I’ll lay my cards on the table.

I’m a big fan of collecting hotel points in addition to airline miles. Unlike many airline mileage schemes, there are usually no additional taxes or surcharges* when you redeem hotel loyalty points. A free night really is a free night.

But hotel chain loyalty programs aren’t always the answer. There are those who find the additional hassle of understanding and accumulating hotel points to be too much. Fair enough. And what happens when you need to book a random hotel for work, or other purposes that doesn’t belong to any major loyalty program?

Fortunately, Hotels.com’s aptly-named Rewards scheme, allows you to earn rewards on pretty much every stay you make.

*resort fees aside

How it works

The Hotels.com Rewards scheme is fairly idiot-proof.

Hotels.com Rewards 1.png

For every night you spend at any one of over 297,000 hotels worldwide, you’ll receive a 1 night credit. When you reach 10 nights you’ll earn a ‘rewards night’.

That free 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”.

Unfortunately, this does mean you can’t book 10 super-cheap nights in Vietnam and then use your free night at a £1,000-a-night hotel in the Maldives.

You essentially get back what you put in.

However, you can redeem your free night for a partial credit towards your stay and pay the difference. This is a great way to offset the cost of staying at a really aspirational (read: expensive) hotel. You may baulk at paying £500+ for a night at the Gritti Palace in Venice but if you could apply a ‘free reward night’ credit worth, say, £250 towards that, the cost becomes more palatable.

No regular points or elite status though

In most cases, you won’t receive any of your elite status benefits or points with other loyalty programs if you’ve booked via Hotels.com. Marriott used to be an exception to this, but despite previous assurances to the contrary, View from the Wing reported a couple of months ago that this seemed to have ceased.

Of course, if you’re mainly booking boutique hotels or hotels without loyalty schemes anyway, a lack of elite status recognition and or earning hotel points won’t bother you. But before you rush to put all your bookings through Hotels.com going forward, this is something to bear in mind.

Any other perks?

Elite status

Hotels.com offer Silver and Gold Rewards elite membership tiers. Silver status is achieved after staying 10 nights or more in your current membership year. You’ll receive Gold status after staying 30 nights or more during your current membership year.

If I’m being honest, the benefits of Silver and Gold status look weak at best.

Hotels.com Rewards 2 (tiers).png


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 my frustrations of having to book smaller, independent hotels without earning rewards.

This way, Hotels.com Rewards is effectively giving you 10% back on each of your stays.

You can join Hotels.com Rewards here

Are you a fan of Hotels.com Rewards?

Header image credit: OpturaDesign / Shutterstock.com

2 thoughts

  1. Very good analysis and comparison of the different loyalty schemes. I think it worth pointing out that many hotels are “getting wise” to the overhead of advertising via various third party sites by offering free breakfast, etc. to customers who book direct, whereas booking via a third party site often requires breakfast to be paid for as an extra option (even though the headline price appears the same). So the value of any of these schemes may depend on whether the customer is an employee (whose employer will happily pay for their breakfast anyway) or a “business owner” who may take a broader view on value for money.

    1. You’re spot on in terms of hotels wising up. That’s why we’ve seen the major chains all introduce ‘member only’ rates offering customers added incentive to book direct.
      I think Hotels.com Rewards is especially appealing to employees who aren’t given a great deal of flexibility over where they stay on work trips. With the Hotels.com scheme, they’ll still collect the same ‘one night credit’ regardless of where they stay.


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