Travel How to maximize Hotels.com Rewards for free nights and more
16 promotions that will make your next hotel stay more rewarding
Editor’s note: This is a recurring post, regularly updated with new information. Keeping track of the latest hotel bonuses is difficult — especially if you’re one of the many travelers juggling elite status at a handful of brands. However, these promos can be the best way to boost your account balances and unlock awards quickly. …Keeping track of the latest hotel bonuses is difficult — especially if you’re one of the many travelers juggling elite status at a handful of brands. However, these promos can be the best way to boost your account balances and unlock awards quickly.
Editor’s note: This is a recurring post, regularly updated with new information.
Frequent travelers generally see the most value by booking directly with the hotel. By booking direct, travelers can make sure they earn points and elite-qualifying nights and have their elite status recognized.
However, if you’re a free agent when it comes to hotel loyalty, you might want to. After all, many that allow you to earn rewards while bouncing between brands or staying at non-chain properties. One of the most popular programs is Hotels.com Rewards. So, in this post, I’ll describe everything you need to know to maximize the Hotels.com Rewards program.
20 promotions that will make your next hotel stay more rewarding
Editor’s note: This is a recurring post, regularly updated with new information. An easy and rewarding way to ramp up the number of points you earn when traveling is to register for the various promotions put out by the hotel loyalty programs. But keeping track of the latest hotel bonuses can be difficult — especially …An easy and rewarding way to ramp up the number of points you earn when traveling is to register for the various promotions put out by the hotel loyalty programs.
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Hotels.com Rewards basics
While the Hotels.com Rewards program may not have much of a wow factor, it certainly thrives — and I suspect it attracts thousands of customers — with its simplicity. Book 10 nights through the website or app (you must be logged in to your account), and you’ll earn one free night with a value equivalent to the average cost of your 10 paid nights (excluding taxes and fees).
This means you’re looking at a roughly 10% return on your hotel stays, which is better than what you’d get as a non-elite traveler booking with most major hotel chains.
9 no annual fee credit cards that will earn you transferable points
Transferable points are some of the most valuable rewards currencies in the travel world. The best ways to redeem these points is typically to book travel or to transfer them to airline and hotel partners. While there are many attractive rewards credit cards with annual fees, today we’ll focus solely on no-fee credit cards that …New to The Points Guy? Sign up for our daily newsletter and check out our beginner’s guide.
You can earn a free night with 10 one-night stays, a single booking of 10 nights or any combination leading to 10 nights. Once you reach 10 nights, you’ll have a free night which you can apply at checkout. You can earn multiple free nights by continuing to book with, though. In particular, you’ll earn a free night for every 10 paid nights.
The free-night value will never cover taxes and fees, though. So you’ll still be on the hook for those, even if your free-night average value is higher than the cost of the night you’re covering. If you want to use your free night for a hotel that’s more expensive than the value of your free night, you can use it and pay the difference in cost. This added flexibility makes it easy to redeem your free night.
If you have multiple free nights in your account, you can redeem more than one free night on a multinight booking. For instance, if you have four free nights and a six-night booking, you can use all four and pay for two nights.
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Editor’s note: This post has been updated with new information. With travelers evaluating everything from their upcoming vacations to their loyalty plans, the major hotel programs are competing fiercely to win short-term business and long-term customers. In addition to drastically reducing elite qualification requirements for this year, hotels and credit cards are running some of …With travelers evaluating everything from their upcoming vacations to their loyalty plans, the major hotel programs are competing fiercely to win short-term business and long-term customers.
Caveats to earning and redeeming free nights
Because no rewards program could ever be caveat-free, here are some things you need to know about earning and redeeming Hotels.com free nights:
- You can’t redeem multiple free nights to cover a single, expensive night. You must redeem one free night per night of your stay.
- You won’t earn a night credit toward a free night on select bookings, including if you:
- Cancel your booking.
- Don’t check in at the property.
- Book through an affiliate Hotels.com site.
- Book before you join Hotels.com Rewards.
- Book a package that includes a hotel.
- Book using select discount coupons, vouchers or codes.
- Book through group travel services.
- You’ll earn a night credit toward 10 nights if you pay with a Hotels.com gift card, which you can find discounted at a variety of online retailers.
