Glacier National Park

How to Use Hotel Points for Free Nights at National Parks

The U.S. National Parks are a treasure everyone should have the opportunity to explore.

But, we all have different levels of outdoorsy! You might love to hike and marvel at the vast natural beauty, but prefer to end the day in a cozy room with a bed and a hot shower.

So, in this guide, you’ll find information about the most popular National Park gateway towns and their hotels, particularly those where you can book award nights with hotel loyalty program points.

How to Use Hotel Points for Free Nights at National Parks

The challenge with National Park trips is most parks are accessed by 1-2 gateway towns with not much else nearby. The hotel prices in these towns are often high, especially during the peak summer season.

For this reason, hotel points for free nights at National Parks can save a ton of money.

Combined with all the ways you can save money on National Park Passes, a trip to explore the country’s natural beauty doesn’t have to break the bank.

If you haven’t gotten started with hotel loyalty programs yet, no worries.

But you’ll want to plan your stays strategically so you can earn hotel rewards for future trips. Paid stays at National Park gateway town hotels can help you earn hotel rewards for hotel stays in destinations around the globe.

The best hotel earnings opportunities come from booking directly with the hotel brand versus a 3rd party booking site.

However, if you’re looking for maximum flexibility while still earning rewards, take advantage of the Hotels.com Rewards Program. You earn 1 free night for every 10 nights you stay.

If you’re unfamiliar with the program, you can learn more in my Hotels.com Rewards guide.

National Park Gateway Town Hotel Basics

Gateway towns are different from city sightseeing destinations. Large hotel loyalty brands like Marriott, Hyatt, IHG, and Hilton, may or may not have hotels in National Park areas.

Instead, you’re likely to find hotel rewards programs like Choice, Wyndham, and Best Western, have many properties in ideal locations for National Park trips.

The tricky thing with Choice, Wyndham, and Best Western, though, is their points can be more difficult to earn than Hilton or Marriott points.

How to Earn Best Western Points

Hotel Room

Unfortunately, Best Western is not part of any flexible currency program where you’d be able to transfer points to your Best Western account.

So, the easiest way to earn Best Western points is with their co-branded credit cards. They offer 2 different versions of their credit cards, the Best Western Premium Rewards card and the no-fee Best Western Rewards card.

Keep in mind, Best Western’s award pricing is not a standard award chart. Rather, award redemptions can vary depending on the time of year and the price of the room.

Best Western offers periodic promotions as well.

For example, they’ve offered the chance to earn 1 free night at any property in the U.S, Canada, or the Caribbean after 2 paid nights.

The free night certificate you’d earn could return great value when you redeem your night in a National Park gateway town.

Additionally, you can earn Best Western points, if you were to rent a vehicle.

Program partnerships include:

  • Alamo – earn 3 Best Western points per dollar spent on time and mileage
  • Avis – receive up to 25% off base rates and earn 1,000 Best Western points per car rental
  • Budget – save up to 25% off base rates and earn 1,000 Best Western points on every rental
  • National – save up to 25% on every rental and earn 3 Best Western points per dollar on time and mileage
  • Sixt – save up to 15% on every car rental and earn 1,000 points for every car rental, or 2,000 points for every limousine rental worldwide.

You can also earn 1,250 Best Western points on every Teleflora order when you spend $29.99 or more.

And if you enjoy wine, you can earn 12,500 Best Western points when buying 6 bottles of wine from their partner.

How to Earn Choice Privilege Points

Female hand opening hotel room, selective focus

Choice Privilege points aren’t the first points you think of for hotel stays, but as you’ll see, if you plan to visit any of the National Parks, Choice Hotels has plenty of options.

You can earn Choice Privilege points either from their co-branded credit card, which is issued by Barclays or you can transfer your American Express Membership Rewards and Capital One miles at a rate of 1:1.

Citi ThankYou points transfer at a 1:2 or 1:1.5 ratio depending on which Citi ThankYou point credit card you have.

While transferring your points from flexible points programs might not offer optimal value, it’s still an option to compare, especially during peak seasons in National Park gateway towns.

