[Update: Some offers mentioned below have expired. You can view the current offers from our partners here — Starwood Preferred Guest credit card from American Express. Disclosure: Cards from our partners are mentioned below.]
If you didn’t already know, yes, it’s true. Like most major hotel brands, Trump Hotels has a loyalty program that rewards frequent guests. The Trump Privileges Program is a little different, however.
To start with, membership is free and signing up on the Trump Hotels website takes only a moment. Right away, the program offers members the ability to customize their stays beyond just requesting a high floor or a room near the elevator. Preferences such as specific turn-down times, room temperatures, choice of pillow sizes and fillings (there are 11 different options), and even preferred snacks in the mini bar also are available. There are also members-only offers, welcome amenities upon arrival, plus prioritized early check-in and late check out.
“The Trump Card Privileges Program is our way of saying thank you,” the firm says on its website. “Knowing that no stay should feel like the first, we aim to ensure your experience is as personalized as you want it to be.”
Once members reach Exclusive Gold status (earned through 10 stays or 25 nights), they also bump up to guaranteed late checkout at 2 p.m., complimentary category upgrades (based on availability) and a $10 mini-bar credit. Exclusive Platinum members (earned through 25 stays or 50 nights) receive a guaranteed 4 p.m. late check-out, complimentary suite upgrades (based on availability) and a $15 mini-bar credit on top of the standard membership perks.
When it comes to earning free stays, the Trump Privileges Program is pretty comparable to other luxury hotels. As is standard, frequent guests pile up points that can used on costlier benefits, such as free rooms. With these, the devil is always in the details, and in the math.
Here’s one example: Standard members get 10 points per stay. (Those who have reached status levels get bonus points.) Free nights cost between 150 to 300 points, based on location (rooms start at around $350 per night in some locations based upon our research). That means you’ll have stay 15 to 30 nights in a Trump hotel before earning a free room.
By comparison, the Starwood Preferred Guest program, while using different numbers, boils down to something similar. There, standard members earn two points for each dollar spent. Free rooms we checked out in New York City cost from 12,000 to 30,000 points. So roughly, 20 stays at $300 a night gets a free Starwood room in Manhattan.
Of course, value hotel loyalty programs are a bit more generous, but the luxurious amenities are nowhere to be found. At La Quinta, for example, guests earn 10 points per dollar spent, so roughly 1,000 points per stay. Free rooms can often be had for 8,000 to 12,000 points, or eight to 12 stays. (Please note: Points program math has many permutations — bonus points! blackout dates! — so these are merely examples.)
Earning points through the Privileges Program is likely to become easier in the near future as the brand expands and opens new properties. Trump Hotels has announced plans to open less-pricey properties under the brand name Scion, which will cost $200 to $300 per night. No word yet on how many points will be earned for stays.
If you’re looking to boost your hotel rewards earning power, you may want to consider a rewards credit card affiliated with your favorite hotel brand. We’ve rounded up a list of some of the best hotel rewards credit cards available today. If you’re loyal to a brand like Trump that doesn’t have an affiliated credit card, you can always look at improving your rewards with a cash back rewards card. You can compare some of the best cash back rewards cards here.
Remember, you’re going to need good credit to qualify for most rewards credit cards. If you don’t know where your credit stands, you can get your two free credit scores right here on Credit.com.
Bob Sullivan contributed to this article.