I receive compensation for content and many links on this blog. You don’t have to use these links, but I am grateful to you if you do. American Express, Citibank, Chase, Capital One and other banks are advertising partners of this site. Any opinions expressed in this post are my own, and have not been approved, or endorsed by my advertising partners. I do not write about all credit cards that are available -- instead focusing on miles, points, and cash back (and currencies that can be converted into the same).
The most valuable rewards for hotel stays seem to me a function of where you book and how you pay rather than where you stay. That’s surprising to some because we’ve been taught to stay on the hotel loyalty program treadmill. And because hotels are trying so hard to get customers to ‘book direct’ you’d expect their loyalty programs to offer the best rewards for staying at their properties. But that isn’t always the case, as I’ll explain below.
Capital One® Venture® Rewards Credit Card launched a partnership with Hotels.com that’s a new competitive offer to what the hotel chains are doing because you can earn 10% back towards travel when you book at Hotels.com/Venture and that’s stackable with Hotels.com’s own program that effectively offers a 10% return towards future stays when you reach a total of 10 nights booked and stayed through their site.
Taken together — the card and the loyalty program — you can get up to 10% back from two different sources: from the 10x miles you earn when you book at Hotels.com/Venture with your Venture card and up to a separate 10% through the Hotels.com loyalty program.
You can get this rate of return while choosing the most convenient hotel at the best price, rather than going out of your way to a less convenient hotel, a less desirable property, or spending more to stick with one provider. Here’s how it works.
Earn Up to 10% Back For Future Stays With Hotels.com
Hotels.com has arguably the best rewards program of any of the online booking sites. You get a free night for every 10 nights you book and stay through their website (or app). Your free night is worth the average cost of those 10 nights.
The nice thing is you can earn the free night on 10 one night stays, 5 two night stays, or a 4, 3, 2, and 1 night stay. The combination doesn’t matter.
If you want to book a stay that’s more expensive than the value of your free night that’s no problem, you just pay the difference in cost. You can redeem more than one free night on a given stay, and free nights do not have to cover the full stay (it works to pay for 2 out of 4 nights using free nights, for instance).
You can’t apply more than one free night to a single night’s stay (for instance if you have two free nights worth $150 each you can’t use them both for a single $300 night). And the free night you earn doesn’t cover taxes on your reservation. And if you have a Hotels.com coupon code and use it when making a reservation, that booking won’t earn credit towards a free night.
Hotels.com also has its own elite levels, silver and gold. You get silver after booking 10 nights in a membership year (a year from when you joined). The key benefit of status is priority customer service.
Gone With the Wind Staircase at the Jefferson Hotel, Richmond (Margaret Mitchell stayed at the Jefferson while writing the novel)
Stack That With 10 Miles Per Dollar Spent at Hotels.com/Venture
Capital One Venture gives you 10 miles per dollar when you pay with your Venture card at Hotels.com/Venture through January 2020. You still earn Hotels.com rewards credits on your stay, these two are stackable.
That’s on top of Capital One Venture’s other key benefits.
Capital One just added TSA PreCheck or Global Entry reimbursement as a benefit of the Capital One® Venture® Rewards Credit Card. Pay with your qualifying card for an application to one of those program and receive up to a $100 statement credit.
The card currently offers an initial bonus of 50,000 miles once you spend $3,000 on purchases within 3 months from account opening, equal to $500 in travel. And then your spending earns unlimited 2X miles per dollar on every purchase, every day.
Thoroughbred Lounge at the Charleston Place Hotel, South Carolina
Tough to Beat Credit Card Rewards for Hotel Stays, Too
Earning 10 miles per dollar with Capital One® Venture® Rewards Credit Card, a 10% return, is strong earn for hotel spend.
And Capital One® Venture® Rewards Credit Card‘s rewards are flexible and can be used with myriad travel providers and not just with the one chain where you’ve earned your points. The same flexibility extends to other card features like Card Lock to freeze and unfreeze your account; alerts which prompts you on possible problems like duplicate charges; the Amazon Alexa skill (you can interact with your card through Alexa!); and Eno which lets you use virtual card numbers from a web browser.
Royal Suite, Burj Al Arab Dubai
A Great Strategy to Be a Hotel ‘Free Agent’
If you’re a business traveler who can book and pay for hotels yourself, it’s amazing to get money back in rewards for your personal travel.
Most of all this is a strategy you can employ to earn rewards without having to focus on a single hotel chain.
I spend a lot of nights with Hyatt, but that’s really hard for me given their limited footprint. A free agent strategy can get strong value while also delivering the greatest convenience, choosing the hotel that makes the most sense for your trip rather than going out of your way to choose a hotel that may be less convenient but that’s a member of your preferred loyalty program.