The best hotel rewards programs provide a wide range of free perks. Members receive special amenities such as free Wi-Fi, late check out and bar credits. But that’s just the beginning. Most importantly, the top hotel rewards programs let you quickly earn free nights, redeem them with ease, and go about your business without worrying about fine-print restrictions.
Every major hotel chain has its own loyalty rewards program, which anyone can join for free. But these hotel rewards programs are not equally rewarding for everyone. They all have different rules, earning rates and point values, plus a variety of other benefits. And much ultimately depends on where you travel, how often you stay in hotels, and how much you’re comfortable spending per night.
So to help families, business travelers and explorers of all types save more time and money, WalletHub compared the 9 most popular hotel rewards programs using 21 key metrics, ranging from point values to blackout dates for booking free nights. And we did so for three different hotel budgets.
Best Hotel Rewards Programs:
- Wyndham Rewards
- Radisson Rewards
- Best Western Rewards
- Choice Privileges
- Marriott Bonvoy
Below, you can check out the rest of the results from WalletHub’s hotel loyalty rewards comparison. You can also crunch the numbers to find the best hotel rewards program for free nights based on your individual needs using our custom calculator, which personalizes the results of this study based on your budget.
What’s the Best Hotel Rewards Program for You?
Get a personalized recommendation for the best hotel loyalty program for you, using our hotel rewards calculator below. Simply input your annual hotel budget, and we'll apply the methodology and data used for this report to your individual situation.
Many aspects of a hotel rewards program are binary in nature: a program either has a certain feature or it doesn't. But much also depends on the amount of money you spend with a given hotel chain each year. And while the Light, Moderate and Heavy hotel spending profiles used in this report cover roughly 60% of people, according to Census and Bureau of Labor Statistics data, it's certainly understandable if you want a more personalized recommendation.
Other Key Findings
For the fifth year in a row, Wyndham Rewards is the best hotel loyalty program for travelers of all spending levels, earning an average WalletHub Score of 72.40.
Wyndham Rewards offers up to $13.46 in rewards value per $100 spent – most among major hotel loyalty programs.
Choice Privileges and IHG Rewards are the only hotel loyalty programs offering more rewards value than in 2018.
Best Western is the only major hotel chain whose rewards points do not expire due to account inactivity.
You’d better know what you’re looking for in a loyalty program because very few hotels rank in the top five in more than two of the five major categories WalletHub considered.
All but one hotel allow members to redeem points for award nights at all brands/properties.
The value in purchasing hotel rewards points varies widely from program to program. With some, it’s a rip-off, while others make it a no-brainer.
None of the hotel rewards programs allows members to earn points on reservations booked through third-party websites, such as Kayak.com or Expedia.com.
You can find detailed scoring for each hotel rewards program in the next section. But after reading the headlines, you might be interested in a quick recap of the top options first. For your convenience, please find a summary below.
Best Hotel Rewards Programs for 2020
Note: Drury Rewards scored slightly higher than Best Western Rewards in terms of Redemption Options, but we gave Best Western the nod because it has far more locations.
The best hotel rewards programs also have co-branded credit cards, which allow frequent guests to earn free nights on every purchase they make, wherever Visa, Mastercard, American Express or Discover is accepted. The rewards these cards provide vary widely, just like the loyalty programs they represent. So travelers may want to check out WalletHub’s picks for the best hotel credit cards before committing to a hotel chain.
Copyright 2019 Evolution Finance, Inc. All rights reserved. From https://wallethub.com. By Alina Comoreanu, Senior Researcher.