Hotels.com Rewards Visa Credit Card Review: Is It Worth it?

Hotels.com Rewards Visa Credit Card Review: Is It Worth it?

Casual travelers with no brand loyalty may benefit from having the Hotels.com® Rewards Visa® Credit Card, but frequent travelers are better off booking hotels directly with better rewards credit cards.

Editorial Note: The content of this article is based on the author’s opinions and recommendations alone. It may not have been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the credit card issuer. This site may be compensated through a credit card issuer partnership.

Citi is an advertising partner

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Quick facts

  • Sign-up bonus: Earn Get 2 reward nights worth $250 total (max $125 per night)*, when you spend $1,000 on purchases in the first 3 months. *Excludes taxes and fees. If a night costs less than $125, you won’t get the difference.
  • Rewards: Collect 1 stamp for every night you stay at any eligible property booked on Hotels.com and collect 1 stamp each time you spend $500 on purchases with your card. When you collect 10 stamps, you'll get 1 reward night to redeem on future bookings through Hotels.com.
  • Redemption: Ten stamps earn one reward night
  • Annual fee: N/A
  • Elite status: Silver membership status free the first year
  • Other benefits: None foreign transaction fees, up to $600 cellphone protection

Pros

  • Flexible hotel booking
  • N/A annual fee
  • Silver status for the first year
  • Cellphone protection
  • None foreign transaction fees

Cons

  • Limited redemption options
  • No bonus spending categories
  • Reward stamps can expire
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Is the Hotels.com® Rewards Visa® Credit Card worth it?

The Hotels.com® Rewards Visa® Credit Card offers considerable value if you're only an occasional traveler and aren't loyal to a specific hotel brand since you can book stays almost anywhere. The card earns rewards that you can redeem for free hotel nights at a wide selection of hotel chains and independent hotels.

The card also comes with automatic Silver membership status for the first year, which gives you access to additional travel benefits like free hotel breakfast, free Wi-Fi, spa vouchers and other perks.

However, the card has some considerable drawbacks:

  • The value of stamps earned through spending on the card are capped at $110 per night, even though the value of stamps earned from hotel bookings has no cap.
  • Because stamps are averaged together, rewards nights may not carry much value. Depending on the averaged rewards night value, you may have a hard time finding any five-star properties (or four-star for that matter) available at that price point.
  • You can apply your reward night's value towards the cost of more expensive hotels, but that still leaves you footing some, if not most, of the bill.
  • Also, it could take considerable card spending to earn enough stamps for a rewards night, especially without any bonus categories with higher earning rates.

Frequent travelers would do better with other travel rewards credit cards that offer better spending rates and more valuable rewards.

Hotels.com® Rewards Visa® Credit Card sign-up bonus

New Hotels.com® Rewards Visa® Credit Card cardholders can get Get 2 reward nights worth $250 total (max $125 per night)*, when you spend $1,000 on purchases in the first 3 months. *Excludes taxes and fees. If a night costs less than $125, you won’t get the difference.. You must have an open and active Hotels.com Rewards membership account to receive the bonus nights.

There are a couple restrictions to keep in mind with this sign-up bonus:

  • Each bonus reward night is limited to a $125 value. If the hotel booking costs more, you will pay the difference, including taxes and fees.
  • If the hotel stay costs less than $125 per night, Hotels.com doesn't reimburse the difference, which means you could get a lot less than the $250 value out of the bonus.

However, if you're careful to reserve your reward nights for a pricier hotel, you could easily come out $250 ahead. That's a pretty good deal for a no-annual-fee credit card.

Earn with the Hotels.com® Rewards Visa® Credit Card

The Hotels.com® Rewards Visa® Credit Card also features a unique system for earning rewards toward free hotel stays. Have you ever been to a restaurant or coffee shop that handed out punch cards where you could earn free items after a certain number of visits? That's what Hotel.com's rewards structure resembles.

