[Update: Some offers mentioned below have expired. You can view the current offers from our partners if available here — Starwood Preferred Guest credit card from American Express. Disclosure: Cards from our partners are mentioned below.]
Hotel hoppers, take note: there’s a new credit card on the market that lets you earn some extra points on stays at any hotel you patronize and charge to the card.
Traditionally, co-branded hotel credit cards are tied to a chain with a loyalty program that lets cardholders earn big points whenever they stay at one of their locations. These points can then be put toward future visits.
The new Stash Hotel Rewards Card, issued by Synchrony Bank, operates similarly. Cardholders earn three points per dollar on stays at hotels in its network. But they also earn two points per dollar on stays at any other hotel, plus two points per dollar on gas and dining and one point per dollar on all other purchases.
How the Card Stacks Up
Assessing a hotel credit card can be tricky since they typically pair with a chain’s loyalty program and there can be a lot of different ways to pool points and earn extra incentives. Figuring out which card is right for you may come down to doing some number crunching that also considers other incentives — like whatever sign-on bonus may be offered at the time you’re filling out an application, and how often or likely you are to stay at a particular chain.
One big thing to keep in mind: the Stash Hotel Rewards card may let you earn extra rewards on any old hotel stay, but, like its major competitors, those points can be redeemed only toward stays at hotels in the Stash network. This network includes 165 boutique hotels across the U.S. and in the Caribbean. Cardholders typically need between 10,000 to 30,000 points to cover a night at one of them, Stash said.
The Starwood Preferred Guest credit card from American Express — our reigning best hotel credit card in America — comparatively, has more than 1,200 hotels in its network.
Fee-wise, the Stash Hotel Rewards Card is competitive with some of the better products on the market. Cardholders pay an $85 annual fee, waived the first year, which is less than the $95 fee associated with the Starwood Preferred Guest credit card, but more than the $75 annual fee cardholders pay for the Hyatt Credit Card from Chase (both waived the first year as well.)
The Stash Hotel Rewards card carries a 15.99% variable APR and no foreign transaction fees, which is identical to the Hyatt credit card’s charges and very close to the Starwood’s (a 15.24% to 19.24% variable APR, depending on creditworthiness, and no foreign transaction fees.)
What Else You Need to Know
Remember, there are other travel credit cards out there that allow for less restrictive earning and redemption options, so if you don’t tend to frequent one chain, you may want to check out some of those products. And, ultimately, the best credit card for you depends on your spending habits and lifestyle. All those hotel stays, for example, would be lost to interest charges if you’re prone to carrying a balance. (If that’s the case, you may be better off with a balance transfer or low-interest credit card.)
If you do find a credit card that’s a good fit for you, it’s always a good idea to check your credit before applying. Credit card applications generate hard inquiries on your credit report, which could ding your score, so you may want to see if it can handle a hit. You can pull your free annual credit reports at AnnualCreditReport.com and see your credit scores for free each month on Credit.com.
At publishing time, the Starwood Preferred Guest credit card from American Express is offered through Credit.com product pages, and Credit.com is compensated if our users apply and ultimately sign up for this card. However, this relationship does not result in any preferential editorial treatment.
Note: It’s important to remember that interest rates, fees and terms for credit cards, loans and other financial products frequently change. As a result, rates, fees and terms for credit cards, loans and other financial products cited in these articles may have changed since the date of publication. Please be sure to verify current rates, fees and terms with credit card issuers, banks or other financial institutions directly.
More on Credit Cards:
- Credit.com’s Expert Credit Card Shopping Tips
- How to Get a Credit Card With Bad Credit
- An Expert Guide to Credit Cards with Rewards