Additionally, note that Hotels.com typically charges a $5 redemption fee per reward night when you book through its website. However, if youor have the Hotels.com® Rewards Visa® Credit Card, you won’t need to pay the redemption fee.
The best hotel credit cards with annual fees under $100
Before you book your next vacation, a simple way to ensure you’ll enjoy extra benefits is to carry the credit card of the hotel chain where you’re staying. Hotel credit cards usually earn bonus points on spending with the hotel, plus they typically include additional benefits like automatic elite status, a generous welcome bonus, and …For more TPG credit card news and travel tips delivered each morning to your inbox, sign up for our free daily newsletter.
There are two levels of status with Hotels.com: Silver and Gold. You’ll reach Silver status after collecting 10 stamps in a membership year (based on the date you join the program) and earn Gold status after collecting 30 stamps in a membership year.
As a Hotels.com Rewards Silver member, you’ll receive:
- Priority customer service when calling in for assistance.
- Price Guarantee Plus offers price matches and a refund of the difference if you find the same hotel stay at a better price prior to check-in.
- Silver exclusives at select VIP Access properties. Keep an eye out for the gift box icon when booking to see what rewards are available to you.
Hotels.com Rewards Gold members receive all Silver benefits plus complimentary room upgrades and guaranteed two-hour late checkout and early check-in (subject to availability) at VIP Access properties.
When to use Hotels.com
What’s nice about Hotels.com Rewards is the ability to use free nights at properties that typically offer no avenue for getting free stays, besides usingor . Four Seasons properties, on-property Disney resorts, boutique hotels and ski resorts are all on Hotels.com. With no blackout dates, you can use your free-night credit toward any of these properties.
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As of July 26, Finland began officially welcoming American tourists again. Helsinki became a popular destination over the last few years, thanks to a big tourism push, incredible scenery and cheap fares. All of that came to a screeching halt last year when the pandemic forced Finland to close its borders and reopen them to …For more TPG news and deals delivered each morning to your inbox, sign up for our daily newsletter.
It’s best to use Hotels.com when looking at remote destinations, boutique hotels and unique properties. Likewise, Hotels.com can be an excellent option if you know you have a one-off stay at a chain you’ll never (or rarely) utilize again.
However, suppose you’re going to stay regularly at large hotel chains like, and . In that case, I believe it’s still best to book directly with those properties and earn hotel elite status, benefits and points. And if you’re looking to book a luxury property, it could be best to utilize a Virtuoso agent or .
Quadruple dip for extra rewards
One solid reason to consider using Hotels.com as your main booking engine is the ability to massively stack different discounts and bonus rewards to turbocharge your earnings. Let’s take a look at how this might work:
- Buy discounted Hotels.com gift cards with a credit card. There are plenty of avenues to do this. In addition to the savings from the discounted gift card, you’ll earn points on your credit card. Use a card with , as discounted gift card sites rarely count toward any bonus category.
- Click through an . By clicking through an online shopping portal before booking, you can earn points, miles or cash back on your stay. I recommend using an to find the best portal for your purchase.
- Hotels.com Rewards: Book your hotel while signed in to your Hotels.com Rewards account and you’ll earn about 10% of the cost of that night back toward a future free night.
After this quadruple dip, you may see about a 20% return. That’s a pretty impressive haul, especially given the tremendous flexibility you have in booking Hotels.com stays and redeeming your free-night awards.
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If you book enough big-box chain hotels toand a significant amount of hotel points, might not make sense. After all, for bookings made with online travel agencies like Hotels.com, you typically won’t earn hotel points or elite credit and the properties don’t have to honor your elite status. I also find upgrades to be less generous and room assignment poor when booking through online travel agencies compared to booking direct.
However, if you’re looking for a unique or luxury property and aren’t already loyal to one of the major hotel chains, the ability to earn a 20% return can make a lot of financial sense.
Additional reporting by Ethan Steinberg and Ashley Kosciolek.
Featured photo ofby Clint Henderson/The Points Guy.
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And when you do spend on dining, you should use aand potentially even score special discounts. Thanks to temporary card bonuses and changes due to coronavirus, you may even be able to score a meal at your favorite restaurant for free.
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Editorial Disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airlines or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.
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