Best Business Hotel Loyalty Program for Credit Card Rewards 2016-2017
Best Business Hotel Loyalty Program for Credit Card Rewards:
IHG Rewards Club
First up, there’s a distinction to be made here. When you’re talking about earning hotel loyalty rewards through credit card spending you’ve got to consider both the everyday cards that are tied to hotel points and the cards offered by the hotel chains themselves.
It’s an important distinction, and it’s worth keeping in mind as we move on that you’re better off keeping your chain-specific card at the number 2 or 3 spot in your wallet rotation and using an all-around card as your primary choice. You just get more versatility and practicality by going with a traditional choice for everyday spending.
Luckily IHG makes things easy by offering the best of both worlds.
The IHG Rewards Club Select Card is a winner right of the bat with a competitive annual fee of $45 (which you won’t pay in the first year), and two strong incentives to get spending straight away.
On sign-up you’ll get the chance to earn 60,000 points by spending $1,000 in the first three months. The points allocation is pretty standard for a hotel card, but the $1,000 threshold is very generous. By comparison the HHonors card asks for a $2,500 spend and the Marriott Rewards equivalent makes you cough up $3,000 to get your bonus points.
But the nicest sign-up perk is the automatic Platinum Elite Status. That’s the second highest class IHG offers (and they only added the top Spire Elite level last year) and it would normally take you 40 stays in a calendar year to earn. With Platinum status you’ll get a 50% points bonus on all base points you earn, along with all the free upgrades, free internet, and check-in priorities you’d expect.
The points earning system is competitive enough at 5 points per dollar spent at IHG properties, 2 points per dollar at participating gas stations, grocery stores, and restaurants, and a 1 for 1 conversion elsewhere.
You’ll get a healthier return on in-house spending with the popular HHonors Surpass Card from Amex – 12 points per dollar within the Hilton network – and Surpass members will earn free nights quicker. However, you’ll be paying a much higher annual fee ($75) with Surpass, and you’ll be hit with a 2.7% foreign transaction fee should leave the country for work, where the IHG card has no such fees.
IHG loyalty members also benefit from one final advantage. The group is one of only three hotel chains (along with Hyatt and Marriott) to be a transfer partner with the Chase Sapphire Preferred card, and few all-around credit cards get travellers as excited as this one.
You’ll get 50,000 points as a sign-up bonus if you can crack the $4,000 spending barrier in the first three months, and you can transfer that across to your IHG Rewards Club account at a 1 to 1 rate. And you can boost that bonus figure by a further 25% if you spend it through the company’s own Ultimate Rewards site.
The card’s travel and dining benefits are available on transactions worldwide, as opposed to Amex’s US-only offers, and come in at a healthy 2 points per dollar ratio.
You’ll hear some travellers complain, and rightly so, that the Sapphire doesn’t entitle you to any status upgrades with its partner hotels, and the annual fee of $95 is a little steep if you’re not a regular traveller (and why no anniversary sweeteners to offset that fee?).
But if you’re looking to add a flexible, far reaching credit card to your hotel loyalty card, the IGH and Sapphire combination is the best for regular business travellers.
Credit card, cash, or app, you shouldn’t be paying full rate to get your points and perks. With JetLux, you can pay up to 40% off using our exclusive corporate rate while retaining all the benefits and privileges of membership. Sign up today to get started.
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