Have you overlooked the Hotels.com Rewards Program in favor of redeeming hotel points for free nights?
If you’re on a quest for hotel status and the benefits that come with it, you’ve probably been diligent about booking directly with that hotel brand as a member of their loyalty program.
Or maybe, you’re not a miles and points nut at all! But you feel like the points you earn with other online booking websites never seem to get you anything.
So in this guide, let’s take a closer look at the Hotels.com Rewards Program and how it can help you earn a free hotel stay no matter what your approach is to get the best deals and rewards on your hotel bookings.
How to Use Hotels.com Rewards to Earn a Free Hotel Stay
Hotels.com is one of the most well-known websites for booking hotels, big and small, as well as for every travel budget. They have hundreds of thousands of properties listed all over the world. I can always find accommodations listed no matter where I’m going. 🙂
Hotels.com Rewards 101
The beauty of the Hotels.com Rewards Program is how clear and easy it is.
For every 10 nights you stay with Hotels.com, you earn 1 free night. These 10 nights don’t have to be all at the same time or for a single trip.
It’s an absolute cinch for anyone looking for a free night at a hotel!
No need to break into a sweat thinking about hotel loyalty, award charts, or finding available award nights as with individual hotel loyalty programs.
And, if you are a miles and points enthusiast, you can make the most of ALL your hotel stays, especially when you find yourself in a destination with no loyalty program hotels.
The money you spend can bring at least a 10% return. More on this later.
You can even accumulate more than 1 free night by continuing to book with Hotels.com.
When you’re ready, you can redeem any number of those free nights whether it’s for a 1-night stay in NYC to see a Broadway show, a few nights in Rome, or an entire week in Thailand.
Booking and Earning with the Hotels.com
First and foremost, if you haven’t created an account yet, sign up on Hotels.com.
It’s quick and free. Then, whenever you need to search for a hotel, log in first to be sure you’re getting credit for the booking.
Then, search normally by entering your destination, dates, and number of rooms/travelers. With each completed stay, you’ll see your nights accumulate until you’ve earned a reward night.
The value of your free reward night is the average price for the 10 nights you stayed to earn the reward. So, if your stays averaged $150 a night, your free night has a value of $150.
This average doesn’t include any taxes or fees. Likewise, when redeeming a free night with Hotels.com, you’re still responsible for any taxes or hotel-related fees.
If you’d like to stay at a higher-priced hotel than the value of your earned reward night, simply apply the value and pay the difference.
Hotels.com Tips for Success
- You can combine more than one free night to redeem for a longer stay.
- But, you can’t use multiple free night rewards to cover 1 night at an expensive hotel.
- Taking advantage of a Hotels.com promo code or a similar promotion won’t earn nights that accumulate towards a free night.
- But, you do earn nights toward a reward night when paying with a Hotels.com gift card.
- Don’t redeem your free night for less than its value!
- You don’t get reimbursed the difference.
Do Hotels.com Rewards Expire?
Yes! Hotels.com free nights expire if your account has no activity for 12 months. The same goes for the number of nights you’ve accumulated towards a free night.
So, if you’ve stayed 6 nights towards the 10 nights needed to earn 1 free night but then have 12 months of no activity in your Hotels.com account, you’d lose those 6 nights.
This expiration date is easily reset by booking a hotel stay or even by using a free night.
The “membership activity” section at the bottom of your account can help you see when you last booked or stayed so you can prevent any free night rewards or progress towards one from expiring.
The Right Hotels.com Rewards Strategy for You
Whether you’re someone just looking for an easy-to-use rewards program and good deals or a miles and points enthusiast looking to maximize hotel loyalty benefits, Hotels.com can make a lot of sense.
All travelers have ways to get back even more value from their Hotels.com bookings.
Stacking for the Win!
First and foremost, pay for your Hotels.com booking with a credit card that earns a bonus on travel purchases. These include travel rewards credit cards like:
- Chase Sapphire Reserve
- Ink Business Preferred
- Citi Premier
Shopping portals and gift card promotions are another great way to save and get a return on your money. I use portals for every possible purchase I can to make the money I’m spending work harder for me!
Everyone can (and should!) earn cashback rewards from sites like Rakuten (formerly Ebates) and TopCashback. Earn rates for Hotels.com fluctuate but 3-4% cashback is fairly standard.
Sometimes sites like these will offer a higher cashback payout if you forgo earning night credits with the Hotels.com Rewards program. Avoid this if earning a free night is your goal.
If you have a Rakuten Amex Membership Rewards account, you’d earn flexible Amex points that can be transferred to any of the Amex airline partners.
And because you can use gift cards as a payment method in shopping portals and on Hotels.com itself, take advantage of discounted Hotels.com gift cards.
Sites like Raise and CardCash sell them. Even merchants like supermarkets or office supply stores have gift card sales. Savings on these deals can range between 5-15% off the value of the gift card.
If you have an American Express credit card, keep an eye out for Amex offers with Hotels.com gift card promotions.
And remember, buying a gift card with a credit card still earns you whatever rewards the card offers for purchases at that merchant, be it double cashback or 5x the Chase Ultimate Rewards points at office supply stores like with the business credit card, the Ink Business Cash card.
Hotel Loyalty Programs + Hotels.com Rewards = More Free Nights
Lastly, if hotel points and hotel loyalty programs are your main focus, you’ll want to be strategic about using Hotels.com.
Absolutely maximize your hotel rewards credit cards to earn points, award nights, status, and benefits. The value of the upgrades, perks and free nights cannot be ignored.
But, when you’re in a destination where there are no loyalty program hotels, don’t miss the opportunity to accumulate rewards with Hotels.com.
The money you’re spending on independent boutique hotels adds up and can earn you free nights on top of those earned with your hotel rewards credit cards.
No matter what type of traveler you are or how you go about finding the best deals for your hotel stays, Hotels.com and its global offering of properties makes a great strategic partner!
The straightforward rewards program has great appeal.
The popular brand comes with numerous ways to stack value with shopping portals.
And, hotel loyalty program members cannot deny its ability to bridge the rewards-earning gap, particularly in destinations with only independently run accommodations.
Have you joined the Hotels.com Rewards program?
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2 thoughts on “How to Use Hotels.com Rewards to Earn a Free Hotel Stay”
AND.. If you have any problem with the hotel, even after you’ve checked out, hotels.com is great at contacting the hotel on your behalf!
Thanks for reading and sharing that, Paula. That’s very good to know! 🙂