  • As you spend money on your credit card, you can earn stamps. Collect 1 stamp for every night you stay at any eligible property booked on Hotels.com and collect 1 stamp each time you spend $500 on purchases with your card. When you collect 10 stamps, you'll get 1 reward night to redeem on future bookings through Hotels.com..
  • Once you've earned 10 stamps, you're rewarded with one free night (worth $110).

You can also earn more stamps by booking stays at eligible Hotels.com properties through its website. To maximize your earning potential, you can earn stamps through Hotels.com hotel bookings and then use your card to pay the bill, helping you to meet the $500 spending requirement to earn more stamps.

How much are Hotels.com stamps worth?

money icon

Each reward night earned with the Hotels.com® Rewards Visa® Credit Card is worth $110. It takes 10 stamps to earn a reward night, so each stamp is worth $11. Since you Collect 1 stamp for every night you stay at any eligible property booked on Hotels.com and collect 1 stamp each time you spend $500 on purchases with your card. When you collect 10 stamps, you'll get 1 reward night to redeem on future bookings through Hotels.com., that means you can earn up to 2.2 cents of rewards per each dollar that you spend with the card — that's a great rewards rate.

But, there's a catch. According to the fine print, if you redeem your free night for a room that's worth less than the value of the reward night, you forfeit the difference. In other words, if you redeem your reward nights for rooms that cost less than $110 per night, you won't get the full value out of this rewards card.

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How to redeem

If you earn the sign-up bonus, your rewards nights will show up in your Hotels.com account within two billing cycles. You can redeem rewards nights online or through the Hotels.com mobile app.

Nights earned through collecting stamps will show up in your account after you earn the 10th stamp.

The value of Hotels.com stamps depends on how you earned them:

  • Stamps earned through general card spending are worth $110 each
  • Stamps earned through Hotels.com stays are worth the price of the booked night. So, if you booked a hotel stay for five nights in Dallas for $200, you would earn five stamps valued at $200 each.
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Like the card's sign-up bonus, these stamps come with a few restrictions:

  • Unlike award nights earned through most co-branded hotel credit cards, Hotels.com reward nights don't cover any taxes and fees charged on your stay.
  • Also, your rewards night only covers up to the value of the night. So, if your rewards night has a $110 value and the hotel room you want to book is $210, you'll have to pay the $100 difference plus taxes and fees charged by Hotels.com.
  • On the other hand, if the hotel room is less than the value of your reward night, you forfeit the difference. So, if you book an $80 hotel room with your certificate, you lose $30 in value.

One of the best benefits of the Hotels.com loyalty rewards program is that you can redeem your rewards night at over 500,000 properties worldwide with no blackout dates. Few programs offer the kind of flexibility you get with Hotels.com. From remote destinations to luxurious beaches to city centers, you can find almost any type of accommodations to meet your travel needs and desires through Hotels.com.

Other Hotels.com® Rewards Visa® Credit Card benefits

Beyond its rewards program, the Hotels.com® Rewards Visa® Credit Card comes with a handful of other benefits and travel perks that appeal to many travelers.

With your Hotels.com® Rewards Visa® Credit Card comes automatic Silver tier status for the first year of card ownership. You must have an active Hotels.com Rewards membership to earn this status upgrade. If you've already achieved Silver status, Hotels.com will extend your status for another 12 months beyond the current expiration date.

Silver status opens the door to extra perks at VIP Access properties, including:

  • Free breakfast
  • Free Wi-Fi
  • Spa vouchers

Your status also gets you priority customer service and a price match guarantee. If you find a better deal elsewhere, Hotels.com will match the deal and refund you the difference.

Travel cancellation and interruption insurance protect you if you have to cancel your trip (or a portion of the trip) for unforeseen circumstances such as bodily injury. You may be eligible for up to $2,000 per insured person for select travel accommodations purchased with your Hotels.com® Rewards Visa® Credit Card. This benefit would extend to your spouse and dependent children if you charged the entire trip to your card.

