Reviews Stash Hotel Rewards Visa card review
Stash Hotel Rewards Visa card review

Stash Hotel Rewards Visa card review

Published: July 10, 2017
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Ratings Policy
Hotel Rating:
1.9 rating
1.9 rating
1.9 / 5
Rewards Value: 0.9
Annual Percentage Rate: 5.0
Rewards Flexibility: 2.8
Redemption Options: 1.5
Features: 3.0

In a nutshell:

The Stash Hotel Rewards Visa card is a viable option for travelers who prefer unique boutiques and one-of-a-kind resorts over bland chains, though it suffers from limited redemption options.

Rewards Rate

  • 3 points per dollar Stash partner hotels
  • 2 points per dollar other hotels, dining and gas
  • 1 point per dollar general purchases

Sign-up Bonus
10,000 points if you spend $1,500 in first three months

Annual Bonus
Up to 10 percent of the points you redeem each year

Annual Fee
$85, $0 first year

Average Yearly Rewards Value ($1,325 monthly spend)
$209

APR
16.99% (variable)

Rewards Redemption

Pro:

  • Points don’t expire
  • No travel blackout dates
  • No limit on the number of points you can earn

Cons:

  • Points can only be used for hotel stays at Stash hotel partners
  • You can’t supplement a booking with cash if you don’t have enough points to pay for a hotel
  • Can’t use points for hotel upgrades
  • Can’t cancel a reservation that was paid for with points
  • Points can’t be transferred to other travel loyalty programs

Hotel Options

  • Properties: 150
  • Countries: 5

Other Notable Features: No foreign transaction fee, Visa Signature benefits

Rewards Rating:
2.2 rating
2.2 rating
2.2 / 5
Rewards Value: 1.2
Annual Percentage Rate: 3.5
Rewards Flexibility: 3.2
Features: 3.0

In a nutshell:

The Stash Hotel Rewards Visa card bolsters its rewards rate by allowing you to earn bonus points on dining, gas and outside hotel purchases, though the redemption options are limited to free nights at Stash’s small network of boutique hotels.

Rewards Rate

  • 3 points per dollar Stash partner hotels
  • 2 points per dollar other hotels, dining and gas
  • 1 point per dollar general purchases

Sign-up Bonus
10,000 points if you spend $1,500 in first three month

Annual Fee
$85, $0 first year

Average Yearly Rewards Value ($1,325 monthly spend)
$209

APR
16.99% (variable)

Rewards Redemption

Pro:

  • Points don’t expire
  • No travel blackout dates
  • No limit on the number of points you can earn

Cons:

  • Points can only be used for hotel stays at Stash hotel partners
  • You can’t supplement a booking with cash if you don’t have enough points to pay for a hotel
  • Can’t use points for hotel upgrades
  • Can’t cancel a reservation that was paid for with points
  • Points can’t be transferred to other travel loyalty programs

Other Notable Features: No foreign transaction fee, Visa Signature benefits

Travel Rating:
2.2 rating
2.2 rating
2.2 / 5
Rewards Value: 1.2
Annual Percentage Rate: 3.5
Rewards Flexibility: 3.2
Features: 3.0

In a nutshell:

Though the Stash Hotel Rewards Visa card offers a decent return on hotel, dining and gas purchases, its small network of boutique hotels gives you very limited travel options.

Rewards Rate

  • 3 points per dollar Stash partner hotels
  • 2 points per dollar other hotels, dining and gas
  • 1 point per dollar general purchases

Sign-up Bonus
10,000 points if you spend $1,500 in first three months

Annual Fee
$85, $0 first year

Average Yearly Rewards Value ($1,325 monthly spend)
$209

APR
16.99% (variable)

Rewards Redemption

Pro:

  • Points don’t expire
  • No travel blackout dates
  • No limit on the number of points you can earn

Cons:

  • Points can only be used for hotel stays at Stash hotel partners
  • You can’t supplement a booking with cash if you don’t have enough points to pay for a hotel
  • Can’t use points for hotel upgrades
  • Can’t cancel a reservation that was paid for with points
  • Points can’t be transferred to other travel loyalty programs

Other Notable Features: No foreign transaction fee, Visa Signature benefits

The Stash Hotel Rewards Visa doesn’t offer the highest travel bonus or the cushiest hotel rewards program. But travelers who enjoy staying at memorable, one-of-a-kind properties will appreciate this unusual rewards card. Unlike most hotel cards that require you to stick to one or two chains, the Stash Rewards Visa card lets you use your card rewards points to pay for stays at independent inns and locally-owned resorts. As a result, your choice of rewards-funded stays could range from a New Orleans-themed boutique with exposed brick and French country decor in the heart of midtown Manhattan to a hacienda-style desert lodge in Tucson.

You don’t have to stay at a Stash-affiliated indie to earn bonus points for travel purchases either. You can also earn a modest points bonus when you use your card at an out-of-network hotel, which is a nice perk for frequent travelers who typically choose budget chains for everyday travel, but would rather stay at a more memorable inn on their rewards-funded vacation.

