Mike Timmermann, Clark.com
Hotels get people to book travel through their loyalty programs by offering free breakfast, complimentary Wi-Fi service and even free stays.
But are any of these programs really worth signing up for? ThePointsGuy.com is out with a new top 10 list.
What’s the best hotel rewards program?
According to the travel website, Starwood Preferred Guest is the best hotel loyalty program in the world. It beat out Wyndham Rewards and World of Hyatt.
Here are the main factors considered in the review of the hotel loyalty programs:
- Ease and value of earning/redeeming points
- Number of hotels/rooms
- Elite status
- Percentage of luxury properties
- Geographic spread
- Co-branded credit cards
- Non-hotel aspects
- Percentage of economical properties
Starwood secured the #1 spot due to its ease and value of earning/redeeming points, high percentage of luxury properties, rewarding elite status program and vast geographic spread.
Checking in at second place, Wyndham Rewards stands out for its revamped free night awards program.
Third place World of Hyatt excels when it comes to the percentage of luxury properties, elite status benefits and its co-branded credit card.
Here’s a look at the 10 best hotel rewards programs:
- Starwood Preferred Guest
- Wyndham Rewards
- World of Hyatt
- Hilton Honors
- Le Club AccorHotels
- Marriott Rewards
- IHG Rewards
- Best Western Rewards
- Choice Privileges
- Club Carlson
Why Clark doesn’t sign up for these programs
Money expert Clark Howard doesn’t pay much attention to these lists because he books nearly all of his travel with Priceline and Hotwire, not directly with the hotels.
Specifically, he looks for discounted “mystery hotels” where you learn the name of the property after you pay.
“The frequent stay programs are nothing compared to getting hotels at massive discounts every single night,” Clark said. “For me, the greatest frequent stay program is only bidding on four-star hotels and virtually never being disappointed.”
To make sure he never ends up with a bad hotel room, Clark only books four-star properties (3.5 star if none are available) that are recommended by at least 80% of guests.