In addition, Choice Hotels cash and points redemptions can be a great way to reduce costs and get decent value back.

The co-branded Choice Hotels credit card has offered enticing welcome bonuses. It’s certainly not one of the first 5 cards to get as a miles and points beginner.

But, if you’re over 5/24 and you’ve got a lot of National Parks on your wish list, it’s worth considering.

Also, Choice Hotels offers frequent promotions like earning 8k points after you stay 2 nights or deals that allow you to earn $50 gift cards for completing a stay requirement.

As with many airlines and hotels, Choice Hotels partners with other brands to help you earn more points.

Program partnerships include:

  • If you’re booking a cruise, you can earn 5 Choice Privileges points per dollar spent on your cruise purchase.
  • You can also earn Choice Privilege points when booking a car through Avis or Budget. You’ll earn 1,000 Choice Privilege points for each car rental and you’ll save up to 25% off on the base rates.
  • If you are an online shopper, you can even earn Choice Privilege points if you use their shopping portal. Online shopping portals are a great and easy way to earn extra points for purchase you were planning to make anyway.
  • When shopping at Vinesse Wines, you can earn 10,000 points just for joining American Cellar Wine Club. Afterward, you’ll earn 7 points per dollar on all wine purchases.
  • Buying flowers for someone special? You can earn 15 points per dollar when you shop through 1-800-Flowers or 1-800-Baskets. 

How to Earn Wyndham Points

Hotel Room

Wyndham points are partners with Citi ThankYou and Capital One. Points transfer at a 1:1 ratio from these programs. They also offer a couple of co-branded credit cards by Barclays, a premium and no-fee card.

You’ll notice there are plenty of Wyndham properties near many popular National Parks which makes these points extremely useful.

Beyond flexible points programs and credit cards, there are many ways to earn Wyndham points with their partners.

Program partnerships include:

  • When you rent a car through Avis or Budget, you can save up to 30% on all qualifying rentals and earn up to 1,000 points per car rental.
  • You’ll earn 2,500 Wyndham points for signing up for Home Chef. You’ll also get 500 points for each additional box.
  • Wyndham has a partnership with Marathon gas where you’ll earn 2 points for every gallon of fuel purchased. You can even earn more points for other in-store purchases.
  • Looking to book a tour or excursion? When you book an activity or tour through the Wyndham portal, you’ll earn 10 Wyndham points per dollar spent. Depending on the activity, this can be a great way to earn a lot of points.
  • Lastly, you can use the Wyndham shopping portal to earn points at select merchants when you shop online. 

National Parks and their Gateway Town Lodging

Below you’ll find popular National Parks with their gateway town and a list of hotel options.

Please keep in mind for hotel reward programs like Choice and Best Western that don’t have set hotel categories and/or award charts, every effort was made to find the correct number of points for peak summer stays.

However, in some cases, the points price listed may be part of a range rather than a fixed price. 

Arches National Park & Canyonlands National Park

Moab, Utah is the gateway city for both of these stunning Utah National Parks. Surrounded by orange sandstone rock formations, Moab is ideally located with Arches just 5 minutes from town and Canyonlands just 25-30 minutes away.

Moab is a full-service town with hotels, restaurants, gas, tour operators, and shops for all your basic necessities. It’s a lively and convenient town to stroll through in the evenings after a day out in the nearby National Parks and a great start to your Utah itinerary.

How to plan 1 awesome day at arches national park
HotelProgramPoints Per Night
Sleep Inn & Suites MoabChoice Privileges20,000
Best Western Plus Greenwell InnBest Western20,000
Hyatt Place MoabHyatt8,000
SpringHill Suites MoabMarriottOff-Peak: 40,000
Standard: 50,000
Peak: 60,000
Holiday Inn Express MoabIHG40,000
Best Western Plus Canyon InnBest
Western
24,000
Hoodoo Moab, Curio CollectionHilton42,000
Fairfield Inn & Suites MoabMarriott
Bonvoy
Off-Peak: 40,000
Standard: 50,000
Peak: 60,000
Homewood Suites MoabHilton31,000
Comfort Suites MoabChoice
Privileges
25,000
Hampton Inn MoabHilton26,000
La Quinta Inn MoabWyndham30,000
Super 8 MoabWyndham15,000
Days Inn MoabWyndham15,000
Mainstay Suites MoabChoice Privileges25,000
Quality Suites MoabChoice Privileges16,000
Quality Inn Moab Slickrock AreaChoice Privileges16,000
Wingate by Wyndham MoabWyndham30,000

Planning a National Park Trip?
Check current prices 
in Moab. | Book direct with ChoiceBest Westernand IHG.
Earn towards a free night with Hotels.com.

