Author Topic: What is the best hotel branded card to use for bonus points?  (Read 1465 times)

EconDiva

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What is the best hotel branded card to use for bonus points?
« on: August 09, 2017, 03:07:58 PM »
I need a card for points for accommodations for travel happening in Europe (likely Portugal) between possibly early October and early November....

Also, a very naive question:

Are there any issues I should be aware of if my plan is to cancel the card immediately after the bonus points are used?  I have 3 cards total (likely keeping these three), and will possibly apply for another Chase card this fall that I may or may not keep once that bonus is used up.  So getting a hotel branded card (I have never had any) would bring me to 5 cards and I really don't feel like dealing with over 3 so this one and the other potential new Chase card will likely both be cancelled.

bacchi

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Re: What is the best hotel branded card to use for bonus points?
« Reply #1 on: August 09, 2017, 04:05:49 PM »
IHG 80k will get you 3-4 nights. If you decide to keep it, you'll get a free night voucher for the annual fee (we used it for the Willard).

I wouldn't cancel immediately after the bonus points are gained. You don't want to get Chase on your bad side. Just sock drawer it and put a reminder on your calendar to cancel it in 11 months.


Catbert

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Re: What is the best hotel branded card to use for bonus points?
« Reply #2 on: August 09, 2017, 06:07:35 PM »
Whatever card you get (IHG and SPG are both great) don't cancel the card until at least after your vacation. Having most hotel cards will give you some "status" with the hotel chain.  That could mean a nicer room, free breakfast or late checkout.

jacquespluto

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Re: What is the best hotel branded card to use for bonus points?
« Reply #3 on: August 09, 2017, 07:14:26 PM »
I prefer Hilton and SPG myself.  Hilton has 2 different AMEX options, one without a fee and lower bonus and another with a yearly fee, larger bonus and gold status.  Gold status will usually get you an upgraded room if available and free breakfast at some of their properties.  SPG is also an AMEX card.  I do have IHG but really only use it for the Points Break promotions which are hit and miss.

If you do decide to sign up for either Hilton or the SPG card, I can send you a referral.  Referrals are a great way to get even more bonus points :)

Regarding your question on cancelling, usually there is no issue but with most points programs if you don't continue to hold the card you usually need to have some "activity" on your card to retain points.  Activity meaning spending or earning points within a 12 or 24 month frame.

I'll be in Spain and Portugal October as well with my wife and 3 year old.  I do recall seeing some Hilton or SPG properties in Lisbon but we decided to go with AirBnB to be right in the middle of the city.

Good luck!
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bacchi

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Re: What is the best hotel branded card to use for bonus points?
« Reply #4 on: August 09, 2017, 08:03:20 PM »
Both Amex Hilton cards (and Citi's version) charge a foreign transaction fee. Yeah, it doesn't make sense for an international hotel chain.

Dicey

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Re: What is the best hotel branded card to use for bonus points?
« Reply #5 on: August 11, 2017, 04:16:20 PM »
IHG all the way, baby! Free night every year more than covers the $49 annual fee, which is imposed after the first year and the first free night. Then their Points Breaks program is sometimes unbelievable. (5k points per night at selected hotels worldwide.) Best of all is the Points + Cash Program with nefariously circumvents all the taxes, including those crazy tourism fees levied on unsuspecting travelers. No blackout dates, free upgrades, what's not to like?

Awesome hack: the free nights overlap around the holidays. DH and I each have a card. Every other year, we can get a "free" four-night stay anywhere. We've only done this once, but it was a blast!
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EconDiva

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Re: What is the best hotel branded card to use for bonus points?
« Reply #6 on: August 14, 2017, 09:52:05 AM »
I prefer Hilton and SPG myself.  Hilton has 2 different AMEX options, one without a fee and lower bonus and another with a yearly fee, larger bonus and gold status.  Gold status will usually get you an upgraded room if available and free breakfast at some of their properties.  SPG is also an AMEX card.  I do have IHG but really only use it for the Points Break promotions which are hit and miss.

If you do decide to sign up for either Hilton or the SPG card, I can send you a referral.  Referrals are a great way to get even more bonus points :)

Regarding your question on cancelling, usually there is no issue but with most points programs if you don't continue to hold the card you usually need to have some "activity" on your card to retain points.  Activity meaning spending or earning points within a 12 or 24 month frame.

I'll be in Spain and Portugal October as well with my wife and 3 year old.  I do recall seeing some Hilton or SPG properties in Lisbon but we decided to go with AirBnB to be right in the middle of the city.

Good luck!

Hhmmm...so no SPG hotels in Portugal in areas you wanted to stay?

I am looking into this today and am leaning towards the SPG...can you send me the referral just in case please? :)

jacquespluto

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Re: What is the best hotel branded card to use for bonus points?
« Reply #7 on: August 14, 2017, 12:55:37 PM »


Hhmmm...so no SPG hotels in Portugal in areas you wanted to stay?

I am looking into this today and am leaning towards the SPG...can you send me the referral just in case please? :)


PM sent for referral!

It appears there are 3 Lisbon area SPG properties with the Sheraton Lisboa Hotel being the most central.  It's a category 4 hotel (1-8) so definitely not the cheapest option.  The card should get you at least 3 free nights there after you meet the minimum spending requirement for points, or you could do points and cash.

Outside of Lisbon there are some category 3 hotels in Porto and the Azores.

https://www.starwoodhotels.com/corporate/directory/hotels/europe/pt/list.html

Good luck on your trip planning.  I've heard Portugal is great in the fall! 

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DarkandStormy

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Re: What is the best hotel branded card to use for bonus points?
« Reply #8 on: August 14, 2017, 02:39:37 PM »
IHG looks to have the best sign-up.

Outside of specific-hotel cards, Chase offers great flexibility - look at the Sapphire Preferred if you don't have any Chase cards yet.  You can transfer those point-for-point to Ritz Carlton, Hyatt, IHG, or Marriott.  Sapphire Preferred will get you 50,000 points when you spend $4k in the first 3 months, plus of course the normal points earned on that spending.
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golfreak12

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Re: What is the best hotel branded card to use for bonus points?
« Reply #9 on: August 14, 2017, 02:54:40 PM »
I love Hyatt.
Most Hyatt Place are 5K-8K for a night and the Hyatt Chase card is giving you 40K to sign up now but a Free Category 4 when you renew. A cat 4 is 20K/night.
40K can get you 5-8 free night at Hyatt Place and even some higher Hyatts.

EconDiva

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Re: What is the best hotel branded card to use for bonus points?
« Reply #10 on: August 14, 2017, 03:15:05 PM »
IHG looks to have the best sign-up.

Outside of specific-hotel cards, Chase offers great flexibility - look at the Sapphire Preferred if you don't have any Chase cards yet.  You can transfer those point-for-point to Ritz Carlton, Hyatt, IHG, or Marriott.  Sapphire Preferred will get you 50,000 points when you spend $4k in the first 3 months, plus of course the normal points earned on that spending.

That's the one I was thinking to get before starting this thread.

Then I started reconsidering because there is another thread saying someone got word from a Chase representative that Chase will be running some specials on their cards next month.  So I was thining I should wait on that one and get a different card in the meantime as I need something now for an upcoming trip.

It does seem like that would provide the most flexibility though...I was looking online earlier today at hotels via the Chase UR portal and there are so many to choose from....