You might as well join the loyalty program of any hotel where you stay. Enrollment costs nothing, and several programs give at least minor benefits as soon as you join. If you value hotel points but are only an occasional traveler, try to focus your stays on those programs in which points do not expire.
Most programs that offer airline-miles earning require that you select either the hotel points or the air miles. If your focus is on airline miles rather than hotel points, the loyalty programs of Hyatt, IHG, Marriott, and Wyndham are favorable. Hilton's unique double-dip earning in both hotel and airline programs is especially attractive, as is Starwood's transfer option.
Many travelers have concluded that the Starwood credit card, with its potential 25 percent transfer bonus, is a better bet than some airline cobranded cards. But if you don't care for airline miles, you can stick with the hotel points.
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