Zion National Park

Springdale, Utah sits just footsteps from Zion’s entrance and visitor center. The town runs along the main road with shops, places to eat, and accommodations.

Given the number of things to do in Zion and its cute gateway town, you’ll want to plan a few days in the area.

Springdale has some loyalty program hotels like the Holiday Inn Express that I stayed in. But overall expect to find a fair share of local eateries, inns, and B&Bs.

There is a free shuttle that runs along the main road carrying people to and from Zion’s entrance, a must-use for a successful trip to Zion!

angels landing Zion National Park
HotelProgramPoints Per Night
SpringHill Suites Zion National ParkMarriott
Bonvoy
Off-Peak: 40,000
Standard:50,000
Peak: 60,000
Holiday Inn Express SpringdaleIHG40,000
Hampton Inn & Suite SpringdaleHilton24,000
La Quinta Inn & Suite SpringdaleWyndham30,000
Best Western Plus Zion Canyon Inn &SuitesBest
Western
28,000
Quality Inn SpringdaleChoice Privileges20,000
Quality Inn & Suite MontclairChoice Privileges20,000
Cliffrose Springdale, Curio CollectionHilton52,000

Planning a National Park Trip?
Check current prices 
in Zion NP. | Book direct with ChoiceBest Westernand IHG.
Earn towards a free night with Hotels.com.

Bryce Canyon National Park

Less than 2 hours from Zion, you’ll find Bryce Canyon and its stunning orange hoodoos.

The town of Bryce Canyon, itself, is a small swath of land, centered around the main road leading into the National Park. A few hotels, restaurants, and tour operators populate the strip for visitors looking to explore the area.

I stayed in the Best Western Plus Ruby’s Inn just a couple of minutes from the park entrance. The hotel had everything I needed, a clean, comfortable room and a hot breakfast after watching the sunrise over Bryce Canyon.

Bryce Canyon National Park
HotelProgramPoints Per Night
Best Western Plus Ruby’s InnBest
Western
12,000
Best Western Plus Bryce Canyon Grand HotelBest
Western
20,000
Quality Inn Bryce CanyonChoice
Privileges
16,000
Rodeway Inn Bryce CanyonChoice
Privileges
10,000

Planning a National Park Trip?
Check current prices 
in Bryce Canyon. | Book direct with ChoiceBest Westernand IHG.
Earn towards a free night with Hotels.com.

Grand Canyon National Park

A day trip (or more!) to the Grand Canyon should be on everyone’s bucket list!

The National Park has several access points, but the South Rim attracts the most visitors. It’s possible to stay just a few miles from this entrance in a couple of available hotels.

However, for a fuller stay in the area, I recommend using Flagstaff as your base. Of the 6 million people who visit the Grand Canyon every year, 5 million of them choose Flagstaff as their base.

I had a fantastic stay at the DoubleTree in Flagstaff.

The city is just 90 minutes from the South Rim, with easy access to several other notable National Monuments in the area. Flagstaff also features part of the famed Route 66 and has a bustling, historic downtown district with delicious restaurants, artsy clothing, and gift boutiques. 

distance from Flagstaff to Grand Canyon

Hotels just outside the Grand Canyon South Rim Entrance:

HotelProgramPoints Per Night
Holiday Inn Express & Suites Grand CanyonIHG40,000
Best Western Premier Grand Canyon Squire InnBest
Western
20,000

Hotels in Flagstaff, Arizona:

