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While we mostly cover chain hotel programs, we certainly recognize the value of independent properties. They can provide unique and/or boutique experiences, sometimes in fascinating locations where chain hotels couldn’t or wouldn’t go.

But, if you’re used to chain hotels, it might be strange to book a stay at an independent one, where you might not be sure what to expect. Will you get free internet? How about free breakfast? Will you be able to get early check-in or late check-out?

This is where independent hotel loyalty programs can fill the gap. Last January, we shared three such programs with you. But now another program has burst onto the scene: Wanup. Launched in September 2016, Wanup has already signed on 400 hotels and is constantly adding more. Wanup partner hotels range “from urban boutiques and business hotels, to beach resorts and rural B&Bs.”

So far, all of these hotels are in Europe — primarily focused in the company’s home base of Spain — but according to a Wanup representative the company plans to start signing up hotels in North America by the end of 2017.

Benefits

Just for signing up for the program through Wanup’s website, you’re going to get a €10 ($11) “welcome voucher” for your first stay. And, starting with your first stay, you’ll get benefits and earn credits toward future stays. Benefits are based on how many eligible nights you’ve stayed within the last 365 days:

Here are the benefits of being a Wanup elite.

That’s right; even on your first stay, you’re guaranteed to get free Wi-Fi, food and beverage discounts, early check-in and late check-out. In addition, you’ll earn 3% of the cost of your stay as a credit toward future stays anywhere in the network. On your eighth night, you’ll be bumped up to a 4% cash-back rate and get a slightly larger food/beverage discount.

Free breakfast benefits start after 34 nights. Image courtesy of Forget Me Not Plus, a Wanup member hotel.

But, the real benefits kick if you stay at least 35 nights per year: room upgrades, free parking, free breakfast and other perks and amenities depending on the hotel. On this perk, Wanup references: “Think gin and tonic on a rooftop bar in Barcelona or a classically British afternoon tea in Oxford.” Plus, you’ll start getting 5% cash back toward future stays.

Speaking of this “travel cash,” you’ve got 24 months to use these credits toward a stay. The good news is that there doesn’t seem to be a minimum amount that you have to apply toward a booking; you don’t have to save up enough to redeem for the whole stay. So, as long as you stay at least once every two years, you shouldn’t lose these credits.

Bottom Line

If you’ve got a European trip coming up and there isn’t a chain hotel where you want to stay, you might as well check out Wanup’s hotel options. If you find one that’s appealing, sign up to save $11 off your first booking, perks starting on your first stay and start earning travel credits toward future stays.

Since Wanup offers solid elite benefits — starting on your first night and getting better from there — we’re looking forward to the program expanding outside of Europe soon. Having a massive network of independent hotels will make getting elite status easier and make stays more rewarding.

Featured image courtesy of Monastero Santa Rosa — a Wanup member hotel.

The Platinum Card® from American Express

The American Express Platinum card has some of the best perks out there: cardholders enjoy the best domestic lounge access (Delta SkyClubs, Centurion Lounges, and Priority Pass), a $200 annual airline fee credit as well as up to $200 in Uber credits, and mid-tier elite status at SPG, Marriott, and Hilton. Combined with the 60,000 point welcome offer -- worth $1,140 based on TPG's valuations -- this card is a no-brainer for frequent travelers. Here are 5 reasons you should consider this card, as well as how you can figure out if the $550 annual fee makes sense for you.

Apply Now
More Things to Know
  • Earn 60,000 Membership Rewards® points after you use your new Card to make $5,000 in purchases in your first 3 months.
  • Enjoy Uber VIP status and free rides in the U.S. up to $15 each month, plus a bonus $20 in December. That can be up to $200 in annual Uber savings.
  • 5X Membership Rewards® points on flights booked directly with airlines or with American Express Travel.
  • 5X Membership Rewards points on prepaid hotels booked on amextravel.com.
  • Enjoy access to the Global Lounge Collection, the only credit card airport lounge access program that includes proprietary lounge locations around the world.
  • Receive complimentary benefits with an average total value of $550 with Fine Hotels & Resorts. Learn More.
  • $200 Airline Fee Credit, up to $200 per calendar year in baggage fees and more at one qualifying airline.
  • Get up to $100 in statement credits annually for purchases at Saks Fifth Avenue on your Platinum Card®. Enrollment required.
  • $550 annual fee.
  • Terms Apply.
  • See Rates & Fees
Intro APR on Purchases
N/A
Regular APR
N/A
Annual Fee
$550
Balance Transfer Fee
See Terms
Recommended Credit
Excellent/Good
Terms and restrictions apply. See rates & fees.

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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