Top 10: the world’s best hotel loyalty programs

Monday newsletters always feature top 10 travel lists to inspire.

Today (September 26, 2016): Top 10 best hotel reward programs.

Last week, the merger between Marriott and Starwood was finalized, which resulted in the creation of the world’s largest hotel company. It is not known yet what the long-term impact will be on the their loyalty programs, but I thought it was good time to make a roundup of the current best hotel loyalty programs in the world.

Almost all major hotel chains own a lucrative loyalty program that allow guests to earn hotel points and redeem them for discounted or free stays. Everybody should participate in these programs as they can save you tons of money as well as offer you tons of other perks. Deciding which hotel loyalty program is right for you will depend on 4 factors:

  1. The number of hotels owned by the chain (as the larger chains offer more options to earn and redeem points);
  2. The benefits that are most important to you;
  3. The countries where you travels take you to (as some chains are better represented in certain countries as compared to others);
  4. The type of hotel you want to stay at (ranging from budget to ultraluxurious).

The high-end luxury hotel chains are rather reluctant to the idea of a loyalty program, with only very few of them offering one. I hereby present you my top 10 list of the best hotel loyalty programs for luxury travel and what they offer (with pros and cons). And if you make use of them, you can exchange your hotel points for amazing award redemptions at some of the world’s most luxurious properties.

What is your favorite hotel loyalty program? Do you think I missed one? Leave a comment or take my poll below.

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DISCOVERY is the loyalty program of the Global Hotel Alliance (GHA), the world’s largest alliance of independent hotel brands. With recognition across 34 luxury hotel brands – all with their own unique character – and more than 500 hotels spread around the globe, DISCOVERY members can experience a property that truly reflects the culture and traditions of its location, while enjoying all the benefits of loyalty, including room upgrades and comfort-enhancing perks.

  • Official website: DISCOVERY
  • Review: Read here my review of the program (with pros & cons).
  • The program’s best standout feature: DISCOVERY elite members receive ‘complimentary, local experience awards’ which are rewarded based upon membership level and activity in the DISCOVERY program.
  • Hotel brands: The program includes some of my favorite brands in the world, such as AlilaKempinskiViceroyPer AquumAvaniCorinthiaGrace Hotels, and Anantara. You can access the full list of 34 brands here.


President’s Club is the complimentary loyalty program of the Canadian based, Fairmont Hotel Group. With more than 70 hotels globally, and many more in development, the Fairmont collection boasts some of the most iconic hotels in the world, including The Plaza in New York, The Savoy in London, and The Fairmont Makkah Clock Royal Tower in Saudi Arabia. Fairmont is owned by FRHI Hotels & Resorts, a leading global hotel company that operates more than 130 hotels under the Raffles, Fairmont and Swissôtel brands.

  • Official websitePresident Club
  • Review: Read here my review of the program (with pros & cons).
  • The program’s best standout feature: All President’s Club members, regardless of status, receive complimentary high-speed internet at Fairmont hotels and save 10% on Willow Stream Spa treatments and products.
  • Hotel brands: The program is valid for all Fairmont Hotels. Members also earn credits and have access to loyalty benefits when staying at Swissôtel and Raffles properties.


Named after the brightest star, the Jumeirah Sirius recognition and rewards programme illuminates the very best experiences that Jumeirah Hotels, Resorts & Residences present across the world. Members earn Jumeirah Sirius Points and exchange them for valuable rewards when they stay at one of the more than 20 Jumeirah Hotels & Resorts in the world (in destination such as Dubai, the Maldives, Frankfurt, London, and Rome). Jumeirah’s flagship hotel is the world-famous, self-proclaimed seven star hotel, Burj Al Arab in Dubai.



One of the web’s biggest travel sites, Expedia, offers a very lucrative loyalty program. Guests can earn Expedia points based on nights stayed as well as on dollars spent, dividing program members into three ascending tiers. Free membership automatically gives you blue status, followed by silver status after you spend $5,000 on eligible bookings or staying 7 qualifying hotel room nights, and gold status after spending $10,000 on eligible bookings or staying 15 qualifying hotel room nights. Points earned can then be redeemed on Expedia for future trips.

  • Official website: Expedia+
  • The program’s best standout feature: With Expedia+ you can triple dip. When you travel as an Expedia+ member, you may still be able to earn your airline frequent-flyer points and credit-card rewards points as well as Expedia+ points on applicable bookings.
  • Hotel brands: The Expedia+ program covers all hotels worldwide, as long as you make your bookings through Expedia.


When you become a HHonors member, you earn HHonors Points for staying at one of the 4,600 hotels and resorts worldwide within the Hilton Worldwide portfolio. You also earn HHonors Points whenever you travel, shop, dine or spend with Hilton’s partners, which includes airlines, car rentals, redit cards and wine clubs amon others. Rewards include free nights with no blackout dates, but you can also redeem HHonors Points with the program’s travel, shopping, dining and entertainment partners.

