Advertiser Disclosure
X

Advertiser Disclosure: The credit card offers that appear on this site are from credit card companies from which MoneyCrashers.com receives compensation. This compensation may impact how and where products appear on this site, including, for example, the order in which they appear on category pages. MoneyCrashers.com does not include all credit card companies or all available credit card offers, although best efforts are made to include a comprehensive list of offers regardless of compensation. Advertiser partners include American Express, U.S. Bank, and Barclaycard, among others.

By

Dig Deeper

Get the latest news delivered to your inbox

Stash Hotel Rewards® Visa® Card Review

At a Glance
stash hotel rewards visa card
3.9 / 5
Rating

Apply Now

Stash Hotel Rewards® Visa® Card

  • Sign-up Bonus: Earn 10,000 Stash points when you spend $1,500 within 3 months of account opening
  • Rewards: Unlimited 8 Stash points per $1 spent at Stash hotels (including 5 base Stash points per $1 spent); unlimited 2 points per $1 spent on dining, gas, and non-Stash hotel purchases; unlimited 1 point per $1 spent on everything else; 10% bonus on all point redemptions
  • Loyalty Status: Complimentary Stash Hotel Rewards membership
  • Fees: No foreign transaction fee; cash advance 5% of advanced amount ($10 minimum)
  • Annual Fee: $85
  • Credit Needed: Excellent

Advertiser Disclosure: This post includes references to offers from our partners. We may receive compensation when you click on links to those products. However, the opinions expressed here are ours alone and at no time has the editorial content been provided, reviewed, or approved by any issuer.

The Stash Hotel Rewards® Visa® Card is a hotel rewards credit card with an $85 annual fee (waived in the first year) and a rewards program that favors frequent, heavy-spending travelers who prefer to stay at independently owned properties whenever possible. It includes complimentary membership in the Stash Hotel Rewards program, whose members earn points for staying at participating boutique properties. It also offers favorable point-earning rates on dining, gas, and spending at non-Stash hotels, plus modest baseline earnings on general spending.

The Stash family includes 150 to 200 independently owned hotels, resorts, and inns in the continental United States, Caribbean, and Latin America. Its properties include distinctive urban boutiques, beach resorts, historic country inns, and more, none of which are associated with major hotel chains such as Hilton. An interactive map of participating hotels, all of which allow Stash Hotel Rewards members to redeem points for free nights, is available on Stash’s website.

This card has some noteworthy perks, including a 10% point bonus on all redemptions, no foreign transaction fee, and no blackout dates. Its modest, relatively easy-to-attain sign-up bonus is welcome, but probably isn’t a make-or-break consideration for most new cardholders.

Key Features

Sign-up Bonus

When you spend at least $1,500 within 3 months of opening your account, you get 10,000 bonus Stash points. During periods of low demand at lower-end hotels, that could be enough for a free night, though you shouldn’t expect it to be sufficient by itself at most Stash properties.

Earning Stash Points

In addition to the 5 base Stash points per $1 spent that all Stash Hotel Rewards members earn on paid stays at participating Stash properties, this card earns unlimited 3 points per $1 spent on paid Stash Hotels stays, for total earnings of 8 Stash points per $1 spent on Stash Hotels stays.

Spending at restaurants, non-Stash hotels, and on gas earns unlimited 2 points per $1 spent. All other spending earns unlimited 1 point per $1 spent, including purchases at non-Stash hotels using the Stash portal.

There is no limit to the number of points that can be earned with this card, and points never expire.

Redeeming Stash Points

You can redeem your accumulated Stash points for free nights at any participating Stash property, with no blackout dates. There’s no hard redemption minimum, though it’s rare to find room nights for less than 10,000 points. Points have no fixed value – instead, their redemption value varies based on the redemption property, dates, room configuration, demand, and other factors.

As a rule, redemptions at higher-end hotels and busy travel periods (such as spring break or summer holiday weekends) require more points than redemptions at lower-end hotels and less chaotic times of year. Points are generally worth $0.01 to $0.02 apiece at redemption, but can vary outside that range. Popular, high-end properties tend to produce lower redemption values, while slower, lower-end properties tend to offer the best redemption values.

