Credit card rewards programs can include earning points toward free stays at major hotel chains. With each purchase you make with the hotel rewards credit card, you earn point related to how much you spend. You can accumulate and redeem those points at participating hotels for free stays. Hotel rewards cards may be a great way to help save money on vacations, and they may be an asset if you travel frequently for business.
However, like any rewards credit card, there are limitations and exclusions on how you can redeem points for your benefit. Here are some of the pros and cons related to using hotel points credit cards:
PROS of Hotel Rewards Credit Cards
Get free stays at major hotels The biggest benefit of a hotel rewards card is the ability to use points to stay at major hotels, such as Sheraton, Westin, Marriott, Hilton, or other high class hotel chain. Where you may normally only be able to afford a cheaper hotel, free stays at luxury hotels can be great for when you take a family vacation or just a romantic night out with a loved one.
Stay anywhere in the world Most hotel chains have locations around the world where you can redeem points for free stays. If you are looking to travel abroad, hotel rewards could be a great way to experience the best class hotels internationally.
Priority check in Your points may entitle you to a priority and speedy check in when you arrive.
Room upgrades With certain hotels, you may be eligible to redeem your points and get offers for free or nominal fee room upgrades. Instead of an ordinary single room, you might enjoy a suite or a room with a view.
CONS of Hotel Point Credit Cards
Hotels may change policies at any time Just when you thought you had enough points accumulated to redeem for a free stay, you find out that the hotel chain has raised the number of points required. This could happen at any time and could be due to company financial results or even due to increased demand.
Restrictions on locations A major hotel chain with locations internationally may limit the locations you may use your points. For instance, your points may only be good for free nights in any hotel in the contiguous United States, which would exclude free nights for your vacation to Hawaii.
Restrictions on hotel class. Major hotels also have different ‘classes’ of hotels. Some classes provide suites only, while other locations provide general or “express” stays. Your hotel points may be only redeemable for certain locations with a lower category.
Restrictions on high or low season You may also find that hotels will not allow you to redeem points to locations with high demand, such as beach resorts in the summer. If you wish to use a specific location with high demand and restrictions, be prepared to redeem your points for off-seasonal stays.
Hotel point credit cards can be very rewarding, especially for a family that would like to enjoy an annual vacation, or for a business owner who must travel frequently. Make sure you read the fine print to ensure that the hotels for which you wish to redeem points will not restrict your vacation plans.