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Current State of Co-branded Hotel Credit Cards in Canada

UPDATED [JAN 29, 2018]- Thank you everyone for all the feedback, I passed on the information in the comment section to as many contacts as possible. Please feel free to continue to share your thoughts in the comment section below.

The situation continues to deteriorate with the recent closure of grandfathered Chase Marriott Rewards Premier Visa. Last year, I wrote a post about the Best Hotel Loyalty Program for Canadians to Collect, but with another shift in the industry, it looks like that post was due for an update.

In the past few years, I have exclusively redeem hotels points for all my stays. Rarely have I had to pay for a hotel night. However, as hotel partnerships continue to terminate with credit card companies in Canada, this trend will be very difficult to continue in the near future.

Below are the top ways to earn hotel points without actually staying at the hotels to accumulate points.

1) Starwood Preferred Guest / Marriott Rewards

Since Marriott bought out Starwood, they are now classified together. Note that you can transfer Starwood points to your Marriott account at a 1:3 ratio (i.e. 1 Starpoint equals 3 Marriott points, or vice versa). Fortunately, there are still some decent options in earning Starpoints, as listed below:

  • American Express Starwood Preferred Guest Credit Card ($120 annual fee, earn 20,000 sign up bonus after spending $1,500 in the first 3 months)
  • American Express Starwood Preferred Guest Business Credit Card ($150 annual fee, earn 20,000 sign up bonus after spending $1,500 in the first 3 months)
  • American Express Membership Rewards program (convert 1,000 Membership Rewards points for 500 Starpoints, with a minimum transfer of 1,000 Membership Rewards points); note that this includes all co-branded Membership Rewards cards.

At some point, there will be a full integration. So I would stockpile your Starpoints while you still can. The hope is that a new credit card company will partner with Marriott.

2) Best Western Rewards

MBNA continues to offers its co-branded Best Western Rewards MasterCard that has a standard offer of 20,00 sign up bonus points. But we have seen 40,000, 50,000 and 60,000 sign up bonus points promotions as well.

Many have had trouble linking their Best Western Rewards account with MBNA, since they do not have a very straightforward way of linking the accounts. So be prepared to put in some follow-up work to ensure that you receive your points.

That being said, this has been an amazing offer for those of us who enjoy Best Western points.

3) Hilton HHonors

Even though there is no co-branded credit card with HHonors, they are a transfer partner of American Express Membership Rewards a 1:1 ratio. In the United States, their American Express Membership Rewards program has recently upgrade to a 1:2 ratio (1 Membership Reward points gets you 2 HHonors points). I really hope to see this upgrade in Canada, to at least 1:1.5.

What would be more amazing to see is a co-branded credit card as well.

What has been happening

They are dropping like flies. Look at the list of co-branded hotel credit cards that have closed in the last few years, including any grandfathered cards:

What is most frustrating is not that the credit cards are being discontinued, but that there have no been any new ones being introduced to the market.

What I would like to see

Simple, ANY new co-branded hotel loyalty credit card.

What can we do?

Please share, in the comment section below, which co-branded hotel branded credit card you would like to see introduced to the market. If there is enough demand, we will do our best to forward the information to the hotel chains to generate some buzz!


    1. Yeah, would be nice, as Amex has it already in the US. Hope to see it in Canada.
      Earn 50,000 Hilton Honors Bonus Points after you spend $1,000 in purchases on the Card within your first 3 months of Card Membership. No AF card.

  1. I think an interesting one would be Le Club AccorHotels since they have Fairmont now but that’s only a dream – Accor doesn’t have co-brands and Fairmont only had a Card in the U.S. despite being a Canadian chain!

    Alas our market is just too small to have so many co-brand cards and the big banks and coalition programs have such a stranglehold on our market that it is hard to enter our market. On top of that I have always said the non-frequent travellers don’t recognize brands like IHG or Choice – they recognize Holiday Inn and Quality Inn. So when a card is labeled IHG they have no clue it is for places like Holiday Inn.

  2. Would love to see another bank step in to take Marriott. It has been my fave card for a while. Loved that you received 15 nights towards gold each year.

  3. ANY hotel….really. Understand the population is much greater in US but find it very frustrating when our neighbours to the south have a plethora of loyalty cards and saw they just announced another new one. Sure there is info on how to sign up for US cards but as an average Canadian, meeting the requirements for sign up bonuses in US funds isn’t easy unless one is willing to use the card in Canada. However, when time to buy usd to pay the bill our Cdn banks then get their ftx fees despite the fact the cards having no ftx fees. So again the Canadian banks come out ahead .

    1. 100% agree with you Gwen.
      I found a solution which works for me or those who travel down South a lot, simply open a US bank account (Chaise for example) deposit USD there and pay for US card.

      1. I have a US based bank account to pay my US bill so that’s not the issue. The issue is that one still needs to purchase US dollars in Canada to pay the US bill. So when getting the US funds from the bank to pay the bill (i only earn income in Cdn dollars) the Canadian banks are getting their FTX fees which is proven to be a higher exchange rate than using a no ftx credit card like the Chase Marriott. Therefore the minimum spending requirements for the bonuses in the US will be much more costly.

