Best: Intercontinental Hotels Priority Club Rewards ( IHG)

There are a lot of hotel-rewards programs out there, but few with the locations (4,400 in more than 100 countries), brands (Intercontinental, Holiday Inn, Crowne Plaza, Candlewood and Staybridge suites) and low-bar perks (free nights start at 5,000 points, or roughly three stays at an Intercontinental hotel) of Intercontinental Group.

With double points and gift cards for summer stays through Aug. 31 and points earnable through FTD flower purchases, USA Today subscriptions and Hertz car rentals, Intercontinental's program is competitive. The 14 nights required for entry-level eligibility pale when compared to Hilton, Omni or Marriott's 10-night requirements, but points that can be exchanged for vouchers to any hotel that takes American Express ( AXP) are hard to match.

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