HotelProgramPoints Per Night
Holiday Inn Express & Suites Grand CanyonIHG40,000
Best Western Premier Grand Canyon Squire InnBest
Western
20,000
Embassy Suites Hilton FlagstaffHilton34,000
DoubleTree FlagstaffHilton31,000
Hilton Garden Inn FlagstaffHilton27,000
Hampton Inn & Suites FlagstaffHilton31,000
Super 8 NAU/Downtown Conference CenterWyndham15,000
Howard Johnson Flagstaff University WestWyndham15,000
Baymont FlagstaffWyndham15,000
Residence Inn FlagstaffMarriott
Bonvoy
Off-Peak: 40,000
Standard: 50,000
Peak: 60,000
SpringHill Suites FlagstaffMarriott
Bonvoy
Off-Peak: 30,000
Standard: 35,000
Peak: 40,000
Courtyard FlagstaffMarriott
Bonvoy
Off-Peak: 30,000
Standard: 35,000
Peak: 40,000
Holiday Inn Express FlagstaffIHG30,000
Comfort Inn I-17 & I-40Choice
Privileges
20,000
Sleep Inn FlagstaffChoice
Privileges
16,000
Comfort Inn Lucky LaneChoice
Privileges
16,000
Rodeway Inn & Suites I-40 Exit 198Choice
Privileges
12,000
Rodeway Inn 2140 East Route 66Choice
Privileges
12,000

Planning a National Park Trip?
Check current prices 
in Flagstaff, AZ. | Book direct with ChoiceBest Westernand IHG.
Earn towards a free night with Hotels.com.

Rocky Mountain National Park

Estes Park, Colorado is located at the east entrance to the park and is the most popular gateway town. You’ll find everything you need for a comfortable visit to the National Park including lodging and a walkable downtown area with plenty of good eats.

Free shuttles transport visitors through the town directly to the park’s visitor center for popular hikes. There are shops that rent gear for all of your seasonal needs.

Just be sure to watch out for the town’s resident elk(!) as you get around town. There was an entire herd each morning just behind the Best Western Plus Silver Saddle where I stayed.

Emerald Lake Rocky Mountain National Park

Hotels in Estes Park:

HotelProgramPoints
Per
Night
Best Western Plus Silver SaddleBest
Western
20,000
The Ridgeline Hotel-Estes Park, Ascend Hotel CollectionChoice
Privileges
30,000
Quality Inn Near Rocky Mountain National ParkChoice
Privileges
25,000

Hotels within a 1-hour drive from Estes Park:

HotelProgramPoints
Per
Night
Holiday Inn Express – BoulderIHG35,000
Best Western Plus Plaza HotelBest
Western
20,000
Best Western University InnBest
Western
20,000
Best Western Plus Loveland InnBest
Western
16,000
Hyatt Place Boulder/ Pearl StreetHyatt12,000

Planning a National Park Trip?
Check current prices 
in Rocky MTN NP. | Book direct with ChoiceBest Westernand IHG.
Earn towards a free night with Hotels.com.

Mesa Verde National Park

Mesa Verde National Park is unlike any other National Park with its native cliff dwellings dating back at least 800 years. The gateway town of Cortez is 15 minutes away from the park’s visitor center, while Durango is just 40 minutes away. 

Durango has a preserved downtown with historic buildings and local shops. The town is a foodie haven with excellent restaurant choices lining the main street. While closer, Cortez is quieter with just the basics in terms of visitor needs.

For my Colorado road trip, I had a great stay at the Hampton Inn Durango.

