These days, loyal program perks can go a long way. Major hotel chains try to outdo each other with reward programs, and that is to the benefit of you, the traveler. Each company has its own set of requirements that need to be met in order to redeem free nights and special privileges. Zero in on one or more hotels that will give you the perks that you really want with easy-to-meet requirements.
Following are just some of the numerous hotels that have been rated in the World’s Best Hotel Rewards Programs for 2019-2020 by U.S. News:
Named #1, Marriott Bonvoy has over 6,900 hotels with 29 brands and in 130 countries in major cities in the United States, Canada, Europe, and Asia. That large number is due to the fact that in February of 2019, Marriott Rewards, Starwood Preferred Guest (SPG), and Ritz-Carlton Rewards officially combined their programs.
Marriott’s special benefits include:
- Earn 10 points per dollar for booking at legacy Marriott, Starwood, and Ritz-Carlton properties. Also earn points through Hertz car rentals, cruises through Cruises Only, airline travel, a spa treatment, a round of golf, or room service.
- You earn extra points by purchases with an American Express’ Marriott-affiliated card, the Marriott Bonvoy Bold Credit Card from Chase Visa or the Marriott Bonvoy Boundless Credit Card from Chase Visa.
- In addition to free nights and upgrades to a room, points can be redeemed for cruise vacations, retail gift cards, sporting events, concerts, and more.
- There are eight tiers, and free night points vary by the tier. They’re published on a reward chart, and start at 7,500 points for Category 1 hotels and go to 85,000 points per night for Category 8 hotels. No matter what category you book, you get a fifth night free when you book four consecutive nights. Joining is free, and the perks include free Wi-Fi, members-only rates, and being able to check in with your phone.
Rated #2, there are more than 9,000 properties in the United States, Europe, Mexico, Africa, the Caribbean, and Asia.
Wyndham’s special benefits include:
- Free nights cost only 15,000 points each ($1,500), whether you have stayed in a Days Inn or a high-scale resort. A Wyndham and Caesars Entertainment partnership also lets you book at any Caesars property.
- The flat-rate redemption makes for easy understanding as opposed to other programs that make it difficult to establish what free nights actually cost.
- You earn 10 points per dollar spent, or 1,000 points per stay, whichever is greater. You earn 100 points per day on car rentals with Budget and Avis. An alliance with Amtrak and air carriers such as United Airlines and American Airlines earns miles or points that can be applied to hotel stays, flights, vacation rentals, tours, retail purchases, and gift cards.
- The Wyndham Rewards Visa has a $75 annual fee, but you receive a 15,000-point bonus after the first purchase and another 15,000 more if you spend $1,000 in the first three months after opening the account.
World of Hyatt
Rated as #3, there are about 750 hotels in the World of Hyatt; their strong luxury portfolio also includes more than just Park Hyatts. You get great redemptions with Hyatt’s Centric brand as well as Grand Hyatts and other hotels, resorts, and spas in major cities in the United States, Canada, Mexico, Asia, and Europe.
Hyatt’s special benefits include:
- All Hyatt purchases earn five points per dollar. A quick way to earn points faster is by getting the World of Hyatt Chase Visa Credit Card that gives four bonus points per dollar spent on top of the existing five, so you would get nine points per dollar if you booked a Hyatt with this card as well as added points on everyday purchases.
- You accumulate points that can be used for room upgrades, free nights, dining, Exhale spa and fitness services, car rentals, airline miles with almost 30 airlines, and FIND experiences.
- There are four levels of status, three of which offer bonuses. While the first level requires only signing up, the other tiers unlock by booking nights at Hyatt properties.
To get the most out of a hotel rewards program, you’ll want to find one that fits your personal needs and desires the best. What cities do you book most frequently at? You’ll want to choose a hotel chain that has plenty of options in your cities. Many programs have free sign-ups, so you don’t necessarily have to just choose one.
If you stick with it, you will find your reward points adding up quickly. You can then enjoy the various perks that you are entitled to and will indeed be rewarded for your loyalty, often in a big way.