11 of the Best Hotel Loyalty Programs — and How to Maximize Their Benefits
These are 11 of the best hotel loyalty programs, plus how to earn and redeem points, enjoy elite status, and maximize their benefits.
Hotel loyalty programs are the unsung heroes of travel rewards. Unlike airline miles, which you might spend years racking up for one award flight, you can often accrue hotel points at a much faster clip, unlock elite status quicker, and enjoy benefits like free nights on a regular basis.
And despite continuing consolidation within the hotel industry, which has spawned behemoths like Hilton Honors and Marriott Bonvoy, there are plenty of excellent hotel loyalty programs to choose from (including those two). The key is concentrating your stays with one or two of them, and perhaps even opening a cobranded credit card, so you can enjoy even more rewards every time you travel.
Here are 11 of the best hotel loyalty programs to consider, and how you can get great value from them.
Accor Live Limitless
If you're not familiar with ALL, as it's known, you should be. It encompasses 3,000 properties ranging from inexpensive Novotel and Ibis hotels to iconic institutions like Raffles and Fairmont, as well as beach-chic Banyan Tree and sophisticated Sofitel, plus Onefinestay vacation rentals. Members earn five to 25 points per 10 euros ($12) on hotel charges, and can redeem them in increments of 2,000 points per 40 euros ($48) off their bill when checking out. Qualify for various elite status tiers at 10, 30, or 60 nights per year to enjoy added benefits, plus a spending requirement of 10,400 euros ($12,480) for top-tier Diamond status and perks like complimentary breakfast on weekends and four dining and spa rewards per year worth 25 euros ($30) each.
Best Western Rewards
Best Western's brands include everything from extended-stay SureStay locations to tidy BW Premier Collection options, and can be found in nearly 100 countries and territories worldwide. Best Western Rewards members can get a head start on elite status by matching from competitors, or completing as few as three stays in a year. They earn between 10 to 15 points per dollar, which never expire, and reward nights start at a mere 5,000 points.
Earn 10 points per dollar spent on stays at Choice Hotels' 7,000 properties around the world, including hotels in all 50 states and more than 40 countries and territories. Choice Privileges brands include Comfort, Clarion, Quality Inn, and Econo Lodge, among others. Although you can redeem points for everything from gift cards to restaurant deliveries to charitable donations, save them for stays, which start at just 8,000 points per night.
Hilton Honors now counts more than 118 million members, who can earn and redeem points at over 6,600 participating properties in 119 countries around the world. Its 18 brands include everything from budget-friendly Hampton Inn & Suites to luxurious Waldorf Astoria, along with Conrad, DoubleTree, and Curio Collection, among others. Regular members earn 10 points per dollar on Hilton purchases (with most brands), but earn bonuses with elite status, which you can get just for opening an associated credit card like the Hilton Honors Surpass Amex or Hilton Honors Aspire Amex. The latter even comes with a free weekend night reward each year. Award nights start at 5,000 to 120,000 points apiece, depending on the hotel and season.
InterContinental Hotels Group, which includes well-known chains like Holiday Inn, Hotel Indigo, and Kimpton, has been expanding its luxury footprint lately, with the acquisition of Six Senses and Regent, among other developments. Members of its loyalty program can earn and redeem points (10 per dollar at most brands) at over 6,000 destinations in nearly 100 countries around the world. Award nights start at 10,000 to 70,000 points apiece, depending on the hotel. If you're interested in elite treatment, apply for the IHG Rewards Club Premier credit card, which confers automatic Platinum status and perks like bonus points, room upgrades, and welcome amenities, not to mention an annual free night worth up to 40,000 points.
Preferred Hotels & Resorts comprises more than 650 properties in over 80 countries, including some standouts like the ultra-exclusive Post Ranch Inn in Big Sur, California. iPrefer members receive free Wi-Fi, space-available room upgrades, priority early check-in, and special rates. Points accumulate at a rate of 10 per dollar spent on stays (15 with elite status), and are redeemable in increments of 12,500 for $25 certificates that can be applied toward room bills and other on-property charges. So far, there are just a handful of properties where points can also be used for stays (starting at 15,000 points per night), but more should be added soon.
Not familiar with The Leading Hotels of the World? It's an association of more than 400 luxury properties that includes lavish landmarks like the Ritz Paris. It's free to join LHW's Leaders Club, and members enjoy perks like upgrade priority upon arrival, a daily continental breakfast for two, and both early check-in and late checkout based on availability. Room rates rack up one point per dollar (or equivalent currency), and free nights start at just 4,000 points each. Spend $5,000 or more on qualifying stays in a calendar year, and you'll get a bump to Sterling elite status with five pre-arrival upgrade requests per year and a one-time annual points bonus of five percent.
The world's largest hotel company has over 8,000 properties in 30 brands, including old standbys like Sheraton and Westin, as well as trendier W Hotels and Edition, and fancy Ritz-Carlton and St. Regis outposts. Marriott Bonvoy members earn 10 points per dollar at most hotels, and award nights range from 5,000 to 100,000 points each, depending on the hotel and whether it's peak or off-peak timing. For statement credits on stays, Gold elite status, and other luxury perks, consider opening the Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant Amex, while Chase's Marriott Bonvoy Boundless card is a solid option for everyday earning.
Radisson Rewards Americas
Radisson recently spun off its loyalty program in the Americas, including the U.S., Canada, Mexico, the Caribbean, and Latin America. To earn points at all 1,200 or so hotels globally, not just the 600 properties based in those regions, you'll also need to rejoin the older Radisson Rewards program. Yes, it's confusing. But it's also worthwhile, since you can earn up to 35 points per dollar on stays if you have elite status and one of the program's cobranded credit cards (base members earn 20 per dollar). Award stays in standard rooms start at 15,000 points at the lower end of the spectrum, and range up to 75,000 points for more luxurious accommodations.
World of Hyatt
Hyatt now numbers over 1,000 hotels and resorts in 68 countries, and 20 brands including Andaz, Thompson, Miraval, and Park Hyatt, among others. The chain also has partnerships with Small Luxury Hotels and M Life, widening its sphere of influence even further. World of Hyatt members earn five points per dollar on Hyatt purchases, with bonuses for elite members. Award nights, meanwhile, start at 5,000 points apiece, and range up to 40,000 for the highest-end hotels in the portfolio. Members can also book stays using a mix of cash and points. For an earnings boost plus automatic Discoverist status, consider opening the World of Hyatt credit card from Chase, which comes with an annual free night worth up to 15,000 points.
Wyndham Rewards is the loyalty program for Wyndham Hotels & Resorts, which includes 20 hotel brands like Wyndham Grand, La Quinta, Days Inn, and Ramada, among others. There are over 9,000 participating properties in more than 80 countries, plus vacation rentals, club resorts, and other partners like Caesars Rewards hotels (in Las Vegas, Atlantic City, and more). Members earn 10 points per dollar with a 1,000-point minimum on stays. Points are redeemable at set tiers of 7,500, 15,000, or 30,000 points per night. That means the sign-up bonus of 45,000 points (after spending $1,000 in 90 days) with the new Wyndham Rewards Earner card is worth up to six free nights.