If you like the idea of earning free hotel stays with your everyday spending, but you don’t want to be tied down to a single hotel chain like IHG or Hilton, the Hotels.com® Rewards Visa® Credit Card (Rates and Fees) can be a card worth considering.
The card’s rewards program is a bit involved — we’ll help break things down — and you may miss out on some standard hotel credit card benefits. But there’s also no annual fee, giving you a relatively risk-free way to travel on a budget.
Secure application on issuer’s website.
Annual Fee: $0
Bonus: Get 3 Reward Nights Worth $375
APR: 17.24% to 25.24% variable APR
Rewards Rate: 1 Rewards “Stamp” per $500 spent on purchases and 1 Rewads Stamp for every night you stay at any eligible property booked on Hotels.com.
Annual Fee: $0
APR: This card features a 17.24% to 25.24% variable APR applies depending on credit worthiness.
Rewards Rate: The card offers one rewards “stamp” for every $500 spent on purchases with the card, as well as one stamp for every night you stay at an eligible property booked on Hotels.com. Collect 10 stamps, and you earn a free reward night at a participating property.
Sign-Up Bonus: New cardholders earn three reward nights worth $375 total (max $125 per night*), when you spend $1,000 on purchases in the first three months. *Excludes taxes and fees. If a night costs less than $125, you won’t get the difference.
Who Should Use This Credit Card? Households that prioritize budget lodging over general travel rewards or cash-back rewards.
Why We Like the Hotels.com® Rewards Visa® Credit Card
The Hotels.com® Rewards Visa® Credit Card (Rates and Fees) offers budget travelers a lot of value with no annual fee and a vast selection of properties. The card allows households that do not stay at hotels often an opportunity to earn free lodging through everyday spending.
Perks like cell phone protection, no foreign currency conversion fee, and automatic Silver status with Hotels.com sweeten the offer, despite the card’s lack of bonus rewards-earning categories for ongoing spending.
Plus, the generous sign-up bonus for new cardholders allows you to dip your toe in hotel rewards, once you meet the bonus eligibility criteria.
Hotels.com® Rewards Visa® Credit Card Review
If you regularly use Hotels.com when you book accommodations for travel, the Hotels.com® Rewards Visa® Credit Card can help speed up the process of earning free nights through the booking service’s rewards program.
The card offers solid value for no annual fee, but its lack of simplicity could make it less appealing for some. Here’s everything you need to know before you apply.
Traditionally, hotel cards offer big points sign-up bonuses when you reach a certain spending threshold, but some are moving toward offering a certain number of free nights instead — the Marriott Bonvoy Boundless® Credit Card is one example.
That’s the approach for the Hotels.com® Rewards Visa® Credit Card, too. You’ll earn 3 reward nights worth up to $125 each after you spend $1,000 in the first three months from account opening.
If you can maximize the bonus, it’ll be worth $375, which is a solid offering for a card with no annual fee. But keep in mind that if you book a reward night that costs less than $125, you won’t get the difference.
Also, note that if you’ve opened the card with Wells Fargo within the last 15 months and received the bonus, you cannot receive another signup bonus.
The Hotels.com® Rewards Visa® Credit Card doesn’t offer a traditional rewards program like other hotel cards. Instead of giving you points for every dollar you spend, you’ll earn one stamp in the Hotels.com rewards program for every $500 you spend, as well as one stamp for every night you stay at an eligible property booked on Hotels.com.
For context, the Hotels.com rewards program works similarly to a punch card loyalty program — for every 10 stamps you earn, you’ll get a free night.
So if you spend $5,000 on the card, you’ll have enough stamps for a free night at an eligible property. You can also combine stamps you’ve earned by booking hotel stays through the website and stamps you’ve earned with your credit card to get a free night even faster.
That said, other cards in the hotel space offer bonus rewards when you use the card with the co-branded hotel partner, making it easier to rack up free nights. Unfortunately, you won’t get that with this credit card.
Annual Fee, APR and Other Fees
As previously mentioned, the Hotels.com® Rewards Visa® Credit Card does not have an annual fee. This helps it stand out from other hotel credit cards, and means you don’t have to worry about maximizing points or benefits to get your money’s worth from the card.
As long as you always pay your balance in full and avoid cash advances, this means you can rack up free hotel nights on a relatively risk-free basis.
Speaking of paying your balance in full, if you don’t, you’ll be charged the card’s regular APR, which is a variable 17.24% to 25.24% APR based on your creditworthiness. The regular APR also applies to balance transfers.
Unfortunately, there’s no introductory 0% APR promotion for purchases or balance transfers, but that’s typical for hotel credit cards.
The card has no foreign transaction fees, but it does charge a fee of up to 5% for balance transfers, with a minimum of $5.
Wells Fargo, the card issuer, doesn’t disclose a minimum credit score required to qualify for the credit card. However, CardRatings recommends having good or excellent credit if you want a good chance of getting approved.
Redeeming rewards with the Hotels.com® Rewards Visa® Credit Card can be a bit tricky, especially if you’re earning stamps with the card and with your regular bookings.