  • Official website: Hilton HHonors
  • Review: Read here my review of the program (with pros & cons).
  • The program’s best standout feature: Hilton is the only hotel loyalty program that allows you to earn both points and airline miles on the same stay. This “double dipping” permits HHonors members to earn 10 HHonors Base Points and one mile or kilometer at most partner frequent flyer programs of choice per eligible dollar spent at Hilton hotels.
  • Hotel brands: Members earn and redeem points across Hilton’s 13 hotel brands: Waldorf Astoria,  Conrad, Hilton, DoubleTree, Embassy Suites, Hilton Garden Inn, Hampton Inn, Homewood Suites, Home2Suites, Hilton Grand Vacations, Canopy by Hilton, Tru by Hilton, and Curio Collection.


Marriott Rewards is the complimentary hotel loyalty program of the world’s largest hotel group, Marriott. Members earn points and exchange them for valuable rewards when they stay at more than 4000 hotels in more than 78 countries, including luxury brands such as The Ritz-Carlton, JW Marriott, and EDITION Hotels. Marriott Rewards is a top class awards structure offering a three-tier system which each level having its own benefits that become more valuable as you move up in the system. Marriott Rewards and The Ritz-Carlton Rewards are identical loyalty programs.

  • Official websiteMarriott Rewards
  • Review: Read here my review of the program (with pros & cons).
  • The program’s best standout feature: The travel package award option is a very good way to redeem your Marriott Reward points, although it requires a high number of points. You convert your points in airline miles and a 7-night hotel stay. You don’t have to spend the miles at the same time, however, as they are just deposited to your chosen frequent flier account.
  • Hotel brands: Members earn points and exchange them for valuable rewards at the following brands: The Ritz-Carlton,  JW Marriott, EDITION Hotels, Autograph Collection Hotels, Renaissance Hotels, AC Hotels by Marriott, Moxy Hotels, Marriott Hotels, Courtyard by Marriott, Protea Hotels, SpringHill Suites by Marriott, Fairfield Inn & Suites by Marriott Hotels, Residence Inn by Marriott, TownPlace Suites by Marriott, Marriott Executive Apartments, Gaylord Hotels, and Marriott Vacation Club.


More rooms in more places than any other hotel company. IHG hotels provide more than 744,000 guest rooms globally, serving over 150 million guests each year. This family of nine trusted brands range from the friendly comfort of a city-center Holiday Inn hotel to the luxury of an award-winning InterContinental resort. To advance in the IHG program, all you need to do is stay at hotels in the IHG portfolio, which includes several affordable venues. The loyalty program is split into four tiers, ranging from Club to Spirit Elite.

  • Official websiteIHG Rewards Club
  • Review: Read here my review of the program (with pros & cons).
  • The program’s best standout feature: Every two to three months, for a limited time only, IHG Rewards Club releases a number of IHG PointBreaks properties where reward nights are yours for only 5,000 points for a stay in the following couple of months. From time to time, the list includes top properties, such as the Intercontinental Bora Bora. IHG Rewards Club PointBreaks is absolutely one the best hotel points redemptions in the industry!
  • Hotel brands: Members earn points and exchange them for rewards at the following brands: InterContinental, Crown Plaza, Hotel Indigo, Hualuxe, Even Hotels, Holiday Inn, Holiday Inn Express, Holiday Inn Resorts, Holiday Inn Club Vacations, Staybridge Suites, and Candlewood Suites.

3. HOTELS.COM REWARDS, which is owned by Expedia, has an excellent loyalty program, designated ‘ Rewards’, and its simplicity may be its primary selling point. When you book and stay 10 nights at eligible hotels, you’ll get 1 night free to redeem at another. works out the average value of all the 10 nights you’ve collected and gives it back to you as a free night. You will also enjoy additional benefits, such as priority customer service and hassle-free travel guarantee when you book and stay at 10 nights (Silver membership) or 30 nights (Gold membership) during one calendar year.

  • Official Rewards
  • Review: Read here my review of the program (with pros & cons).
  • The program’s best standout feature: gives freedom in your hotel choices. Members of brand-specific hotel loyalty programs tend to stay at hotels of those brands in order to receive the extra perk associated with their elite status, but that way they often pay more and miss the opportunity to stay at the very best hotel in the area.
  • Hotel brands: The Rewards program covers all hotels worldwide, as long as you book your stays via


Hyatt is one of the best hotel brands in the world, and it owns the highly respected luxury hotel chains Park Hyatt and Andaz. The World of Hyatt guest loyalty program is part of Hyatt’s ongoing commitment to making our guests feel more than welcome every time they stay. Members can enjoy exclusive benefits, such as earning five points per eligible dollar spent to redeem toward free nights with no blackout dates, room upgrades and airline miles. There are three elite tiers providing members with even more privileges.

  • Official websiteWorld of Hyatt
  • Review: Read here my review of the program (with pros & cons).
  • The program’s best standout feature: World of Hyatt highest tier members get 4 suite upgrades yearly and upon qualifying for the first time. These can be used for stays up to 7 nights and don’t require you to book anything else than a qualifying rate.
  • Hotel brands: Members earn Hyatt points and exchange them for rewards across Hyatt’s 12 hotel brands: Park Hyatt, Andaz, Grand Hyatt, Hyatt Hotels, Hyatt Regency, Hyatt Place, Hyatt House, Hyatt Zilara & Ziva, Hyatt Residence club, Hyatt Centric, and the Unbound Collection by Hyatt.


