Enrolling in the best hotel rewards programs can pay off in more ways than just a few free nights at your favorite property. The best hotel rewards program for free nights might also give you redemption options like airline miles, gift cards or other attractive perks. Remember, the right hotel loyalty program for you depends on your individual needs. The best hotel rewards program for business travelers might not be attractive to vacationers. The best hotel rewards program encompassing multiple properties won’t appeal to someone who is loyal to a specific brand.
So, which hotel has the best rewards program? This rewards program comparison, covering nine top programs, will help you decide. Plus, learn how to really maximize your points by pairing a loyalty program with one of the best hotel credit cards.
1. Best Western Rewards
Best Western boasts 4,200 hotels in 100 countries around the globe. Free stays start at 8,000 Best Western Rewards points. It has five rewards tiers, with every traveler starting at Blue. The qualifications for the higher tiers are:
- Gold — 10 nights, 7 qualifying stays or 10,000 points
- Platinum — 15 nights, 10 qualifying stays or 15,000 points
- Diamond — 30 nights, 20 qualifying stays or 30,000 points
- Diamond Select — 50 nights, 40 qualifying stays or 50,000 points
Once you reach Gold, you get free room upgrades and a choice of a thank-you gift or additional points. You earn extra rewards if you join the program through AARP and AAA, both of which are partners. You also receive instant Gold or Platinum status by opening a Best Western Rewards Mastercard. These hotel rewards credit cards allow you to earn points for your everyday purchases. The premium Mastercard has a $59 annual fee that is waived for the first year, and the other has no annual fee. You can redeem points for various shopping, dining, gas and travel card rewards or donate them to the American Red Cross.
Learn more about the Best Western Rewards Program — see how the five tiers compare.
Best Western Rewards Pros
- Points never expire
- No blackout dates
- Will match your Elite status in other hotel loyalty programs
Best Western Rewards Cons
- Somewhat complicated tier structure
2. Choice Privileges
Choice Privileges encompasses multiple brands with 6,800 hotels in more than 40 countries. Its hotels include Ascend, Cambria, Comfort, Sleep Inn, Quality, Clarion, Econo Lodge and Rodeway Inn. You earn 10 points per dollar at over 5,500 participating Choice hotels, earning a free night in as little as two stays.
Choice Privileges also has a FlexRewards program that charges fewer points at select hotels, regardless of the day of the week, making it one of the best hotel rewards program for free nights. In addition, its Your Extras program provides rewards like Uber discounts, Amazon gift cards, airline miles or bonus Choice Privileges points if you stay Sunday through Thursday night at least once. The Choice Privileges Visa is an affiliated hotel rewards credit card that gives you 32,000 bonus points after you spend $1,000 in the first 90 days. You also get a yearly anniversary bonus.
Choice Privileges Pros
- Points never expire
- Earn extra rewards for midweek stays
Choice Privileges Cons:
- Your Extras discounts and bonuses are only available for midweek nights
Related: Best Hotel Loyalty Club Deals
3. Hilton Honors
Hilton has more than 5,000 properties worldwide, with sub-brands like Waldorf Astoria, Conrad, Doubletree, Embassy Suites, Homewood Suites and Hampton Inn. Its Hilton Honors rewards program allows you to earn a free night for as little as 5,000 points. There are four tiers, with all members getting perks like discounts, digital check-in and keys, room choice, free WiFi, late checkout, free transfer of points and points pooling. These basic tier benefits make it one of the best hotel rewards programs for casual travelers. At the lowest level, you earn 10 points per dollar spent, which climbs to 20 at the highest tier. You also earn bonus points when you reach certain milestones by staying at least 40 nights per year. The qualifications for the higher tiers are:
- Silver — 4 stays or 10 nights
- Gold — 20 stays, 40 nights or 75,000 Hilton Honors base points
- Diamond — 30 stays, 60 nights or 120,000 points
Increasing tier benefits include a fifth standard reward night free, free bottled water, free breakfast, executive lounge access and elite status gifting. Hilton also offers four hotel rewards credit cards — with annual fees ranging from $0 to $450 — that allow you to earn points for purchases and bonuses at various levels, depending on the card you choose. Learn about the generous bonus rewards you can score with the Hilton Honors credit card.
