ThePointsGuy.com rated hotel loyalty programs based on ten factors: ease and value of earning/redeeming points, number of hotels/rooms, perks, elite status), the percentage of luxury properties, geographic spread, co-branded credit cards, promotions/bonuses, non-hotel aspects, and percentage of economical properties).
Read on to find out how your favorite hotel ranked.
1) Wyndham Rewards
“The Wyndham Rewards program is unique among the ten we analyzed in that all of its hotels have a flat redemption rate; from the cheapest Days Inn to the most luxurious Wyndham Grand Resort, you’ll pay 15,000 points per night. As a result, every member will earn enough points for a free night at a Wyndham property anywhere in the world after spending just $1,500, a fantastic return on spend and the primary reason the program earned second place,” explains The Points Guy. Points do expire.
Best for: Leisure and business travelers who visit popular destinations in the United States, Europe, the Caribbean, and Asia.
2) Choice Privileges
“The Choice Hotels program has a huge number of economical properties for those looking for a no-frills, standardized stay, but on the flip side, offers no truly luxurious brands. It also has a smaller global footprint, offering more limited opportunities to earn and redeem points outside the United States,” says The Points Guy. Points do expire.
Best for: Redeeming points for things other than hotel stays. In addition to hotel rooms, points can be traded in for airline miles, cruise vacations, gift cards, and more.
3) Club Carlson
“The Club Carlson program, with brands like Radisson, Radisson Blu, and Country Inn & Suites, brought up the rear,” explains The Points Guy. “While it does have locations in a large number of countries and provides solid elite status benefits, it too suffers from a lack of true luxury properties and less valuable points.” Points do expire.
Best for: People traveling to large cities in the United States and Europe.
4) IHG Rewards
“The IHG Rewards earned the top spot when it comes to promotions thanks to the regular Accelerate offers it has provided to members over the last couple of years,” says The Points Guy. “It also has a great co-branded credit card that comes with a free night certificate every year (valid at any IHG property worldwide) and provides incredibly valuable Point Break redemptions, a rotating set of hotels each quarter that are available for just 5,000 points per night.” The program allows various ways to collect points, from paying for hotel stays and air travel to purchasing goods and services online. Points do expire.
Best for: Those who like to experience different hotel chains. IHG is the parent company for InterContinental, Kimpton, Holiday Inn hotels, and more.
5) World of Hyatt
“Hyatt does a great job at rewarding its elite members with perks like suite upgrades and guaranteed late checkout,” notes The Points Guy. “The program’s co-branded credit card also adds significant value with a lucrative sign-up bonus and a free night certificate every year (valid in Category 1-4 properties). The downside is they have a very small portfolio of properties around the world (less than 800). Points do expire.
Best for: Business and leisure travelers who visit major cities within the United States, Europe, Mexico, and Asia.
6) Le Club AccorHotels
“Accor’s LeClub program offers a great value for its points (2,000 will get you 40 Euros off). However, it’s important to note that the chain has very few hotels in the United States,” explains The Points Guy. Points do expire.
Best for: Business and luxury travelers visiting major cities in Europe, including Paris, London, and Berlin.
7) Hilton Honors
“The Hilton Honors program provides perks to all its members (regardless of status), including complimentary Wi-Fi, late checkout, and the ability to pool points with friends or family members. The program also has a terrific portfolio of co-branded credit cards, including a new exclusive partnership with American Express,” notes The Points Guy. Points do expire.
Best for: Business and luxury travelers who frequently fly to and stay in major cities in the United States, Europe, and Asia.
8) Starwood Preferred Guest
“Starwood earns the top spot thanks primarily to the value and flexibility of Starpoints. Free hotel stays start at as little as 2,000 points per night, and you can also transfer your points to over 30 airline partners, including a 5,000-mile bonus for every 20,000 points you transfer,” explains The Points Guy. “The program also does a great job at rewarding its elite members with perks like suite upgrades, and it also has a large percentage of luxury properties under St. Regis and Luxury Collection brands. Finally, with the upcoming merger with Marriott, you can match elite status tiers between the two programs and freely transfer points back and forth.” Points do expire.
Best for: Leisure and business travelers
9) Best Western Rewards
“Best Western offers a large percentage of economical properties and a decent elite status program. However, Best Western points aren’t as valuable as most other chains, and it also falls short when it comes to luxurious properties at which you can redeem your points,” says The Points Guy. Points don’t expire.
Best for: Budget-minded business and family travelers.
10) Marriott Rewards
“Despite having the widest geographic coverage of any of the programs analyzed, you still need a large number of points for most properties, especially when it comes to Ritz-Carlton locations. However, the program does allow you to link your account with SPG and freely transfer points back and forth, opening up additional flexibility with redemptions,” says The Points Guy. A nice plus is that you can link your Marriott Rewards program to the Starwood Preferred Guest program. The two programs even offer status matching, meaning you can earn and redeem points with either program and use them interchangeably. Points do expire.
Best for: Business and leisure travelers who visit major cities in the United States, Canada, Asia, and Europe.