Sct Thunderstorms
H 91° L 72°
  • cloudy-day
    Current Conditions
    Sct Thunderstorms. H 91° L 72°
  • partly-cloudy-tstorms-day
    Sct Thunderstorms. H 91° L 72°
  • partly-cloudy-tstorms-day
    Thunderstorms. H 82° L 71°

The latest newscast

00:00 | 00:00


The latest traffic report

00:00 | 00:00


The latest forecast

00:00 | 00:00

Personal Finance
These are the 10 best hotel loyalty programs

These are the 10 best hotel loyalty programs

These are the 10 best hotel loyalty programs

These are the 10 best hotel loyalty programs

Hotels get people to book travel through their loyalty programs by offering free breakfast, complimentary Wi-Fi service and even free stays.

But are any of these programs really worth signing up for? ThePointsGuy.com is out with a new top 10 list.

RELATED: Clark’s secret to finding the cheapest flights possible

What’s the best hotel rewards program? 

According to the travel website, Starwood Preferred Guest is the best hotel loyalty program in the world. It beat out Wyndham Rewards and World of Hyatt.

Here are the main factors considered in the review of the hotel loyalty programs:

  • Ease and value of earning/redeeming points
  • Number of hotels/rooms
  • Perks
  • Elite status
  • Percentage of luxury properties
  • Geographic spread
  • Co-branded credit cards
  • Promotions/bonuses
  • Non-hotel aspects
  • Percentage of economical properties

Starwood secured the #1 spot due to its ease and value of earning/redeeming points, high percentage of luxury properties, rewarding elite status program and vast geographic spread.

Checking in at second place, Wyndham Rewards stands out for its revamped free night awards program.

Third place World of Hyatt excels when it comes to the percentage of luxury properties, elite status benefits and its co-branded credit card.

Here’s a look at the 10 best hotel rewards programs: 

  1. Starwood Preferred Guest
  2. Wyndham Rewards
  3. World of Hyatt
  4. Hilton Honors
  5. Le Club AccorHotels
  6. Marriott Rewards
  7. IHG Rewards
  8. Best Western Rewards
  9. Choice Privileges
  10. Club Carlson

Why Clark doesn’t sign up for these programs 

Money expert Clark Howard doesn’t pay much attention to these lists because he books nearly all of his travel with Priceline and Hotwire, not directly with the hotels.

Specifically, he looks for discounted “mystery hotels” where you learn the name of the property after you pay.

“The frequent stay programs are nothing compared to getting hotels at massive discounts every single night,” Clark said. “For me, the greatest frequent stay program is only bidding on four-star hotels and virtually never being disappointed.”

To make sure he never ends up with a bad hotel room, Clark only books four-star properties (3.5 star if none are available) that are recommended by at least 80% of guests.

Read more in Clark’s guide to finding the best Priceline and Hotwire hotel deals!