The card also comes with up to $150,000 in travel accident insurance for select covered injuries or loss that occurs during your booked trip.

Cardholders are eligible for reimbursement of up to $600 per claim ($1,200 total per 12-month period) if their cellphone is stolen or damaged. You must use your Hotels.com® Rewards Visa® Credit Card to pay your monthly cellphone bill to qualify for this benefit.

Book a car rental with your Hotels.com® Rewards Visa® Credit Card, and you're covered against any damages caused by theft or collision. Like most cards, this is considered secondary coverage behind your personal car insurance coverage. You must use your card to book the car rental and decline the rental company's insurance coverage to receive coverage.

Many rewards credit cards charge an annual fee in exchange for access to benefits, perks and rewards offered by the card. Paying an annual fee can cut into the credit card's value. The Hotels.com® Rewards Visa® Credit Card doesn't carry an annual fee.

Other fees you won't see with this card are foreign transaction fees. You can use your Hotels.com® Rewards Visa® Credit Card anywhere outside the U.S. without getting charged an extra fee. That makes the Hotels.com® Rewards Visa® Credit Card a great traveling companion.

Drawbacks to the Hotels.com® Rewards Visa® Credit Card

Unfortunately, it's not all good news with the Hotels.com® Rewards Visa® Credit Card. There are some drawbacks that could make this card a poor option for you, depending on your needs.

  • Limited redemption options: Your only redemption option with the Hotels.com® Rewards Visa® Credit Card is free hotel stays through Hotels.com. A rewards card like the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card offers more flexibility with a laundry list of redemption options to meet every need.
  • No bonus spending categories: Unlike other rewards cards, there are no bonus categories that allow you to earn more rewards for spending in specific categories like travel, dining or at gas stations or grocery stores.
  • Reward stamps can expire: Rewards stamps that you've earned can expire if your account is untouched for 12 months. Avoiding this is relatively easy, but it's still something to note. To keep your stamps from expiring, you must collect or redeem a rewards night within a 12-month period. Compare that with the Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card, which earns bonus miles that never expire.

How does the Hotels.com® Rewards Visa® Credit Card compare to other cards?

The Hotels.com® Rewards Visa® Credit Card is a good option for casual travelers with no hotel brand loyalty, but it's not the only hotel rewards credit card out there. Here are a few other hotel credit cards to consider and how they compare.

Hotels.com® Rewards Visa® Credit Card vs. Expedia® Rewards Card from Citi

Verdict: The better option for Expedia fans

If you're a frequent user of Expedia, the $0-annual-fee Expedia® Rewards Card from Citi may be the better choice for you. The card earns Expedia points that you can redeem for hotels, flights, rental cars and more. On the bright side, it's earning scheme is much more straightforward and points are useful for a variety of travel purchases, rather than just hotels. On the downside, points are much less valuable — they're worth only 0.7 cent each when redeemed for travel.

How does it compare?

  • Annual fee: $0 (Same)
  • Welcome bonus: Earn 15,000 Expedia Rewards bonus points after $1,000 in purchases within 3 months of account opening (Worse)
  • Rewards earned: 3 Expedia Rewards bonus points per $1 spent on eligible Expedia purchases including flights, hotels, activities and travel packages and 1 Expedia Rewards bonus point per $1 spent on other purchases (Worse)
  • Other benefits: 10% more points when you book travel on Expedia, VIP Access hotel perks, None foreign transaction fees (Worse)

