The Most Valuable Hotel Rewards Programs in 2022
(NerdWallet) – Navigating hotel rewards programs can be a daunting task. From point-generating promotions to elite status upgrades and thousands of other factors, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed. Yet, for most travelers, it all comes down to two simple variables:
- How many points you earn with a hotel loyalty program for every dollar spent.
- How much are these points worth.
In other words, if you earn one point for every dollar spent at a hotel and each point is worth a penny, you earn one penny for every dollar (1%) in rewards. Breaking it down to this single number allows us to directly compare hotel rewards programs to each other and determine which offer the best – and worst – value.
Don’t worry if this starts to look like a stress-dream math problem. Our NerdWallet team crunched the numbers to identify which hotel loyalty programs actually offer the best value.
We collected and compared hundreds of actual room rates to determine each hotel brand‘s rewards point value, then calculated the rewards rate (i.e. the rate of rewards you earn per dollar spent) for each program. This rate can help you determine the best hotel rewards programs. It also gave us a new way to think about which hotel has the best loyalty program in 2022.
Using data to determine these rankings means we never know how they will evolve until the final spreadsheet is tabulated. This means that the end results are as much of a surprise to us as to anyone else.
What is happening here? Basically, we’re saying if you spend $100 at a Radisson hotel, you’ll earn about $12 in rewards points. That’s pretty good, assuming you’re actually using the dots. On the other hand, if you spend $100 at a Hilton hotel, we estimate you’ll get around $5 in rewards back.
Of course, there are other important factors to consider when choosing a hotel and its rewards program, such as elite status benefits and hotel quality. But our rewards rate gives a simple overview of hotel brands that actually offer good value on their main rewards product: points.
Focus on the most valuable program
Why did Radisson Rewards do so well this year? A few reasons. Radisson offers a whopping 20 points per dollar spent at most US properties, far more than any competitor. In the past, Radisson’s generous point distribution was offset by low point values, but that value has rebounded this year, from 0.3 cents per point in 2020 to 0.6 cents per point in 2021.
That’s far from a stellar value per point on its own compared to, say, World of Hyatt’s 1.9 cents per point.
Yet the point of this analysis is not which hotel program offers the highest currency, but which offers the best combination of high-value currency and generous allocation of that currency.
An important note: Radisson Rewards recently split its program between its hotels in America and elsewhere in the world. This analysis applies only to its Americas program.
Hotel point values
The above rankings apply to earning and using points in the traditional way – on hotel spend. But what if you’re considering a points promotion or credit card offer that involves a lump sum of points? For example, choosing between a promotion that earns 100,000 Hyatt points or 100,000 Marriott points.
Our regularly updated points and miles ratings show how the raw value of these currencies varies.
|Hotel program||Point value|
|Best Western Rewards||0.7 cent.|
|IHG Awards||0.8 cent.|
|Hilton Honors||0.5 cent.|
|The world of Hyatt||1.9 cents.|
|Marriott Bonvoy||0.7 cent.|
|Radisson Rewards||0.6 cent.|
|Wyndham Rewards||0.9 cent.|
Hotel point values differ widely, which means you should pay close attention to the actual value of any promotion by multiplying the above values in cents per point by the number you hope to earn.
It’s like any currency; $150,000 is very different from £150,000. And earning Hyatt points is far more valuable than earning the same number of Marriott points.
Key points to remember
This can all be a lot to keep track of, especially if you’re new to the points and miles hobby. Here’s the gist:
- Radisson Rewards Americas offers the most valuable hotel rewards program in terms of the value you can earn per dollar spent with the brand.
- World of Hyatt offers both the most valuable points and the second most valuable rewards rate.
- Always convert promotional point bonuses to actual dollars, so you can compare them to each other.
These rewards values aren’t the only thing to consider when choosing a hotel loyalty program, but they’re a good start. The numbers show that programs like Radisson and Hyatt are willing to put their money — or at least their points — where their mouths are.
How to maximize your rewards
You want a travel credit card that prioritizes what’s important to you. Here are our picks for the best travel credit cards of 2022, including which ones are best for: