|Hotel Rating:||3.6 / 5|
|Issuer Customer Experience||2.0|
Collect 1 stamp each time you spend $500 on purchases with your card, plus the 1 stamp you collect as a rewards member for each night stayed at an eligible property booked on hotels.com (10 stamps = 1 reward night toward future bookings on hotels.com)
Get up to 3 reward nights worth $375 total (max $125 per night)* with qualifying purchases – 2 nights when you spend $1,000 in your first three months, plus another night when you spend $4,000 in your first six months.
*Excludes taxes and fees. If a night costs less than $125, you won’t get the difference.
Wells Fargo Customer Service Ratings
Other notable features: Automatic Hotels.com® Rewards Silver tier, no foreign currency conversion fee, cell phone protection, Travel and Emergency Assistance Services, Auto Rental Collision Damage Waiver Roadside Dispatch, Trip Cancellation and Interruption insurance, Travel Accident Insurance
The Hotels.com® Rewards Visa® Credit Card is a hotel credit card at heart, but it is not tied to a specific hotel loyalty program like other hotel cards. Instead, this rewards card lets you earn “stamps” for a reward night at any property through Hotels.com. The more stamps you earn, the more reward nights you can redeem.
There’s no annual fee, and you can earn up to three reward nights (worth up to $125 each) right off the bat when you spend $4,000 within six months of account opening.
Why you might want the Hotels.com credit card
The Hotels.com® Rewards Visa® Credit Card is for people who want to earn hotel stays without being locked into a specific hotel loyalty program. After all, the Hotels.com website lets you book with 500,000 properties around the world, including hotel chains, beach resorts, villas and more.
This card is also unique due to its earning rate. Cardholders earn a “stamp” worth up to $110 for each $500 they spend on the card regardless of the type of purchases they make. This means the Hotels.com® Rewards Visa® Credit Card doesn’t have any bonus categories, but that you can earn around 2 percent back on your spending in hotel stay benefits.
The Hotels.com® Rewards Visa® Credit Card also has no annual fees and no foreign currency conversion fees, so you can keep it for the long haul and use it when you travel overseas.
Separately, the Hotels.com® Rewards Visa® Credit Card offers a few perks you may want to look into, including Silver membership with Hotels.com. This benefit gives you access to perks like free hotel breakfast and airport transfers at some properties. Cardholders also get cell phone protection worth up to $600 and a suite of travel protections such as secondary auto rental coverage, roadside dispatch, trip cancellation and interruption coverage, $150,000 in travel insurance protection and more.
Why you might consider a different card
The biggest downside of the Hotels.com® Rewards Visa® Credit Card is the fact that you can only redeem your rewards for hotel stays through Hotels.com. That puts this card in contrast with other rewards credit cards that don’t charge an annual fee, many of which let you redeem for travel, gift cards, merchandise, statement credits or cash back.
Also note that the “reward nights” you earn have a cap on them. For example, every 10 stamps you earn are redeemable for a reward night worth up to $110. You also earn a stamp worth the room value for each paid night you stay. From there, the maximum value of each award night is the average daily rate of your 10 nights collected, excluding taxes and applicable fees. If you want to stay in a more expensive hotel, you’ll need to pay the difference.
As we mentioned already, this card gives you a “stamp” worth $110 for every $500 in spending on your card. Once you earn 10 stamps, you get an award night worth the average value of your stamps.
For the most part, this card lets you earn the equivalent of $110 in rewards for every $5,000 you spend. That puts the rewards rate at a little over 2 percent, albeit with a lot less flexibility than other cards.
How much in rewards could you earn within a year? If you are someone who puts $2,500 on your card each month, you would earn five stamps every month or 60 stamps per year. These stamps would be enough for six hotel nights worth up to $110 each.
When you sign up for the Hotels.com® Rewards Visa® Credit Card, you need to be ready and willing to redeem your rewards for hotel stays. That’s your only option with this card, which is one of its biggest downsides.
Also note that you’ll pay any overage beyond the value of the award night you earned. If you earn stamps through credit card spending alone, this means each reward night you earn is worth $110. If you want to redeem a reward night for a hotel that costs $279 per night, you would have to pay the difference, or $169.
Current sign-up bonus
For a limited time, new cardholders can earn up to 3 reward nights with a maximum value of $125 each when they spend $4,000 within six months of account opening (excludes taxes and fees, and if a night costs less than $125, you won’t get the difference). You can earn the first two reward nights after spending $1,000 in your first three months, plus an additional reward night if you spend a total of $4,000 in your first six months.
Assuming you max out the value of these reward nights, this sign-up bonus is potentially worth $375 in total, which is pretty good for a rewards credit card with no annual fee. By contrast, many cash back credit cards with no annual fees offer welcome bonuses worth $150 or $200 instead.
On the downside the spending requirement to earn all three reward nights is very high ($4,000 in your first six months). Some cardholders may prefer a slightly lower-value but more attainable bonus that only requires you to spend a few hundred dollars. For example, the Capital One VentureOne Rewards Credit Card offers a 20,000-mile bonus (worth $200 if you redeem for travel through Capital One) after a spend of just $500 in your first three months.
