick from betwen Hyatt points or partner miles for your hotel stays. If you transfer Hyatt points to airline miles at a ratio of 2.5:1 you’ll earn a 5,00 miles bonus when you convert 50,00 bonus points.
Participating hotel brands:
World of Hyatt Properties
Their properties include:
|Exhale||Grand Hyatt||Hyatt Centric|
|Hyatt Hotels||Hyatt House||Hyatt Place|
|Hyatt Regency||Hyatt Residence Club||Hyatt Zilara & Ziva|
|Joie de Vivre||Miraval||Park Hyatt|
|Thompson Hotels||The Unbound Collection by Hyatt||UrCove by Hyatt|
|Number of properties||Over 900|
|Base earning rates||5 points per $1 spent at Hyatt properties.|
|Free hotel nights start at||5,000 points|
|Average point value||$0.017 / point|
|Elite status||10 qualifying nights, 25,000 base points, or 3 qualifying events/meetings, within a calendar year.|
|Extra perks||Exclusive member rates, complimentary WiFi, free breakfast, room upgrades, early check-in, late checkout, waived resort fees on award nights, exclusive reservations line, no blackout dates|
|Drawbacks||Limited coverage, award stays don’t count towards status, points expire after 24 months of inactivity|
IN 2019, Wyndham Rewards gave their flat-rate awards the boot and replaced them with an award category system. This is similar to the Marriott Bonvoy and the World of Hyatt. But, instead of 15,000 points for a free stay, properties now range from 7,500 to 30,000 points per night. Along with the redemption changes comes 900+ additional La Quinta hotels in Wyndham’s catalog and new perks for military members.
Participating hotel brands include:
Their properties include hotels like:
|Dazzler||Dolce Hotels & Resorts||Esplendor|
|Hawthorn Suites||Howard Johnson||La Quinta|
|Wingate||Wyndham Garden||Wyndham Grand|
|Wyndham Hotels & Resorts|
|Number of properties||~9,000|
|Base earning rates||10 points per $1 spent on qualified stays at participating Wyndham properties, or 1,000 points (whichever is greater).|
|Free hotel nights start at||7,500 points|
|Average point value||$0.012 / point|
|Elite status||5 qualifying nights within a calendar year.|
|Extra perks||Active and retired military members, veterans and their spouses: instant GOLD status, 12% discount off the best available rate, and 1,000 bonus points after one qualifying stay.|
|Drawbacks||Limited high-end properties, no extra perks for non-military members, points expire after 4 years|
Tips & Tricks
Hotel loyalty programs hold a good amount of value, especially if you get the hang of the nuances. To get more bang for your buck, follow some of these pointers below:
Read the loyalty program paperwork and make note of the benefits you see yourself taking advantage of. Not all perks are outlined, so make sure to ask. Some programs offer a food and beverage discount, a free breakfast, complimentary in-room WiFi and more.
Most program will not reward bookings from online travel agencies or other third-party sites. If you want to earn points for your hotel stay, make sure to reserve your room and pay directly with the hotel website.
Give your earning potential a boost with a hotel rewards card. You’ll receive extra points for brand-related products, you’ll often get lots of points as a one-time welcome bonus. Additionally, some cards might even throw in a complimentary night, free late checkouts or other hotel-specific benefits.
Before signing up for a hotel loyalty program, be sure to research into which one would benefit you the most. Not every loyalty program is meant for you, there are some that won’t catch your attention, while others will be the right fit for you. Furthermore, be sure to take your time and know what your own travel goals are before you pledge your loyalty to one.