The New Darkhorse Credit Card NO ONE Is Talking About

This post may contain affiliate links; please read our advertiser disclosure for more information.

Hotels.com Rewards Visa Overview

Hotels.com Rewards Visa Overview, This Card Has Some Potential

I may be out on an island here, but when DDG wrote about the Hotels.com Rewards Visa card I thought it looked pretty intriguing.  I figured others would think the same thing but then no one really wrote about it.  Don’t get me wrong, the welcome offer is not great and the card will not be a top choice for everyone, but I think it deserves consideration.  This is a great option for big spenders that are looking to add value to their arsenal. The hotels.com program is a favorite of ours too, the perfect solution for non points hotel stays. The funny thing is this card is terrible for actual Hotels.com stays but we will get into that below in my Hotels.com Rewards Visa overview.

Card Details

First let’s take a look at what the card offers:

Welcome Offer
  • As a new cardholder, you’ll get a reward night worth $125 when you spend $1,000 on card purchases in the first three months of opening an account.
    • Excludes taxes and fees. If your night costs less than $125, you won’t get the difference.

Offer Link

Vegas

Card Details

Benefits and features of the Hotels.com Rewards Visa Credit Card include:

  • Getting Stamps When You Spend … And When You Stay
    • Hotels.com already has one of the most rewarding loyalty programs: for every 10 stamps (a night = stamp!) you receive a reward night. 
    • For every $500 spent, you receive a stamp valued at $110. 
  • Silver Membership – In your first year as a cardholder, you’ll enjoy an upgraded membership level that offers travel perks such as free breakfast, airport transfers, free Wi-Fi and more at select VIP properties.
  • Cell Phone Protection – Pay your monthly cell phone bill with your card and get up to $600 protection against damage or theft (subject to a $25 deductible). Learn more.
  • No Foreign Currency Conversion Fee
  • No Annual Fee

Hotels.com Rewards Visa Overview

Crunching The Numbers

Let’s dive into these numbers now.  You a stamp for every $500 in purchases, essentially a one night, $110 stay credit.  You need 10 nights to unlock the free night.  That means you would need to spend $5,000 on the card to get to the required 10 stamps.  At that point you would get a $110 award stay.  If you divide the $110 award night by $5000 in spend you get a return of 2.2%.  You heard that right, 2.2% for a no annual fee card.

That is a pretty great return.  There are some caveats, like the rewards are only worthwhile in $5,000 chunks. That puts a damper on things for sure.  It is why I said above it is a good card for big spenders who need another card with bandwidth (think Simon Mall etc.). It is also issued by Wells Fargo, who is not the best, and you often need a prior relationship to get approved for their cards.

The spend required for a free night decreases if you actually use the program though.  If you have 4-5 stays a year already with the Hotels.com program then you would only need to spend $2,500-$3,000 to unlock a free night every year.  It cuts down your award time frame from one every two years to one every year etc.

Why You Shouldn’t Use Your Hotels.com Rewards Visa For Actual Stays

Having said all of that this card is horrible for actual Hotels.com stays.  That is because it earns no bonus for them.  You would be better off using a card that earns travel bonuses like the Chase Sapphire Preferred etc.  Even better than that, you should use discounted gift cards for your stays from Amex Offers or their constant sales.  You can often get 20% off on these purchases.  You could then use your Hotels.com Rewards Visa for the gift card purchase when they are on sale if you wanted to.

Hotels.com Rewards Visa Overview – Final Thoughts

Am I going crazy or is this a solid option for non bonus spend?  Getting 2.2% back on a no annual fee card is tough to beat.  I didn’t even consider the cell phone protection or Hotels.com silver status which looks like it comes with some mid tier status perks. I am not sure how plentiful VIP properties are etc. so I can’t speak to that value.  But you would get to test it out for a year and see if it is worth chasing.

If you are a big spender and use the Hotels.com program already then I think you have to at least consider this option.  I like that it makes unlocking those 10 stamps that much easier.  Sometimes I go YEARS before I get there and this would bridge that gap.

Let me know your thoughts below.

Mark Ostermann
Mark Ostermann is a father, husband and miles/points fanatic. He left the corporate world after starting a family in order to be a stay at home dad. Mark is constantly looking at ways to save money and stay within budget while also taking awesome vacations with his family. When he isn't caring for his family or taking a weekend trip, Mark is working towards his goal of visiting every Major League Baseball ballpark.