Fair spending bonus
Hotel credit cards are typically generous with rewards points, and the Stash card is on par with many of its competitors, allowing you to earn unlimited bonuses on a wide variety of purchases, including restaurant meals and gas. Dining and gas purchases earn an unlimited two points per dollar spent while regular purchases earn one point per dollar spent.

If you’re often on the road and usually eat out when you travel, every mile you drive could potentially help you supersize your collection and earn free hotel stays more quickly.

A so-so sign-up bonus
Unfortunately, the sign-up bonus on the Stash Hotel Rewards Visa isn’t nearly as generous as what’s offered by some competitors, so you’ll earn more upfront with other cards if you’re just looking for a short-term infusion.

The Stash card offers 10,000 rewards points – roughly worth $100 – when you spend $1,500 in the card’s first three months. But depending on where you stay, the sign-up bonus could still buy you at least one free night’s hotel stay. The Stash card also offers an annual rewards bonus of 10 percent of whatever you redeemed.

A great pick for disloyal travelers
You can also squirrel away points even when you travel outside the Stash network of properties. You’ll get the most value out of your rewards card if you use your card to book a room at a Stash hotel partner since Stash-affiliated purchases earn an unlimited three points for every dollar spent. In addition, you’ll earn another five points per dollar spent – so eight points total – if you join the Stash Rewards program.

Some hotel partners also offer extra points and hotel discounts for members. But if you’re traveling to a city that doesn’t have a partner hotel or if you prefer another hotel for a different reason, you can still use your Stash Hotel Rewards Visa and earn two points for every dollar you spend.

Also good for budget-hunters
Don’t be dissuaded by the Stash card’s modest rewards rate for non-Stash purchases either. Although that extra two points may not sound like much, it could add up quickly if you travel often and typically bounce from one hotel brand to the next. A competitor might offer you more points per dollar spent on affiliated hotel stays; but you’ll save more money overall if you base your hotel choices on room rates rather than loyalty.

If you’re a Stash Rewards member and book your room at a non-partner hotel through Stashrewards.com, you’ll also earn an extra one point per dollar spent – bringing your total haul to three points per dollar spent.

Only one way to redeem
The biggest downside to the Stash Hotel Rewards Visa is its stringent redemption policy, which only lets you use your points for Stash-affiliated hotel purchases. Most rewards cards, by contrast, give you a variety of options for using your points, including cash, gift cards, merchandise and air travel.

Some cards also let you transfer your points to other loyalty programs, which can be a huge perk when you want to top off another program’s points. The Stash card’s limited redemption policy means you’ll have to choose from one of Stash’s 150 partner properties for your rewards-funded travel, which can severely limit your options. On the plus side, however, points don’t expire, so you won’t be rushed to plan and book a trip.

Limited hotel network
Another major drawback to the card is its limited hotel footprint. Stash partners are primarily located on the East and West Coasts and in limited locations in Central America and the Caribbean, which is a bummer if you plan to mostly travel through the Midwest or want to travel abroad. If your goal is to fund worldwide travel through a hotel rewards card, you are probably better off signing up for a card affiliated with a large loyalty program, such as Marriott, Hilton or IHG hotels.

That said, many of the most popular domestic vacation destinations do have Stash partner properties, including New York City, San Francisco, Los Angeles, San Diego, New Orleans, Santa Fe, Seattle, Austin, Dallas, Boulder, Orlando, Chicago, Boston, Charleston and Atlanta. You can also use your points at a Stash partner hotel in Antigua, Panama, Turks and Caicos or the U.S. Virgin Islands.

Mostly good terms – but virtually no benefits
Though it’s redemption options are limited, the Stash card offers pretty good terms, especially for cardholders searching for alternatives to cookie-cutter hotel chains. Its $85 annual fee is somewhat pricey, but worth it if you travel frequently enough to take advantage of the card’s substantial hotel spending bonus. It also charges a relatively low flat APR of 16.74 percent and doesn’t charge a penalty APR. In addition, it waives the card’s foreign transaction fee.

However, the Stash card is sorely lacking in hotel perks – such as automatic room upgrades and hotel credits – that come with many premium hotel cards. Given that the Stash loyalty program caters to travelers who enjoy plush hotel stays, we feel that this one area where the Stash card is really missing out. Providing even a few minor perks, such as free wifi or a free gift at check-in, would be a great way to reinforce status and encourage loyalty from frequent guests of Stash hotels.

Reasons to get it:

  • You want the benefits of a hotel card, but would rather stay at a unique boutique, one-of-a-kind resort or independently owned inn with local flavor.
  • You travel, drive or eat out often enough to easily recoup the card’s annual fee.
  • You want a more flexible hotel card that lets you earn bonus points at a wide variety of properties.

How to use it:

  • Maximize your rewards earnings by using your card for all your restaurant, gas and hotel purchases – including when you stay at non-Stash-affiliated properties.
  • Join the Stash Rewards program in order to earn more points on rooms booked at Stash partner hotels and qualify for exclusive discounts.
  • Check the Stash website to see if you can book a room at a non-Stash affiliated hotel through Stashrewards.com and earn an extra rewards point for every dollar you spend.

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