Hotels.com® Rewards Visa® Credit Card vs. Hilton Honors American Express Card

Hilton Honors American Express Card

See Rates & Fees. Terms Apply. On American Express' Secure Website

$0

15.74%-24.74% Variable

Excellent/Good

  • Earn 80,000 Hilton Honors Bonus Points after you spend $1,000 in purchases on the Hilton Honors American Express Card in the first 3 months of Card Membership.
  • Plus, you can earn an additional 50,000 Hilton Honors Bonus Points after you spend a total of $5,000 in purchases on the Card in the first 6 months.
  • Earn 7X Hilton Honors Bonus Points for each dollar of eligible purchases charged directly with a hotel or resort within the Hilton portfolio.
  • Earn 5X Hilton Honors Bonus Points for each dollar of eligible purchases at U.S. restaurants, at U.S. supermarkets, and at U.S. gas stations.
  • Earn 3X Hilton Honors Bonus Points for all other eligible purchases on your Card.
  • No Foreign Transaction Fees. Enjoy international travel without additional fees on purchases made abroad.
  • Enjoy complimentary Hilton Honors Silver status with your Card. Plus, spend $20,000 on eligible purchases on your Card in a calendar year and you can earn an upgrade to Hilton Honors Gold status through the end of the next calendar year.
  • No Annual Fee.
  • Terms Apply.

Verdict: Far more valuable hotel perks, similar earning rate

The $0-annual-fee Hilton Honors American Express Card doesn't offer the same kind of flexibility in terms of property choices as the Hotels.com® Rewards Visa® Credit Card. However, it's still a better card for frequent travelers because of its hotel perks. This Amex card comes with a giant welcome bonus and grants you automatic Silver elite status with Hilton (enrollment required), which gives you a 20% boost on your base-point earnings.

On the other hand, its rewards rate is comparable to the Hotels.com® Rewards Visa® Credit Card. While it offers a large number of points in several popular spending categories, Hilton points are highly inflated (worth around 0.5 cents per point average). We estimate that a cardholder who spends an average amount in the Hilton card's bonus categories would get a slightly lower return on average than with the Hotels.com® Rewards Visa® Credit Card.

For rates and fees of Hilton Honors American Express Card, please click here

How does it compare?

  • Annual fee: $0 (Same)
  • Welcome bonus: Earn 80,000 Hilton Honors Bonus Points after you spend $1,000 in purchases on the Hilton Honors American Express Card in the first 3 months of Card Membership. Plus, you can earn an additional 50,000 Hilton Honors Bonus Points after you spend a total of $5,000 in purchases on the Card in the first 6 months. (Better)
  • Rewards earned: Earn 7X Hilton Honors Bonus Points for each dollar of eligible purchases charged directly with a hotel or resort within the Hilton portfolio, 5X Hilton Honors Bonus Points at U.S. restaurants, U.S. supermarkets, and U.S. gas stations AND 3X Hilton Honors Bonus Points for all other eligible purchases on your Card. (Worse)
  • Other benefits: Complimentary Hilton Honors Silver status (enrollment required), car rental loss and damage insurance, None foreign transaction fees (Better)
  • Terms apply

Hotels.com® Rewards Visa® Credit Card vs. Marriott Bonvoy Bold® Credit Card

Marriott Bonvoy Bold® Credit Card

On Chase's Secure Website

$0

15.99% - 22.99% Variable

Excellent/Good

  • For a Limited Time Only! Earn 60,000 Bonus Points after you spend $2,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening.
  • Pay no annual fee with the Marriott Bonvoy Bold® Credit Card from Chase®!
  • Earn up to 14X total Bonvoy points per $1 spent at over 7,000 hotels participating in Marriott Bonvoy® with the Marriott Bonvoy Bold® Card.
  • 2X Bonvoy points for every $1 spent on other travel purchases (from airfare to taxis and trains).
  • 1X point for every $1 spent on all other purchases.
  • Receive 15 Elite Night Credits annually, qualifying you for Silver Elite Status. Restrictions apply.
  • No Foreign Transaction Fees.
  • Earn unlimited Marriott Bonvoy points and get Free Night Stays faster.

