Which hotel credit card stays in your wallet?

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hotelcards

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!

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