Best Hotel Rewards Programs

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Published on November 21, 2017 by Chris

I share my three favorite loyalty programs for frequent hotel stays with tips and tricks to maximize your rewards from the programs. My ranking is based on my personal experience with over 1,000 nights in hotel rooms. I like to stay in nice hotels, and redeem points for REALLY NICE hotels that I probably couldn’t afford if I was paying for them.
Marriott Rewards
The Marriott Rewards program accommodates both business and leisure travelers who visit major cities in the United States, Canada, Asia and Europe.

6,000+ Properties in 122 countries
1.2 Million Rooms

30 affiliated brands, including The Ritz-Carlton, Courtyard Marriott, Renaissance and SPG Hotels like Sheraton, Westin, W.

My favorite program. Marriott hotels are everywhere, and very consistent.
I avoid domestic Courtyard’s like the plague.
Domestic Lounges and brekkie “ok” — International ones are amazing, JW Marriott HK
With 6000+ properties, it’s easy to make Platinum, but the highest number of nights at 75 (get the credit card, brings it down to 60)
Award availability is usually quite good, and 5th night free
And yes, I get suite upgrades on Awards.

Pros:
No blackout dates when redeeming free nights on standard rooms
More than 4,000 participating hotels in more than 70 countries
Rewards can be used on hotel stays, flights, rental cars, cruises and vacation packages
Cons:
Points expire after two years of inactivity
Rooms at high category hotels cost a large number of points
Marriott’s top-tier membership level is harder to reach than the highest levels within the Hilton Honors and World of Hyatt programs
Earning Points:
You earn 10 hotel points for every dollar spent at Marriott hotels and its higher-end brands like JW Marriott, Autograph Collection and four other brands.
Other affiliated brands like The Ritz-Carlton, Fairfield Inn & Suites and seven more brands award 10 hotel points for your room rate only.
You’ll earn five points or 1 mile per dollar spent on your room rate at Residence Inn and TownePlace Suites properties.
You can also earn points with one of two Marriott Rewards credit cards (or The Ritz-Carlton Rewards credit card) from Chase Visa

Gold Elite
50 qualifying nights
25 percent bonus in addition to base points.
free upgraded internet access, complimentary room upgrades and a room-type guarantee.
complimentary breakfast in elite member lounges at participating hotels.
Free Marriott Rewards Gold Elite status can also be obtained by members of United MileagePlus who hold Premier Gold, Premier Platinum, Premier 1K or Global Services status.
Lifetime Status: 500 nights and accrue 1.6 million points
Platinum Elite
Stay 75 qualifying nights in one calendar year and you’ll earn Platinum Elite status.
“48-Hour Guaranteed Availability” promise. As long as you make a reservation two days prior to your arrival, you will be guaranteed a room at participating Marriott and Marriott-affiliated hotels
welcome gift upon arrival at participating properties.
50 percent points bonus on top of base points.
complimentary MileagePlus Premier Silver status, benefits of which include seat upgrades and bonus award miles.
Suite upgrades
Lifetime: 750 nights and 2 million points

Total points per dollar: 20
Value of Marriott points: 0.7 cents
Total value of rewards per dollar: 14 cents
US News World Report: #2 Wyndham, #3 Choice Privileges

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