Verdict: More valuable hotel perks for fans of Marriott

While the Marriott Bonvoy Bold® Credit Card also limits you to one particular hotel brand family, its benefits are more valuable than what you get with the Hotels.com® Rewards Visa® Credit Card. The card comes with tons of travel perks, especially for a card with a $0 annual fee. If you're a fan of Marriott hotels, you will love earning up to 14X points on booked stays, in addition to a valuable sign-up bonus.

However, keep in mind that Marriott points, like Hilton points are inflated — worth around 0.8 cents by our estimates. The Hotels.com® Rewards Visa® Credit Card earns around 2.2 cents of rewards per dollar spent. If you spend more on Hotels.com than Marriott stays, you may find that the Hotels.com® Rewards Visa® Credit Card is actually the more rewarding option.

How does it compare?

  • Annual fee: $0 (Same)
  • Welcome bonus: For a Limited Time Only! Earn 60,000 Bonus Points after spending $2,000 on purchases in your first 3 months from account opening. (Worse)
  • Rewards earned: Earn up to 14X total points for every $1 spent at 7,000+ hotels participating in Marriott Bonvoy® and 2X points on other travel purchases (from airfare to taxis and trains). (Worse)
  • Other benefits: Baggage delay insurance, trip delay reimbursement, lost luggage reimbursement, no foreign transaction fees, purchase protection and 15 elite night credits (Better)

Should you apply for the Hotels.com® Rewards Visa® Credit Card?

The Hotels.com® Rewards Visa® Credit Card probably isn't the best card for every traveler. Still, it's a great option if you typically book travel through the website or don't favor a particular hotel brand during overnight stays.

With no bonus spending categories, the best way to earn stamps for free nights is to use the card for all of your spending. Unfortunately, you may lose out on better rewards earning potential through other cards with higher rates in categories that match your spending habits.

The Hotels.com® Rewards Visa® Credit Card offers some hotel perks, but the best hotel credit cards offer more value, better benefits and better rewards. You could also opt for general travel rewards cards that offer more redemption flexibility beyond just free hotel stays.

Hotels.com® Rewards Visa® Credit Card FAQs

How do I apply for the Hotels.com® Rewards Visa® Credit Card?

You can apply for the Hotels.com® Rewards Visa® Credit Card online. Head to the Hotels.com or Wells Fargo website and fill out the online form. It's a good idea to ensure you're a good candidate for approval before applying for a credit card.

Is it worth getting a hotel credit card?

A hotel credit card is a great option for frequent travelers who want to earn free hotel stays and gain access to other perks like hotel status upgrades, early check-in, late checkout, room upgrades and more.

Do points ever expire?

Your Hotels.com rewards stamps can expire after 12 months if you don't keep your account active by earning a stamp or redeeming a rewards night during that time.

For rates and fees of Hilton Honors American Express Card, please click here

The information related to Hotels.com® Rewards Visa® Credit Card and Expedia® Rewards Card from Citi has been independently collected by ValuePenguin and has not been reviewed or provided by the issuer of this card prior to publication. Terms apply to American Express credit card offers. See americanexpress.com for more information.

These responses are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser's responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.

Advertiser Disclosure: The products that appear on this site may be from companies from which ValuePenguin receives compensation. This compensation may impact how and where products appear on this site (including, for example, the order in which they appear). ValuePenguin does not include all financial institutions or all products offered available in the marketplace.

How We Calculate Rewards: ValuePenguin calculates the value of rewards by estimating the dollar value of any points, miles or bonuses earned using the card less any associated annual fees. These estimates here are ValuePenguin's alone, not those of the card issuer, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the credit card issuer.

Example of how we calculate the rewards rates: When redeemed for travel through Ultimate Rewards, Chase Sapphire Preferred points are worth $0.0125 each. The card awards 2 points on travel and dining and 1 point on everything else. Therefore, we say the card has a 2.5% rewards rate on dining and travel (2 x $0.0125) and a 1.25% rewards rate on everything else (1 x $0.0125).