Hotels.com® Rewards Visa® Credit Card Review
Hotels.com Rewards Visa Credit Card
CardRatings Editor's Analysis: Pros & Cons
- For a limited time earn two reward nights worth $250 total (max $125 per night) when you spend $1,000 on purchases in the first three months.
- Pay your monthly cell phone bill with your card and get up to $600 protection against damage or theft (subject to a $25 deductible).
- For the first year, you'll enjoy Silver membership exclusives such as free breakfast, airport transfers, free WiFi and more at select properties.
- Any free night rewards your earn with this card exclude taxes and fees. Also, if a night costs less than $125, you won’t get the difference. This isn't unexpected, but just something to be mindful of.
TABLE OF CONTENTS
Some people stay away from branded hotel cards, like a Marriott credit card, because if you’re really more of Hampton Inn or Holiday Inn fan, well, you’d be missing out on rewards.
The Hotels.com Rewards Visa Credit Card, which is issued by Wells Fargo, doesn’t have that issue, where it favors one hotel chain over another. With this card, you can stay wherever you want and still earn rewards.
- Enjoy a one-time bonus of 60,000 miles once you spend $3,000 on purchases within 3 months from account opening, equal to $600 in travel
- Earn unlimited 2X miles on every purchase, every day
- Miles won't expire for the life of the account and there's no limit to how many you can earn
- Receive up to a $100 credit for Global Entry or TSA PreCheck®
- Earn 5X miles on hotels and rental cars booked through Capital One Travel, where you'll get our best prices on thousands of trip options
- Use your miles to get reimbursed for any travel purchase-or redeem by booking a trip through Capital One Travel
- Transfer your miles to your choice of 15+ travel loyalty programs
- No foreign transaction fees
As for what the benefits and rewards are of the Hotels.com Rewards Visa Credit Card, they are pretty plentiful. In a nutshell…
Welcome bonus: For a limited time you can earn two reward nights worth $250 (maximum of $125 per night) once you spend $1,000 on the card within the first three months.
Rewards program: Often, with credit cards, you’re getting points or cash back or miles. In this case, you’ll receive one “stamp” for every $500 you spend on purchases. After you have 10 stamps, you’ll receive one reward night at a hotel.
Now, arguably, that’s a lot of money –$5,000– that you have to spend to earn for one hotel room worth $110 or less. Still, if you spend $5,000 on stuff you have to get anyway, and you suddenly have a free room (excluding taxes and fees) for the night, well, plenty of people are going to feel that that’s not too shabby. (And it isn’t shabby; if you do the math, it’s like getting 2.2% cash back, and plenty of credit cards offer 1% and 2% cash back, but some will go as high as 3% or even 5%.)
Additionally, from the moment you open the card, you’ll get Hotel.com’s “Silver” status for 12 months. What does that mean? If you have Hotel.com’s Silver status, you get free breakfast, spa vouchers, airport transfers, VIP access and other perks, at eligible hotels.
Cell phone protection: If you pay your phone bill with this credit card, you’ll have a $25 deductible but will otherwise be protected from your phone being damaged or stolen up to $1,200 per year ($600 per claim).
Travel protection: You’ll get perks like trip cancellation and interruption coverage, a car rental collision damage waiver, roadside dispatch and other benefits. That may not seem very exciting, but you will come to see it as the best thing ever if you ever need to cancel an expensive trip or are someday on the side of the road and in need of a tow truck.
On top of all that, there’s no foreign transaction fee – and no annual fee.
As with just about every credit card, there are downsides. This one has a few.
Capped rewards. While you can redeem those stamps for a free nights in a hotel, and it can be any brand, as noted earlier, there is a limit to how expensive the room can be. However, this makes sense from a business standpoint. Otherwise, everybody would use the reward night at the most expensive hotels in the world, rooms where royalty and baseball stars pay a thousand dollars or more a night, and it wouldn’t be a very profitable venture for Wells Fargo and Hotels.com.
So when you get your free night, you can stay at a hotel that charges $110 a night. Now, you can absolutely use the reward night to stay at a hotel that charges, say, $200 or $347 or whatever, but you’ll have to pay the difference.
Also worth noting that taxes or any fees attached to that $110 room would have to be paid by you.
No other rewards. You’re not getting cash back every time you buy pizza or snow tires. You’re just getting the stamps to collect for a free night (excluding taxes and fees) at a hotel. That’s great and not a true downside. Still, if you were also hoping for more rewards, you’re out of luck.
Also, you do have to book all your hotels through Hotels.com to redeem those rewards. Not really much of a downside, but you’ll want to be aware of that.
Hotels.com Rewards Visa Credit Card vs. Citi Premier® Card
Citi Premier® Card is a travel card, but its similarities to Hotels.com Rewards Visa Credit Card end there. You’ll receive 80,000 bonus ThankYou® points, worth $800 in gift cards when redeemed through thankyou.com, after spending $4,000 in the first three months of account opening. Citi is a CardRatings advertiser.
You’ll earn three points per dollar spent at supermarkets and restaurants and on hotels, air travel and at gas stations.
You can redeem those points for gift cards, travel, charity, or a statement credit. They can also be used to shop online at Amazon.com and BestBuy.com. Points can also be transferred to partnering loyalty programs such as TrueBlue, Virgin Atlantic Flying Club and Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer, and there is no fee to transfer points. These transfers can be completed with as few as 1,000 points.
The card has a $95 annual fee, and the Hotels.com Rewards Visa Credit Card has no fee.
Hotels.com Rewards Visa Credit Card vs. Marriott Bonvoy Boundless® Credit Card
The Marriott Bonvoy Boundless® Credit Card, as you would expect, is very Marriott-centric credit card. Look, this is your card if you’re a Marriott hotel fan and eschew the other hotels as riff-raff. Meanwhile, if you think all hotels are pretty great as long as the room is clean, there’s a decent TV and the service is pleasant, Hotels.com Rewards Visa Credit Card could be a better fit.
But here’s the quick rundown on the Marriott Bonvoy Boundless® Credit Card: You’ll earn the most points when you use it with Marriott’s brands (up to 17X total points per $1 at over 7,000 participating Marriott Bonvoy properties), but you'll also earn 2X points per $1 spent on all other purchases. There is a $95 fee for this card, but you can offset the annual fee with the Free Night Award, (valued up to 35,000 points) every year after your account anniversary.
Hotels.com Rewards Visa Credit Card vs. Capital One VentureOne Rewards Credit Card
The Capital One VentureOne Rewards Credit Card offers you the chance to earn 1.25 miles per $1 spent on all your purchases, every day, and after you spend $500 in the first three months, you’ll get 20,000 miles (equal to $200 in travel credit). The Hotels.com Rewards Visa Credit Card, for comparison’s sake, gives you two rewards nights worth $250 (maximum of $125 per night) once you spend $1,000 on the card within the first three months.
Like the Hotels.com Rewards Visa Credit Card, there is no annual fee.
The real benefit to the Capital One card is that you’ll earn rewards on all purchases, and those rewards can then be redeemed for almost any travel purchase, so you aren’t limited to just hotel stays as your prize.
Really, this card is great for anybody who likes to book hotels through Hotels.com and who travels fairly often – and would enjoy collecting reward night to use. If you only travel infrequently, you’re probably better off getting a cash back rewards credit card – and then maybe use that cash back to go toward a hotel or anything else you want.
But if you do travel quite a bit and are looking for a simple way to earn stays at hotels around the country or world, this credit card could be a good fit for your wallet.