Read More

The Latest Headlines You Need To Know

  • An Alabama teenager is recovering from a fractured skull that his family says he suffered Monday when a school resource officer at his high school “body-slammed” him headfirst onto concrete.  Steven Franklin, 15, of Huntsville, was left in the intensive care unit following the incident, which took place at Jemison High School, WHNT News 19 in Huntsville reported. Along with the cracked skull, Franklin suffered internal bleeding and required emergency surgery, according to family friend Zach Finey.  “There’s swelling on the right side of his head that’s about the size of a cantaloupe,” said Finey, a volunteer with the Big Brothers Big Sisters of America program who is Franklin’s “big brother.” “He body-slammed Steven on the side of his temple, onto the concrete, and at that time Steve had a seizure that we’ve been told lasted about 30 seconds,” Finey told the news station.  WAAY-TV obtained photos of the teen in the hospital that show the swelling to his head and what appears to be about 60 staples closing his scalp following surgery.   >> Read more trending news Finey said the teen does not remember the incident, but that the boy’s friends told his family the school resource officer was attempting to break up a fight and stepped in after another student threw punches at Franklin.  AL.com reported that cellphone camera footage shows a portion of the fight, as well as the aftermath of Franklin being injured. The teen could be seen lying on the ground with the security guard standing over him.  The alleged actions of the guard were not caught on camera, the news site reported.  Police investigators are looking into the incident, a Huntsville Police Department spokesman confirmed to AL.com. Huntsville City Schools is also investigating what happened. Keith Ward, a school district spokesman, said that the security officer, who is a contract employee, would remain off-campus through the end of the school year. According to the school calendar, Thursday was the last day of classes.  Finey on Wednesday afternoon credited the media with putting pressure on the school district to answer questions about what happened to Franklin. “We are still a long way away from getting answers, and Steven has a long road of recovery, but the first steps have now been taken, thanks to you all,” Finey wrote on Facebook. He told AL.com and WHNT that the teen’s condition had begun to improve. “He’s actually being moved from ICU to a regular room,” Finey told AL.com. 'He’s walked for the first time. He's started to ask questions about what happened. He doesn’t remember what happened, just waking up after his surgery.” Finey told WHNT that Franklin has been distraught since finding out what happened. He and his family are also worried about the long-term effects of his injury.  “It’s sad when you see how sad and depressed he’s getting when he’s realizing, ‘What has happened to me? And why did it happen?’” Finey said. “And he wants to know just as much as his mother and his family, his friends.”
  • Police said no charges will be filed after a 1-year-old girl died after being left in a hot pickup truck all day Wednesday outside the family’s home in east Nashville. Metro Nashville police said that investigators believe the girl’s adoptive father left her in the truck “unintentionally,” WZTV reports. >> Read more trending news  The girl has been identified as 1-year-old Katera Barker.  Police said Barker’s adoptive father reportedly forgot that she was still in the car after he dropped her 5-year-old sibling off at day care. WZTV reports that the father left the family’s home around 7:30 a.m. Wednesday, dropped the 5-year-old off at day care and arrived back home around 8 a.m. He allegedly left the home about five minutes later and took a ride share to the airport to catch a flight for a business trip. Police said that the girl’s adoptive mother went to pick up the kids from daycare after she got off work and realized that Barker was never dropped off. According to WZTV, the woman called her husband and realized the child was still in the car. When she arrived home, the woman pulled the girl out of the car, called 911 and performed CPR on the child until paramedics arrived. According to the National Weather Service, temperatures in Nashville reached a high of 89 degrees, meaning the inside of the truck could have reached nearly 120 degrees. Police said Barker was pronounced dead when she arrived at Vanderbilt Hospital. WHNS reports that the girl’s adoptive father flew back into Nashville that night after discovering what happened. Investigators said the man and his wife have been cooperative with police.
  • Two Mississippi police officers have been fired -- and could face criminal charges -- following an investigation into claims that they beat a black man, kicking him in the face several times, after he turned around from a police checkpoint earlier this month and led them on a high-speed chase.  James Barnett, 36, of Laurel, told WDAM in Moselle that he was injured so badly he cannot currently work and will require surgery to his eye. His nose was also broken.  Photos taken by the news station show Barnett’s face bruised and battered, his right eye bloodshot. Click here to see the photos. Warning: The images may be too graphic for some readers.  Barnett said he was driving early the morning of May 16 when he came upon a driver’s license checkpoint being conducted by the Laurel Police Department. He said he turned around because he was driving without a license.  Two of the officers at the checkpoint followed him.   Barnett admitted to leading the officers on a high-speed chase for about 20 miles before stopping.  “As I was getting out, they had their guns drawn on me, telling me to get out with my hands out and get on the ground,” Barnett told the news station. “So, I laid flat on the ground, face-down (and) they came up continuously kicking me in my face.” Barnett said the officers, both of whom are white, stopped kicking him only when a Jasper County sheriff’s deputy arrived at the scene. He said the officers took him to a hospital, where they continued to taunt and harass him.  At that point, four additional officers were there as well. All six stood around his bed, he said.  “I (was) nervous because I’m thinking it’s going to be the end of my life in there,” Barnett said. “So, I played like I was asleep -- my eyes closed.” Laurel police Capt. Tommy Cox, who held a brief news conference Monday with Laurel Mayor Johnny Magee, said supervisors realized quickly something about Barnett’s arrest was not right.  “It became apparent to the supervisors on duty that there was a problem with the manner in which the arrest occurred,” Cox said at the news conference, streamed on Facebook by WDAM. “It has always been the policy of LPD that all use-of-force events are reviewed by several levels of supervisors and administration.” An internal investigation began the morning of Barnett’s arrest and was completed the following day, Cox said. The findings of the investigation resulted in the firing of the two officers, whose names were not released.  