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For travelers who love booking lodging through Hotels.com, the $0-annual-fee Hotels.com® Rewards Visa® Credit Card, which is issued by Wells Fargo, can make sense to keep in your wallet. Considering it has a $0 annual fee, applying for this card can be a lot less of a commitment than a premium travel credit card — many of which have annual fees that are multiple hundreds of dollars.
Making purchases on it can help you earn rewards that can be redeemed at more than 500,000 properties around the world besides simply hotels. Book through Hotels.com, and you can probably find a property that matches your needs. Large group travelers might book a villa while people who prefer home-like amenities like a kitchen might go for an apartment. And the adventuresome crowd might even book a yurt.
While the $0-annual-fee Hotels.com® Rewards Visa® Credit Card might not be worth it for every traveler given a few drawbacks (including no bonus earnings categories and a relatively low earnings rate even when compared to other no annual fee travel credit cards), there are still ways to maximize your card ownership to get free room nights, elite status and more.
So if you’re considering applying (or perhaps you already have it), here’s what you’ll need to do to get the most out of the Hotels.com® Rewards Visa® Credit Card.
How to get the most out of the Hotels.com® Rewards Visa® Credit Card
Maximize the value of the welcome offer
Get 2 reward nights worth $250 total (max $125 per night), when you spend $1,000 on purchases in the first 3 months.
That basically means that if you redeem the bonus reward night for a stay that costs more than $125, you’ll pay the difference — so think of it more like a one-time discount for that Hotels.com booking.
It also means that 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, book a stay that costs at least $125 per night before all those extra taxes and fees. Otherwise, you’ll be leaving money on the table.
» Learn more: Five benefits of booking with Hotels.com
Combine rewards from spending and paid stays
The Hotels.com Rewards program is a loyalty program that earns members one stamp per night on eligible paid stays. Accumulate 10 stamps and redeem them for one reward night. The reward night’s value is the average cost of the nightly rate you paid to earn those 10 stamps.
Hold this credit card, and you have another way to earn stamps beyond just frequent hotel stays. For every $500 in purchases on your card, you earn one stamp.
Unlock the stamps earned for paid stays; these stamps have a value of $110. Assuming you redeem your stamp for a room that costs at least $110 before taxes and fees, that effectively means that for every $500 spent on your card, you earn 2.2 cents of value toward hotel night stays.
Flex your Silver status
If you’re looking for elite status in the Hotels.com Rewards program, holding this card is an easy way to earn it. Cardholders receive automatic Silver status.
Benefits of Hotels.com Silver status include:
Access to member-exclusive prices, dubbed “Secret Prices.”
Freebies (that vary by location) but can include free breakfast, Wi-Fi and spa vouchers at VIP Access properties.
Price Guarantee Plus, which is the company’s promise to match and refund the price difference if you find the same stay at a better price (as long as you notify Hotels.com before the first day of your check-in time). You'll need to register a Price Guarantee Plus claim.
Priority customer service phone line.
Stay often (and ideally at VIP Access properties) to see the benefits of your status materialize.
Pay your cell phone bill to get insurance coverage
While the perks on the Hotels.com® Rewards Visa® Credit Card can feel limited, here’s one bright spot: It’s one of the best credit cards that offers cell phone insurance and also has a $0 annual fee.
When you pay your monthly cell phone bill with this card, you’ll get automatic protection in the event your cell phone is damaged or stolen.
If you’re currently paying for third-party cell phone insurance (or you don’t have it at all), you can potentially save a lot of money with this benefit. 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. So, you’ll basically have to pay $25 out of pocket, and Wells Fargo will cover the rest up to $600.
» Learn more: What to expect from Wells Fargo's cell phone insurance
Leverage your travel protection benefits
Many cardholders overlook benefits that can come in handy in case of a travel emergency. Especially given the uncertainty of travel these days, it can be a wise move to always travel with trip insurance.
Book travel with the Hotels.com® Rewards Visa® Credit Card, and your transportation costs may be covered if you need to change or cancel your trip. This card’s trip cancellation and interruption benefits pay up to $2,000 per insured person for nonrefundable common carrier tickets (like airfare or ferry tickets) if impacted by a covered reason (such as you getting sick). Spouses, domestic partners and dependent children are also eligible for coverage.
While not the most comprehensive travel credit card coverage out there, it’s pretty decent when it comes to travel cards with no annual fees. Other travel protection benefits on the card include:
24/7 travel and emergency assistance services.
Auto rental collision damage waiver.
Travel accident insurance.
Use it abroad
Swipe this card when you’re traveling internationally, as there’s no foreign currency conversion fee for purchases converted to U.S. dollars.
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 through paying your monthly bill with the card.
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 2022, 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