In my humble opinion, Starwood Preferred Guest (SPG), the reward program of the Starwood group, gives you the richest elite benefits in the hotel industry, including the opportunity to achieve Gold or Platinum status for life. You can earn, redeem and enjoy loyalty benefits at any of Starwood’s more than 1,300 hotels and resorts across eleven distinctive brands — including the luxury brands St. Regis, W, and The Luxury Collection — in nearly 100 countries. Unfortunately, SPG’s future is uncertain given the recent takeover of Starwood by Marriott.

  • Official website: Starwood Preferred Guest
  • Review: Read here my review of the program (with pros & cons).
  • The program’s best standout feature: The single best value of Starpoints is to transfer them to an airline partner and book free award tickets or upgrades. The list of SPG’s airline partners is impressive and the 1 : 1 conversation rate of Starpoints into miles is unmachted. In addition, you receive a 5000 mileage bonus when you convert 20,000 Starpoints into miles.
  • Hotel brands: Members earn Starpoints and exchange them for valuable rewards when they stay at one of the 1100 hotels & resorts, across Starwood’s 11 brands in more than 100 countries: Le Meridien, Aloft, Four Points, Westin, the Luxury Collection, W hotels, Sheraton, Element, Tribute Portfolio, Design Hotels, and St Regis.

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  1. I have many fond memories of various stays in IHG – InterContinental Hotels Group hotels. When I joined their loyalty program, Priority Club, it was one of the best in the world. During my various stays I racked up over 400,000 points, was a platinum member and enjoyed several privileges. The best feature of the program was “Points never expire”. Fast forward to 2017 and all of that has changed. Priority Club is now IHG Rewards Club, points expire without notification (in other words you never know when they will zero your account), they have no decency to send you an email on points expiry and then you suddenly realize that 200,000+ points have vanished from your account. I’m surprised that you rank them at #4. You should visit their Facebook page and see the comments that actual loyalty program members have on their program.

  2. You cannot rank Hyatt’s new program that high. The old one I agree was great. The new program that went into effect March 1st is a disaster. They’ve cut the point payouts in half, put 120 day expiration dates on their free night vouchers, the free night vouchers are no longer good at their resorts, and they don’t give you the suite upgrade or best room available at many of their hotels. Been rejected 2 or 3 times already this month. Each time I was able to book online. I gave the new program a chance. I tried it for a month and frankly I’m stunned at how poor it is. Sadly I need to find a new program.

  3. Thanks for this. What comments do you have about Accor? Even though I quite like their range of hotels and the 2 for 1 at restaurants, I have just dropped them, mainly because of their marketing and fee structure.

  4. I agree with the post about IHG. It is not what it was. Recently I tried 2 of their “guarantees”. I tried to use the “Best price guarantee”. They waited 2 days until the lower fare on Ctrip expired to tell me that there is no such price. Moreover stated that the room type I booked was not matching any of their room types… like the online travel agents are offering rooms that do not exist in their hotel. As it was the cheapest room I booked on their site obviously the room offered by Ctrip matches any type of room (i.e. lower than the cheapest room on IHG website). The second “guarantee” they failed to match just few days later is the “72h availability guarantee for Spire members”, i.e. if you request a room in any hotel 72h in advance they must meet your request… Nothing of that happened. I requested about 2 weeks in advance to book a room in Taipe that was not available for some of the nights I wanted to book and they came back that the hotel cannot confirm the availability. What the word “guarantee” means for them? Apparently not what it means for us. I suspended any further bookings with them and canceled few that were refundable. Maybe will just make one more stay with them as I am close to extend my Spire membership for 2018 and use the 800,000+ points I have in the next few months. I am looking for alternative loyalty program. Any recommendations are welcome. I stay average 70-80 nights per year in a hotel. Or maybe stick with the online booking sites like Agoda or Expedia that give you more cash-like rewards that you can use at any hotel?

  5. Love to read all of comments for hotel loyalty programs and happy to know the loyalty reward programs for top hotels. I would like to add one more loyalty reward program, which is not well known but yet is great and I’ve enjoyed it. And it is for the Mont Calm properties in London & the reward program run through the Mont Calm Club.
    I’m not saying that it is the best, but you can avail a free night stay at any of the Mont Calm property in London, and also you can get the points on spend of every pound.
    I think who is going to book hotels in the Mont Calm properties, should be aware about this.

  6. I often wonder why none of these hotels offer a loyalty program like Jameson Inns did several years ago (before they were acquired and taken private). The program offered $10 worth of Jameson Inns’ publicly traded stock for every $100 spent at a Jameson Inn. It was called “Invest While You Rest”. When that program ended because there was no more publicly traded stock to offer, the members of the program complained and said they didn’t want the check that they were to receive – they wanted their stock!

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