Notably, Stash points can’t be combined with cash to accelerate redemption – if you don’t have enough points to redeem for a free night at a given property, you need to wait for the required number of points to drop, accumulate more points, or look for a lower-cost property. Also, Stash points can’t be redeemed for anything other than free hotel nights – not for other travel items, general merchandise, gift cards, or cash.

Redemption Bonus

Every time you redeem your points, you get a 10% boost to the total point value of the redemption. For instance, a 15,000-point redemption produces a bonus of 1,500 points. The bonus points are credited back into your Stash Hotel Rewards account within a few days and can be used on any future redemption.

Important Fees

This card has an $85 annual fee that’s waived in the first year. There is no foreign transaction fee. Cash advances cost the greater of $10 or 5%, and late payments cost up to $37.

Credit Required

Stash Hotel Rewards Visa Signature requires excellent credit. If you have any notable issues in your credit history, your application may be disqualified.

Advantages

  1. Bonus Points on Dining, Gas, and Non-Stash Hotel Spending. Stash Hotel Rewards Visa Signature has a 2-points-per-$1 spending category that includes dining, gas, and non-Stash hotel purchases. These are broad categories that can really come in handy for frequent travelers, especially those who can’t stay at Stash hotels every time they hit the road.
  2. No Redemption Tiers. Stash Hotel Rewards doesn’t classify properties by tier or category, a confusing and sometimes seemingly arbitrary feature of most other hotel rewards programs. As a Stash member and Stash Hotel Rewards Visa Signature cardholder, you don’t have to worry about earning a specific number of points to clear a tier or category threshold. At any given property, the number of points required to redeem for a free night is a function of the underlying dollar cost of and demand for its rooms.
  3. 10% Point Bonus at Redemption. Every redemption made with this card comes with a 10% bonus. For instance, if you redeem 20,000 points, you get 2,000 points back in your account – getting you that much closer to your next free hotel stay. Many competing cards offer no such bonus.
  4. No Foreign Transaction Fee. This card has no foreign transaction fee. That’s great news for cardholders who travel abroad frequently, perhaps to Stash properties in the Caribbean. Some entry-level travel cards have foreign transaction fees ranging up to 3%, severely cutting into (or eliminating altogether) their earning power.
  5. No Blackout Dates. The Stash program doesn’t have blackout dates, meaning you can redeem your points at the time and place of your choosing, provided your chosen property has rooms available. Larger hotel rewards programs often limit redemptions to off-peak periods, limiting travelers’ choice and flexibility.
  6. Supports Distinctive, Independent Hotels. This credit card, and the Stash program itself, support distinctive, independently owned boutique hotels – giving you a chance to support independent businesses. The same can’t be said for credit cards tied to huge international hotel chains, such as the Marriott Bonvoy Business™ American Express® Card.

Disadvantages

  1. Has an Annual Fee. Stash Hotel Rewards Visa Signature charges an $85 annual fee. Though it’s waived in the first year, this fee still cuts into cardholders’ point earnings. Those who stay at Stash hotels infrequently, and those who don’t spend much in general, are likely to struggle to earn points quickly enough to offset the annual fee. By contrast, some entry-level travel rewards credit cards eschew annual fees altogether, while other hotel-specific cards charge lower annual fees – for example, the Club Carlson Rewards Visa Signature Credit Card costs just $50 per year.
  2. Can’t Combine Points and Cash. Stash doesn’t allow you to combine points and cash at redemption, meaning you need to wait to redeem your points until you have enough to cover the full cost of a night at your chosen hotel. If you’re an infrequent, light-spending traveler, this can be a major problem, as it significantly lengthens time to redemption and possibly renders the card impractical altogether. Most other hotel rewards credit cards allow you to combine points and cash for faster redemptions.
  3. Can’t Redeem for Cash or Other Non-hotel Items. Stash points can’t be redeemed for anything other than free hotel nights. That’s a big blow to this card’s – and the program’s – flexibility, and a major drawback for cardholders who value the ability to redeem for other forms of travel, cash equivalents, or merchandise.
  4. No Annual Loyalty Bonus. This card doesn’t offer an annual loyalty bonus. Such bonuses are fairly common in the hotel credit card niche, and often generous – for instance, the Club Carlson Rewards Visa Signature Credit Card’s annual loyalty bonus is worth up to 3 free nights.
  5. Thin Selection of Participating Hotels. Though the Stash program continues to add new boutique hotels, its selection of participating properties remains thin. Fewer than 200 Stash hotels operate in the U.S. and Caribbean, compared with more than 6,000 worldwide in the Marriott family and more than 4,000 worldwide in the Hilton family. Even in popular destinations, such as New York City and San Francisco, Stash Hotel Rewards Visa Signature cardholders have far less choice than those with cards tied to larger hotel families, such as the Marriott Bonvoy Boundless™ Credit Card from Chase.