Hilton Honors Pros
- Redemption options like airline miles, dining, vacation packages or points donation
- Ability to buy, gift or pool your points
Hilton Honors Cons
- Somewhat complicated tier structure
- Points expire if your account is inactive for 12 months
4. Hotels.com Rewards
Hotels.com is not tied to a single brand, so it’s one of the best hotel rewards programs for those who like variety. It works with over 297,000 participating properties. Just stay for 10 nights and earn one for free. Members also have access to discounted Secret Prices. Reach the Silver tier by booking and staying at least 10 nights per year. This provides priority customer service, a price guarantee and assistance in minimizing cancellation fees. Gold status requires booking and staying at least 30 nights during your current membership year and unlocks exclusive deals.
Hotels.com is partnered with Capital One on the Venture and VentureOne hotel rewards credit cards, which earn 10 miles per dollar if you stay at an eligible property. The Venture card’s $95 annual fee is waived for the first year, and VentureOne has no annual fee.
Hotels.com Rewards Pros
- Simple rewards structure
- Broad range of properties where you can redeem nights
Hotel.com Rewards Cons
- Benefits are modest compared to many brand-affiliated hotel programs
5. World of Hyatt
Hyatt has over 700 hotels worldwide. Its World of Hyatt rewards program gives you five base points for every dollar spent on Hyatt hotel stays and eligible dining, spa treatments and FIND experiences. Redemptions for a free night range from 5,000 to 30,000 points. You can also redeem for room upgrades, dining, spa treatments and Avis car rentals. Once you join World of Hyatt, you receive a 10 percent member rate discount and other exclusive offers. You can move up to three additional tiers, each with increasing benefits. The requirements are:
- Discoverist — 10 nights and 25,000 base points
- Explorist — 30 nights and 50,000 base points
- Globalist — 60 nights and 100,000 base points
Higher tier benefits include discounts on qualifying purchases, free premium WiFi, free bottled water, lounge access, late checkout and room upgrades. Hyatt has a hotel rewards credit card that offers points at various tiers, depending on the purchase. The annual fee for this Visa is $95. This traveler got over 100 free Hyatt hotel nights just by using his credit card.
World of Hyatt Pros
- No blackout dates
- Variety of redemption options
World of Hyatt Cons
- You lose your points if your account is inactive for 24 consecutive months
- There is no free rewards credit card option
6. IHG Rewards Club
IHG Rewards Club has more than 5,200 properties and hotel brands like InterContinental, Kimpton, Crowne Plaza, Holiday Inn, Holiday Inn Express and Candlewood Suites. You earn a free night’s stay for 10,000 to 70,000 points, depending on the brand and hotel you choose. IHG Rewards Club has three levels:
- Gold Elite — 10 nights or 10,000 points
- Platinum Elite — 40 nights or 40,000 points
- Spire Elite — 75 nights or 70,000 points
You earn bonus points as you rise in the tiers, and Spire Elite members get either 25,000 annual bonus points or a Platinum membership to gift to another person for one year. This makes it one of the best hotel rewards programs for business travelers with a high number of stays. IHG points can also be converted to airline miles, used for shopping, travel and digital items like games and ebooks, or donated to charitable partners. IHG Rewards has two hotel rewards credit card options. For an $89 annual fee, the Premier card earns points for hotel stays and all other purchases and gives you a free anniversary night stay. The Traveler card’s annual fee is $29, with lower rewards and no anniversary bonus. See a detailed comparison of the two IHG Rewards Club cards.
IHG Rewards Club Pros
- Earn and redeem points at a wide variety of brands
- Points can be used for hotel stays, merchandise, miles or donations
IHG Rewards Club Cons
- Points expire if they are not redeemed within a year
7. Marriott Rewards
Marriott has 6,700 hotels worldwide under brands like Marriott, Westin, W, Courtyard, Renaissance and Fairfield. You earn up to 10 points or 2 airline miles for every dollar spent on your hotel room and eligible purchases like spa treatments, dining or golf. A free night costs 7,500 to 60,000 points, depending on the property. Marriott has other redemption options, including airline miles, travel packages and gift cards. You can also share your points with other members.
