Which hotel credit card stays in your wallet?


While we have seen some exciting 100,000 point sign up bonuses on cards like the Chase Sapphire Reserve and the Amex Business Platinum, there is one offer for “150,000 Bonus points” that is so bad that we’d never written about it until now. Find out why you should avoid this 150,000 point offer so you don’t fall for the misleading marketing hype.

As you might expect, that story led to some spirited debate over using a hotel credit card for daily spend. Greg explored that further by asking, Is it foolish to use hotel cards for everyday spend? This certainly didn’t quell the debate, which has continued in the comments on that article. My personal opinion?  I think it’s foolish to earn points without a general plan for their use.  That’s not to say that you need an exact purpose in mind for each point you earn, but rather to suggest that it’s hard to achieve a goal if you don’t have one.  The return on spend using rewards cards can far outstretch the value of 2% cash back if you use your points strategically. For that reason, I would encourage you to have a plan to extract value. If you have that plan, spend on the card that meets your needs.  If your goal is to treat a couple of family members to a night in Times Square on New Year’s Eve, it would take an awful lot of spend at 2% to get you there — three Hilton points per dollar on everyday spend starts to sound a bit better by comparison.

One reason to spend on a hotel credit card may be to achieve some level of elite status.  Many people were disappointed that Hyatt’s program changes eliminated the ability to spend your way to some elite-qualifying activity. Hyatt announced this week that it actually will be possible to achieve Explorist status via $50K spend on the Hyatt credit card. We cover how this works and whether it’s a good deal

If you’re a Marriott Elite member, your status won’t even get you free breakfast at Protea hotels in Africa — but at least you can redeem your Marriott Rewards points to see Lions, Leopards, and a Level 1 Marriott!

Rounding out hotel card news, Greg wrote about the Top 10 signup bonuses February 2017 – Where’s SPG?  I find myself still asking the title question — Where’s SPG???  Not literally — Greg explains where they land on the list. But this is why I find precise point valuations equally tedious and tenuous. Don’t get me wrong — I like having the reasonable redemption values as a benchmark.  I find those values most useful for recognizing when a redemption is clearly a bad deal. If I know that the norm is X cents per point, I generally won’t accept less.  But pegging one Starpoint at exactly 2.08 cents in value leads us to ignore the intangibles and thereby allow the Chase Southwest Airlines Rapid Rewards Plus card to somehow stand ahead of a 35k Starpoint offer.  I totally disagree with the math on that! What do you think?

Once you have your goals in mind, you have to know which card to use in order to get there.  How do you keep track of which card to use?

Finally, if you checked out last week’s article about the best cards for $50K spend, you will want to read a quick caution on the BB&T Spectrum Rewards Visa — it sounds like the offer may not quite be all it’s cracked up to be. Thanks to our loyal readers for sharing their experiences with this card!

About Nick Reyes

Nick Reyes is a (fairly) regular guy with an animalistic passion for maximizing the value of miles and money to travel the world in comfort and style. There is little in life that he loves more than finding a fantastic deal and helping you shop smarter & harder to achieve your travel dreams.

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Daniel Kimberlin
Daniel Kimberlin

Right on Nick! I agree that some people get too caught up in point values and the minutia. Isn’t this hobby supposed to be fun? I also agree that you should have a plan but also don’t be too rigid. I was amassing Marriott points with plans to turn them into a Southwest companion pass but now that isn’t going to happen because I won’t have enough points before the April deadline. Now I have a bunch of Marriott points – new strategy still collect and use them for a vacation package and score united miles. Couple those miles with other program transfers we are now planning a 2018 biz class trip to Europe and hopefully not paying hardly any cash. Planning for goals is the whole part of this that is fun for me. If I were just collecting points I would be a grumpy man.


I think most of us in the game learn the hard way what everyone tells you really is true–have a GOAL before you start randomly and frantically collecting points. I read that advice and ignored it, and am not sitting on piles of relatively useless points. I turned on a couple of friends to the hobby, told them exactly what I’d learned and how not to repeat my mistakes. Guess what?
I think it may be that you just HAVE to learn the hard way. It’s not until you look around at about the 12-18 month mark and say “why do I have 83,000 avios and 220,000 Club Carlson points again?” that you really reevaluate and start having a GOAL. Lesson learned.


You have to do whst works for you. Its not a one size fits all situation and people have different likes and dislikes. We also havd different dynamics – some travel alone others with family -. you have to do whats right for you!