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SPG vs Hyatt vs Marriott vs IHG
Hello damn helpful people! Thanks to your help previously, I have another question:
I have a family of 4 (two teens) and we stay in hotels 4-6 times a year. Nothing fancy, usually in between campgrounds, we need a shower and a pool to swim in. However, with the new foray into gathering free plane tickets, I think we may take one more trip a year that will not allow us to pack all of our camping gear, thus needing hotel stays.
I have been researching the following cards: [B]Hyatt, Marriott, Starwood and IHG.[/B] My wife and I each have 3 Chase cards that have been opened in the past 4 months, so we are acquiring UR points – I will use most for airfare to Europe in 2017. Of the 6 Chase cards, 2 are co-branded. We also have one other non-Chase card each – so we have each opened 4 cards in the past 5 months. One of those is AmEx Hilton, which I wish I never had, but will have 76k points on it.
So, my questions:
[B][I]1. Which of the 4 hotel cards is the best for my situation?
2. This will be our 5th card in the past 24 months, so should it be a Chase card?
3. Should I plan on getting a hotel for a couple of nights in Italy with the potential of “free” nights that some of the cards offer?[/I][/B] If not Italy in 2017, all of our nights will be domestic.
We are based near Seattle if that helps.
1. It depends on where you are planning to go, what hotels are available there, and what the redemption rates are. The Chase issued cards might be marginally better since those programs offer the option to top up with UR points. However, that’s not a great value and something to avoid if possible. Again, consider a solid cash back card that will work for airbnb or vacation rentals instead of the points you’ll need for (I’m assuming) two teens and the two of you.
2. The Chase rule currently applies to UR earning cards although this has been rumored to be expanded to other lines for a while. Since I believe you already have most of the UR earning cards you should be all set. If you want to be conservative you could apply for another Chase card first.
3. While you can use them anytime, free night awards are best leveraged at expensive, exclusive properties maybe for an anniversary or special event. It would be shame to blow it on an entry level hotel.
Well, I’m being realistic and we would probably not be using the free nights in expensive places. So it sounds like hotel cards may not be the way to go for us.
I do have plans to max out mileage offers on Barclay and Cap One (2 each). That would net us $1720 towards travel expenses and then use them no more.
Yes, and start building a cash reserve, either with a double cash or just putting some money aside for use for lodging.
Well, if you stay at more than 0 hotels per year you should have the IHG card — that one is a no-brainer, for both of you.
So that will take care of two nights. For the others — are you thinking 4-6 [I]stays[/I] or 4-6 [I]nights? [/I]That impacts my answer a bit.
Thanks for catching that [USER=7]@Tiffany[/USER]–forgot the IHG provides certificates for any hotel every year as opposed to say Hyatt and Marriott where the any property certificate is only for the sign up bonus and annual certificates are for lower category properties.
[USER=1752]@gooseisloose55[/USER] You may know this already but most of the certificates and free nights are only valid on entry-level rooms. Especially in Europe, those rooms may not sleep 4 people so you’d need 2 rooms. While Hilton charges a lot of points, they’re actually pretty easy to accumulate with their credit card card and points can be redeemed for non-standard rooms. I got what amounted to a 2BR condo in Fiji for 3 people using Hilton points.
[QUOTE=”Tiffany, post: 17082, member: 7″]Well, if you stay at more than 0 hotels per year you should have the IHG card — that one is a no-brainer, for both of you.
So that will take care of two nights. For the others — are you thinking 4-6 [I]stays[/I] or 4-6 [I]nights? [/I]That impacts my answer a bit.[/QUOTE]
4-6 nights. Sounds like that does not change the IHG advice, right?
How about SPG? It seems that everyone loves that card, almost feels like it has the same rabid following as the Sapphire card.
[QUOTE=”MidSouth Skier, post: 17089, member: 184″][USER=1752]@gooseisloose55[/USER] You may know this already but most of the certificates and free nights are only valid on entry-level rooms. Especially in Europe, those rooms may not sleep 4 people so you’d need 2 rooms. While Hilton charges a lot of points, they’re actually pretty easy to accumulate with their credit card card and points can be redeemed for non-standard rooms. I got what amounted to a 2BR condo in Fiji for 3 people using Hilton points.[/QUOTE]
What level is entry level? 1-4?
[QUOTE=”gooseisloose55, post: 17099, member: 1752″]What level is entry level? 1-4?[/QUOTE]
The Hyatt card has 2 free nights with a minimum spend when you first sign up. Those 2 nights can be used at any hotel in the world. I’m using mine in June at the Park Hyatt New York. On your card anniversary date you get a free night as well. This free night can only be used at a category 1-4 property. There are still some really nice properties in that category.
[USER=184]@MidSouth Skier[/USER] is talking about the category of rooms within the hotel. The categories we mentioned earlier compare across different hotels.
The SPG card is great but most people use it primarily to transfer miles to partner airlines although there are valuable hotel options too.
Ok, now I am very confused. Since we will only be using 4-6 nights of hotel stay each year AND will probably not be using nights in expensive places AND do not know exactly where we will be staying over the next year…..help! Where does this leave me? Should I still get IHG? Should I just pay for these $150-200 hotels and not bother with a card?
The IHG card offers a nice combination of bonus points at sign up and a free night every year on your anniversary at any IHG property. The annual fee for the card is $49 so essentially you are getting two well discounted nights a year. This is why [USER=7]@Tiffany[/USER] called it a no brainer since it will give you at least two free nights a year.
[USER=1752]@gooseisloose55[/USER] — Didn’t mean to confuse you! Let me see if I can make a post with more details, because I’m sure you’re not the only one with these questions.
But there is definitely a solution for you! 4-6 nights is easy with cards, so you can save a good amount of money still.
Thanks Tiffany. With the 5/24 rule continuing to evolve, I want to make sure that I make the right call on the Chase cards.