In perhaps the most surprising revelation of the study, budget chain La Quinta gives guests the most for their money, with $14.11 in rewards per $100 spent. Wyndham was second with $12 per C-note, followed by Choice Hotels, Marriott, and Drury, all around the $11.50 range.
If you want to purchase points to earn free stays faster, consider the markup that your favorite chain is charging. To repeat, Wyndham discounts points that you purchase by about 11%, and is the only rewards program without a markup. On the other end of the spectrum, Hilton HHonors marks up points about 45%. La Quinta's markup of almost 11% was the smallest in the survey.
One thing to note about La Quinta, though, is it's the only chain with restrictive blackout dates. So you'll be disappointed if you try to redeem points to get your own room away from the fam at Thanksgiving or Christmastime.