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HomePoints and MilesWhat Are the Best Hotel Rewards Programs in ?

What Are the Best Hotel Rewards Programs in October 2021?

Hotel rewards programs make it possible to earn free stays and get benefits while you're on property. But not all programs are created equal. Here are some of the best.

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Hotel rewards programs can offer a lot of value to loyal customers, but each loyalty program comes with its own set of benefits, as well as requirements to earn elite status.

While it can make sense to focus only on one to maximize your free nights and other benefits, hotel credit cards can also make it easy to take advantage of the perks offered by multiple programs.

Many of the top options offer limited or no blackout dates, discounted members-only rates, free internet and other perks when you stay.

Here are some of the top hotel loyalty programs and why you should consider joining them.

World of Hyatt: Most Value for Your Points

Among all of the top hotel rewards programs, World of Hyatt offers the most valuable rewards. According to our points and miles valuation guide, Hyatt points are worth 1.8 cents apiece on average. That’s even higher than most airline frequent flyer programs. 

The rewards program also offers a range of properties, including all-inclusive resorts. That said, Hyatt has the smallest footprint of any hotel chain on our list, with roughly 1,000 properties in 68 countries.

With the World of Hyatt Credit Card, you’ll get some impressive rewards, including a sign-up bonus worth up to 60,000 bonus points — that’s 30,000 points after you spend $3,000 on purchases within the first three months and up to 30,000 more points by earning 2 bonus points total per dollar spent on purchases that earn 1 Bonus Point, up to $15,000 spent in the first six months of account opening.

With a value of 1.8 cents per point, that bonus is worth up to $1,080. 

The card also offers a free night every year, as well as automatic Discoverist status, which is the program’s lowest status level. However, there is a path to earn up to Globalist status, depending on how much you spend on the card.

Marriott Bonvoy: Most Flexible Points

Marriott International has more than 7,000 properties in 131 countries and territories, making it so you can enjoy earning and redeeming rewards just about anywhere you go.

What sets the Marriott Bonvoy rewards program apart, however, is that it offers flexible redemptions beyond free hotel stays. For example, you can transfer your points to more than 30 airline partners, albeit at a rate of 3:1 in most cases.

What’s more, you can redeem points for a travel package that may include a certain number of miles with a partner airline and a certain number of nights at a Marriott hotel. 

It’s important to note that the Marriott Bonvoy rewards program also includes Starwood Preferred Guest and Ritz-Carlton Rewards, which were incorporated into Marriott’s program after it acquired Starwood Hotels. 

There are three consumer credit cards that allow you to earn Marriott Bonvoy points, including the Marriott Bonvoy Bold™ Credit Card and the Marriott Bonvoy Boundless™ Credit Card from Chase, as well as the Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant™ American Express® Credit Card. 

Offer Details

Secure application on issuer’s website.

Annual Fee: $0
Bonus: 60,000 Points
APR: Variable APR
Rewards Rate: 1X-14X Points
Details: Full Review

Terms and restrictions apply

Offer Terms

Annual Fee: $0

APR: Variable APR depending on credit worthiness.

Rewards Rate: This card offers up to 14X total Bonvoy points per dollar spent at over 7,000 hotels participating in Marriott Bonvoy, 2X points on other travel purchases (from airfare to taxis and trains) and 1X point on all other purchases.

Sign-Up Bonus: This card offers 60,000 bonus points after spending $2,000 on purchases in your first three months from account opening.

Who Should Use This Credit Card? Marriott loyalists who want to earn rewards without an annual fee or for people who are dipping their toes into the Marriott rewards program.

Why We Like It

Why We Like the Marriott Bonvoy Bold™ Credit Card

The Marriott Bonvoy Bold Credit Card is a solid choice if you’re interested in getting into the travel rewards game, but don’t want to commit to an annual fee. This credit card offers a solid welcome bonus and can be a great place to start, especially if you’re loyal to Marriott. Every cardmember year, you’ll receive 15 Elite Night Credits, which is enough to qualify you for Silver Elite Status with Marriott. This status level comes with 10% bonus points when you book Marriott stays with cash, late checkout when available and ultimate reservation guarantee.

