I have been asked on many occasions which hotel program makes the most sense to collect. It is no secret that the best way to jump start your loyalty account is to have a solid credit card sign up bonus. Currently, there are only a handful of top Canadian credit cards to choose from:
- Chase Marriott Rewards Premier Visa Card
- Capital One IHG Rewards Club World MasterCard
- American Express Starwood Preferred Guest Credit Card
- MBNA Best Western MasterCard
- Capital One IHG Rewards Club Platinum MasterCard
Essentially there are only 4 major hotel chains (Best Western, Intercontinental Hotel Group, Marriott and Starwood Hotels and Resorts) that have co-branded credit cards. For now, any of those 4 programs are great to choose from, because having a co-branded credit card makes it easier to earn their points. It all depends on what you want. They all have their pros and cons.
If you cannot decide on one and you have a long time horizon, then I would actually recommend to go for all 4 programs. You are better off diversifying, considering a discontinuation can hit any time, especially with the recently discontinuations of Choice Privileges and Hilton’s.
If you have a short time horizon, then I would research the hotels of where you want to go to see what are your feasible options at the destination, then sign up for the appropriate credit card.
What I see here is a lot of potential because the market is wide open for co-branded hotel loyalty programs and credit card companies to team up.