Hotels.com Just Launched a Credit Card Offering Free Reward Nights

by Lyle Daly | Updated Sept. 2, 2021 - First published on Sept. 17, 2020

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A woman standing next to her suitcase and looking out the window of her sunny hotel room.

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The new credit card from Hotels.com could be ideal if you don't want to be tied to a single hotel chain.

The first-ever Hotels.com credit card is here, and it works a bit differently than what you might be used to. While most travel credit cards earn points, the Hotels.com® Rewards Visa® Credit Card earns stamps you can redeem for reward nights.

Issued by Wells Fargo, this card has no annual fee, offers a reward night worth $125 for spending $1,000 on purchases in the first three months, and gets you access to a huge selection of properties. If you want a hotel credit card you can use almost anywhere, the Hotels.com® Rewards Visa® Credit Card is a great choice.

How the Hotels.com® Rewards Visa® Credit Card works

With the Hotels.com® Rewards Visa® Credit Card, you earn one stamp for every:

  • $500 you spend on purchases with your card
  • Night's stay at an eligible property you've booked on Hotels.com

After you've collected 10 stamps, you get one reward night. Note that if you don't collect a stamp or redeem a reward night at least once in a 12-month period, your stamps expire.

Here's where it gets somewhat confusing. The value of your reward night is based on the average value of the stamps you earned. For a stamp earned with a night at a Hotels.com property, the value is based on the rate you paid (excluding taxes and fees). On a $150 stay, you'd get a $150 stamp. For a stamp earned for $500 in purchases, the value is $110.

Hotels.com adds up the values of the 10 stamps you earned, then divides the total by 10 to get an average. That average is the value of your reward night.

You can redeem your reward night at any eligible Hotels.com property and apply it towards a night's stay, but not to taxes and fees. If the reward night doesn't cover the full cost, you can pay the difference. You can only redeem a reward night once -- even if it's worth more than a night at the property where you use it.

Additional benefits

Here are the other perks of the Hotels.com® Rewards Visa® Credit Card:

  • Complimentary Hotels.com Rewards Silver status for 12 months, which gets you free breakfast, airport transfers, spa vouchers, and free Wi-Fi at select properties
  • No foreign transaction fee
  • Cell phone protection for covered damage or theft
  • Trip cancellation and interruption protection

The number of properties where you can redeem your reward nights is a big selling point for this card. With a typical hotel credit card, points can only be used for stays at that hotel chain, so you're limited by that chain's footprint. Some hotel chains do have thousands of properties to choose from, but you won't find any that match Hotels.com for selection.

Hotels.com has hundreds of thousands of properties and includes many hotel chains. That makes it much easier to find a place to stay no matter where you're going. It also has different types of properties, including apartments, vacation rentals, bed and breakfasts, and in some areas even houseboats.

Should you apply for the Hotels.com credit card?

There's a lot to like about the Hotels.com® Rewards Visa® Credit Card. Without paying an annual fee, you can earn lots of reward nights and get a solid rewards rate on your spending. Since you earn a reward night worth $110 for every $5,000 you spend, you're effectively getting 2.2% back on purchases (assuming you get the full value of that reward night and don't use it on a cheaper property). That's on par with the best credit cards available.

This card does have a couple of areas in which it could be better. The stamp and reward night system is more complicated than it needs to be. You don't get bonuses on any spending categories, which many rewards credit cards offer.

Those are just minor criticisms, though. Overall, the Hotels.com® Rewards Visa® Credit Card is a quality credit card that should work well for the booking site's most loyal customers.

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