More Like This

10 COMMENTS

Responses are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser's responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.

10 COMMENTS

  1. I’d jump at this if I thought it was really worth 2.2%. But that ignores the fact that there are many opportunities to buy hotels.com gift cards at a substantial discount. And it ignores the fact that you do not earn rewards on the nights booked with free nights earned on this card.

  2. I think the lack of coverage is warranted as it’s a weird card and the benefits doesn’t seem compelling even for a no-fee card unless you really value cellphone protection and even then Freedom Flex is a superior card in 90% of the situation.

    The problem is that a free $110/night for $5000 spend just isn’t compelling. You can do a lot better even with another no fee card like Double Cash just by buying Hotels.com gift cards when they are on sale. That’s in addition to Hotels.com often having sales on their on and earning from shop portals etc. You can make the 10% difference easily.

    Also, how under underwhelming is it to spend $5000 only to reward yourself with… a stay at a $110/hotel. Granted, there may be some nice $100/night hotels but I’d rather earn 10% less and not be restricted in my choice of hotels and more importantly, not be restricted to Hotels.com.

  3. I’d argue that this is a 2% card not a 2.2%. Let’s say you use a 2% card and take the cash and use the cash to book a hotel via hotels.com. You’d take about 10% back in value in hotels.com points hence the 2.2% card.

    I’d take a 2% real cash back card over a restricted to hotels.com card.

  4. I got the card because no AF, no FTF, I use hotels.com (I am a Silver already), and I’m in a credit rebuild (high 600s/low 700s). Was approved for $5k.

    It’s a reasonable card if nothing exciting. It will also keep your Hotels.com account alive if you put $500 spend on it, so reasonable even if it’s sock drawer a lot of the time.

  5. 2.2% doesn’t feel compelling I today’s environment. With all the upgrades and bonuses there are plenty of cards you can accidentally average well over 2.2% on and even if you go to the trouble of ensuring you only spend it on unbounded purchases the difference is fairly marginal. That’s a lot of mental energy for marginal gains.

    Then, if I understand correctly, awards are limited to $110 nights? If it’s $110 *towards a night* that might at least cause me to consider it, but limiting the payoff to $110 night severely limits the value I would get out of this card.

    I know it’s an “annual fee card”, but if you meet the criteria for making the hotel.com card worthwhile (big unbonused spender who can use hotel nights) you can easily get 2.2% out of the Hyatt Card (1 point/$) and the annual free night at $15k will more than offset the fee, and the free night at $15k, and all the bonuses you pick up along the way (because as a big unbonused spender you’re going to be getting 2 nights/$5k), etc etc.

    I guess hotels.com has more locations, but Hyatt was just the first card that came to mind I’m sure there are others. I think you have to be a really, really specific traveler and spender to get more value out of this card than the other readily-available options.

  6. Mark-

    I use the hotels.com program a lot (40-50 nights a year).
    Spend a lot on credit cards (few million a year thanks to business spending)

    I like hotels.com, thought being Gold has rarely if ever done anything for me.
    I just…I don’t know. I just like focusing on Chase/Amex points.

    They are more flexible, (chase obviously more reasonable to use for hotel bookings)
    I just don’t think a lot of people jump on this when there is no SUB.
    And for the rest of us that could maximize it… I just don’t want another CC earning points on another program. I’ve got 12 CCs, and I don’t see getting a 13th being worth it (even though I’m their target customer I think)

    So, going to keep booking travel on CSR and piling up UR/MR with category spending bonuses.
    Just… simpler life for me.

    • There is a SUB, $125 hotel night for 1k spend. Not amazing but perfectly cromulent for a no-AF card. Program terms indicate possible churns every 18 months.

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

7,703FansLike
15,951FollowersFollow
29,900SubscribersSubscribe

  • MtM recommended tool to track & organize credit cards
  • Best card offers personalized for you
  • Track bonus deadlines, fee dates & 5/24 status
  • Full Travel Freely overview

Free Sign-Up


  • MtM recommended tool to track & organize credit cards
  • Best card offers personalized for you
  • Track bonus deadlines, fee dates & 5/24 status
  • Full Travel Freely overview

Free Sign-Up

Subscribe To Our Newsletter

Join thousands of MtM readers who are subscribed to receive a once daily email with all of our posts. Never miss out!

You have Successfully Subscribed!