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How to Status Match with the Best Hotel Rewards Programs

Northwood, Iowa

The personal-finance site WalletHub recently ranked 10 popular hotel rewards programs on 21 factors, ranging from point values to black-out dates.

Rewards programs are great for frequent travellers, and not just because they can lead to free stays but also for the valuable perks, like upgrades, that come with membership and especially with elite status.

So what should you do if you want to try out one of the top programs, but you don’t have its elite status?  One short-cut to status is to obtain the hotel chain’s credit card, but those tend to have annual fees.

Fortunately, there’s a free way to sample status with each of the top three programs:

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Radisson Rewards Americas won first place overall.  “Some of the best features of the Radisson Rewards Americas program include bonus points for elite-level members, lots of redemption options and the ability to earn extra points with many car rental agencies,” according to WalletHub.  I enjoyed a nice stay at the chain’s Country Inn and Suites, in Northwood, Iowa.  And you can often score 2-3 percent cash-back at Radisson by booking via Rakuten.

Status Tip:  Radisson will match your elite status in most other major hotel rewards programs.  Email rewards{at}radissonhotelsamericas{dot}com with your proof of status in another program.


World of Hyatt placed second overall, and scored best for earnings policies.

Status Tip:  World of Hyatt has a partnership agreement with MGM Rewards, so:
Sign up for MGM Rewards.  Obtain MGM’s no-annual-fee MasterCard; this will give you automatic Pearl elite status with MGM, which Hyatt will match with its Discoverist elite status.


Wyndham Rewards came in third overall.  The program offers travellers up to $12.84 in rewards value per $100 spent, which is the most among major hotel programs, according to WalletHub.

Status Tip:  Wyndham Rewards has a partnership agreement with Caesars Rewards, so:  Sign up for Caesars RewardsObtain Caesars’ no-annual-fee Visa, and use it to purchase something you’d buy anyway within 90 days; this will give you Platinum status, which Wyndham will match.

Bon voyage!  


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