Bank of America is out with a new credit card: Sonesta World Mastercard. Sonesta is a small hotel chain with only 74 participating properties, all of which are in the Americas. You can find a list of properties here. I was very surprised to find one in my own town, Ann Arbor, Michigan. Who knew?
Bank of America advertises the signup bonus on this card as “up to 95,000 points.” But it’s really a 60K to 65K signup bonus. The extra 30,000 points are a fixed benefit of the card: spend $7,500 in a year and get 30,000 bonus points. We separate these out on our own credit card displays:
|Card Offer and Details|
60K points after $1K spend in 90 days plus 5K points for adding an authorized user$0 introductory annual fee for the first year, then $75
FM Mini Review: Best for those who stay often at Sonesta hotels
Earning rate: 2X airfare, car rental and dining ⚬ 3X Sonesta
Card Type: Mastercard World
Big spend bonus: 30K bonus points with $7.5K cardmember year spend
Noteworthy perks: Instant upgrade to Sonesta Travel Pass Elite (free club access or continental breakfast plus other perks)
My lazy review
I had plans to research the card, the points system, and more for this review. But I don’t have to. Andy at the Lazy Traveler’s Handbook did all of the work. I think he did a fantastic job researching the card and the loyalty program, so there’s no reason for me to do the same. Instead, I’ll summarize his findings:
- Points can be used to book free nights, apparently with no blackout dates.
- Point prices vary by hotel tier, and there are 9 tiers ranging from 15,000 points per night to 50,000 points per night. More details can be found on Sonesta’s website here. And here’s a convenient list of all properties and free night prices.
- Point values tend to range from 0.5 to 1 cent per point.
- The credit card gives you automatic elite status
- Elite status is pretty good because it offers this stuff free:
- Complimentary club lounge access (or continental breakfast daily)
- Early check-in / late check-out (up to 3 hours)
- Complimentary room upgrade (to the next higher room category)
- $15 Sip ‘n snack credit at Sonesta ES Suites
- Choice of welcome amenity
- 50% discounted suite upgrade at check-in
- 15% discount on dining & resort amenities (at Sonesta-operated outlets only)
- Complimentary non-alcoholic beverage (up to $15).
- But you can get the same elite status easily by status matching.
Best uses for points:
Andy identified the following best uses for points:
- Sonesta Posadas Del Inca – Sacred Valley – Yucay (20K points. Cash price $140 and up)
- Royal Sonesta New Orleans (30K points. Cash: $229 and up)
- Royal Sonesta Boston (30K points. Cash: $217 and up)
- The Clift Royal Sonesta Hotel, San Francisco (27.5K points. Cash: $240 and up)
- Sonesta Resort Hilton Head Island (30K points. Cash: $340 and up in the summer)
- Sonesta Ocean Point Resort – St Maarten, all-inclusive (50K points. Cash: $340 and way up)
Many of Andy’s picks are 30K points per night. This means that you can get 2 free nights from the credit card’s signup bonus and another free night from the 30K bonus after $7,500 spend. If you opt for a top tier 50K hotel, though, you would only get 2 free nights total after spending $7,500.
Please read Andy’s full post here: The New Sonesta Credit Card Review (65,000-95,000 Points) and 7 Best Redemptions.
This is one of those cards to keep in the back of you mind in case the right opportunity comes up. For example, if you’re researching an intended travel destination and you find that you’re attracted to a Sonesta hotel then consider signing up. This could also be a great fit if you’ve been to a Sonesta hotel and you want to return regularly. This would work especially well for a couple where both sign up for the card. Even after the first year signup bonus, this couple could get a nice annual weekend on Hilton Head Island each year just from spending $7,500 on each card (for a total of 60K bonus points each year).