To get the most from the rewards programs, experts suggest you focus on the hotel chain you use and like, get a co-branded credit card and use the services of that chain's business partners such as airlines or car rental companies to rack up points faster, and possibly jump to a higher rewards status. "The frequent-flier program has devalued," said Anne Banas, executive editor of Smarter Travel, explaining the growing popularity of programs now offered by all major chains and even groups of independent hotels. "It's hard to get a flight for free. With hotels, you can redeem the points much more easily." Experts and frequent travelers differ over which hotel loyalty program is best. Get the full story at Tribune Newspapers