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Hotels and car rentals can be a significant expense for frequent travelers, but with the right credit card, there’s a way to effectively earn 10% back in rewards on these purchases. And depending on how you redeem your rewards, you could get a return of 15% or even more if you’re savvy.
The Chase Sapphire Reserve® earns 10x points on hotel and car rental bookings made through the Chase Ultimate Rewards travel portal (after earning the card’s annual $300 travel credit). Similarly, the new Capital One Venture X Rewards Credit Card offers 10x miles in the same categories when you book through the Capital One travel portal.
You can convert rewards from each of these programs into more hotel stays, car rentals, and even airfare — and reduce your out-of-pocket travel costs that way. However, there are a few caveats to booking your travel through these portals, so this method isn’t for everyone.
How to earn 10x rewards on hotels and rental cars with the right credit cards
Both the Chase Sapphire Reserve® and Capital One Venture X Rewards Credit Card earn 10x rewards when you book hotel stays and car rentals through each bank’s respective travel portal, but your redemption options and rate of return differ slightly with each card.
Each of the cards offers a substantial welcome bonus for new applicants:
- Chase Sapphire Reserve®: 50,000 points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first three months of account opening
- Capital One Venture X Rewards Credit Card: 100,000 bonus miles when you spend $10,000 on purchases in the first 6 months from account opening, plus up to $200 in statement credits for vacation rental purchases in the first 12 months of account opening
These are premium credit cards that offer loads of additional benefits, including top-notch travel and purchase protections, airport lounge access through Priority Pass, and Global Entry/TSA PreCheck application fee credits.
They’ve got premium annual fees to match — $550 on the Chase Sapphire Reserve®, and $395 for the Capital One Venture X Rewards Credit Card. But if you can make the most of the card’s travel credits and perks, you can certainly get a value that far exceeds the annual fee.
Earn 10x Ultimate Rewards points with the Sapphire Reserve
The Chase Sapphire Reserve® got a makeover earlier this year, adding new bonus categories and benefits. One of the new earning categories is 10 points per dollar spent on hotels and car rentals booked through Chase Ultimate Rewards.
If you’re not familiar with the Chase travel portal, it functions much like any third-party booking site (like Expedia) and allows you to book flights, hotels, rental cars, activities, and cruises using your credit card, Ultimate Rewards points, or a combination of both.
Hotel and car rental bookings made through the portal offer the most lucrative 10x return, although cardholders also earn 5x points on airfare booked the same way. Keep in mind these earning rates won’t kick in until you’ve exhausted the Sapphire Reserve’s annual $300 travel credit — your first $300 in travel expenses each anniversary year are reimbursed with a statement credit, so you won’t earn points on those purchases.
For example, if you used your Chase Sapphire Reserve® to pay for a $200 hotel stay, you’d earn 2,000 Ultimate Rewards points ($200 x 10 points per dollar). That’s worth:
- $20 in cash back or gift cards (1 cent per point)
- $30 in travel booked through the Chase portal (1.5 cents per point)
- $30 toward erasing eligible purchases through Pay Yourself Back (1.5 cents per point)
- Potentially more if you transfer your rewards to Chase’s airline and hotel partners and book award travel
Redeeming rewards for cash back is easy and offers the most straightforward rate of return at 1 cent per point — effectively giving you 10% back for your hotel stay. However, the deal becomes even better if you turn around and use your rewards to book more travel — either through the Chase portal (1.5 cents per point) or by transferring to partners like United Airlines, Hyatt, or Air Canada Aeroplan.
Earn 10x Capital One miles with the Venture X
16.99% – 23.99% Variable
100,000 bonus miles when you spend $10,000 on purchases in the first 6 months from account opening
The Capital One Venture X Rewards Credit Card is the newest premium card to hit the market, and it’s making a big splash with its generous benefits for an annual fee that’s less than similar cards.
Like the Chase Sapphire Reserve®, the Capital One Venture X Rewards Credit Card earns 10 miles per dollar on hotels and rental cars and 5x miles on airfare, as long as you book through the Capital One travel portal.
Using the same $200 hotel stay as an example, you’d earn 2,000 Capital One miles ($200 x 10 miles per dollar) when you pay with your Capital One Venture X Rewards Credit Card through the Capital One portal. That’s worth:
- $10 in cash back (0.5 cents per mile)
- $20 in travel booked through the Capital One portal (1 cent per mile)
- $20 toward erasing eligible travel purchases from your statement through Capital One’s purchase eraser (1 cent per mile) or for gift cards
- Potentially more if you transfer your rewards to Capital One’s airline and hotel partners to book award travel
Unlike the Chase Ultimate Rewards program, Capital One only offers half the usual value for cash-back redemptions (0.5 cents per mile), so this option is best avoided. However, you can turn your Capital One miles into more travel either by redeeming them through the portal or by “erasing” eligible travel purchases made within the past 90 days at a rate of 1 cent apiece.
