Rene's Points Rookie travel post.

Many hotels promise extra loyalty program points when you use their co-branded credit cards to pay for your stay at their properties.

For example, the IHG Rewards Club Premier Credit Card currently offers 40 points per dollar spent on IHG stays during the first year you hold the card (it dips to 25X starting year two). The Hilton Honors American Express Surpass Card (learn how to apply) rewards 12X bonus Honors points for each dollar of eligible purchases charged during stays.

Not bad, right?

But the only way hotels track your bonus elite point eligible spend is when you charge purchases to your room. I can’t tell you how many people lose out on points because they assume using the hotel credit card at the gift shop, spa, or restaurant during their stay gets them those nice bonuses. (The same thing goes with Amex Offers for hotels.)

Conversely, they expect to earn bonus loyalty points when patronizing a hotel restaurant or bar when not staying on property.

Just because you spend money on a hotel’s credit card while staying with them doesn’t necessarily mean you’ll earn all the points you think you might.

So here are some good practices for using your hotel credit card (or paying with a different card, in some situations).