Do I Get Luxury Hotel Benefits When I Book With Points?
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TPG reader Drew sent me a message on Facebook to ask about getting hotel benefits:
“Can I get Visa Signature hotel benefits just for staying at a participating property, or do I have to use a Visa Signature card and book through Visa's website? For example, could I get the same benefits by booking with points through Chase Ultimate Rewards?”
Many travel rewards credit cards feature benefits specific to the card network, which come in addition to those offered by the card issuer or co-branded loyalty program. Some of these perks are useful but fairly mundane, like lost luggage insurance and extended warranties on purchases. On the other end of the spectrum, Visa, MasterCard and American Express all offer hotel benefits that can be highly lucrative to frequent travelers, including upgrades, meal credits and even free nights. The key is knowing how these benefits operate, since there are some limitations.
Visa Signature cardholders have access to the Luxury Hotel Collection, which provides benefits at more than 900 properties worldwide. In order to receive those benefits, you need to have a valid, US-issued Visa Signature or Visa Infinite card (like the Marriott Rewards Premier Credit Card or the Chase Sapphire Reserve), and you have to use that card to pay for your stay. There's no way around it; you simply won't be able to book without an eligible card.
You must also book your room through the Luxury Hotel Collection website or by calling a Visa concierge. Stays booked directly with the hotel or through other channels are not eligible to receive benefits. Unfortunately, that includes the Ultimate Rewards Travel Portal, which means you won't be able to redeem those points for your stay — at least, not efficiently.
Chase does allow you to swap Ultimate Rewards points for cash in the form of a statement credit on your card, or a deposit into an eligible checking or savings account. However, you'll only get 1 cent per point when you redeem this way, so I don't recommend it. I list Ultimate Rewards points at 2.1 cents apiece in my most recent valuations — between the various transfer partners and other redemption options, there are better ways to use your points.
Similar rules apply to other credit card hotel programs, like Amex Fine Hotels & Resorts. You'll need to book through the website or concierge and use your eligible card to pay. That will generally exclude you from using other benefits like 4th Night Free on the Citi Prestige Card, so you'll have to decide which ones are more valuable based on your itinerary.
On the bright side, you'll earn points for your stay as you would normally. If you have a selection of eligible Visa cards, make sure to use one that earns a bonus for travel purchases so you can maximize your hotel spending.
For more tips on using credit card hotel benefits, check out these posts:
- Using Visa Offers to Find Travel Discounts and Promotions
- Maximizing Chase's Luxury Hotel & Resort Collection
- Saving with The Hotel Collection and Amex Premier Rewards Gold