Business Insider recommends credit cards based on their overall value and ease of use. Sometimes, we receive a commission through The Points Guy affiliate network if you apply and are approved for a card, but our choices are always independent and objective.
- Hotels.com just launched its first-ever rewards credit card, the Hotels.com Rewards Visa(R) Credit Card.
- Apply and earn a free night worth $125 when you spend $1,000 on your card within three months of account opening.
- From there, get a Hotels.com Reward stamp worth $110 for each $500 you spend on your card, and get a free room night when you collect 10 stamps.
- The new Hotels.com Rewards Visa(R) Credit Card comes with no annual fee and no foreign transaction fees, plus a range of cardholder perks like cell phone insurance and trip cancellation and interruption insurance.
- See Business Insider’s list of the best hotel credit cards >>
Hotels.com just rolled out its first-ever credit card, and it could be an incredibly useful option for racking up rewards for future hotel stays — even if you’re not traveling right now.
This hotel credit card is unique since it is not tied to a specific hotel chain, but is instead usable for hundreds of thousands of hotels and properties around the globe. Even better, the new Hotels.com credit card comes with a year of Silver status, which can get you free breakfast, free airport transfers, and other perks like late checkout at select VIP properties when available.
The new Hotels.com Rewards Visa(R) Credit Card doesn’t charge an annual fee, and you can start things off with a sign-up bonus that is good for a reward night worth $125. If you’re angling for a rewards credit card for travel but you want ultimate flexibility, then it could be worth considering.
Is the Hotels.com Rewards Visa Credit Card for you?
If you never, ever stay in hotels, then the Hotels.com Rewards Visa(R) Credit Card is not the best rewards credit card for your wallet. However, you should definitely consider this card if you want to stay in almost any hotel or other accommodations like apartments and home rentals but you don’t want to be tied down to a specific hotel loyalty program.
That’s because Hotels.com lets you book at more than 500,000 properties around the world, whereas even a huge hotel loyalty program like Hilton Honors only has 6,200 properties worldwide. By and large, the new Hotels.com Rewards Visa(R) Credit Card is going to make it significantly easier for you to redeem your reward nights at a property you want to stay in, which is crucial right now considering how the pandemic continues to limit where we can travel.
After all, 2020 is a year when many of us have abandoned our pursuit of hotel elite status already. With the Hotels.com Rewards Visa Credit Card, you get the chance to earn reward nights without the burden of having to stick with a single hotel program that only offers a few thousand properties to choose from.
How the Hotels.com rewards program works
You can join the Hotels.com rewards program free of charge with or without the new co-branded Hotels.com credit card, but the Hotels.com Rewards Visa(R) Credit Card just makes the entire experience more rewarding. If you’re not familiar with the Hotels.com loyalty program, here’s a quick rundown of the details.
Once you are a member, you’ll collect a stamp for every night you stay at more than 500,000 properties around the globe. Once you have 10 stamps, you’ll earn a reward night good for the average value of the 10 stamps you collected. You can redeem your reward nights for any property without blackout dates or restrictions, which makes the process easy when you are ready to use your reward nights.
Earning and redeeming rewards
Once you sign up for the Hotels.com Rewards Visa(R) Credit Card, you’ll collect an initial “stamp” worth a $125 hotel stay when you spend $1,000 on your card within three months of account opening.
Beyond the initial offer, you’ll earn another “stamp” on your card worth $110 for every $500 you charge to your credit card, and you’ll get a reward night worth the average of your stamps for every 10 stamps you earn.
For example, let’s say you buy $200 worth of groceries, spend $100 on gas, and rack up another $200 on back to school shopping with your credit card. You would earn one stamp for those purchases, and those stamps would translate into a reward night worth $110 once you earned 10.
At the end of the day, this means you’ll earn a reward night worth $110 for every $5,000 in charges made to your card. This makes the Hotels.com Rewards Visa(R) Credit Card slightly better than a cash-back credit card that gives you 2% back since you’ll get $110 in value for every $5,000 in spending instead of just $100.
The major downside of the new Hotels.com Rewards Visa Credit Card is the fact that you can only redeem your rewards for hotel stays. But again, that is pretty much the point and very expected since this is a credit card that is co-branded with Hotels.com.
You should also know that Hotels.com doesn’t just let you book “hotels” per se. You can also use your rewards to book vacation homes, apartments, all-inclusive resorts, bed-and-breakfasts, and more through. You get a lot more variety than you would with a traditional hotel loyalty program.
Hotels.com Rewards Visa Credit Card features
Once you sign up and become a cardholder, you’ll qualify for Visa Signature cardholder perks like cell phone insurance, travel and emergency assistance services, trip cancellation and interruption insurance, travel accident insurance, and auto rental collision damage waiver coverage.
You’ll also qualify for an Silver membership in the Hotels.com Rewards program during your first year as a cardmember. Silver membership can get you free breakfast, free airport transfers, free internet access, and other perks at select VIP properties. This status applies to any brand of hotel that is considered a VIP property with Hotels.com.
Hotels.com Rewards Visa Credit Card costs and fees
The variable APR for this card ranges from 14.99% to 22.99% depending on your creditworthiness. Since this card doesn’t have an annual fee or any foreign transaction fees, it’s hard to argue against it if you want to rack up rewards good for hotel stays.
Potential fees you should keep an eye out for include:
- Balance transfer fee of 5%, with a minimum of $5
- Cash advance fee of 5%, with a minimum of $10
- Late payment fee of up to $37
- Returned payment fee of up to $37
Although travel is mostly on hold right now, the Hotels.com Rewards Visa(R) Credit Card is worth considering. You won’t have to pay an annual fee and you can earn a reward night right away, plus you can rack up stamps good for more reward nights later on.
The best part is that you can redeem your reward nights at more than half a million properties around the globe including apartments, vacation homes, motels, and resorts. This means you can jump out of the hotel loyalty rat race forever and focus on earning reward nights in destinations you really want to visit.