Cliff Palace Mesa Verde National Park
HotelProgramPoints Per Night
Holiday Inn Express Mesa Verde CortezIHG25,000
Hampton Inn Mesa Verde CortezHilton23,000
Best Western Turquoise Inn & Suites CortezBest
Western
16,000
Econo Lodge CortezChoice
Privileges
40,000
Comfort Inn & Suites DurangoChoice
Privileges
20,000
Quality Inn DurangoChoice
Privileges
20,000
Econo Lodge Inn & Suites DurangoChoice
Privileges
10,000
Best Western Plus
Rio Grande Inn Durango
Best
Western
24,000
Best Western Durango Inn & Suites DurangoBest
Western
20,000
Best Western Mountain
Shadows Durango
Best
Western
16,000
DoubleTree by Hilton DurangoHilton41,000
Homewood Suites DurangoHilton41,000
Hampton Inn DurangoHilton32,000
Holiday Inn Durango CentralIHG25,000
Residence Inn DurangoMarriott
Bonvoy
Off-Peak: 30,000
Standard: 35,000
Peak: 40,000
Fairfield Inn & Suites DurangoMarriott
Bonvoy
Off-Peak: 30,000
Standard: 35,000
Peak: 40,000
Wyndham DurangoWyndham15,000+
Days Inn DurangoWyndham15,000
Super 8 DurangoWyndham15,000
La Quinta Inn & Suites DurangoWyndham15,000

Planning a National Park Trip?
Check current prices 
in Mesa Verde. | Book direct with ChoiceBest Westernand IHG.
Earn towards a free night with Hotels.com.

Yellowstone National Park

West Yellowstone and Gardiner, Montana, as well as Cody, Wyoming are gateway communities leading into 3 of Yellowstone’s 5 entrances.

Yellowstone is open year-round, but be sure to check the town and entrance you intend to use as all entrances aren’t open all year.

In Cody, WY, you’ll be just a few miles from Yellowstone’s eastern entrance. After a day of hiking, you can channel your inner cowboy/girl by learning more about Buffalo Bill and heading out to the rodeo.

Gardiner, MT has the most in the way of essential services. It’s the closest to Yellowstone’s north entrance so get your camera ready for plentiful wildlife sightings.

West Yellowstone, MT is a tiny town with just the basics. It’s just a mile from the west entrance and has convenient access to Old Faithful.

Yellowstone National Park
HotelProgramPoints Per Night
Holiday Inn West YellowstoneIHG45,000
Residence Inn by Marriott Big Sky –
The Wilson Hotel
Marriott
Bonvoy
Off-Peak: 20,000
Standard: 25,000
Peak: 30,000
SpringHill Suites Island Park  Off-Peak: 20,000
Standard: 25,000
Peak: 30,000
Best Western Mammoth Hot SpringsBest
Western
24,000
Best Western Desert InnBest
Western
16,000
Comfort Inn Yellowstone NorthChoice
Privileges
30,000
Best Western Weston InnBest
Western
36,000
Quality Inn Cody At Buffalo Bill VillageChoice
Privileges
16,000
Rodeway InnChoice
Privileges
16,000
Best Western Weston InnBest
Western
36,000
Holiday Inn Cody at Buffalo VillageIHG40,000

Planning a National Park Trip?
Check current prices 
in Yellowstone NP. | Book direct with ChoiceBest Westernand IHG.
Earn towards a free night with Hotels.com.

Grand Teton National Park

Jackson, Wyoming is just a few minutes from the National Park and has a distinctive feel of a wild west frontier town.

Don’t be fooled by this western town’s cowboy-esque exterior, though. The extremely wealthy and celebrities, alike, have homes in and around the Jackson area. Expect to find spas, restaurants, and even art galleries that cater to upscale seasonal residents.

The mountains, lakes, and natural landscapes within the National Park offer an endless number of outdoor adventures, particularly during the summer months when the town is at its busiest. 

Grand Teton National Park
HotelProgramPoints Per Night
Hampton Inn Jackson HoleHilton30,000
Homewood Suites by Hilton JacksonHilton34,000
SpringHill Suites by Marriott Jackson HoleMarriott
Bonvoy
Off-Peak: 30,000
Standard: 35,000
Peak: 40,000
Super 8 by Wyndham Jackson HoleWyndham15,000

Planning a National Park Trip?
Check current prices 
in Grand Teton NP. | Book direct with ChoiceBest Westernand IHG.
Earn towards a free night with Hotels.com.

Glacier National Park

Whitefish and Kalispell, Montana are west of the park and provide access to the alpine forests, glacier-fed lakes, and mountains within the park. The famous Going-to-Sun-Road is roughly 30 miles from this western entrance by the Apgar Visitor Center.

