Traditionally, a card for hotel rewards was available in two forms. The first provided a discount on room rates or discount on upgraded rooms and the second provided a night of free accommodation after accumulating a certain number of paid nights.
Today, major lending banks partner with big hotel chains to provide reward cards that allow consumers to choose from various hotels and to earn points from other purchases as well.
This has been a popular program with consumers as they can obtain discounts from multiple merchants and build reward points that can be used to save money on hotel reservations at almost any travel destination.
Chase Sapphire card is popular for the flexibility of the hotel rewards of its credit card. Double points can be earned and points can be combined with cash back or transferred to specific hotel offers. If you book hotel stays through Chase you earn more rewards and have help finding the best hotel for your travels.
For business travelers, American Express offers the Starwood preferred Guest Business credit card. This program includes top rated hotels and points can be transferred to air miles at a one to one ratio which is unusual.
The Starwood credit card offers some of the highest rewards of any travel card today and extra points when used at Starwood Hotels. The list of airlines where points can be transferred is extensive and includes most large international airlines.
Starwood influence in the business community is extensive and even opening a trading account with TD Waterhouse can earn thousands of hotel reward points on your credit card.
Most credit cards for hotel rewards now offer other options for earning rewards above and beyond staying in the associated hotels. Car rentals, flights and even sending flowers online can earn points that can be converted to hotel rooms or discounts with other participating airlines and merchants.
How to Choose Rhe Best Offer?
The most important consideration is whether the credit card offers rewards that are usable in the areas you visit on your travels.
You might choose Hilton or Marriott hotel rewards if you frequently travel to many areas of the country as these hotels are often located near airports and in most mid- to large-sized cities.
However, if you frequently travel to visit family you may need to locate the ideal reward card to use for those specific venues. These might be smaller or regional hotel or motel chains that allow rewards only from specific credit lenders.
If you choose to participate in a loyalty rewards program, stick with just one. If you are in a Marriott loyalty program you will gain more by always seeking a Marriott location when you travel. If you frequently change the hotel chain you use, the loyalty programs may not interest you.
Be aware of blackout dates for hotel reservations as these change frequently and are not uniform from one hotel chain to the next or from one location to the next. The most recent cards for hotel rewards are touting a no blackout dates policy and those are definitely the best accounts to have.
Even with no blackout dates, however, hotels may deny reservations based on the number of rewards reservations allowed for certain time periods or holidays. Only Starwood and Hilton offer clear blackout date’ options.
Use your earned points when you need them rather than saving them for a magical vacation in the distant future. Policies change quickly in the financial world and the points you earn today may be worth more next month than a year from now.
APR and Fees
Credit cards designed for hotel rewards ards are often at somewhat lower interest rates than other major reward credit cards. This is a reflection of the specialty hotel offers and also the excellent credit required to obtain such reward cards.
Annual fees are standard for many of these accounts but Hilton and Best Western still offer cards without annual fees at this time. The points awarded are difficult to compare as points per dollar earned and fine print restrictions vary from one lender to another.
The ideal card is one you can use in the area you are most likely to travel. Choose hotel rewards that apply to rooms in the price range you are comfortable with and read the fine print carefully to maximize the rewards earned on your new credit card.