Points Panda has partnered with a variety of financial companies including CardRatings for our coverage of credit card products. Points Panda and CardRatings may receive a commission from card issuers. Opinions, reviews, analyses & recommendations are the author’s alone, and have not been reviewed, endorsed or approved by any of these entities. For more information please read our full Advertiser Disclosure.
Hotels.com has recently announced the launch of its Hotels.com Rewards Visa Credit Card, issued by Wells Fargo. The no annual fee card carries a range of benefits, including a welcome bonus valued at $250. The question is this entry-level hotel travel rewards credit card the right card for you?
Card Key Features
The Hotels.com Rewards Visa Credit Card has a host of features, including:
- A welcome bonus of 2 reward nights when you spend $1,000 (excluding taxes and fees) on purchases in the first 3 months of card membership. Reward nights are worth a maximum of $125 per night.
- Earn 1 Hotels.com reward stamp for every night you stay and for every $500 spent on purchases. 10 stamps are redeemed for a free night via hotels.com.
- For the first year of card, membership receive Hotels.com Silver membership, which provides complimentary breakfast, airport transfers, free WiFi, and more at select properties worldwide.
- Receive $600 protection against damage or theft to your cell phone when you pay your monthly bill using the Hotels.com Rewards Visa Credit Card (subject to a $25 deductible)
- Receive trip interruption and cancellation insurance when you purchase your ticket with your card.
- No Foreign transaction fees
- The Hotels.com Rewards Visa Credit Card carries no annual fee.
Who Is The Hotels.com Card For
If you don’t have loyalty to a particular hotel brand, this card is worth a closer look. With over 500,000 properties in 200 countries worldwide, Hotels.com is an excellent option for booking travel, especially if you do not want to be constrained by one brand. This flexibility becomes even more valuable if your travels take you slightly off the beaten track to cities and towns that don’t have a great selection of brand hotels. Using Hotels.com makes it easier to find a property and earn rewards for it at the same time.
If you travel a lot to smaller destinations, then the no annual fee Hotels.com Card is one you should give some thought to. On the other hand, if you want to earn hotel rewards through credit card spending, then the. The 1X earing across the board card leaves a lot to be desired. To earn a free night worth $110, you would have to spend $5,000. Currently, you can do better, and other cards on the market would give you a better return.
Read more about the Hotels.com Rewards Visa Credit Card
Maximizing the Returns from the Hotels.com Rewards Visa Credit Card
When using Hotels.com to book stays (either cash or awards), ensure that you try and choose a property that lets you take full advantage of your Hotels.com silver status. So you can take advantage of the complimentary breakfast, airport transfer if traveling, and more. So choose a hotel that maximizes your benefits.
Also, as a stand-alone card, the Hotels.com Rewards Visa Credit Card is not the best option, especially for a no annual fee travel rewards credit card. However, as part of a portfolio of cards, it can be a solid performer the offers a decent return. This is especially true where there are gaps in your earning strategy. The Hotels.com card should be used for spending that does not yield a category bonus of 2x or more. Make the Hotels.com Rewards Visa Credit Card your go-to card for categories that earn you no bonus.
Where The Card Falls Short
While the Hotels.com Rewards Visa Credit Card carries a generous welcome bonus of two free nights worth $250 ($125 per night) after spending $1000 in the first 3 months of card membership, the same cannot be said for its standard redemption rates.
Find out more about the Wells Fargo Hotels.com Card
The Hotels.com rewards program lets you redeem 10 stamps for a free night. However, before you start imaging night at the Bellagio for 10 stamps, be aware that the redemption value is capped at $110. This doesn’t mean you can not book more expensive rooms with your stamps. To book an award that costs more, you will have to pay the difference in cash.
The card is a big let-down when it comes to bonus category spending. Typically, you expect co-branded cards to offer an earning bonus when you spend on specific categories or with the card co-brand. This is not the case with the Hotels.com Rewards Visa Credit Card. The card earns a straight 1X across the board regardless of category. Meaning you don’t even get a bonus for using your card to book a room through Hotels.com, which is a big let-down.
Most hotel co-brand credit cards offer come with program elite status as a permanent benefit. With the Hotels.com Card, you only receive silver status in the Hotels.com Rewards program for the first year. In subsequent years you have to earn the status normally. Withdrawing this little benefit after one year is a little mean-spirited.
One thing to note with the hotels.com rewards program is that it has 12 months expiration policy. If you don’t earn or redeem a stamp in 12 months, then all your accumulated stamps will be forfeited. This is easy enough to overcome since you need to stay a night or spend $500 in a year to keep your stamps alive.
Only you can decide whether the Hotels.com Rewards Visa Credit Card is the right card for you. Ultimately, it depends on your travel patterns, spending habits, and overall travel rewards goals and objectives. It is never a good idea to collect points and miles for the sake of collecting them. You should always have a travel rewards strategy and goal. If you are interested in hotel stays and want an entry-level card, then the hotels.com card is a good option worth checking out. On the other hand, if you are prepared to pay a small annual fee ($99) and are more interested in aviation awards, the Chase Sapphire Preferred may prove to be an excellent alternative.
PointsPanda Deal of the Week!
Looking for the best flight deals? Each week we'll send you updates with the best deals on flights and hotels both using points and cash.