You start out as a member with zero to nine stays in a year. There are five additional tiers:
- Silver Elite — 10 to 24 nights per year
- Gold Elite — 25 to 49 nights per year
- Platinum Elite — 50 to 74 nights per year
- Platinum Premier Elite — 75 to 99 nights per year
- Platinum Premier Elite with Ambassador — 100-plus nights per year and $20,000 in qualified spending
Initial benefits include exclusive rates, free WiFi, mobile keys and no blackout dates. As you increase tiers, you earn bonus rewards points, late checkout, room upgrades, a dedicated reservation line and lounge access. This is one of the best hotel rewards program for business travelers who are on the road for most of the year. Marriott Rewards offers a Visa hotel rewards credit card that awards 75,000 points if you spend at least $3,000 in the first three months. The card carries a $95 annual fee. Read a detailed breakdown of the Marriott Rewards program and learn what great perks Marriott loyalists get.
Marriott Rewards Pros
- Variety of redemption options, including gift cards
- No blackout dates
Marriott Rewards Cons
- Points expire after 24 months of account inactivity
- Affiliated credit card has a $95 annual fee
8. Stash Hotel Rewards
Stash Hotel Rewards has over 150 partner properties in the United States and the Caribbean, including boutique hotels. It also offers points at non-partner hotels booked through its website. You earn five points per dollar on eligible rates by staying at partner hotels or one point per dollar for non-partners. The redemption rate varies, depending on the hotel, but you can earn a reward in as little as five nights. Stash offers a Visa hotel rewards credit card that lets you earn points, including a special bonus of 10,000 bonus points if you spend $1,500 within the first 90 days. The $85 annual fee is waived for the first year.
Stash Hotel Rewards Pros
- Provides rewards to those who enjoy unique hotel options
- No blackouts or expiration dates
Stash Hotel Rewards Cons
- Number of partner properties is limited
- Redemption rate varies based on the season and the hotel’s occupancy rate
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9. Wyndham Rewards
Wyndham has over 8,000 participating hotels worldwide, with brands like Baymont, Days Inn, Howard Johnson, Microtel, Ramada, Super 8 and Travelodge. You receive a free night once you earn 15,000 points through its Wyndham Rewards program. Wyndham Rewards has four levels, starting at Blue when you first enroll. You earn 10 points per dollar or 1,000 points per qualified stay, whichever is higher. This also gives you the Rewarding Rate discount, free WiFi and go free/go fast discounts on local attractions.
The qualifications for the higher tiers are:
- Gold — 5 nights
- Platinum — 15 nights
- Diamond — 40 nights
Higher tiers include things like preferred rooms, late checkout, suite upgrades, rental car upgrades and welcome amenities.
Wyndham Rewards also offers two Visa Signature Cards, including one with no annual fee. Both of these hotel rewards credit cards provide 15,000-point bonuses for hitting certain initial spending levels and let you earn points for hotel bookings and other purchases.
Related: Best ‘No Annual Fee’ Credit Cards
Wyndham Rewards Pros
- Discounted room rates and local attractions
Wyndham Rewards Cons
- You must pay an average daily rate of at least $25 to earn rewards
- Points expire after four years from posting to account
If you’re interested in earning more rewards for your trips, click to find the best travel credit cards.
More on Hotels and Saving Money
- 20 Secret Ways to Save on Your Next Hotel Stay
- 50 Things Your Hotel Will Give You for Free
- Hotel Secrets Only Insiders Know
- Watch: Times You’ll Actually Save More With a Travel Agent
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GOBankingRates.com identified the best hotel rewards programs by analyzing membership tiers, rewards, perks, participating properties and credit card offerings. All fees and rates are subject to change at the hotels’ discretion, and some bonus offers might no longer be available on the hotels’ websites, depending on how you access the web page.
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