As previously mentioned, the value of your reward night is the average of the value of your stamps. If you’re just earning stamps with the credit card, it’ll be worth $110.
But if you’re earning stamps with the credit card and through the platform, the average value of your stamps may be worth more or less.
To give you an example, let’s say you’ve spent $3,500 on the card and you’ve booked a three-night stay through Hotels.com with an average nightly rate of $200. Your reward night will be valued at $137 instead of $110.
But if the average nightly rate of your three-night stay was just $50, your reward night would be worth just $92.
This setup makes things more complicated than traditional hotel credit cards, which give you a set number of points per dollar and allow you to redeem for any eligible property as long as you have enough points.
Also, because the value of stamps earned with the card is only $110, you’ll likely always be limited to less expensive properties that won’t necessarily give you a luxurious travel experience.
That said, Hotels.com has a network of over 500,000 properties in more than 200 countries around the world, so you’ll have a lot more flexibility with your reward nights than you would with a single hotel chain, which may only have a few thousand properties.
Stamps and reward nights expire after 12 months if you haven’t earned new stamps or redeemed rewards during that time.
Credit Card Benefits
The Hotels.com® Rewards Visa® Credit Card offers some decent perks, especially considering it doesn’t have an annual fee:
- Silver Membership Status: So long as your card is open, you’ll have complimentary Silver membership status with Hotels.com, which gives you access to free breakfast, Wi-Fi, airport transfers and more at eligible properties.
- Cell phone protection: Use your card to pay our monthly cell phone bill, and you’ll get up to $600 in coverage against damage or theft. You can file up to two claims per year, but there’s a $25 deductible with each claim. The coverage also extends to other lines on your phone plan.
- Trip cancellation and interruption insurance: If your trip is canceled for a covered reason and you paid for it with your card, you’ll receive up to $2,000 per insured person in reimbursements for non-refundable passenger fares. Eligible insured people include you, your spouse or domestic partner and your dependent children.
Is the Hotels.com® Rewards Visa® Credit Card Right for You?
Like other cards, the Hotels.com® Rewards Visa® Credit Card has pros and cons, and it’s important to consider them before you decide if it’s the right fit for you.
- High rewards rate: Earning a reward night valued at $110 for every $5,000 spent on the card breaks down to a flat 2.2% rewards rate, which is tough to beat.
- Silver Membership Status: Automatically earning Silver membership status is a nice touch, especially if you travel frequently.
- No annual fee: Without an annual fee or foreign transaction fees, you don’t have to worry about whether you’re getting enough value from the card’s rewards and perks to outweigh a yearly cost.
- No bonus rewards: The card doesn’t offer the chance to earn bonus rewards, which is a huge advantage for other hotel credit cards. If you stay with a certain hotel chain regularly, you’ll get much more value with its co-branded card.
- Complicated redemption: If you’re earning stamps with your card and the Hotels.com website, it muddies the waters a bit in terms of how much your reward nights are worth.
- Low redemption value: A reward night earned strictly with the card is worth just $110. With other hotel loyalty programs, you can get much more value with your free hotel stays. You also can’t redeem your rewards for airfare, experiences or other options like you can with other hotel cards.
- No anniversary bonus: With no annual fee, it makes sense that you won’t get an anniversary perk. But with many other hotel credit cards, you get a free anniversary night that is almost always valuable enough to outweigh the annual fee.
Compare Credit Cards to Find the Right Fit
As with any financial decision, it’s important to shop around and compare all of your options before you pull the trigger.
When it comes to hotel credit cards, the most important thing is to consider your travel habits. The Hotels.com® Rewards Visa® Credit Card offers a lot more flexibility with over 1 million properties. But if you regularly stay with one or two chains, it might not matter as much.
Also, consider the potential value other loyalty programs have. With Marriott Bonvoy, World of Hyatt and others, for instance, you can redeem your hard-earned points for a wide range of properties, from budget hotels to luxury resorts.
With other hotel credit cards, you’ll also get access to elite status automatically for more than just one year. Finally, if you’re concerned about an annual fee, most hotel cards have that covered with the free anniversary night.
If you want to target a specific hotel program, research their cards and compare them to this one to find the best fit for you.
The Bottom Line
The Hotels.com® Rewards Visa® Credit Card offers a unique approach to earning free reward nights when you travel, and cardholders will be hard-pressed to beat its effective rewards rate.
But unless you generally like to stick to budget travel, consider expanding your horizons to other hotel rewards programs that can offer you more value on that front.
Whatever you do, take your time to shop around and compare multiple credit card options before you apply to make sure you find the card that best fits both your spending and travel habits.
More About Hotel Perks and Upgrades:
- How to Get Free Breakfast at your Hotel
- Ways to Avoid Las Vegas Hotel and Resort fees
- How to get Free Hotel Stays with your Credit Card
- The Best Ways to Get Free Hotel Nights
- How to Earn Elite Hotel Status
- All About the Hotels.com Rewards Credit Card
- How to Avoid Resort Fees
- Free Stays at this All Inclusive Hotel
- Free Night and Upgrades!