Alternately, Capital One’s transfer partners include Air Canada Aeroplan, British Airways, and Wyndham, so you could get even more value this way.
Booking through travel portals has its downsides
While earning 10x rewards and getting 10% or more back in return for your hotel and car rental spending is a great deal, it’s not the best approach for everyone. There are pitfalls to booking through these travel portals (or any third-party travel site) that you should be aware of.
Always compare portal pricing and cancellation policies to booking directly
Hotels booked through third-party sites are usually similarly priced to booking directly through the hotel chain, but occasionally there are differences. It pays to comparison shop to make sure you’re getting the best deal.
For example, here’s a sample booking on June 1, 2022, at the Hyatt Place New York City/Times Square through the Chase Ultimate Rewards travel portal. After taxes, the total price works out to $415:
Here’s the same date and hotel with Capital One travel. The after-tax price is $385:
Finally, here’s the same hotel and date booked as a “member rate” directly with Hyatt, with a pre-tax price of $341 and a total after tax of $395:
All three rates are fully refundable within a certain timeframe prior to departure, so in this case, it looks like Capital One comes out on top with the cheapest rate, followed by Hyatt directly, then Chase.
Be aware that sometimes cancellation policies will differ, as well, so be sure to compare apples to apples and avoid non-refundable rates if there’s a possibility you’ll have to cancel or change your schedule.
You won’t earn hotel points when you book through a portal
Because the Chase and Capital One travel portals are third-party sites, you typically will not earn hotel points (or stay credits) when you book this way. If you’re booking an independent or boutique hotel, or aren’t loyal to a particular brand and just want the cheapest deal, this might not be a factor for you.
But if you value hotel points or are working toward earning elite status with a particular chain, you may be better off foregoing rewards for booking through a portal and instead making your reservation directly with the hotel.
You’ll also want to factor in the value of the rewards you’ll earn booking through the portal versus booking directly, especially if you have elite status with the hotel chain that can boost your points earning significantly.
Considering the stay above, you’d earn the rewards as follows depending on the booking method:
- Chase Travel Portal (booked with Chase Sapphire Reserve®): 10x points x $415 cash price = 4,150 Ultimate Rewards points
- Capital One Travel Portal (booked with Capital One Venture X Rewards Credit Card): 10x miles x $385 cash price = 3,850 Capital One miles
- Hyatt directly (no elite status): 5x points x $341 cash price (before tax) = 1,705 Hyatt points plus credit card rewards (depending on the rewards credit card you use)
You’ll want to crunch your own numbers for each scenario depending on how you value the rewards, and also factor in the opportunities to transfer points from Chase and Capital One to various airline and hotel partners. In this case, after earning Chase Ultimate Rewards points with a portal booking, you could transfer them directly to Hyatt (a Chase partner) at a 1:1 ratio.
If you book through a hotel directly, be sure to also consider the credit card rewards you’ll earn on top of the points from the hotel loyalty program. For example, the Chase Sapphire Reserve® earns 3x points on travel bookings (not made through the portal) and the Capital One Venture X Rewards Credit Card earns 2x miles on all non-portal purchases.
You could miss out on promotions and discounts
Hotels and car rental companies sometimes run promotions to earn bonus points or get lower rates when you book directly. Rental car agencies, in particular, have widely variable pricing depending on promotion codes and discounts you’re eligible for.
When you book through a portal, you could miss out on these deals — so again, be sure to run the numbers before you book.
Not all hotels or rental car options are available through the portal
While the Chase and Capital One travel portals offer a generous variety of booking options with most major hotel chains and rental companies, it’s possible you won’t find the specific property or car rental agency you’re looking for when you search.
This can be particularly obvious if you’re searching in a far-flung destination. For example, a sample search for hotels in the Maldives with the Capital One portal reveals just a handful of resorts — and none are from big chains like Hilton or Marriott, which are known for their luxurious Maldivian properties.
Earning 10x rewards for travel portal hotel and car rental bookings with the Chase Sapphire Reserve® or Capital One Venture X Rewards Credit Card can be a great deal, effectively getting you at least 10% back on your purchases.
However, booking through a portal isn’t always the best strategy. Prices may be different from booking directly, and you won’t earn hotel points or stay credits when you book this way. It’s also possible that you won’t have your elite status recognized.
You could also miss out on hotel and car rental promotions when you book through a third party like a bank portal, and you might not have the variety of options or pricing available through the portal, depending on the destination.
As with any travel purchase, it’s best to run the numbers for your individual situation before you commit to a booking.
Good to Excellent
3 free nights (each valued up to 50,000 points) after qualifying purchases and 10x total points on eligible purchases in select categories
Good to Excellent
$200 after spending $500 on purchases in the first three months from account opening
Good to Excellent