Whitefish has its share of small shops but also has a larger Safeway. The town offers adventures for all seasons from skiing to zip-lining to hiking.

Kalispell is even more commercial with big name brands like Target and Starbucks. It’s a bit further from the park, with perhaps not as much charm. But, at only 40 minutes from Glacier’s western entrance, it’s a convenient choice nonetheless.

Glacier National Park
HotelProgramPoints Per Night
Hilton Garden Inn KalispellHilton21,000
Hampton Inn Suites WhitefishHilton25,000
Hampton Inn KalispellHilton22,000
Best Western Plus Flathead Lake
Inn And Suites
Best
Western
20,000
Holiday Inn Express & Suites KalispellIHG35,000
TownePlace Suites Whitefish KalispellMarriott
Bonvoy
Off-Peak: 20,000
Standard:25,000
Peak: 30,000
Homewood Suites Kalispell, MTHilton26,000
SpringHill Suites KalispellMarriott
Bonvoy
Off-Peak:20,000
Standard:25,000
Peak: 30,000
Best Western Rocky Mountain LodgeBest
Western
20,000
Super 8 KalispellWyndham15,000
The Pine Lodge on Whitefish River-
Ascend Hotel Collection 
Choice
Privileges
20,000
Quality Inn Big SkyChoice
Privileges
10,000
Econo Lodge Inn & SuitesChoice
Privileges
8,000
Travelodge KalispellWyndham15,000
La Quinta Inn & Suites KalispellWyndham15,000
Baymont WhitefishWyndham15,000
Timbers Motel TravelodgeWyndham7,500

Planning a National Park Trip?
Check current prices 
in Glacier NP. | Book direct with ChoiceBest Westernand IHG.
Earn towards a free night with Hotels.com.

Yosemite National Park

Oakdale, Mariposa, Oakhurst, and Mammoth Lakes, California all offer hotel lodgings with loyalty programs.

Oakhurst is the closest at just 22 miles from Yosemite’s southern entrance. The remaining gateway towns are between 30-40 miles from a Yosemite entrance.

To immerse yourself in the area’s natural beauty, you’ll need to head into the National Park itself.

Yosemite National Park
HotelProgramPoints Per Night
Quality Inn Yosemite Valley GatewayChoice
Privileges
16,000
Sierra Sky Ranch, Ascend Hotel CollectionChoice
Privileges
16,000
Comfort Inn Yosemite AreaChoice
Privileges
16,000
The Westin Monache  Resort,
Mammoth Lakes
Marriott
Bonvoy
Off-Peak: 40,000
Standard: 50,000
Peak: 60,000
Fairfield Inn & Suites Oakhurst Marriott
Bonvoy
Off-Peak: 15,000
Standard: 17,500
Peak: 20,000
Best Western Plus Yosemite Way
Station Motel
Best
Western
24,000
Best Western Plus Yosemite
Gateway Inn
Best
Western
24,000

Planning a National Park Trip?
Check current prices 
in Yosemite NP. | Book direct with ChoiceBest Westernand IHG.
Earn towards a free night with Hotels.com.

Olympic National Park

Port Angeles and Sequim, Washington are gateway towns to the park situated on the Olympic Peninsula.

Port Angeles is just minutes from the National Park visitor center, while Sequim is about an hour away.

With access to the straits and channels leading to the Pacific Ocean, ferries to the islands and nearby British Columbia, beaches, kayaking, and numerous outdoor activities are all convenient to the area.

Both towns also offer downtown areas with shops and markets.

Olympic National Park
HotelProgramPoints Per Night
Quality Inn UptownChoice
Privileges
12,000
Quality Inn & Suites
At Olympic National Park
Choice
Privileges
12,000
Econo LodgeChoice
Privileges
10,000
Quality Inn & SuitesChoice
Privileges
12,000
Holiday Inn Express & Suites
Sequim
IHG35,000
Days Inn by Wyndham
Port Angeles
Wyndham15,000
Super 8 Port Angeles Wyndham15,000

Planning a National Park Trip?
Check current prices 
in Olympic NP. | Book direct with ChoiceBest Westernand IHG.
Earn towards a free night with Hotels.com.