Final Word

The Stash Hotel Rewards® Visa® Card definitely isn’t the most generous hotel rewards credit card around. Nor is it the most flexible or versatile. But maybe it doesn’t need to be. When you use this credit card to pay for stays at any of the 150-plus (and growing) independent boutique hotels in the Stash family, you support distinctive businesses that, in turn, support local communities in ways big hotel chains simply can’t. If you value dynamic local economies powered by real people like you, then this card – along with the Stash Hotel Rewards program – is calling your name.

Verdict
stash hotel rewards visa card
3.9 / 5
Rating

Apply Now

Stash Hotel Rewards® Visa® Card

Stash Hotel Rewards is an ideal credit card for frequent travelers who prefer to stay at (and support) distinctive boutique properties. With no foreign transaction fees, it’s useful for people who regularly travel outside the United States. And, with accelerated point earnings on dining, gas, and non-Stash hotels, it has an unusually diverse point-earning system.

On the other hand, Stash Hotel Rewards Visa Signature is not appropriate for people who value flexible rewards programs or the ability to redeem at as many properties as possible.

The Stash Hotel Rewards® Visa® Card‘s key benefits include 2x point earnings on non-Stash hotel spending, 2x points on gas and dining expenditures, the simple redemption system, the lack of blackout dates, the 10% redemption bonus, the lack of a foreign transaction fee, and support for independent boutique hotels.

Its major drawbacks include the annual fee, the inability to combine points and cash at redemption, the inability to redeem for cash or other non-hotel items, the thin selection of Stash hotels, and the lack of an annual loyalty bonus.

Overall, this is a great choice for frequent travelers who can go out of their way to redeem at Stash properties and spend enough to offset the annual fee, but it’s not ideal for travelers who value convenience and flexibility above all else.

Editorial Note: The editorial content on this page is not provided by any bank, credit card issuer, airline, or hotel chain, and has not been reviewed, approved, or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities. Opinions expressed here are the author's alone, not those of the bank, credit card issuer, airline, or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved, or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

Brian Martucci
Brian Martucci writes about frugal living, entrepreneurship, and innovative ideas. When he’s not interviewing small business owners or investigating time- and money-saving strategies for Money Crashers readers, he’s probably out exploring a new trail or sampling a novel cuisine. Find him on Twitter @Brian_Martucci.

Comments Disclosure: The below responses are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser's responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.

  • Next Up on
    Money Crashers

    Scam Wooden Blocks Letters

    7 Government Imposter Scams to Watch Out For

    Pretty much every successful scam depends on misplaced trust. To get money out of you, scammers have to get you to trust them, and one...
    Piggy Bank Calculator Savings Budget Planning Finances

    How Kakeibo (Japanese Budgeting Method) Can Save You More Money

    We live in a world where pretty much anything that can be automated is. You can subscribe to grocery delivery so fresh food shows up...

    Popular on
    Money Crashers

    Sign Up For Our Newsletter

    See why 218,388 people subscribe to our newsletter.

    What Do You Want To Do
    With Your Money?

    Make
    Money

    Explore

    Protect
    Money

    Explore

    Save
    Money

    Explore

    Borrow
    Money

    Explore

    Manage
    Money

    Explore

    Invest
    Money

    Explore