As with other hotel cards, this one offers outsized rewards on purchases made with the hotel brand. You’ll earn up to 14 points per dollar at participating Marriott Bonvoy hotels — that includes 3X points per dollar from the card, 10x points per dollar as a Marriott Bonvoy member and 1X point per dollar as a Marriott Bonvoy Silver member, which you get automatically as a cardholder. The card also offers 2X points per dollar on other travel purchases and 1X point per dollar on all other purchases you make with the card.


Offer Details

Secure application on issuer’s website.

Annual Fee: $95
Bonus: 125,000 Bonus Points and 1 Free Night Award
APR: Variable APR
Rewards Rate: 2X-17X Points
Details: Full Review

Terms and restrictions apply

Offer Terms

Annual Fee: $95

APR: Variable APR depending on credit worthiness.

Rewards Rate: This card offers up to 17X total points for every dollar spent at over 7,000 hotels participating in Marriott Bonvoy and 2X points on all other purchases.

Sign-Up Bonus: This card offers new cardholders 125,000 bonus points and one Free Night Reward after spending $5,000 in purchases during the first three months of account opening. Note: the Free Night Reward has a redemption value of up to 50,000 points.

Who Should Use This Credit Card? Marriott loyalists and anyone who will stay in a hotel several times a year.

Why We Like It

Why We Like the Marriott Bonvoy Boundless™ Credit Card

The Marriott Bonvoy Boundless Credit Card is a solid choice if you’re interested in getting into the travel rewards game and find yourself staying at Marriott properties several times a year. This hotel credit card offers some solid benefits, including the free elite night credits, a free anniversary night every card membership year, a welcome bonus, Silver Elite Status and more.

A lot of the ongoing value this card provides comes through its rewards program. Cardholders will earn up to 17X points per dollar on eligible purchases at Marriott properties — that’s 6X points per dollar from the credit card, 10X points per dollar as a Marriott Bonvoy member and 1X point per dollar for having Silver Elite Status, which is automatic with the card. You’ll also earn 2X points per dollar on travel and other purchases you make with the card. That base rewards rate is high compared with most travel credit cards, which settle on a 1X point per dollar base rate.


Each card has its own set of benefits, with the Bonvoy Bold card offering no annual fee and few perks and the Bonvoy Brilliant charging a $450 annual fee and offering several high-end perks. The Bonvoy Boundless is a mid-tier card with a modest fee but solid benefits. Bonvoy points are worth 0.6 cents apiece, on average.

IHG Rewards: Best Deals with Dynamic Pricing

Most hotel loyalty programs have an award chart that tells you how many points you need for certain property categories. With IHG, though, the pricing is dynamic and can change depending on a variety of factors. While this makes for less certainty, it can also make it possible for you to snag an incredible deal on an expensive hotel stay with points.

Offer Details

Secure application on issuer’s website.

Annual Fee: $89
Bonus: 150,000 Points
APR:Variable APR
Rewards Rate: 1X-25X Points
Details: Full Review

Terms and restrictions apply

Offer Terms

Annual Fee: $89

APR: Variable APR depending on credit worthiness.

Rewards Rate: This hotel credit card awards up to 25X points per dollar at IHG Hotels, 2X points at gas stations, grocery stores and restaurants and 1X points on all other purchases.

Sign-Up Bonus: New cardholders earn 150,000 bonus points after spending $3,000 on purchases within the first three months of account opening.

Who Should Use This Credit Card? Frequent customers of IHG hotels and other people who enjoy earning rewards nights for hotel stays and premium hotel status.

Why We Like It

Why We Like the IHG® Rewards Club Premier Credit Card

Aside from its astounding sign-up bonus, the IHG Rewards Club Premier offers tons of value, especially for loyal IHG customers. You get a free reward night every year on your account anniversary for use at eligible IHG hotels. When you redeem points for stays of four nights or longer at any IHG hotel, your fourth rewards night is free. Cardholders also enjoy Platinum Elite status as long as you remain a Premier card member. Plus, it offers a Global Entry or TSA Pre✓® fee credit of up to $100 every four years as reimbursement for the application fee charged to your card. IHG Rewards Club Bonus points are redeemable at hotels such as InterContinental®, Crowne Plaza®, Kimpton®, EVEN® Hotels, Indigo® Hotels and Holiday Inn®.

