The World's Most Rewarding Hotels, Ranked by Their Loyalty Programs

Travel information site says travelers throwing away free money when they refrain from joining the offerings from large chains.

NY: Starwood Hotels and Resorts Worldwide
Ivan Flores—Ivan Armando Flores/Sipa USA

The best hotel in the world, viewed through the lens of its rewards program, is Starwood Preferred Guest, according to a study released Tuesday.

Starwood edged out Wyndham Rewards in the analysis from ThePointsGuy.com, a provider of travel information, which took a look at the loyalty offerings from 10 major international hotel programs. 

“We are continually amazed by the number of travelers who arrive to a hotel, are invited to join the chain’s program, and turn down the opportunity. From our perspective, that’s simply throwing away free money,” said Nick Ewen, an analyst at the site.

In devising its rankings, the analysis gave a 40 percent weighting to ease and value of earning and redeeming points, 10 percent weights each to the number of hotels and rooms, perks and elite status, and a 7 percent weight to percentage of luxury properties. It gave 5 percent weights to geographic spread, co-branded credit cards, promotions and non-hotel aspects, and then a 3 percent weight to percent of economical properties.

Starwood Preferred Guest claimed the top slot due to its high percentage of luxury properties, with Wyndham Rewards checking in at second place, just behind Starwood but well ahead of World of Hyatt, its next closest competitor. Hyatt, which excels when it comes to its percentage of luxury properties, narrowly placed third ahead of Hilton Honors. 

The overall ranking:

  1. Starwood Preferred Guest
  2. Wyndham Rewards
  3. World of Hyatt
  4. Hilton Honors
  5. Le Club AccorHotels
  6. Marriott Rewards
  7. IHG Rewards
  8. Best Western Rewards
  9. Choice Privileges
  10. Club Carlson