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The 5 Most Valuable Hotel Rewards Programs to Join

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Traveling ain’t cheap, but if you do it often, rewards programs can be a big help.

A recent analysis by WalletHub can help narrow down your search for the best loyalty program. They compared the nine largest hotel chains against one another and scored the chains based on their earning policies, the value of the rewards, redemption policies, geographic coverage, difficulty in moving up in tiers and more.

Points are generally accrued through stays and company credit card purchases. While these points can earn consumers perks like free nights, they often come with caveats, particularly with how much spending a guest has to do before earning enough for discounted and free stays.

WalletHub’s report ranks program values differently for “light,” “moderate” and “heavy” travelers. The following is a ranking of the top five most valuable loyalty programs for “moderate” travelers, which is defined as those who make between $70,000 and $99,999 per year and spend about $1,057 on hotel accommodations.

5. Hilton Honors

Two women drinking coffee in a hotel room.
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Overall score for people who travel a moderate amount: 54.99 out of 100

Some pros that WalletHub listed for the Hilton Honors rewards program include how it encompasses a large selection of popular hotel chains and has many redemption options and special perks for elite-level members. However, points expire after 24 months of inactivity, and climbing to an elite status can be difficult.

On average, consumers need about 50,000 points for one free night, and 1,000 points are equivalent to $6.

4. Marriott Bonvoy

Happy senior couple grinning and swimming at the pool on vacation or at a hotel with a pool float raft
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Overall score for people who travel a moderate amount: 56.97 out of 100

Basic members of the Marriott Bonvoy program can get up to nine free nights a year, depending on the number of points they accumulate.

There are five additional elite levels, though, with the highest level offering up to 25 free nights. According to WalletHub, points are “relatively valuable” when used to book free nights. The minimum number of points necessary for a free night is 5,000, and 1,000 points equate to $8.30.

Basic members can get free Wi-Fi and discounted rates, and can use their phones as room keys.

3. Sonesta Travel Pass

A woman checking her rewards after checking into hotel.
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Overall score for people who travel a moderate amount: 59.42 out of 100

The Sonesta Travel Pass makes it easy to switch loyalty programs, going so far as to match your status in another hotel’s loyalty program.

It’s not overly difficult to earn elite status in this system, but it doesn’t encompass as many properties as competitors — making it harder to use in general.

2. Wyndham Rewards

Man checking into hotel with credit card rewards
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Overall score for people who travel a moderate amount: 66.94 out of 100

Wyndham Rewards covers more than 60,000 places to stay, according to its website, including its all-inclusive resorts. It also has the best star rating from WalletHub’s editors, earning four out of five stars.

Members can get 10 points per dollar spent or 1,000 points (whichever is more). Discounted nights start at 1,500 points, and free nights start at 7,500.

Points are also transferable to American Airlines, Frontier Airlines, United Airlines and more.

1. World of Hyatt

Hotel check-in
Kamil Macniak / Shutterstock.com

Overall score for people who travel a moderate amount: 72.85 out of 100

Points are pretty valuable with the World of Hyatt loyalty rewards program. Members can earn a free night with 3,500 points, and 1,000 points equals $24.70. WalletHub has a more detailed breakdown of how to earn points.

Members can earn points through stays, dining and spa services. They can also earn a free night after staying at five different Hyatt brands and use their points for discounted prices.

There are three additional tiers with expanded benefits like late checkout, bonus points, upgraded rooms and access to lounges.

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