Until now, I have spent much time on hotel credit cards and optimization. The first thing was a big focus on getting airline status (better seats), then on more credit card points (thank you The Points Guy!), then airline business portals (Easybiz) and then internet portals (evrewards, cashbackmonitor.com) now hotels are gradually in our view.
It's pretty clear that hotel cards let you jump status. What this does is to get you a 4x multiplier on points so in effect increasing hotels and advanced status. And like everything else it makes sense to focus on a hotel chain to maximize points. So here's a quick analysis:
The first thing is to figure out which hotels have the most valuable points
Status levels for Hotel stays.
A great point was that if you have more than $2K a year of hotel, it makes sense to get a card. With Chase, you get a 2x multiplier so a 4% reduction usually. Then if you use a portal, you can get another 2-3%. But with a hotel card, you get a 4x multiplier on points and instant status. Nerdwallet and Simpledollar has a good summary assuming The Point Guy valuations and One Mile at a Time.
- Starwood Preferred American Express. 5 point per dollar but points are worth 2.1 cents so a whopping 12%. $65 fee. And they allow transfers, so probably the top program. The Westin and the St. Regis are their top brands. Platinum needs 25 stays. They also now have crossover partnerships where you can double dip if you are flying Delta, Emirates or using Uber while staying there.
- Hyatt Visa. You get platinum status as long as you have the card (although diamond is waaay better requiring 25 stays). Main disadvantage is you only get a 3x bonus on points (rather than 10x), so a small multiplier but hyatt is worth 1.8 cents so 5.4% rebate in effect. The Park Hyatts in particular tend to be amazing (Shanghai, Tokyo, Saigon, Maldives to name a few).
Then at the lower tier:
- Hilton Honors Reserve. Gold status. $95 a year. 10 points per $1 spent and each point is worth 0.5 cents, so 5%
- Marriott Rewards Premier Card. With United, high status, you get Marriot Platinum status, so this is a nice card to have. 5 points per dollar and 0.5 cents per point so 2.5%. 1 free night per year. Silver Elite status.
YOu also have to factor in the quality of the hotels. the Hyatts at the top end (Park Hyatt Maldives) are incredible.