Acadia National Park

Bar Harbor, Maine is surrounded by the National Park gem of the east coast, Acadia.

The town sits on the Atlantic coast on Mount Desert Island. It’s a quintessential New England harbor with sailboats tethered to piers in Frenchman’s Bay and quaint streets lined with specialty shops and restaurants.

While the Bar Harbor area is home to numerous privately owned guesthouses and hotels, there are a few options for those who want to book an award stay with hotel points.

 Acadia National Park
HotelProgramPoints Per Night
Holiday Inn Resort Bar HarborIHG50,000
Hampton Inn Bar HarborHilton51,000
Quality InnChoice
Privileges
20,000
Days Inn Bar HarborWyndham15,000

Planning a National Park Trip?
Check current prices 
in Acadia NP. | Book direct with ChoiceBest Westernand IHG.
Earn towards a free night with Hotels.com.

Great Smoky Mountain National Park

Gatlinburg, Pigeon Forge, Sevierville in Tennessee and Cherokee, North Carolina are your best options for using hotel points on a visit to Great Smoky Mountain National Park.

This is the most visited National Park in the United States. At the southern end of the Blue Ridge Parkway with Shenandoah National Park to the north, Great Smoky Mountain National Park makes a fantastic finish to an east coast road trip.

Expect to find a large, sprawling town in Gatlinburg with all basic amenities and tourist attractions like Ripley’s Believe or Not Museum.

Cherokee is only 25 minutes from the park’s entrance on the North Carolina side and, as its name suggests, has deep Native American roots. Where Gatlinburg is a town all to itself, the food and lodging amenities in Cherokee exist because of the area’s tourism.

Roanoke va things to do
HotelProgramPoints
Per
Night
Bluegreen Vacations Mountain
Loft Ascend Resort Collection
Choice Privileges30,000
Econo Lodge Inn & Suites
On The River Gatlinburg
Choice Privileges12,000
Quality Inn Creekside
Downtown Gatlinburg
Choice Privileges16,000
Econo Lodge Inn & Suites
At The Convention Center Gatlinburg
Choice Privileges12,000
Clarion Inn GatlinburgChoice Privileges10,000
Quality Inn & Suites GatlinburgChoice Privileges16,000
Sleep Inn & Suites GatlinburgChoice Privileges20,000
Quality Inn & Suites At
Dollywood Lane Pigeon Forge
Choice Privileges16,000
Econo Lodge Pigeon ForgeChoice Privileges10,000
Comfort Inn & Suites At
Dollywood Lane Pigeon Forge
Choice Privileges20,000
Mainstay Suites Conference
Center Pigeon Forge
Choice Privileges25,000
Quality Inn Near
The Island Pigeon Forge
Choice Privileges16,000
Clarion Inn Pigeon ForgeChoice Privileges16,000
Econo Lodge Riverside
Pigeon Forge
Choice Privileges16,000
Comfort Suites Mountain
Mile Area Pigeon Forge
Choice Privileges25,000
Comfort Inn Apple Valley 
Sevierville, TN
Choice Privileges25,000
Sleep Inn Sevierville, TNChoice Privileges12,000
Econo Lodge Sevierville, TNChoice Privileges16,000
Quality Inn & Suites Sevierville –
Pigeon Forge
Choice Privileges16,000
Clarion Inn Willow River 
Sevierville, TN
Choice Privileges16,000
Rodeway Inn & Suites
On The River Cherokee, NC
Choice Privileges10,000
Comfort Suites Kodak
Sevierville
Choice Privileges16,000
Quality Inn Kodak SeviervilleChoice Privileges10,000
Econo Lodge Cherokee, NCChoice Privileges16,000
Sleep Inn Bryson City –
Cherokee, NC
Choice Privileges20,000
Hampton Inn GatlinburgHilton30,000
Hampton Inn Gatlinburg
Historic Nature Trail
Hilton50,000
The Park Vista – a DoubleTree
by Hilton Hotel – Gatlinburg
Hilton32,000
Hilton Garden Inn GatlinburgHilton50,000
Holiday Inn Express Gatlinburg
Downtown
IHG30,000
Holiday Inn Express & Suites
Pigeon Forge/Near Dollywood
IHG35,000
Holiday Inn Express & Suites
Pigeon Forge – Sevierville
IHG25,000
Holiday Inn Express & Suites
Cherokee/Casino
IHG35,000
Fairfield Inn & Suites Gatlinburg
Downtown
Marriott BonvoyOff-Peak: 30,000
Standard: 35,000
Peak: 40,000
Courtyard Marriott
Gatlinburg Downtown
Marriott BonvoyOff-Peak: 30,000
Standard: 35,000
Peak: 40,000
Courtyard Marriott Pigeon ForgeMarriott BonvoyOff-Peak: 30,000
Standard: 35,000
Peak: 40,000
SpringHill Suites Pigeon ForgeMarriott BonvoyOff-Peak: 30,000
Standard: 35,000
Peak: 40,000
Fairfield Inn & Suites Cherokee, NCMarriott BonvoyOff-Peak: 30,000
Standard: 35,000
Peak: 40,000
Fairfield Inn & Suites Pigeon ForgeMarriott BonvoyOff-Peak: 30,000
Standard: 35,000
Peak: 40,000
Baymont By Wyndham
Gatlinburg On The River
Wyndham15,000
Super 8 by Wyndham
Downtown Gatlinburg at
Convention Center
Wyndham15,000
Super 8 by Wyndham Downtown
Gatlinburg at Convention Center
Wyndham15,000
Microtel Inn & Suites by
Wyndham Gatlinburg
Wyndham15,000
Howard Johnson by
Wyndham Downtown Gatlinburg
Wyndham15,000
SureStay Plus HotelGatlinburgWyndham20,000
Best Western Toni Inn
Pigeon Forge
Best
Western
20,000
Best Western Plaza Inn
Pigeon Forge
Best
Western
20,000
SureStay Hotel Pigeon ForgeBest
Western
16,000
Best Western Cades Cove InnBest
Western
20,000
Best Western Sevierville
Kodak Inn
Best
Western
20,000

