It is no secret that credit card sign up bonuses are one of the easiest and quickest ways to earn a lot of points to help jump-start your loyalty account. As you may already know, there are only a handful of co-branded hotel chain credit cards in Canada. So today, I will list in order what are the top hotel chains for Canadians to apply for and why. I was really torn between Marriott Rewards, Starwood Preferred Guest and IHG Rewards, as they all have some great co-branded credit cards to choose from.
1) IHG Rewards
This was a close call, but because they have 2 great credit cards to choose from, and their hotel chain is widely accessible throughout Canada, they had a slight edge.
The Capital One IHG Rewards Club World MasterCard and the Capital One IHG Rewards Club Platinum MasterCard are both excellent choices to choose from. The World version gives you automatic Platinum elite status with IHG Rewards, while the Platinum version gives you Gold elite status with IHG Rewards. The elite status are even more significant now because they prevent your points from expiring. IHG has implemented a rule where you need to keep your account active at least once every 12 months to maintain your account balance.
Another factor to consider is that MasterCard is more widely accepted than American Express, which gave IHG Rewards another slight edge.
I am also a big fan of E-Rewards, where you can do surveys to help you earn points faster. Not too many other hotels chains have survey programs to help you boost your points accounts.
I really wanted to give second place to Starwood Preferred Guest, but they just aren’t as widely accessible as Marriott. Having more locations means that there is a higher chance that you will stay with this hotel chain, so you have more chances to earn more Marriott points.
Furthermore, the Chase Marriott Rewards Premier Visa waives its first year fee, so that is definitely an edge. Being a visa card instead of American Express is also another edge.
There is no doubt that this is a very valuable loyalty program and I am very grateful to have the American Express Starwood Preferred Guest Credit Card.
I know a lot of people may not be encouraged by this options, but having American Express Membership Rewards as a transfer partner is very useful. It may not be the best rate, 2:1 ratio, but if you need some emergency points to top up your account for a reward redemption, it is always nice to have this option.
Uber linking up with Starwood is also another nice way to help boost your points balance.
Had it not been for the MBNA Best Western Rewards Platinum Plus MasterCard, 4th place probably would have gone to Hilton instead. For now, Best Western is solidly in 4th place. They are a widely accessible hotel chain Canada as well.
Two of the best factors that I love most about Best Western Rewards is that their points never expire and they have not really touched the reward redemption schedule for a long while. Every now and then a few hotels may move to another category, but there is so little movement with their reward chart.
I have been a huge fan of Best Western and will continue to be so long as they keep up their good work. The only reason why this hotel chain is not a little higher on the list is because their hotels are nothing special to cheer about. You know what you are getting, but there is no wow factors. They are a very steady and reliable hotel chain.
Hilton is a very widely accessible hotel chain, so if you stay at their hotels often enough, it should be easy to pile up the points.
There is no co-branded credit card, but they are an American Express Membership Rewards transfer partner at a 1:1 ratio, which is also the reason why they even made it to the list. Unfortunately, with its reward chart changes in the past few years, their reward nights have become very expensive.
All the other hotel chains are essentially tied in my mind. This also means that the competition is wide open for a hotel chain to make it to the top 5. Hilton’s spot is actually vulnerable to me. They can easily be replaced.