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Hotel credit card for cross-America road trip.

Etroupas 220 160 December 21, 2015 at 10:50 PM in Travel (2)
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Hi folks,

I am planning a 1-2 month trip from coast to coast in late summer or early fall of 2016. I am hoping to rack up some miles, both through introductory bonuses and from general spending, before that time so I can get perhaps a week or two of hotel nights for free.

I have an airline credit card (Southwest) and several general points cards (AmEx, Chase Freedom, Citi Forward) but no hotel cards, nor do I have experience with them or know much about them. Are there clear winners for points value/points building efficiency?

I don't really have a preference for any given chain. I tend to stay in Best Westerns, Holiday Inns, or Hampton Inns when traveling fwiw.

Any advice or guidance would be greatly appreciated!

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#2
Well there is a Best Western branded CC so that would be a good choice if you plan to stay there.

My wife and I stay at La Quinta almost exclusively (as our pets travel with us). The LQ Visa has a decent signup bonus (though you now need $10K spend to earn the second part of the bonus) and earns 5 pts per dollar spent on top of the standard points, plus you automatically get Elite status in the LQ rewards program with the Visa. Elite gets you more points per dollar spent and free room upgrades if you happen to stay during a slow period (we've only been upgraded twice though FWIW out of 20+ stays).
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#3
I would definitely go for the Chase Sapphire Prefered Card.

The bonus is great right now 50,000 points -and the points transfer to a bunch of partners. Add an extra user and earn 5000 more points. Some of the transfer partner are Hyatt, Southwest, Marriott and IHG . The annual fee is waived the first year. I love this card and keep it because it's so flexible and easy to transfer points.

And/Or the IHG Card. They have some great budget hotels-Holiday Inn Express- and the bonus is high right now too. Or both cards Smilie

The IHG is $45 a year and you get a free night every year even if you don't spend anything.bounce

Enjoy!
Jana
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#4
Nomad here.

I've lived across the country and have tripped across many times. Hotels, camping, and car sleeping. Also motorcycled from chicago to Southern cali.

To give you better advice, it really depends in more detail, how you intend your trip to be.

Do you want to stay at a hotel every night? Do you need a nice bed or do you not mind sleeping on the floor, camping, hostel, or car?

very different answers depending on how much hotels you want to stay at. There aren't many types of inns in the rural areas of the country.

When you book with a hotel booking site, you can rack up your stays.


If you are trying to save money. Sleep in between your car off the streets or camping spots and get an inn every few days or so.

Get a 24 fitness pass for restroom ammenities in between hotels.

Be glad to help further.
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#5
Quote from ManUpOrShutUp View Post :
Well there is a Best Western branded CC so that would be a good choice if you plan to stay there.

My wife and I stay at La Quinta almost exclusively (as our pets travel with us). The LQ Visa has a decent signup bonus (though you now need $10K spend to earn the second part of the bonus) and earns 5 pts per dollar spent on top of the standard points, plus you automatically get Elite status in the LQ rewards program with the Visa. Elite gets you more points per dollar spent and free room upgrades if you happen to stay during a slow period (we've only been upgraded twice though FWIW out of 20+ stays).
Get a service or emotional animal service licences for $45 and you are allowed to bring your dog anywhere. They can ask if it is a service animal, but they can not ask for the license by federal law.

I live around the hotels in vegas and bring my dog everywhere with no question.
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#6
Note that falsely claiming a service animal when it's not is now a criminal misdemeanor in Florida. This law was passed at the request of the 'legit' service animal owners who feels like the 'emotional support animal' crowd is screwing it all up for them by misusing the rule.

There's usually a 80K points offer out there for IHG with pretty reasonable spend, and that can get you 4-8 nights at an assortment of Holiday Inn Express/ Holiday Inn/Candlewood Suites properties. It also gets you platinum status, which is a 50% (non-elite qualifying) points multiplier for future stays and there's often an additional general public promotion that will get you even more points for signing up and hitting specific stay goals. Current one is called Accelerate.

See also the thread in this section for the IHG Priceless Surprises promotion that lets you rack up points using mail-in Alternate Method of Entry to pick up a bunch of additional points.

The complaint I hear about the Hilton family (Hampton Inn, etc.) program is that it's often more about perks on paid stays than it is about free nights. So great if you want free breakfast at the Hilton but harder to get a free night at a Hampton.
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#7
I travel for work and prefer IHG and Hilton properties. Get a rewards card for each hotel chain you use and then check the websites at least 1x a month. They frequently run "specials"....ie double points, triple points.....but you have to sign up. Best Western will match any status level you have with another hotel chain. In other words, I am Diamond level with Best Western but rarely stay there.
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#8
If you've got a couple of stays at an IHG/Holiday Inn property in 2015 that show up in your IHG Rewards account and you get the credit card (instant Platinum Elite) ASAP, Hilton is doing a status matching program until January 11,2016 with the comped status good for the year:

https://hhonormystatus.hiltonapps.com/

Not sure what that would get you (it's open to all but they're really trying to peel off Starwood customers unsure about the Marriott merger) but even a one level up to Silver can get you some bonus points and a few other perks.

Hyatt's also doing a status match right now but they're got a smaller footprint and Hyatt Place tend to be a little more expensive than a comprable Hampton Inn or Holiday Inn Express.
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