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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!

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Pointshogger aims to provide analysis and updates on earning loyalty reward points and maximizing the value of your points. We hope to inspire our readers to experience the joy of travel and make the most out of what they've already got!

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