Hotels.com® Rewards Visa® Credit Card review
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Hotels.com Rewards Visa Credit Card Overview
Guests looking for a more flexible alternative to brand-focused hotel credit cards can earn and redeem complimentary reward nights at over 500,000 locations with the Hotels.com Rewards Visa Credit Card.
Hotels.com’s new rewards card from Wells Fargo doesn’t carry a boatload of travel bells and whistles, but it’s an excellent fit if you’re a casual traveler looking to build reward nights on everyday spending.
What are the advantages and disadvantages?
- Unless you visit hotels, you must spend $5,000 for a complimentary room worth $110 or less
- Rewards expire if you haven’t booked with Hotels.com in 12 months
- Limited travel benefits
A deeper look at the current card offer
- Rewards rate: Collect 1 stamp each time you spend $500 on purchases with your card, plus the 1 stamp you collect as rewards member for each night stayed at an eligible property booked on hotels.com (10 stamps = 1 reward night towards future hotels.com bookings)
- Welcome offer: Get 2 reward nights worth $250 total (max $125 per night)*, when you spend $1,000 on purchases in the first 3 months. *Excludes taxes and fees. If a night costs less than $125, you won’t get the difference.
- Annual fee: $0
- Purchase intro APR: N/A
- Balance transfer intro APR: N/A
- Regular APR: 14.99 percent to 22.99 percent (Variable APR)
Current sign-up bonus
Get 2 reward nights worth $250 total (max $125 per night)*, when you spend $1,000 on purchases in the first 3 months. *Excludes taxes and fees. If a night costs less than $125, you won’t get the difference.
This isn’t a bad value, since it normally takes spending $5,000 to earn 1 reward night worth $110. Comparatively, this offer is easily attainable but is also worth a good bit less than other no annual fee travel cards with the same spending requirements.
The Hotels.com Rewards Visa card offers simpler rewards earning than many other hotel rewards programs. Instead of loyalty points that you can redeem for complimentary nights, you earn “stamps” toward a reward night.
This limits what your rewards can be used for, but it might be easier if you don’t want to keep track of differing rewards values and hunting down the best redemption option.
There are two ways to earn 1 stamp. First, any rewards program member who stays a night at an eligible hotel or vacation rental through Hotels.com earns a stamp per eligible night. Then, cardholders can earn an additional stamp for each $500 in purchases with the card.
This means that you can earn stamps faster by using your card to pay for your stay. For example, if you book a $175 room for three nights, you’ll earn 4 stamps (since you spent $525 on your stay).
Stamps can only be redeemed for complimentary reward nights at the cost of 10 stamps per night. Your reward night is valued according to the average value of all 10 stamps, which doesn’t include taxes or fees. That means that if you choose to use a reward night on a stay that costs more than the reward night value, you’ll have to pay the rest out of pocket.
On the flip side, if you book a night that costs less than the value of your reward, you won’t get the difference back. That means it’s best to save your rewards for higher-value stays.
There are no blackout dates on your reward nights, but there are a few caveats you should consider if you’re a less frequent traveler. For example, your rewards expire if you haven’t made a booking in 12 months. Plus, you can’t use more than one reward night each night of your booking. That means if you wanted to book a second room for your family during your stay, you can only cover one of the rooms with your rewards.
How much are rewards worth?
Your stamp’s value is different depending on how you earned it. Each stamp earned for a night stay is valued at the price of your room (not counting taxes and fees), while each stamp earned from spending $500 on other purchases is currently worth $110 according to Hotels.com.
Since stamps earned via hotel stays don’t have a value limit, stamps and reward nights earned with stays can be worth much more.
You’re getting a 2.2 percent return with a reward night earned solely through your spending, Bankrate industry analyst Ted Rossman says. However, you’re getting a return of approximately 10 percent with the reward night earned from a 10-night hotel stay. That reward night can also be more valuable — a $799 per night honeymoon stay nets you another $799 night, for instance.
Key cardholder perks
The Hotels.com Rewards Visa card doesn’t carry many extra perks, let alone the luxury travel features many other hotel credit cards offer.
But since the card is more of a rewards card for everyday spending than a specialized hotel loyalty rewards program, benefits like cellphone protection are still a nice touch.
Cellphone protection is practically a signature Wells Fargo credit card benefit, and the Hotels.com credit card offers it.
Just by paying your cellphone bill with your card, you’re reimbursed up to $600 per claim ($1,200 each 12 months) for repairs or replacement if your phone was accidentally damaged, stolen or lost.
Silver membership status
Hotels.com Rewards Visa cardholders will receive Silver membership status for their first year. Silver status is helpful for a smoother booking experience, but it doesn’t offer much in the way of luxury. Nevertheless, select properties offer Silver members free breakfast, Wi-Fi, airport transfers and spa vouchers (at “VIP Access” hotels).
The biggest perks revolve around priority customer service, including the “Price Guarantee Plus” and the “Hassle-free Travel Guarantee.” These two benefits allow you to change or cancel your booking if you find a better deal, and Hotels.com will match the price and refund the difference with minimal cancellation fees.
Travel interruption and cancellation protection
Travel interruption and cancellation protection is one of the more valuable types of travel insurance that you normally see on higher-end travel cards. Generally, this perk on premium cards reimburses you for non-refundable travel tickets or activities in the case of an accident or other qualifying personal reasons — like if you decide it isn’t safe to travel.
It’s rare for a no annual fee credit card to carry this kind of insurance, so that’s a plus. But this version won’t be much help in most travel cancellation cases. For example, the Hotels.com Rewards card won’t cover your tickets if you cancel your travel over COVID-19 concerns or a similar decision.
Rates and fees
There are no annual fees or foreign transaction fees, which is great news if you’re a casual traveler. You can still count any vacation purchases toward your stamps without worrying about fees eating into any reward nights you earn while traveling overseas.
The Hotels.com Rewards card doesn’t currently offer zero-interest periods for new purchases or balance transfers either. The ongoing APR is 14.99 percent to 22.99 percent Variable, depending on your creditworthiness.
How the Hotels.com Rewards Visa compares to other hotel cards
The Hotels.com card’s main appeal compared to other hotel credit cards is that it can earn rewards at 500,000+ properties around the world. Instead of having to stick with specific hotel chains just for the rewards, travelers get a remarkable amount of flexibility — since Hotels.com also allows beach resort, villa and even apartment bookings.
Although the Hilton Honors American Express Card and other brand-specific hotel cards may earn more valuable rewards and elite status benefits, the Hotels.com card could be a better choice for occasional guests less worried about luxury.
Best cards to pair with Hotels.com Rewards Visa
Your best choices to pair with the Hotels.com Rewards card depend on how often you travel, how you prefer to travel and what you spend the most money on.
If you picked the Hotels.com card for its versatility, then the Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card can give you the same freedom with air travel. It earns unlimited 2X bonus miles per dollar on any purchase, though it does come with a $95 annual fee. You can redeem those miles on any travel purchase.
On the other hand, cards that earn rewards on essentials — like the Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express — are a great match, since their reward rates on common general purchases are higher than the Hotels.com card’s limited earning.
Bankrate’s Take – Is Hotels.com Rewards Visa worth it?
The Hotels.com Rewards Visa card is unique among other branded hotel cards because it allows those that don’t stay at hotels often to earn complimentary rooms on day-to-day spending and use them at whatever property works best at the time.
This could come in handy for family vacations or day trips, but if you don’t visit hotels often, the limited travel features and purchase rewards rate mean that you can’t take advantage of your card’s benefits most of the time. If that’s the case, a general travel card or a cash back card might be more flexible for occasional travelers.