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Stash Hotel Rewards Credit Card
Annual Fee: $85 (waived 1st Year)
Credit Needed: Good
Rewards Program and Signup Bonuses*:
- Earn 10,000 Stash bonus points when you make $1,500 in purchases during the first 90 days
- Annual fee is waived for your first year (normally $85)
- Earn 3 points at Stash hotels; 2 points at other hotels, gas and dining; and 1 point on everything else
- Earn 10% of your points back when you redeem
- No foreign transaction fees
- No blackout dates and points never expire
- Access to Stash network deals
Intro Balance Transfer
15.99% Variable APR on Purchases and Transfers
Overview of the Stash Hotel Rewards Card
Do you skip big chain hotels in favor of smaller boutiques and one-of-a-kind hotels when you travel? If so, the Stash Hotel Rewards card may get your attention. This unique credit card, launched in 2015, is not attached to any hotel chain. Instead, Stash is a rewards program offered by a group of independent hoteliers throughout the United States and the Caribbean.
If you're always in search of the next great adventure and you love unique experiences, here is what you need to know about the Stash Hotel Rewards card.
How the Stash Rewards Program Works
The Stash Hotel Rewards Visa is definitely unique. Most major hotel chains offer co-branded cards and loyalty programs. But, until Stash, there was no program for independent hotels to encourage loyalty.
Stash Hotel Rewards was launched in 2010 to allow travelers to earn reward points for any hotel stays, even stays at hotels that are not affiliated with the program. And the Stash Rewards Visa credit card was introduced in 2016.
According to Stash founder and CEO Jeff Low, the Stash Visa allows travelers to earn points faster or faster than other hotel loyalty programs. Low claims the Stash card, on average, earns free nights faster than any other program, including the popular Chase Sapphire Preferred.
The Stash Rewards program is fairly straightforward. You earn:
- 3 points per $1 at Stash-affiliated hotels;
- 2 points at other hotels, gasoline, and gas; and
- 1 point per $1 on everything else.
The drawback to the card are:
- Your points can only be used for free stays at Stash-affiliated hotels
- You can't earn Stash points if you book a reservation through a third-party booking site like Hotwire.com.
- The program has no membership levels like most hotel loyalty programs.
While these drawbacks are not deal killers, they make the card of limited use for more infrequent travelers. But, if you know you are going to stay at a Stash hotel at least once in a given year, Stash is correct that you can earn a lot of rewards points using their card - and that those points can bring you significant savings.
How Far Do Your Points Go?
The number of Stash points you need for a free night at a Stash hotel depends on several factors like occupancy rate and the season. This can make it tricky to predict how many points you will need for a free stay.
Stash does provide a few examples. A free stay at the Artmore Hotel in Atlanta starts at 8,225 points, while a night at The Lenox Hotel in Boston starts at 17,854 points.
Please be aware that having tiered returns on your rewards points depending on the hotel is typical of all hotel chain rewards cards.
Stash Rewards Member Deals
As a member of the Stash Rewards program, your benefits will include access to special deals. You can also take advantage of these deals to earn extra points, discounts, and even dining credits.
For example, as of January 2016, a stay at the Park South Hotel in New York includes 20% off the best available rate and triple points. And a stay at the Cliff House at Pikes Peak in Manitou Springs, Colorado, provides you triple points plus a $30 dining credit.
Size of the Stash Hotel Network
The Stash Network is currently comprised of a small but growing number of independent hotels in the United States and the Caribbean. There are now more than 150 hotels in over 100 cities.
You can find current Stash hotels by clicking here.
The Stash Rewards card normally comes with an $85 annual fee. This is waived for the first year.
Other fees include a late fee of up to $37 and a cash advance fee of 5% (but no less than $10).
Is the Stash Rewards Visa a Good Bet?
The Stash Rewards Program is definitely unique and a welcome addition to the travel card lineup for travelers who appreciate flexibility and often find themselves seeking out unique hotels. Still, the program isn't without drawbacks.
One big consideration is the fact that the free stays you earn can come at a higher cost than staying at chain hotels. The independent hotels in the Stash Network are often significantly more expensive than chain hotels. (They may also be significantly more upscale than a typical chain hotel.)
Another problem is the card has trouble competing with non-branded travel rewards cards like the Barclaycard Arrival Plus® World Elite Mastercard®, which earns a flat 2 points per $1, and a 5% bonus on all rewards redeemed for travel expenses. That card also allows you to redeem your points for non-travel related expenses.
Despite this, the card can be attractive compared to hotel branded credit cards that only earn boosted rewards when you stay at a specific chain and force you to remain loyal to one brand to redeem points. Plus, the card does offer an attractive rewards program.
If you appreciate luxurious and one-of-a-kind stays off the beaten path, the Stash Rewards Visa is certainly worth the consideration. At the very least, you can take advantage of great deals on unique hotels while earning points toward future travel.