Card rates and fees
The Hotels.com® Rewards Visa® Credit Card doesn’t charge an annual fee or any foreign currency conversion fees. Fees to watch out for include a 5 percent (minimum $10) cash advance fee and a up to 5 percent (minimum $5) balance transfer fee.
You can also be assessed a late payment fee or returned payment fee up to $40. If you carry a balance, you’ll pay a variable APR of 17.99 percent to 25.99 percent based on your creditworthiness. This rate is similar to rates charged by other cash back credit cards.
The Hotels.com® Rewards Visa® Credit Card comes with quite a few benefits for a hotel credit card, and especially one with no annual fee. Major perks to know about include the following:
- No foreign currency conversion fees – You won’t be charged a fee on foreign transactions when you use your credit card abroad.
- Cell phone protection – Qualify for cell phone coverage worth up to $600 (minus a $25 deductible) when you pay your phone bill with your credit card.
- Silver membership – This perk lets you access perks like free breakfast and airport transfers at participating properties.
- Roadside dispatch – Get access to a 24/7 hotline for help with tire changes, towing services and more.
- Trip cancellation and interruption insurance – This coverage is worth up to $2,000 per covered individual for prepaid travel expenses when your trip is cancelled or interrupted for reasons beyond your control.
- Travel accident insurance – This benefit is worth up to $150,000 when the account owner loses their life or is dismembered during a covered trip.
While Wells Fargo considers their approval process to be proprietary information, this card is geared to consumers with very good or excellent credit. Using the FICO scoring method, this would mean any FICO score of 740 or higher. However, you may be able to be approved with “good” credit, or a score of 670 or higher in some cases.
How does the Hotels.com credit card compare to other travel rewards cards?
As you consider the Hotels.com® Rewards Visa® Credit Card for your wallet, it can help to compare it to other credit cards with rewards. The chart below shows how three different rewards cards stack up based on earning rates, sign-up bonus offers and more.
Capital One VentureOne Rewards Credit Card
Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card
Wells Fargo Active Cash® Card
|Rewards rate||Rewards rate||Rewards rate|
20,000 miles if you spend $500 in first 3 months
Earn 75,000 miles if you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months
Earn a $200 cash rewards bonus after spending $1,000 in purchases in the first 3 months
|Other things to know||Other things to know||Other things to know|
Hotels.com® Rewards Visa® Credit Card vs. Capital One VentureOne Rewards Credit Card
The Capital One VentureOne Rewards Credit Card comes with the same redemption options as the regular Venture card, but you get a lower earning rate in exchange for no annual fee.
Unfortunately, the 1.25x mile rate this card offers means you’ll earn less in rewards over time than you would with the Hotels.com® Rewards Visa® Credit Card. Then again, you can redeem your miles for any hotel stay or travel expense you want, which is a major benefit.
Hotels.com® Rewards Visa® Credit Card vs. Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card
The Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card does charge an annual fee, but the sign-up bonus alone (75,000 miles) is worth $750 in travel if you can spend $4,000 within three months of account opening. You also have a lot more flexibility in how you redeem your rewards. Not only can you use your miles for purchases through PayPal or Amazon.com, but you can transfer them to airline or hotel partners or use them to cover travel expenses at a rate of one cent per mile. This means you could redeem for airfare, hotels, or any other travel you wanted.
Hotels.com® Rewards Visa® Credit Card vs. Wells Fargo Active Cash Card
Consider the Wells Fargo Active Cash Card if you want to earn flat-rate rewards with no annual fee, which you can use for hotel stays if you want to.
This card gives you a flat 2 percent cash rewards on purchases, and you also get an introductory APR for purchases or balance transfers. On the redemption end, you can use rewards for statement credits, gift cards, transfers to a Wells Fargo bank account or even cash from a Wells Fargo ATM if you’re a banking customer.
Who should get the Hotels.com credit card?
- Anyone who wants to earn reward nights and discounted hotel stays with any brand
- Someone who wants to earn rewards with no annual fee
- People who want some basic travel insurance protections as well as cell phone protection
- People who spend money with Hotels.com already, and can earn stamps with paid hotel stays
How to use the Hotels.com credit card:
- Use your card for everyday spending in order to rack up as many stamps as possible
- Book paid stays with Hotels.com properties to earn stamps faster
- Pay your cell phone bill with your credit card to qualify for cell phone protection
- Pay your credit card bill in full each month to avoid paying interest
Is the Hotels.com credit card worth it?
While the Hotels.com® Rewards Visa® Credit Card is not very flexible in terms of how you redeem rewards, this card can be a good option for Hotels.com enthusiasts. After all, you’re earning slightly more than 2 percent back without an annual fee, and you can redeem your award nights for a stay at more than 500,000 properties around the world.
Then again, you may want a more flexible card if you’re unsure how you’ll want to redeem your rewards. Make sure to compare the Hotels.com® Rewards Visa® Credit Card to other cash back credit cards and travel credit cards before you decide.
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