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What are my favorite hotel cards? It really is all about perks and value!

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Rene’s Points For Better Travel, a division of Chatterbox Entertainment, Inc. has partnered with CardRatings for our coverage of credit card products. Rene’s Points For Better Travel and CardRatings may receive a commission from card issuers. Opinions, reviews, analyses & recommendations are the author’s alone, and have not been reviewed, endorsed or approved by any of these entities. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.


my spg ihg and club carlson cards rene delta points blog

As you can see from the photo above, I hold three primary hotel cards and I use them! I use them for the points, the perks and all the other little bits that make staying away from home just a bit better (and more reasonable to afford). They are:

Let’s break these down one by one and why I hold and really like each one. Most would agree that StarPoints are some of the most valuable points anyone can collect. They can be sent to a HUGE number of partners. For me, personally, I most times spend my points on rooms as that is real value to me. Plus, by just holding this card, I get 2 stay credits and 5 night credits. This has been so important year after year to help me get and keep my Platinum SPG status and all the perks that elite status gives me when staying at SPG hotels.

Next we have the Club Carlson card. Once again the same rules apply when looking at a card. The points they give you are very nice when you first get it. Plus, you can get the new card bonus over and over. Also, when you HOLD the card, you get GOLD status for free and the perks that come with it. The last and maybe greatest perk is getting two nights for the price of one on points when you book two nights in a row. My wife also has this card so when staying say 4 nights somewhere we book two on my points then two on hers. Perfect!

The last card is just a forever keeper for me! The free night certificate at any IHG hotel (when there is space) can pay for YEARS of the $49 fee. Plus, IHG Platinum status is included when you HOLD the card. Plus this card comes with 70,000 bonus points after spend and you can get those bonus points AGAIN if it has been more than 24 months since you got them last time (please e-mail me for a link for this card).

So there you are. It really is that simple. I do call each year for a retention bonus and I suggest you do that not just with these cards but with ALL your travel cards. I am pleased with the treatment I get from these chains as well as the cards and they all save me a bunch of cash each year when on the road – René
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Editorial Note: This content is not provided by American Express. Any opinions, analyses, reviews or recommendations expressed in this article are those of the author’s alone, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by American Express.

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Rene’s Points For Better Travel, a division of Chatterbox Entertainment, Inc. has partnered with CardRatings for our coverage of credit card products. Rene’s Points For Better Travel and CardRatings may receive a commission from card issuers. Opinions, reviews, analyses & recommendations are the author’s alone, and have not been reviewed, endorsed or approved by any of these entities. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.


Responses are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser's responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.

René de Lambert is a contributing writer and the founder of RenesPoints. He is an avid Delta and SkyTeam flyer who has held Delta’s top Diamond Medallion status for many years and flown millions of miles.

10 Comments

  1. I also love the IHG card. For the 24 month thing: do you need to cancel at 24 months? And then just call and get it again? Or can you have multiple open versions?

    Does this 24 month thing apply to all chase cards? I’ve this on the CSP too.

    Finally, can you churn Starwood? I cancelled mine awhile back.

    • @Gurl – See other comment about IHG. Starwood personal is 1x ever (for now). Biz card, cancel, wait 365+ days, get new card bonus again! 😉

      • Thanks Rene! I am horrible with keeping track of when I cancelled. With IHG it’s pretty easy because I can just cancel after I renew the second year (or cancel right when that comes due). But with spg, I don’t remember when I cancelled. Can you call Amex and have them check records?

        Also for IHG, what would you do: pay the second annual fee and get the free night? Or cancel right at year 2?

        • @Gurl – I think you can call. I just keep track (mostly I ended up 3 weeks too soon once and got ZERO points). With IHG I would book the room with the cert before you cancel to make sure it is done!

    • @Geoff – I am not a Hyatt guy. Nothing wrong with them, just not my choice.

  2. Are you saying you keep the IHG card and get the bonus points again every 2 years?

    • @Blake – No, you can cancel, wait a bit (like 91+ days), and if it has been more than 2 years since you got the bonus the first time, get it again!

  3. Carol Hammonds Reply

    So do you flat out ask therm for a retention bonus? I have canceled a few cards and no one ever comes out and offers me a bonus to stay… I’ve only been offered waiver of annual fees.

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