What’s the Most Rewarding Hotel Rewards Policy?

What’s the Most Rewarding Hotel Rewards Policy?

stack of colorful credit cards

As a business traveler, you have seen your fair share of hotels, each with their own way to reward travelers for staying. However, not all rewards programs are created equal, and business travelers looking to earn upgrades and free nights faster for business, leisure or ‘bleisure’ (while staying within policy, of course) can earn them faster with Marriott, according to a recent study.

Rewarding Travelers: An Apples-to-Apples Hotel Rewards Comparison

According to the Hotel Reward Payback Survey, participants in Marriott Rewards receive on average 9.4% on every dollar spent ($9.40 for every $100), compared to 8.9% from Hilton HHonors, 8.6% from IHG Rewards, and 6.1% from Starwood SPG.


The study, released by Switchfly, a technology company that powers travel commerce & loyalty point redemption solutions, and IdeaWorksCompany, a research company focusing on ancillary revenue, research and loyalty, looked at the four aforementioned rewards platforms’ basic levels, completing 1,440 reward queries for key hotel brands of each rewards program.

Querying 360 dates per reward program, the study performed searches for the same 18 dates at identical global destinations (example: 18 February 2016 in Beijing, or 06 February 2016 in Chicago) to provide a base for comparison.

For each query, the lowest reward price in points was recorded along with the corresponding price in US dollars. The value provided by points was adjusted to consider the different rates of point accrual for the programs.

Why Booking Smarter Matters for Business Travelers

For business travelers, using rewards points efficiently pays off, as the ‘return on points’ ranges from extremes of 2.5% (12,000 points for a $150 room (SPG)) to 24% (30,000 points for a $479 room (Hilton HHonors)) depending on cities and dates traveled. This is due to brands raising or lowering prices for prime or non-prime nights or weekends while maintaining a standard point use system.

With less than half of travelers using rewards programs according to a Harris Poll and only 23% of millennials—soon to be the largest group of business travelers—enrolled in one of these programs, hotels are looking for ways to become more flexible, generous and accommodating with rewards points.

For instance, Marriott is working to enhance its rewards program: expanding points sharing from spouses and partners to allow sharing among friends, advancing points to members short on points and working with the communities surrounding the hotels to allow points to be used for non-hotel purchases.

Taking Loyalty Further: Premiere Memberships and Branded Cards

For travelers looking to take their rewards further, we recommend choosing a hotel-brand rewards card or taking on premiere memberships that offer quicker points accumulation and perks, such as free Wi-Fi or late check-out for travelers.

From Rewards to Rapid Reimbursements

Reap the rewards, stay in policy and get reimbursed quickly. Nexonia Expenses offers automated credit card feeds for over 19,000 worldwide banks, allowing users to track credit card transactions and align them with the right expense reports.

For business travelers using personal credit cards or travel-branded cards to take rewards further, this simplifies the reporting process, meaning that you get reimbursed faster.

Learn more about Nexonia credit card integrations and book a personalized demo.

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