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