While paying for the flight to your destination is typically the most expensive part of things, hotel stays can add up too.
To help mitigate costs, major hotel brands offer member reward programs with incentives. They will offer member only rates that aren’t available to someone not apart of the reward program or to someone who books through 3rd party sites like Expedia or Priceline. The idea is to get you to book directly through them.
In this post, I’ll list out the top 3 to at least sign up for if you’re planning to travel more.
I will say, that the major hotel brands offer pretty much the same basic incentives and to take advantage you have to book your stay directly with the hotel. (App, website, or by phone) All of the programs are free to join at the basic level. Simply go to their websites to do so as well as to read more on their member programs. They typically also have an affiliate credit card that will help you rack up even more points if you choose to apply for one. I don’t suggest signing up for every credit card for the obvious reasons. If you find one that appeals to you then go for it.
My top 3 (in no particular order):
1. Hilton Honors
– Over 4,600+ participating hotels/resorts around the world. So there’s likely a Hilton or its affiliate wherever you travel.
– You can cash in points for airline miles. Most of the other major brands offer this as well. It will take quite a few points to get there but it’s possible especially if you travel a lot for work.
– If booked through Hilton, you earn free internet access for your stay. This is a major win especially when traveling out of country. Most resorts only offer WiFi in common areas and not your actual room. This saves you from being that person sitting in the lobby for hours just to connect to the rest of the world. After all, you paid for the room not the lobby.
– You can also sometimes get free room upgrades.
– The flip side to this is your points will expire if you fail to use your member rewards within a year, meaning you need to stay at a Hilton at least once each calendar year to keep things going.
2. Marriott Rewards
– 4,500+ participating hotels and resorts including Ritz Carlton, Courtyard Marriott, and Renaissance hotels.
– Pretty much the same incentives as Hilton including the expiration of points.
3. SPG (Starwood Preferred Guest)
– 1,300+ participating hotels/resorts including St. Regis and Sheraton.
– Points can also be used on other retail items including Amazon, Starbucks, and iTunes.
Honorable Mention: Riu Class rewards. I signed up with them when planning my trip to Cabo to get a discounted room rate. They even sent me gifts in the mail like a tote bag that I use for the gym and a travel document holder. Most Riu resorts can be found in the Carribean and Mexico and are usually all-inclusive. Major key!
Now of course the more you stay within a certain time frame (normally a calendar year) the more these incentives increase to things such as free nights.
It doesn’t hurt to at least sign up. You may still find better pricing on other sites and through private hotels. However, for those who travel frequently or are looking to in this new year, this will come in handy.
Thanks for reading and happy traveling. ✈️