Do Rewards Vary Between Brands in Each Hotel Chain?

Sep 20, 2015

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TPG Reader Charles sent me a message on Facebook to ask about earning hotel rewards:

“Do some hotels within one chain give you more points than another? If so, which Marriott and Hilton hotels give you the most?”

Hotel loyalty programs offer a pretty wide spread of earning rates. Even within individual programs, your points might vary by a factor of five or more depending on the property, your elite status level and whether you use a co-branded credit card. When you’re trying to maximize your return on a given stay, it helps to know what to expect from each hotel.

The short answer to Charles’ question is yes — Marriott, Hilton and IHG all base your rewards on the hotel. In all three cases, the lower rates are limited to a handful of lower-end brands, while stays at intermediate- and high-end hotels earn more. Here are the base earning rates for each:

  • Marriott — Earn 5 points per dollar at Residence Inn and TownPlace Suites properties and 10 points per dollar elsewhere (excluding Marriott Executive Apartments and ExecuStay hotels).
  • Hilton — Earn 5 points per dollar at Home2 Suites properties and 10 points per dollar elsewhere.
  • IHGEarn 5 points per dollar at Candlewood Suites and Staybridge Suites properties and 10 points per dollar elsewhere (excluding ANA partner hotels).
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You’ll earn more points at high-end properties like the Conrad New York.

The lower rates are actually magnified when you have elite status, since elite bonuses are calculated as a percentage of base earnings. For example, Hilton Diamond members earn a 50% elite bonus, which is worth an extra 5 points per dollar at most properties, but only 2.5 points per dollar at Home2 Suites.

Both Marriott and Hilton differentiate somewhat between the middle and upper tiers. High-end Marriott brands (like Autograph Collection and JW Marriott) and Hilton brands (like Conrad and Waldorf Astoria) earn 10 points per dollar on all qualifying charges, including dining, laundry and other services. In contrast, Courtyard Marriott, Hampton Inn and other mid-tier brands earn 10 points per dollar on room rates only. That’s worth keeping in mind if you tend to charge purchases to your room.

For their part, Starwood, Hyatt, Carlson Rezidor and Wyndham offer consistent earning rates across their respective brands, which makes calculating your rewards a bit easier.

If you have any other questions, please tweet me @thepointsguy, message me on Facebook or send me an email at info@thepointsguy.com.

Editorial Disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airlines or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

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