Travelers searching for hotels often face a difficult choice: Do you pick a property that’s part of a massive loyalty program like Marriott Bonvoy or Hilton Honors just because you can earn rewards? Or do you pick the hotel you really want, even if it means you won’t earn points toward future stays?
With Stash Hotel Rewards, it’s not an either-or proposition. Stash members enjoy some benefits of the big loyalty programs, earning and redeeming points at more than 1,000 distinctive properties in the United States, the Caribbean and Latin America. But because the properties are independently owned and operated, you can get away from the big name brands and stay at a highly rated, one-of-a-kind hotel or resort.
» Learn more: The best travel credit cards right now
What hotels participate in Stash Hotel Rewards?
Stash Hotel Rewards properties vary in size and amenities. They can include smaller inns and boutique properties, but also larger hotels with sizable amenities like health clubs and meeting facilities. On average, Stash Partner Hotels have between 150 and 200 guest rooms.
The historic Hotel El Convento in San Juan, Puerto Rico, which is also a member of Small Luxury Hotels of the World, participates in the Stash program. So does the charming Hotel Providence in Rhode Island, among many others.
Stash Hotel Rewards divides its properties between Stash Partner Hotels and Stash Approved Hotels. Stash Partner Hotels guarantee free wireless internet for loyalty program members. Also, for Stash Partner Hotels, the company is more involved in reservations and customer service.
Reservations for Stash Approved Hotels are processed by Booking.com, which means customer service may not be the same as they are not directly connected with the Stash Hotel Network.
You can earn points at both types of hotels, but you can only redeem points for a free night at a Stash Partner Hotel, not a Stash Approved Hotel.
To search or browse the more than 1,000 participating properties around the United States, the Caribbean and Latin America, you can use the map on the Stash website or download a PDF list of Stash Partner Hotels (Stash Approved Hotels are not included in the file).
The website also has a list of pet-friendly Stash Partner Hotels, which is a nice feature that would be nice for more hotel brands to provide.
How do you earn Stash points?
To earn points, join the program before you book your stay. Members earn 5 points for every dollar they spend on an eligible room rate at a Stash Partner Hotel. At a Stash Approved Hotel, members earn 3 points per dollar. Rooms must be booked directly with the hotel or through the Stash Hotel Rewards website to earn points.
You can also earn 1 Stash point per dollar at some non-Stash hotels if you book through the Stash website. Families will be glad to know that you can earn points on two rooms for the same night at the same hotel.
You do not, unfortunately, earn points on other room charges like dining or spa services. And the program does not offer elite status for frequent users. But on the upside, you don’t have to give up bonus points that larger hotel companies typically offer through promotions. Stash Rewards offers bonus point deals and discounts too, listed right on its deals page.
After you stay at a participating property, your points should post to your account within 14 days. If they don’t, contact member support.
» Learn more: The best hotel credit cards right now
How do you redeem Stash points?
There are no blackout dates for redeeming your points, there are no property categories and your points have no expiration date.
The number of points you need for a stay varies based on local demand and rates. So it can be hard to know how many points you need for a free stay without knowing your specific dates of travel. If you like award charts, like Hyatt’s and Marriott’s, that specify the number of points needed for a room, you’ll probably consider this a disadvantage of the Stash program.
To find out how many points you need for a free night, do a search for your destination. Toggle the “Pay with Points” button once the search results for your city appear.
A hotel search result may occasionally say “Request Availability” instead of listing a points rate. In that case, a member can ask the program to reach out to the hotel and let you know the points rate within one business day.
The bottom line
The Stash Rewards program can offer a nice alternative to the big loyalty programs and chain hotels. Just check your destination and dates online. Then, if you find a hotel you like, sign up for the program. It’s free, and you’ll start earning points for a future stay.
How to Maximize Your Rewards
You want a travel credit card that prioritizes what’s important to you. Here are our picks for the best travel credit cards of 2021, including those best for:
Flexibility, point transfers and a large bonus: Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card
No annual fee: Bank of America® Travel Rewards credit card
Flat-rate travel rewards: Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card
Bonus travel rewards and high-end perks: Chase Sapphire Reserve®
Luxury perks: The Platinum Card® from American Express
Business travelers: Ink Business Preferred® Credit Card