The Mississippi Bureau of Investigation is conducing an outside review of the case to determine if criminal charges are warranted, Cox said. Body camera and dashboard camera footage are being withheld until the investigation is complete.  “The officers and administration of LPD take these kinds of allegations very seriously,” Cox said. “It should be noted that the internal investigation was initiated only hours after the incident, before any media attention, social media posts or even a formal complaint from the other individual involved.” Barnett took to Facebook the day after his arrest, posting graphic photos of his injuries and demanding justice. He called the officers “low-life, sorry excuses for human beings” and said he was thankful God let him survive the beating.  “I wouldn’t wish this on NOBODY,” Barnett wrote. “One even had the nerve to ask me, ‘How did those steel toes feel, boy,’ trying to get a rise out of me, but I just laid there and prayed.” He wrote that he had never been so afraid in his life. “I will not let this go. I don’t (want) this to happen to anyone else,” Barnett wrote.  >> Read more trending news Cox declined to say Monday if the department had received previous complaints about either officer. He also declined to speculate on why they decided to follow Barnett, whose name was not made public at the news conference, when he turned around at the checkpoint.   Magee praised the department’s handling of the incident.  “We have handled the situation as we do. It’s said that police can’t police themselves, but in certain instances, they can, and this is evidence of that,” the mayor said.  Barnett pleaded guilty to resisting arrest in his first court appearance, WDAM reported. He is still scheduled to appear in court next month, at which time he said he plans to fight the charge.  “I just want justice,” Barnett told the news station. “I want what’s right, done. They (did) me wrong, so something has to be done about that.  “If you’re working for the law, do right by the law. Don’t uphold the law by trying to take the law into your own hands.”
  • After days of increasingly bellicose statements from Pyongyang, President Donald Trump on Thursday pulled the plug on a scheduled June 12 summit meeting with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, but left the door open to future negotiations over efforts to denuclearize the Korean Peninsula. “If and when Kim Jong Un chooses to engage in constructive dialogue and actions, I am waiting,” the President said at the White House. Mr. Trump’s remarks came several hours after he sent a letter to Kim Jong Un, calling off their summit, as U.S. officials laid the blame directly on the North Koreans. “While many things can happen and a great opportunity lies ahead, potentially, I believe that this is a tremendous setback for North Korea and, indeed, a setback for the world,” the President said. I have decided to terminate the planned Summit in Singapore on June 12th. While many things can happen and a great opportunity lies ahead potentially, I believe that this is a tremendous setback for North Korea and indeed a setback for the world… pic.twitter.com/jT0GfxT0Lc — Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) May 24, 2018 Both in his letter to Kim, and in his public remarks, the President edged back toward some of the tougher rhetoric that had characterized the Kim-Trump relationship of last year, when the two men lobbed threats of possible military action. “Hopefully, positive things will be taking place with respect to the future of North Korea. But if they don’t, we are more ready than we have ever been before,” Mr. Trump said. His letter was even more direct. “You talk about your nuclear capabilities, but ours are so massive and powerful that I pray to God they will never have to be used,” Mr. Trump wrote, labeling the cancelled summit a ‘missed opportunity.’ On Capitol Hill, lawmakers asked the Secretary of State – who happened to be at a hearing of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee – what would happen next, as Secretary Mike Pompeo said the U.S. would continue with the “maximum pressure” campaign of economic sanctions against Pyongyang, and wait for the response of Kim Jong Un. Pompeo on what's next: 'It's Kim's choice. We welcome that call, that outreach.' Sounding somewhat dejected: 'In some ways, situation normal. The pressure campaign continues.' — Michelle Kosinski (@MichLKosinski) May 24, 2018 “I am hopeful that we can continue to have conversations so that we can put his back on track,” Pompeo said, though he admitted it was not clear why the North Koreans suddenly went from being willing partners to not answering phone calls. “I don’t really know I want to speculate why they took those actions, because I don’t think we know,” Pompeo added. “In some ways, it’s situation normal,” Pompeo said to one question. “The pressure campaign continues.” Secretary of State Mike Pompeo says the US wants the complete denuclearization of North Korea https://t.co/ZvF0b8XHpG https://t.co/LNKUmWLNww — CNN Politics (@CNNPolitics) May 24, 2018 Pompeo sparred with several Senate Democrats during the hearing, as he rejected assertions that the U.S. had rushed into a summit with Kim, and wasn’t really prepared to deal with a North Korean leader who is known for sudden course changes. “Unfortunately, it seems that our chief diplomat is negotiating war,” said Sen. Ed Markey (D-MA) of Pompeo. “From the beginning, when Trump impulsively decided that he would meet with Kim Jong Un, it has been clear that the summit involved very little preparation,” said Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT). “We cannot return to the name-calling and saber-rattling of the last year,” said Rep. Barbara Lee (D-CA).
  • Prince Harry reportedly called his ex-girlfriend Chelsy Davy ahead of his royal wedding to Meghan Markle last week. >> Read more trending news  According to Vanity Fair, Davy was invited to the royal wedding but learned she wasn’t invited to the evening reception.  A family friend told Vanity Fair that Harry called Davy out of courtesy and they shared a “tearful phone call.” “It was their final call, a parting call in which they both acknowledged Harry was moving on,” the source told Vanity Fair. “Chelsy was quite emotional about it all, she was in tears and almost didn’t go to the wedding. In the end, she went and promised Harry she wouldn’t try and gate-crash the party.” Harry and Davy dated for seven years, from 2004 to 2011, PEOPLE reports.  Before their split, it was rumored that Davy was uncomfortable with being in the spotlight. The pair are reportedly still friendly and have several mutual friends. Davy, 32, was born in Zimbabwe. Her father, Charles Davy, is a safari farmer and her mother, Beverly Donald Davy, is a former Coca-Cola model and was Miss Rhodesia 1973, according to Elle Magazine.  Davy studied economics and earned a law degree in 2009. She launched her own jewelry brand, Aya, in 2016.  Davy wasn’t the only ex-girlfriend at the wedding. Harry also invited Cressida Bonas, who he dated from 2012 to 2014. Vanity Fair reports that Bonas, an English model and actress, was not invited to the exclusive evening reception, either.