  4. The email I got from Marriott (not from Chase) about my Marriott Rewards credit card closing said this:

    “With change comes new adventures, and we’re here to reassure you that exciting news is on the horizon! We will be reaching out in the coming weeks with more information.”

    That suggests to me that there are concrete plans for a new credit card partner in Canada. (Of course, that could just be consolidating the SPG and Marriott cards with Amex, but I’m hoping for something more than that.)

  5. We should be thinking of what can we do to discourage Best Western from following the fleeing crowd…They are the ones that should be hearing noises of appreciation from us, even if they don’t have all the bells and whistles that we appreciate. After all, consider their recent promo of ten thousand points for any NA night in December and January!

  6. SPG is another transfer parter of MR with 2:1 ratio. Canadian MR isn’t in good state as Aeroplan became useless by 2020, BA Avios is pure joke with fuel surcharge(unless use it towards to AS or AA for shorthaul) and i wouldn’t even bother mention about EY and CX programs.
    I rather transfer MR to SPG instead of HHonor. It is 2:1 however still much valuable than HHonor points.

  7. I will become a customer of whichever banks that will launch any hotel card. I sure miss my IHG card that gave me Spire elite status and will miss the Marriott card.
    I have never stayed at a Hyatt but will do so if I had their card which will dilute my SPG stays.
    Would also like to see a card for a sky team airline member like Delta/KLM.

  8. Would it not be better to get the Amex Cobalt (5 points for food/drink, 2 points for gas, and 1 point for the rest), convert those points to SPG rewards (2:1) and then to Marriott Rewards (1:3), instead of SPG Starwood Amex and only get 1 point per dollar, convertes to 3 Marriott Rewards points?

    I would lose Gold status by getting Amex Cobalt, but it’s cheaper (10$/mo plus free supplementary card, instead of 125$ per year plus 50$ per supplementary card with SPG Amex).



    1. Yes, definitely a great options. I lumped all the American Express Membership Rewards cards together in one line (under SPG). The point of the post was the list the different options.

      Anyway, I added a line to clarify this point. Thanks for pointing it out Michael!

  9. Thank you everyone for all the feedback, I passed on the information in the comment section to as many contacts as possible. Please feel free to continue to share your thoughts in the comment section.

  10. I miss Marriott visa card. Visa is acceptable everywhere. I do not know why Marriott discontinued the card in Cabada. The Marriott card is still available in USA with better points and value.

  11. Starwood Amex Merger moving forward effective August is rather deceptive. First they are reducing the point value of Amex Starwood card from 3:1 to 2:1 ,a reduction of one third. Then, they have also dramatically increased the points required . For example I used to stay at four points Sheraton in Niagara falls @3K points. They have already increased points required to 10K a whopping more than 300% increase . Effective August it translates 30 K points and 40K points in so called high season. Earning 40K points will require 20K usage on Amex which makes it useless. I think they are going to destroy the Starwood . Incidentally is there any card which focuses toward some senior incentives and the Market??

    1. I am trying my best to hold off jugdment until we get concrete details. I suspect they are still working out the details as we speak, so nothing should be set and stone at the moment anyway.

  12. Perhaps you can give them this ffeedback, togather with a suggestion to be the first to come up with some senior incentives..Thanks

  13. As a retired senior, before these changes, I could spend 3 K on Amex Card and earn a free night at Four points Sheraton in Niagra Falls Canada Now, as in the above example, I will need to spend 20 K to earn the same one night . Please ask them how do such a whopping increase of almost 700% Justified?? Thanks.

  14. I have been an avid user of the SPG AMEX and it was quite simply the best around. From the customer service on the telephone to every little perk, it was amazing and I have loved the program. However, I have not had such luck with Marriott despite using their visa in the past. The customer service was sub par. Their points system is of way lower value than what I have been used to. I am deeply disappointed in the merger and the 30% devaluation of the points right away and then the inflation of the cost per night with increased cost with peak times. I am DEFINITELY looking at alternatives. My 40K in spending a year will likely go to next best program. Sadly. Incidentally for you Niagara Falls Four POINTs fans, that hotel has changed its point cost before. For the longest time it was 7000 points and was still of value. When it went to 3000 points, it was beyond amazing. However keep in mind that weekday costs in off season can be as cheap as $79. Going to 10K is just disappointing and I will likely pay to stay elsewhere at that rate. My opinion is that even with our complaints SPG won’t care, because essentially there is no SPG left. SPG, it’s been a good run. You will be well missed.

  15. You only get 2 Marriott points now per 1 SPG point ( 33% less), not impressed. Everyone needs to contact the President, Arne Sorensen.

    1. Hi Greg,

      At this point, I see this as a brand new program, rather than comparing it to the past.

      But I definitely encourage everyone to express their comments. The more feedback that they get, the better! I hope that we provided a useful platform for people as we do pass on comments to our contacts the best we can.

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