It seems that every hotel, large or small, now has a reward program. You probably know some of the larger names in the game – Hilton, Mercure, and Marriott to name a few, but even independent hotel chains have rewards programs, like Stash Rewards.
But are hotel rewards programs worth it? Yes.
Many hotel rewards programs have partner alliances that allow you to stock up hotel points without staying in a hotel – credit cards, groceries, etc. It’s important to make sure you know about these things before, not after the fact, but making some wise choices can mean big savings for your next holiday (Unless you forget to pay off your hotel rewards credit card – and then the previous advice goes out the window.)
A lot of points programs now offer even the most basic membership a lot of perks. I love Kimpton Hotel’s InTouch program, which gives you more “preference” options for your room, free Wifi (worth the hassle of registration alone), and on my last stay at the Seattle Vintage Park, I even got a $10 credit on the minibar which was, of course, not about to go unused.
A lot of people just think of room upgrades and all those VIP services, but really who needs it when it’s the simple extras that make a big difference (Though if you want a better view or bigger room, it doesn’t hurt to be a rewards member.)
I find airline miles nearly impossible to use these days, and the bar gets forever higher for spending the miles. Now, hotels are not immune to point requirement increases, but I do think it has been easier to get hotel reward stays in my experience than airline stays. The same advice still applies – be a bit flexible, plan as far ahead as possible – but I do say I’ve been pretty happy with my attempts for free nights.
I’m struggling to think of the downside of signing up for a hotel rewards program. It takes 5 minutes to signup, and then I have a folder in my email with all those confirmations so when I need the numbers, they’re easy to find. And I’ve got a handful of memberships I use regularly, so when there’s a big price difference I go with what’s the best fit.
The only downside is perhaps if you prefer those quaint, very off-the-beaten-path establishments that are perhaps locally owned and don’t participate in a rewards program. And if that’s the right hotel for your holiday, then so be it – there are pros and cons to every hotel, and this is just one small thing to think about now that can really pay off in the future!
Photo by Columbus Camera Op
Posted : Tuesday, April 9th, 2013 at 10:00
Andy Hayes is based in sunny Portland, Oregon. When not soaking up the Pacific Northwest lifestyle or enjoying life on the road, he works on his own lifestyle publication, Plum Deluxe.