Who Is This Credit Card Best For?
Diligently searches for the best products and delights in a good bargain See more cards
Hits the road often, whether for work or play See more cards
Loves to explore places and experience new things See more cards
Frequently shops with a particular merchant and wants to be rewarded for their loyalty See more cards
The Hotels.com Rewards Visa Card is aimed at consumers who aren’t loyal to a particular hotel brand and book their hotel stays on the Hotels.com platform.
For people who stay at a variety of hotel chains, and also want to dabble in hotel credit card rewards without shelling out an annual fee, it can be a good fit. Cardholders have over 500,000 properties they can choose from when booking a trip through Hotels.com and there are no blackout dates. The card is also stacked with additional travel benefits and perks.
Unlike some other cards, however, you can’t cash in points or miles for other rewards or transfer them to travel partners.
Hotel booking flexibility
Earn Silver status for one year
Excellent rewards rate
No bonus earnings when you pay for a Hotels.com booking with the card
There are some program loopholes to watch for
Stamps could expire after 12 months
- Hotel booking flexibility: The best benefit of this card is that there are over 500,000 properties you can choose from when booking a reward night. You aren’t limited to a particular chain’s availability at your destination.
- Earn Silver status for one year: Normally, you would have to stay 10 or more nights within a year to earn Hotels.com perks-laden Silver status, but you’ll be automatically enrolled in this tier for 12 months when you open the card. Existing Silver members get an automatic one-year extension.
- Excellent rewards rate: 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.
- No bonus earnings when you pay for a Hotels.com booking with the card: Most hotel cards offer a higher earnings rate when you purchase an actual hotel stay, but you don’t get a boosted rewards rate for using your card on Hotels.com.
- There are some program loopholes to watch for: You won’t earn stamps for bookings that are a package deal or if you use a coupon. Also, you’ll lose your reward night if you cancel your booking past the property’s cancellation deadline. Plus, some bookings on Hotels.com are non-refundable from the get-go, so pay careful attention.
- Stamps could expire after 12 months: You’ll lose any stamps you’ve earned if you don’t earn a stamp or redeem a reward night for 12 months.
Bonus for New Cardholders
New cardholders that spend $1,000 in the first three months of account opening will earn two reward nights valued at $250 (max $125 per night) for a limited time. You must already have an open and active Hotels.com Rewards membership in which you are earning stamps in U.S. dollars to receive this reward night. You are responsible for taxes, fees, and other charges. If you book a night that costs more than $125, you simply pay the difference, but if it costs less than $125, you lose the difference.
The bonus isn’t particularly strong when you consider that other no-fee hotel cards have sign-up offers that provide enough points to cover up to four nights. But for Hotels.com users who are used to having to earn 10 stamps before getting a freebie, it’s an easy way to skip ahead.
Also, you’ll earn two stamps for the $1,000 spend to earn your bonus, which gets you closer to your next reward night.
New cardholders also get one year of complimentary Silver status, which offers perks that include complimentary breakfast, airport transfers, spa vouchers, access to Hotels.com VIP properties, and priority customer service. Not every property on the site provides Silver perks, though; you’ll know which hotels do because they’ll have a special gift-box icon in their listing.
Earning Points & Rewards
Hotels.com Rewards members get one stamp for every night booked through the website and one stamp for every $500 you spend on the site and elsewhere. So, if you book a $500 two-night hotel stay on Hotels.com, you’ll earn two stamps for two booked nights, as well as one additional stamp for spending $500. Even if you don’t book any rooms, spending $1,000 per month can earn one reward night in five months.
There are no bonus spending categories on this card, so try to utilize it for spending that doesn’t already get you extra points/miles from other cards in your arsenal. For example, if you have a cash-back card that earns 3% back on groceries, use this card for non-supermarket spending.
Once you’ve earned 10 stamps, you can redeem them for a reward night. Your reward night’s redemption value is based on the average booking value of the 10 stamps you earned.
That’s easy enough to calculate for stamps you earn through Hotels.com bookings since the value is equal to the per-night cost of the booking—a stamp earned from a one-night $500 booking is valued at $500.
Here’s where it gets tricky, though. The stamps you earn for spending $500 aren’t based on a hotel booking, so Hotels.com values those stamps at $110 (the average value for all stamps earned by all Hotels.com Rewards customers).
Practically speaking, if you used your card to book a five-night hotel stay on Hotels.com that costs $2,500, you’d earn 10 stamps with an average value of $305. So, you could redeem your reward night for a room that costs up to $305.
If you redeem a reward night you earned solely from purchases, your reward night is equivalent to a 2.2% rewards rate. No other hotel loyalty program offers that much value, making the Hotels.com credit card an excellent value for hotel bookings. Just remember, though, that if you earn stamps for hotel nights booked on Hotels.com, your average value will go up or down depending on how much the booking costs.
You must earn a stamp or redeem a reward night within 12 months, or your stamps and rewards will expire. This shouldn’t be hard to do since just spending $500 in a calendar year will earn you a stamp (thus giving you 12 more months from the date it’s earned), but it’s important to know if you have a tendency to swap out your cards.
How to Get the Most Out of This Card
To maximize the card, start by earning the bonus for new cardholders, which is valued at $250, by spending $1,000 in the first three months. Then, use the card for any purchase categories that aren’t earning 2% or more on your other cards.
Also, book wisely so that you can get the most out of your rewards. For instance, look for places where you can use your Silver status for the complimentary breakfast and other perks. Pay attention to the redemption value that you earn for your reward night, too. You forfeit any unused part of the reward-night value, so make sure you use as much of it as you can.
To help you earn stamps, use this card to autopay your cellphone bill. Not only is it a bill you’d pay anyway, but the card offers cellphone coverage, which could come in handy.
Hotels.com Rewards Visa Card’s Excellent Perks
The Hotels.com Rewards Visa Card has three benefits that stand out, especially among cards with no annual fees. These include:
- Cellphone coverage: Pay your monthly cellphone bill with your card and get up to $600 protection against damage or theft (you just have to pay a $25 deductible). This benefit does not cover lost cellphones.
- Insurance coverage for trip cancellation, interruption, or 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: Should an accident occur during a trip paid for with this card, you and your immediate family are insured up to $150,000 for a covered loss.
Hotels.com Rewards Visa Card’s Other Features
- Rental car collision insurance (secondary to your own policy)
- Travel and emergency hotline
- Roadside assistance hotline
Wells Fargo has a so-so track record with customers, as it placed eighth out of 11 credit card issuers in J.D. Power’s 2020 U.S. Credit Card Satisfaction Study.
You’ll manage your account through Wells Fargo, which offers an online portal to make payments. Customer service is available by phone 24/7, which is standard for the industry, and you’ll also get access to your FICO score each month for free.
The Hotels.com Rewards Visa Credit Card offers standard security features, including 24/7 Fraud Monitoring, zero liability protection, and chip and contactless card payment options. Customers can also set alerts and notifications to monitor their transactions.
Hotels.com Rewards Visa Credit Card’s Fees
The Hotels.com Rewards Visa Credit Card has no annual fee and no foreign transaction fee.