Courtesy of St. Regis
Hotel loyalty programs are the unsung heroes of travel rewards. contrary to air miles, which you could spend years earning for a reward flight, you can often earn hotel points to a much faster clip, unlock Elite status faster, and regularly enjoy perks like free nights.
And despite the continued consolidation within the hospitality industry, which has spawned behemoths like Hilton Honors and Marriott Bonvoy, there are plenty of great hotel loyalty programs to choose from (including these two). The main thing is to focus your stays on one or two of them, and maybe even open a co-branded credit card, to take advantage even more rewards every time you travel.
Here are 11 of the best hotel loyalty programs to consider and how you can get great value for your money.
Accor Live unlimited
If you are not familiar with ALL, as we know, you should be. It comprises 3,000 properties ranging from budget Novotel and Ibis hotels to iconic institutions like Raffles and Fairmont, as well as the posh Banyan Tree and sophisticated Sofitel, as well as Onefinestay vacation rentals. Members earn five to 25 points for every 10 euros ($ 12) on hotel charges and can redeem them in increments of 2,000 points for every 40 euros ($ 48) on their bill upon check-out. Qualify for various Elite status levels at 10, 30, or 60 nights per year for additional benefits, plus a 10,400 Euro ($ 12,480) spending requirement for top-tier Diamond status and perks like free weekend breakfast and four restaurant and spa awards per year valued at 25 euros ($ 30) each.
Best Western Awards
Best Western’s brands include everything from SureStay extended stay locations to polished BW Premier Collection options, and can be found in nearly 100 countries and territories around the world. Best Western Awards Members can get a head start on elite status by matching competitors or making as few as three stays per year. They earn between 10 and 15 points per dollar, which never expire, and reward nights start at just 5,000 points.
Earn 10 points per dollar spent on stays at Choice Hotels 7,000 properties around the world, including hotels in all 50 states and over 40 countries and territories. Choice Privileges brands include Comfort, Clarion, Quality Inn and Econo Lodge, among others. While you can redeem points for everything from gift cards to restaurant deliveries to charitable donations, save them for stays, which start at just 8,000 points per night.
Courtesy of Hilton Hotels & Resorts
Hilton Honors now has over 70 million members, who can earn and redeem points at over 6,500 participating properties in 119 countries around the world. Its 18 brands include everything from the budget Hampton Inn & Suites to the luxurious Waldorf Astoria, Conrad, DoubleTree and Curio Collection, among others. Regular members earn 10 points per dollar on Hilton purchases (with most brands), but earn bonuses with elite status, which you can get just by opening an associated credit card like Hilton Honors Surpass Amex or Hilton Honors Aspire Amex. The latter even comes with a free weekend night reward every year. Reward nights start at 5,000 to 120,000 points each, depending on hotel and season.
InterContinental Hotels Group, which includes well-known chains like Holiday Inn, Hotel Indigo and Kimpton, recently extended its luxury footprint, with the acquisition of Six Senses and Regent, among other developments. Members of its loyalty program can earn and redeem points (10 per dollar in most brands) at over 6,000 destinations in nearly 100 countries around the world. Reward nights start at 10,000 to 70,000 points each, depending on the hotel. If you’re interested in elite treatment, apply for the IHG Rewards Club Premier credit card, which automatically grants Platinum status and perks like bonus points, room upgrades and welcome amenities, not to mention an annual free night worth up to 40,000 points.
Courtesy of Preferred Hotels & Resorts
Preferred Hotels & Resorts comprises more than 650 properties in more than 80 countries, some of which stand out as the ultra-exclusive Post Ranch Inn in Big Sur, California. I prefer members receive free Wi-Fi, room upgrades based on available space, priority early check-in, and special rates. Points accumulate at the rate of 10 per dollar spent on stays (15 with Elite status) and are redeemable in increments of $ 12,500 for $ 25 certificates that can be applied to room bills and other on-site charges . So far, there are only a handful of properties where points can also be used for stays (starting at 15,000 points per night), but more are expected to be added soon.
New to The Leading Hotels of the World? It is an association of more than 400 luxury properties which includes sumptuous monuments like the Ritz Paris. LHW membership is free Officers Club, and members enjoy perks such as priority upgrade upon arrival, a daily continental breakfast for two, as well as early check-in and late check-out based on availability. Room rates accumulate one point per dollar (or equivalent currency) and Free Nights start at just 4,000 points each. Spend $ 5,000 or more on qualifying stays in a calendar year and you’ll achieve Sterling Elite status with five pre-arrival upgrade requests per year and a one-time five percent annual points bonus.
Courtesy of St. Regis
The world’s largest hotel company owns more than 8,000 properties in 30 brands, including old hotels like Sheraton and Westin, as well as trendier W Hotels and Edition, and luxury outposts Ritz-Carlton and St. Regis. Marriott Bonvoy members earn 10 points per dollar at most hotels, and award nights range from 5,000 to 100,000 points each, depending on the hotel and whether it is peak or off-peak. For statement credits on stays, Gold Elite status, and other luxury perks, consider opening the Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant Amex, while Chase’s Marriott Bonvoy Boundless The card is a solid option for making money on a daily basis.
Radisson Rewards Americas
Radisson recently launched its loyalty program in the Americas, including the United States, Canada, Mexico, the Caribbean and Latin America. To earn points at the more than 1,200 hotels around the world, not just the 600 properties based in these regions, you will also need to join the old Radisson Rewards program. Yes, it is confusing. But it’s also worth it, as you can earn up to 35 points per dollar on stays if you have Elite status and one of the program’s co-branded credit cards (Basic members earn 20 per dollar). Reward stays in standard rooms start at 15,000 points at the lower end of the spectrum, and go up to 75,000 points for more luxurious accommodations.
The world of Hyatt
Courtesy of Hyatt
Hyatt now has more than 1,000 hotels and resorts in 68 countries and 20 brands including Andaz, Thompson, Miraval and Park Hyatt, among others. The chain also has partnerships with Small Luxury Hotels and M Life, further expanding its sphere of influence. The world of Hyatt members earn five points per dollar on Hyatt purchases, with bonuses for Elite members. Reward nights, on the other hand, start at 5,000 points each and go up to 40,000 for the most upscale hotels in the portfolio. Members can also book stays using a mix of money and points. To increase your income and enjoy Automatic Discoverist status, consider opening the World of Hyatt credit card from Chase, which includes an annual free night worth up to 15,000 points.
Wyndham Rewards is the loyalty program of Wyndham Hotels & Resorts, which includes 20 hotel brands such as Wyndham Grand, La Quinta, Days Inn and Ramada, among others. There are over 9,000 participating properties in over 80 countries, as well as vacation rentals, resort clubs and other partners like Caesars Rewards hotels (in Las Vegas, Atlantic City, etc.). Members earn 10 points per dollar with a minimum of 1,000 points on stays. Points are redeemable at defined levels of 7,500, 15,000 or 30,000 points per night. This means that the 45,000 point sign-up bonus (after spending $ 1,000 in 90 days) with the new Wyndham Rewards Earner card is worth up to six free nights.