How to Maximize the Hotels.com Rewards Visa Credit Card

You'll want to book both paid and award stays with this hotel credit card to get the most rewards.

Keith M. RossoFeb 8, 2021
Many or all of the products featured here are from our partners who compensate us. This may influence which products we write about and where and how the product appears on a page. However, this does not influence our evaluations. Our opinions are our own. Here is a list of our partners and here's how we make money.

The $0-annual-fee Hotels.com® Rewards Visa® Credit Card (issued by Wells Fargo) offers travelers flexibility because you can earn and redeem rewards at more than 500,000 properties around the world, including hotels, villas and apartments.

If you’re considering applying for the Hotels.com® Rewards Visa® Credit Card, here’s what you’ll need to do to get the most out of it.

Maximize the value of the sign-up bonus

Get a reward night worth $125 when you spend $1,000 on purchases in the first 3 months. The bonus works like a one-time discount to a Hotels.com booking.

If you redeem the bonus reward night for a stay that costs more than $125, you’ll pay the difference. However, if your booking is less than $125, the value of the reward will be limited to the cost of the accommodation before taxes, fees and other charges. To maximize the value of the reward, you’ll want to book a stay that costs at least $125. Otherwise, you’ll be leaving money on the table.

Pay your cell phone bill to get insurance coverage

When you pay your monthly cell phone bill with the Hotels.com® Rewards Visa® Credit Card, you’ll get automatic protection in the event your cell phone is damaged or stolen through Wells Fargo's insurance plans. If you are currently paying for third-party cell phone insurance, you can potentially save money by relying on the coverage that comes with being a cardholder. The coverage is limited to the cost to repair or replace your phone and comes with a $25 deductible and maximum benefit limit of $600 per claim and $1,200 per 12-month period.

Combine rewards from spending and paid stays

In the Hotels.com Rewards program, 10 stamps are worth one reward night. As a Hotels.com Rewards member, you earn one stamp per night on eligible paid stays. But if you have the credit card, you also earn one stamp for every $500 in purchases on your card. You can combine stamps from your everyday spending with the stamps you earn from paid stays to reach the 10 stamp threshold required to earn a reward faster.

The stamps you earn from your credit card spending have a value of $110. But the stamps you earn from paid stays have a value equal to the average daily rate of your stay, excluding taxes and fees. For travelers who book more expensive hotel stays, your reward will have a higher value because the stamps from paid stays will increase your average.

Know your travel protection benefits

Many cardholders overlook benefits that can come in handy in case of a travel emergency. The Hotels.com® Rewards Visa® Credit Card offers several travel protection benefits, including:

  • 24/7 travel and emergency assistance services.

  • Auto rental collision damage waiver.

  • Roadside dispatch.

  • Trip cancellation and interruption.

  • Travel accident insurance.

For example, cardholders get up to $2,000 per person in trip cancellation and interruption coverage in the event you have to cancel a trip or cut it short due to illness. Read the fine print to make sure your travel is insured, especially when booking an expensive trip. Getting this type of coverage with a $0-annual-fee card is an excellent perk.

The bottom line

If you shy away from annual fee credit cards, the $0-annual-fee Hotels.com® Rewards Visa® Credit Card might be a good choice. You can redeem rewards to save on stays at more than 500,000 properties — including not just major chains but also independent properties all over the world. You’ll get the most out of being a cardholder by earning and redeeming the sign-up bonus and taking advantage of the automatic cell phone insurance by paying your monthly bill with the card.

The information related to Hotels.com® Rewards Visa® Credit Card has been collected by NerdWallet and has not been reviewed or provided by the issuer or provider of this product or service.

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: