Frequent travelers often stick to one hotel chain because by doing so they’ll eventually earn status in the loyalty program. That status provides valuable perks like suite upgrades, lounge access, early check-in or late checkout and bonus points for stays.
Even for those travelers, there will be a time where their preferred chain isn’t an option. If you’re a Hyatt fan, there might not be one of their hotels in the area. Othertimes a hotel might be sold out, or you may be forced to stay at a specific hotel for a meeting. You can sign up for another hotel program (and road warriors will often have a secondary or tertiary chain). Still, for the rest of us, that means staying at a hotel where we have almost no status and very little points in the program.
Many people use Hotels.com as an option to earn rewards when staying at a non-preferred hotel chain. A drawback of using Hotels.com is that you won’t get any of your elite perks or earn any points in the hotel’s loyalty program. To make up for this, Hotels.com created its own reward program that’s very straightforward. Once you stay 10 nights, you get one night free.
Each hotel night earns you a “stamp” When you get 10 stamps; you earn a free night award worth the average value of the stamps you’ve earned. In other words, you’re getting 10% back for each night. The main restriction is that not all hotels listed on Hotels.com are eligible; only the ones that have the Hotels.com logo.
Hotels.com has launched a no-annual-fee co-branded Visa reward card with Wells Fargo bank to help you earn award nights faster.
Currently, the card offers a free night worth $125 for spending $1000 in the first three months. You can book a more expensive room but you’re responsible for the difference. Rooms that cost less than $125 will lose the remainder of the value of the certificate.
You’re able to earn more stamps by using the card for everyday spending. You’ll earn 1 stamp valued at $110 for every $500 of eligible charges put on the card.
Doing the math, Spending $5,000 will earn 10 stamps, worth a free night valued at $110. That turns out to be a return of 2.2%, which isn’t that bad. The best true cashback cards only earn 2%. You’ll be paying the price to get that value for the rewards for this card.
You’ll be limited to use your reward at a Hotels.com prepaid property. You’ll also be responsible for all taxes and fees.
We don’t stay at hotels enough to make sense for us to look into getting the Hotels.com co-brand credit card. Most of our stays are at IHG, Hilton, Marriott, and Hyatt hotels. I could see that someone who jumps between hotel chains and independent properties and doesn’t give any value to hotel status may see value in this card. If I weren’t so heavily into hotel points at the time, I’d be giving it a second look.
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This post first appeared on Your Mileage May Vary