Travel Why I think Hotels.com reward nights are the easiest free nights to use
7 strategies you can leverage to snag valuable Hyatt Globalist status in 2021
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.
I’ve spent hours over the last few weeks maximizing expiringfrom several major hotel loyalty programs. After all, there’s a ton of potential value lurking in these free nights.
However, even before spending hours on my quest to maximize, I’d already wanted to write a story about why reward nights are the easiest for me to actually use. After all, I used a Hotels.com reward night earlier this year to stay in – and in doing so, I remembered just how simple it is to get value from them.
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In light of all the changes happening to hotel loyalty programs, here’s how and why you might want to earn and redeem Hotels.com reward nights, including info on my own recent redemption in.
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Hotels.com reward night basics
The ease of earning and redeeming with theis undoubtedly one of its strongest points. Not only is the program straightforward to use, but you can also get good value from it.
For each night that you book and stay through Hotels.com, you earn one “stamp.” Once you’ve collected 10 stamps, you get a reward night worth the average value of the 10 stamps (excluding taxes and fees). So, you’ll get slightly less than 10% back on each night you book and stay through Hotels.com.
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When you’re ready to redeem your Hotels.com reward night, you’ll pay just the taxes and fees at properties that cost less than or equal to your reward night (excluding taxes and fees). If the night costs more than your reward night, you’ll need to pay the difference on top of the taxes and fees. For reasons we’ll get to in a minute, I try to book reward nights that are slightly more expensive than the value of my reward night.
Most nights you’ll book and stay with Hotels.com will be eligible for earning stamps. However, some discount codes and package bookings are ineligible. Also, note that you’ll forfeit your stamps and reward nights if you don’t make and complete an eligible Hotels.com stay at least once every 12 months.
How to maximize Hotels.com reward nights
The primary reason I believe Hotels.com reward nights are the easiest to use is that it’s simple to ensure you get full value from these nights. I don’t fear that I could have gotten significantly better value on a later redemption because it’s simply worth what it’s worth.
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To get as much value as you can from a Hotels.com reward night, aim for a stay with an average nightly rate that’s slightly greater than the value of your reward night. After all, you won’t retain any value if you book a night that’s less costly than your reward night. On the other hand, don’t apply your reward night toward a night that’s significantly more expensive than you usually book. After all, reward nights don’t count toward earning your next reward night, so you’ll be better off paying yourself for a costly night – and thus increasing the average value of your next reward night.
Second, you’ll want to avoid the redemption fee.per reward night. However, you can avoid this fee by booking reward nights through the Hotels.com app or having an open Hotels.com® Rewards Visa® Credit Card. Check out our if you’re interested in adding the card to your wallet.
Finally, if you have, you’ll usually only want to book with Hotels.com when you are staying with hotels outside of these programs. After all, you won’t typically get elite benefits and earnings when you book through an such as Hotels.com.
TPG special analysis: How Hyatt’s peak and off-peak pricing changed average award rates
After several pandemic-related delays, World of Hyatt peak and off-peak pricing is officially here. Any new award stays booked for travel from March 1, 2022, onwards are now subject to the new redemption tiers. As a recap, Hyatt award redemption rates now vary in price across dates, in some cases quite significantly. A Category 3 …Any new award stays booked for travel from March 1, 2022, onwards are now subject to the new redemption tiers.
How I used a Hotels.com reward night in Greece
I usually use Hotels.com to book stays at independent properties and hotels in programs where I don’t have (or want) elite status. For example, here’s a look at how I earned 10 stamps (including nights atand even the ) for the $92.18 reward night I used this summer in Greece:
I knew I’d book with eitheror Hotels.com for my stay in Naxos, Greece. After all, there are no hotels in major loyalty programs that fall within my budget on the island.
Eventually, I booked two nights at the Sun Beach Hotel through Hotels.com. I could have earned two stamps on my stay and paid $241.97 for two nights:
Instead, I decided to redeem my $92.18 reward night through the Hotels.com app. Doing so dropped the total for my two-night stay to $149.79. On this two-night stay, I got the full $92.18 value from my reward night. On top of that, I still earned a stamp worth $89.57 for the other night, which will count toward earning my next reward night.
I love earning and redeeming free nights from major hotel loyalty programs because of the outsized value I can obtain when the stars align. For example, my husband and I have usedto stay at aspirational Hilton hotels, including the . We recently used up to to enjoy the new .
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Editor’s note: Some travel cards come with perplexing benefits that are tricky to maximize. This article is part of a series that shows you unique, fun and unintended ways to use your credit card benefits. If you’ve got any questions or have an example of a surprising way to maximize a credit card perk, tweet …Would you open a credit card if you could leverage its welcome bonus and ongoing benefits for two full years of Marriott Platinum status right off the bat?
Although using thetakes planning and strategy, I enjoy maximizing these nights and dreaming of where they can take me.
Still, this pursuit of maximization requires time and also leads me to hold on to our free nights for the “perfect” redemption – which is likely why we have so many expiring free night certificates to use up right now.
In contrast, Hotels.com reward nights have a set value. As long as I redeem one for a night that’s slightly more expensive than my reward night and avoid the redemption fee, I’ll get good value each and every time without lots of time or strategy required.
As such, Hotels.com Rewards nights are the easiest free nights for me to actually use. I can get full value from the reward night and not regret that I should have waited and used it for a different stay.
Featured photo ofby Katie Genter/The Points Guy.
SPONSORED: With states reopening, enjoying a meal from a restaurant no longer just means curbside pickup.
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.
for dining out, taking out, and ordering in to maximize every meal purchase.
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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