This IHG card is a traveler’s dream, especially if you’re already a loyal IHG customer. The perks accompanying this Chase co-branded credit card are worth way more than the $89 annual fee that comes with it. If you’re in the market for a hotel rewards credit card, look no further than the IHG Rewards Club.

According to our points valuation, IHG points are worth 0.4 cents apiece on average, though, and free nights start at 10,000 points. 

You can earn IHG rewards points with the IHG® Rewards Club Premier Credit Card from Chase. The card offers a big sign-up bonus, decent rewards, a free night every year and the fourth night free when you book four or more nights with points — that’s a unique benefit that no other major hotel credit card offers.

IHG has nearly 6,000 properties in more than 100 countries. 

Wyndham Rewards: Most Properties

Wyndham Hotels & Resorts is the largest hotel chain in the world, with more than 9,000 properties in more than 80 countries. The chain offers properties across the spectrum, ranging from Super 8 to The Registry Collection Hotels.

Wyndham Rewards points are worth 1.1 cents apiece, on average, and you can redeem a free night for 7,500, 15,000 or 30,000 points — that’s relatively cheap compared to other top hotel programs.

There are two Wyndham co-branded credit cards, including the Wyndham Rewards Earner® Card and the Wyndham Rewards Earner® Plus Card. Each one offers free nights, but the Earner Plus card also offers a bigger welcome bonus, easy bonus points, better elite status and more.

Hilton Honors: Best Chance for Elite Status

Hilton Honors points aren’t worth a lot at just 0.5 cents apiece. But they’re easy to earn, and it’s the only hotel rewards program that offers its top elite status tier to credit card holders. 

With the Hilton Honors American Express Aspire Card, you’ll pay a $450 annual fee but get a free weekend night award you can use at most Hilton properties — most cards restrict your free night to lower-category properties — and Diamond status, among other things. With Hilton, Diamond status is as good as it gets.

That said, you can also apply for the Hilton Honors American Express Surpass® Card or the Hilton Honors American Express Card. But you have to hit a spending requirement to get a free night with the Surpass card and the basic Hilton credit card doesn’t offer much at all in the way of perks. Hilton has more than 6,500 properties in 119 countries and territories.

Picking the Right Hotel Rewards Program for You

It can be difficult to choose the right hotel loyalty program for you. For many, the answer is more than one. If you prefer to get the cheapest hotel every time, it doesn’t make sense to stay with just one hotel brand every time you travel if it means paying more.

In addition to these programs, you may also consider Radisson Rewards, Best Western Rewards, AccorHotels Live Limitless, Sonesta Travel Pass and more. As you compare options, look at various perks and features they might offer, such as early check-in, late check-out, a travel credit and even top-tier perks like free breakfast and executive lounge access. Get the absolute best deals on your trips with Travelocity Promo Codes and status-based discounts. Booking.com also offers loyalty programs that can help you save more. Booking.com promo codes can help you earn points and miles for your next trip. 

And if you’re okay with having multiple credit cards, getting more than one hotel credit card can make it so you can enjoy the benefits from multiple programs at once.

While we work hard on our research, we do not always provide a complete listing of all available offers from credit-card companies and banks. And because offers can change, we cannot guarantee that our information will always be up to date, so we encourage you to verify all the terms and conditions of any financial product before you apply.

Ben Luthi
Ben Luthi is a personal finance and travel writer and credit card expert. He has a degree in finance from Brigham Young University and worked in financial planning, banking and auto finance before writing full-time for NerdWallet and Student Loan Hero. Ben is now a full-time freelance writer and enjoys traveling and spending time with his two kids. His work has appeared in several publications, including U.S. News & World Report, USA Today, Money, Success and Slickdeals.