Hotels.com Visa Offers a Unique Rewards System with No Annual Fee

Marcy Bialeschki
January 4, 2021

If you like the convenience and trip planning flexibility Hotels.com offers, you should consider applying for the Hotels.com Visa. This card has a unique rewards system that builds to a free night’s stay worth $125. Plus, it’s a travel card with no annual fee and earns rewards on purchases other than travel. Do I have your attention? Let’s take a closer look.

Having a Hotels.com Visa and being a Rewards member sets you up to earn a stamp for every night you book through the Hotels.com website. You can also earn a stamp for every $500 spent on your Hotels.com Visa.

This means if you book a $500 three-night hotel stay on Hotels.com using your Hotels.com Visa, you’ll earn three stamps -- one for each night. You will gain an additional stamp for spending $500. All in all, this is a pretty good deal.

Another feature of the Hotels.com Visa is its Bonus reward for new cardholders. As a new cardholder, if you spend $1,000 in the first three months of your account opening, you will earn a reward night valued at $125. One stipulation is you must already have an active Hotels.com Rewards membership where you are earning stamps to receive this reward night. You can book a night for more than $125 and pay the difference if you choose. However, if your stay is less than $125, you lose the difference. Of course, you are responsible for taxes, fees, and other charges.

You’ll also earn two stamps for the $1,000 spend, which gets you closer to your next reward night. Let’s take a look at the features

Any credit card with no annual fee is a cardholder’s dream as long as the added features are solid enough to compare with other credit cards. When it comes to features, the Hotels.com Visa is a contender considering the following benefits:

  • Trip insurance covering cancellation, interruption, and delay- Your spouse and children are covered up to $2,000 each if you paid for the full cost of the trip with your card.

  • Travel accident insurance: - $150,000 for covered losses when the trip is paid for with your card.

  • Cell phone insurance- If you pay your monthly cellphone bill with your Hotels.com credit card, you’ll receive up to $600 protection against damage or theft after paying a $25 deductible. Unfortunately, this benefit does not cover lost cellphones.

  • Rental car collision insurance- You receive coverage secondary to your own policy.

  • Roadside assistance hotline

  • Travel emergency hotline

People have different needs when it comes to credit cards, and knowing if one is right for you can be confusing. A simplified list of ‘Yays’ and ‘Nays’ with explanations can put the details in perspective.

Clear Positives

  • No annual fee or foreign transaction fee

  • Hotel booking flexibility

  • No blackout dates

  • Redeem Rewards Nights at over 500,000 hotels and resorts worldwide

  • Earn a stamp towards a Rewards Night on all spending, not just travel

  • New cardholders earn Silver Status for one year, and existing cardholders earn an automatic one-year extension of this perk.

Everyone can appreciate a credit card with no annual fee, and the Hotels.com Visa delivers. Being a ‘travel-related’ card, it also makes sense that cardholders will enjoy no foreign transaction fee when using the Hotels.com Visa abroad.

For people not loyal to one or two hotel chains, the Hotels.com Visa offers the flexibility to shop around for specific amenities or a precise location.

It’s a frustrating experience to earn a reward night from your credit card, only to see a slew of ‘blacked out’ travel times. The Hotels.com Visa has no blackout dates, so you can use your reward when you want.

Hotels.com has one of the largest networks of properties that will honor your Rewards Night bonus. With over 500,000 properties worldwide, you are sure to find a Rewards Night hotel or resort perfect for you.

The Hotels.com Visa uses all of your purchases towards a Rewards Night, not just travel purchases. This feature allows you to earn a Rewards Night faster than some other travel cards. The average value of a reward night earned through spending is more than the value you get out of rewards earned through major U.S. hotel brands like Hyatt and Marriott.

The Hotels.com Silver Status is usually earned after staying ten nights in one year. However, as a bonus, new cardholders can enjoy Silver Status for the first year. The Hotels.com Visa is one of the only credit cards that reward existing members, not just new ones. Existing Silver Status cardholders receive an automatic one-year extension of this feature without meeting the stay quota.

Most of the VIP Access properties offer Silver Status members free breakfast, Wi-Fi, airport transfers, and spa vouchers. And many Silver Status members will agree they generally have a smoother booking or canceling experience with “Price Guarantee Plus” and the “Hassle-free Travel Guarantee.” These two benefits allow you to change or cancel your reservation if you find a better deal, and Hotels.com will match the price and refund the difference with minimal cancelation fees.

Potential Concerns

  • If you do not frequent hotels, you must spend $5000 before earning a free stay worth $110 or less.

  • Stamps for free stays expire if you haven’t booked with Hotels.com in the past 12 months.

  • Watch out for loopholes

You can earn a stamp towards your free stay for every eligible night you book a Hotel.com participating property. You can also earn a stamp towards your free visit for every $500 you spend on the card -- that’s $5000 in purchases for a free night that values at $110 or less. People who don’t frequent hotels regularly can definitely find a credit card with a better rewards payout.

A frustrating complication to the Hotels.com rewards program is that stamps towards your free stay expire after 12 months. Earning nearly enough stamps leaves the cardholder more than a little irritated to lose the progress made towards their bonus stay. And since the Hotels.com Visa lacks any other rewards or bonus earnings, failing to earn the free stay makes this card a below-average option. You will need to be careful with this card because some loopholes could catch you and cost you. For instance, you won’t earn stamps for bookings that are part of a package deal or if you use a coupon. You will also lose your reward night if you cancel your stay after the property’s cancellation deadline. The real catch is that some properties on Hotels.com will not offer cancellations, so it is imperative to ask questions and pay attention to all the fine print.

The Hotels.com Visa is a decent travel card for people who travel enough to earn the rewards stay. No blackout dates and a wide array of properties and hotels to choose from gives this card an edge over more restricted ones. However, if you fail to achieve the free stay, the card does not offer any other bonuses, points, or cash back. It also lacks the luxury travel amenities some other cards offer. Of course, you get excellent customer service and basic features from Visa, but beyond the free stay and no annual fee, the Hotels.com Visa is just ‘average.’

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