The 2016-17 Best Hotel Rewards Programs

U.S. News evaluated 18 of the most prominent hotel rewards programs to find the best.

By Hannah Cheney, Staff WriterAug. 16, 2016
By Hannah Cheney, Staff WriterAug. 16, 2016, at 12:01 a.m.
U.S. News & World Report

The 2016-17 Best Hotel Rewards Programs

View all in one page
1 of 19
Swimming pool in the early hours of the morning
Credit

(Getty Images)

U.S. News reveals the Best Hotel Rewards Programs of 2016-17.

What makes a hotel rewards program right for you? Some offer greater geographic coverage than their competitors, while others make it easy to earn free stays and attain elite status perks quickly. To help you determine which hotel rewards program deserves your loyalty, U.S. News evaluated 18 leading programs using an unbiased methodology that analyzes network size, property diversity and the ease of earning a free night, among other factors. Read on to discover the pros and cons of each hotel rewards program, starting with No. 18.
Modern hotel room with double bed, TV and colorful pillows
Credit

(iStockphoto)

18. Loews YouFirst

Pro: Members can be upgraded to the most elite membership level – Platinum – after just 10 stays
Con: Only 24 properties participate in the Loews YouFirst program
Next:

U.S. News reveals the Best Hotel Rewards Programs of 2016-17.

What makes a hotel rewards program right for you? Some offer greater geographic coverage than their competitors, while others make it easy to earn free stays and attain elite status perks quickly. To help you determine which hotel rewards program deserves your loyalty, U.S. News evaluated 18 leading programs using an unbiased methodology that analyzes network size, property diversity and the ease of earning a free night, among other factors. Read on to discover the pros and cons of each hotel rewards program, starting with No. 18.

18. Loews YouFirst

Pro: Members can be upgraded to the most elite membership level – Platinum – after just 10 stays
Con: Only 24 properties participate in the Loews YouFirst program

17. Fairmont President's Club

Pro: Fairmont President's Club members enjoy exclusive access to discounted vacation packages
Con: Reward certificates can expire and blackout dates may apply to reward stays

16. Le Club AccorHotels

Pro: Members can earn points on hotel expenditures, such as dining and spa treatments, during eligible stays
Con: There are a limited number of Accor hotels in the U.S.

15. iPrefer

Pro: Points can be redeemed for free nights and other property purchases at more than 550 participating properties around the globe
Con: To maintain Elite status, members must earn a large number of points each year

14. Omni Select Guest

Pro: Members automatically receive benefits on their first stay just for signing up for the Omni Select Guest program, including free Wi-Fi
Con: The Omni brand does not extend beyond the U.S., Canada and Mexico

13. Kimpton Karma Rewards

Pro: Rewards are transferable and blackout dates are rare
Con: Members cannot receive rewards for rooms booked through third-party websites, such as Expedia or Priceline, or for rooms booked at a discounted rate

12. Stash Hotel Rewards

Pro: No blackout dates
Con: Members can only redeem points for eligible hotel stays and cannot use points to pay for additional hotel expenses, such as meals or spa treatments

11. Starwood Preferred Guest

Pro: Points can be redeemed for room upgrades and event tickets, among other options
Con: Fewer budget-friendly hotels than programs of a similar size, such as Hilton HHonors and Marriott Rewards

10. Leaders Club

Pro: There is no limit to the number of free nights members can earn in a calendar year
Con: An annual membership fee is required to enjoy benefits at both of the program's membership levels

9. IHG Rewards Club

Pro: Members can redeem points for free nights at hotels outside the IHG network and for free flights with more than 400 partner airlines
Con: Members cannot earn points for discounted rooms or rooms booked through third-party websites

8. Hilton HHonors

Pro: There are no blackout dates when members use Hilton HHonors points to book a room
Con: Free nights at higher-end hotels require a large number of points

7. Hyatt Gold Passport

Pro: Members can earn and use points at hotels across a variety of price points
Con: Some elite membership benefits, like expedited check-in, are not available at select hotels

6. Club Carlson

Pro: Points can be redeemed for free nights and flights with the program's airline partners
Con: Rewards cannot be redeemed for rooms reserved on third-party websites

5. La Quinta Returns

Pro: Points can be converted to frequent flier miles
Con: The La Quinta network only encompasses two brands: La Quinta Inn and La Quinta Inn & Suites

4. Best Western Rewards

Pro: Best Western Rewards points can be redeemed for free nights, airline miles, gift cards and more
Con: While there are more than 4,000 participating hotels worldwide, there are a limited number of high-end properties

2. Marriott Rewards (tie)

Pro: Rewards can be used on hotel stays, flights, rental cars, cruises and vacation packages, among other options
Con: Marriott's top-tier membership level is harder to reach than the highest levels within the Hilton HHonors and Starwood Preferred Guest programs

2. Choice Privileges (tie)

Pro: Stays at budget hotels can earn members free nights at luxury hotels
Con: Choice Privileges points expire after 18 months of account inactivity

1. Wyndham Rewards

Pro: Qualifying nights can roll over into the following year, making it easier for Wyndham Rewards members to maintain or improve their status
Con: It can take six to eight weeks for rewards with partners to be processed
1 of 19

Hannah Cheney, Staff Writer

Hannah Cheney is a Senior Editor for the Travel section at U.S. News, where she manages the ...  Read more

Recommended

The 5 Best Kauai Helicopter Tours

See the Garden Island's far-reaching beauty from the air.

Holly JohnsonJune 14, 2019

The 6 Best Las Vegas Helicopter Tours

Get a thrilling look at the lights and sights of Sin City and its surroundings with one of these tours.

Holly JohnsonJune 13, 2019

20 Road Trip Essentials for Your Vacation

These road trip must-haves can help you save money, travel more comfortably and ensure you stay safe on the open road.

Holly JohnsonJune 13, 2019

13 Top Charlottesville Wineries to Visit

Sip a glass of Virginia's signature viognier as the sun sets over the Blue Ridge Mountains.

June 12, 2019

The 16 Best Seattle Tours

Explore the Emerald City's natural beauty and urban offerings with these guided excursions.

Lyn MettlerJune 12, 2019

The 24 Best London Tours

Whether it's your first time in London or you're a repeat visitor, you'll experience a side of the city you've never seen with these tours.

Kim Foley MacKinnonJune 6, 2019

The 21 Best Paris Tours

Enhance your visit to the City of Love with one of these top tours.

Claire LawtonJune 5, 2019

The 20 Best New York City Tours

These guided tours help make the most of your time in the Big Apple.

John RodwanJune 4, 2019

The 24 Best Rome Tours

Enjoy the efficiency of an organized tour led by experts who bring Rome's history to life.

Kyle McCarthyMay 31, 2019

The 8 Best Savannah Ghost Tours

Prove you're not afraid of the dark by taking one of these terrifying tours.

Gwen PratesiMay 31, 2019