Earning Sweet Dreams

By Sherry Morris

Don’t fly often? Do you pay your credit card balances in full every month? If the credit card interest rates aren’t an issue, consider earning hotel rewards instead of frequent flyer miles or cash back bonuses. By charging your family’s normal daily transactions, you can earn free nights at your favorite hotels.

We opted for a Visa Card and an American Express Card that accrue points toward free stays at the hotel chain we prefer, the Hilton family. For every dollar charged to the Visa Card, we earn two points toward hotel stays. For every dollar charged to the American Express Card, we receive three points. The dollars spent at the hotels in this group are rewarded with five points. Free nights can be redeemed for as little as 10,000 points.

We charge everything possible: gasoline, groceries, retail shopping, restaurants, postage, online purchases, eBay wins, we even have our cellular phone bill and newspapers automatically billed to our American Express Card. Just from our normal monthly budgeted expenses, we typically amass enough points each year to enjoy a week of free nights at a first class hotel, anywhere in the world. The room and all relevant taxes are included; there are no fees to us, unless we indulge in valet parking, room service or in-room movies.

The whole family enjoyed three free nights in a luxury apartment style suite at the Homewood Suites by Hilton in Minneapolis, across the street from the Mall of America. My son and I spent two free mesmerizing nights in front of a 42” plasma screen TV in our room at the Millenium Hilton in Manhattan, overlooking the World Trade Center site. My daughter and I enjoyed three days in a room with an ocean view at the Cocoa Beach Hilton. For a family on a fixed income, we are able to visit some nice places.

If you see me smiling at Wal*Mart as I run my American Express Card through the scanner, it’s because I’m calculating my points and dreaming of the next getaway.

For those of you interested in turning your daily purchases into sweet dreams, here is a listing of hotel families offering credit cards to enhance their frequent guest programs:

For Best Western, you can find information on their Gold Crown Club and link to their Best Western Platinum Master Card from Juniper Bank at http://www.goldcrownclub.com. Call toll free at 1-800-237-8483.

For Comfort Inn and Suites, Quality Inn, Sleep Inn, Clarion, Main Stay Suites, Econo Lodge and Rodeway Inn, you can find information on their Choice Privileges Rewards Program and link to their Choice Privileges Visa Credit Card from Bank of America by visiting http://www.choicehotels.com. Call toll free at 1-888-770-6800.

For Hilton Hotels and Resorts, Conrad Hotels, Doubletree Guest Suites and Hotels, Embassy Suites Hotels, Hampton Inn and Suites, Hilton Garden Inn, or Homewood Suites by Hilton, you can find information on their Hilton HHonors Rewards Program and links to their Platinum Credit Card from American Express and their Visa Signature Card from Citibank, by visiting http://www.hiltonhhonors.com. Call toll free at 1-800-445-8667.

For Holiday Inn Hotels and Resorts, Holiday Inn Express, Intercontinental Hotels and Resorts, Crowne Plaza Hotels and Resorts, Staybridge Suites and Candlewood Suites, you can find information on their Priority Club Rewards and link to their Platinum Visa Card from Bank One by visiting http://www.ichotelsgroup.com. Call toll free at 1-888-211-9874.

For Marriott Hotels and Resorts, Renaissance Hotels, Courtyard, Residence Inn, Fairfield Inn, Towne Place Suites and Spring Hill Suites, you can find information on their Marriott Rewards and link to the Marriott Rewards Visa Signature Card from Bank One at http://www.marriott.com. Call toll free at 1-800-932-2198.

For Sheraton Hotels and Resorts, Four Points by Sheraton, Westin Hotels and Resorts, St. Regis, The Luxury Collection and W Hotels, you can find information on the Starwood Preferred Guests Program and link to their Starwood Preferred Guest American Express Credit Card by visiting http://www.spg.com. Call toll free at 1-888-625-4988.

©2007 Sherry Morris


  1. Mona // August 20, 2007 at 1:46 PM  

    Sherry, I agree with you about using AE. I spent a few lovely days at the Paris Hilton overlooking the Eiffel Tower, compliment of AE and the points accrued. Great blog by the way.


  2. Sherry Morris // August 20, 2007 at 5:25 PM  

    How dreamy, Mona. Tell us about Paris, please!

  3. Mary Marvella // August 23, 2007 at 1:29 AM  

    I might just need to print this page for future reference! Good work!

    Mary Marvella