By now, almost every traveler is familiar with or has used frequent flyer miles offered by the various international airlines. You are probably familiar with many perks offered by the airline loyalty programs such as priority check-in and check-out, free first bag checked in, flight upgrades and even free flights.
Unfortunately for many travelers, their pursuit for rewards ends with flights. Many are unaware that they can also collect hotel loyalty points that can be redeemed in the future for room upgrades, free meals and which can even be transferred to your airline loyalty program to be redeemed for free flights and free upgrades.
Which are the main loyalty programs?
There are hundreds of thousands of hotels around the world and each of these now tries to introduce some form of loyalty scheme in order to keep their customers coming back. However, the main loyalty programs and arguably, some of the most lucrative ones are offered by the main international hotel chains such as Hilton Hotels, Intercontinental Hotel Group, Marriott Hotels, Best Western Hotels, Hyatt and Starwood among others.
These include loyalty programs such as the IHG Rewards Group, Marriott Rewards, Ritz Carlton Rewards, Hilton HHonors, Starwood Preferred Guest, Hyatt Gold Passport, Wyndham Rewards and Best Western Rewards.
There are many perks that come with hotel loyalty programs
You can enjoy exclusive benefits with the hotel loyalty programs and earn important points that you can redeem for free nights, spa treatments, room upgrades or free breakfast among many others. The amount of points that you earn for every dollar spent vary from one hotel loyalty program to another. If you are planning to hack loyalty points and earn as many points as possible from your hotel bookings, we offer you some useful tips to help you make the most of these programs-
Going both big and small
When it comes to accumulating your hotel loyalty points, it is important to have a two-pronged strategy. Hotel loyalty programs are not similar. There are larger international hotel chains such as Marriott, Hilton and IHG and then there are the smaller players such as Starwood and Hyatt. Instead of just focusing on one hotel chain, it is important to pair the loyalty programs of the major hotel chains with those of the smaller hotel chains. For example, you can have a HHonors and a Starwood Preferred Guest and then focus on accumulating miles in these hotel chains.
The main advantage with the larger chains is that there is a vast number of properties from around the world where you can redeem your points. The smaller hotel chains may not have a large number of properties but they generally offer you better perks. So signing up with these programs enables you to arrive at a “sweet spot” where you are making the most of both the small and larger hotel chains loyalty programs.
Booking Your Hotels on Holidays and During Weekends
The main advantage with many of the hotel loyalty programs, over the airline frequent flyer programs, is that you do not have to grapple with the blackout dates as long as you are booking your hotels in advance. So you can always find your room if you redeem in advance, no matter the date. In the hotel loyalty programs, the number of points that you will earn per room will not fluctuate for a particular loyalty program. So you can always get the best value for money if you redeem your points to book your hotels for weekends or during holiday stays such as around Christmas time or New Year’s Eve when the hotel rates typically shoot up. The value is in the fact that while the hotel prices shoot during these times, the value per room in points remains largely the same. So it is like your points are appreciating in value and giving you better value when redeemed. However, to do this, you will have to book your hotel room in advance.
Be a Savvy Traveler and Research Well
To find the best deals in the market including the sales, promos, bonuses and various other loyalty perks, take your time to research well. Factor in your destination and the potential rewards that you can earn for your stays. This is especially important if you are planning to accrue your hotel rewards with your credit cards.
It is also important to research and compare what an individual hotel loyalty program might be worth. There are various online tools that you can use to compare the value of rewards programs so as to find the best value for your travels. Some of the best places where you can rack up your hotel loyalty programs is in the credit card bonuses.