I’ve given a fair bit of coverage to the various loyalty schemes of major hotel chains such as Hilton, IHG and Marriott. But as big a fan as you are of those programs/hotels, it isn’t always possible to restrict your stays to properties that participate in your preferred loyalty program(s).
What happens when you have to book a stay for work, or even for leisure, at a hotel that doesn’t belong to any loyalty program as such?
How it works
The basics of Hotels.com Rewards is simple:
For every 10 nights that you complete you receive a free night.
Here are a few points about how that free night is calculated:
- For every night you spend at any one of over 297,000 properties worldwide, you will receive 1 ‘night’ credit. When you reach 10 ‘nights’ you will 1 ‘rewards night’.
- This rewards night can be redeemed at more than 213,000 properties – importantly, with no blackout dates.
How much is my free night worth?
Per the hotels.com website:
“The value of your rewards night is equal to the average rate of the 10 nights you collected”.
Which, before any opportunistic TOTT readers get any ideas, means you can’t book 10 super-cheap nights and then redeem your free night award at the Four Seasons George V. You essentially get back what you put in.
However, one major advantage is that you can redeem your free night as a partial credit towards your stay and pay the difference. This is a great way to offset the cost of booking an aspirational hotel. You may baulk at paying £550 for a night at the Gritti Palace in Venice but if you could apply a ‘free night reward’ worth £200 towards that, it may make it more palatable.
The key point is that you won’t usually receive status benefits or points with other loyalty programs when booking via hotels.com.
Of course, if you are mainly booking boutique hotels or hotels without loyalty schemes then that won’t concern you.
Nevertheless, before you decide to put all your bookings through hotels.com going forward, this is something to bear in mind.
Any other perks?
Yes – Hotels.com offer Silver and Gold Rewards memberships, depending on stays completed within the program. If I’m being honest though, the benefits look weak at best.
Silver status is achieved after completing 10 nights in your membership year. Gold status requires 30 nights.
For me, Hotels.com Rewards fills an important gap and is my go-to option when booking a hotel that doesn’t offer a loyalty scheme or alternative benefits for booking direct.
While it won’t work for everyone, it largely puts an end to the frustration of having to book smaller, independent hotels without earning rewards.
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