Planning a National Park Trip?
Check current prices 
in GSM NP. | Book direct with ChoiceBest Westernand IHG.
Earn towards a free night with Hotels.com.

The National Parks in the United States are full of natural beauty just waiting to be explored. With some planning, your visit can cost a lot less when you make use of hotel points for hotels in National Park gateways.

Are you planning a visit to the National Parks taking advantage of hotel loyalty programs for free nights?

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How to Use Hotel Points for Free Nights at National Parks
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14 thoughts on “How to Use Hotel Points for Free Nights at National Parks”

  1. I’ve just returned from a trip to the National Parks and although I like to save money, I have found that it is worthwhile to spend the money to stay at the lodges or cabins inside the parks. It gives you a whole different experience. I was able to see both the stillness and peacefulness of the park at sunrise and sunset and watch the nearby animals without crowds of people. Plus, most in-park lodges have their own personalities and are located in the most scenic locations, with excellent access to in-park transportation and facilities.

    I always book directly with the concessionaire and for the most popular ones as soon as reservations open up.

    1. Jackie Sills-Dellegrazie

      Thanks for offering a different viewpoint, Clare! It would certainly be nice to see the park quiet in the morning and at night. The lodge at Zion NP looked very nice. Unfortunately, we booked our trip last minute and this wasn’t an option. I also like saving on accommodations by using points to afford excursions that might not otherwise be possible. Thanks for sharing another option for people to consider for their NP trip! It’s so appreciated. 🙂

  2. This is fantastic! I did a lot of national park visits when I was a kid, via RV or (gasp) in a tent. When I go back I’d love to have a hot shower and a room not on wheels this time 🙂 Love the points graphic too, I bookmarked that for later!

    1. Jackie Sills-Dellegrazie

      Thanks, Eileen! A tent! (shock, horror…joke!) I have those same childhood memories, thus the reason for a comfy room to come back to! Glad the infographic will be useful! 🙂

  3. Wow, this article is probably one of the best I have read on the topic of redeeming and maximising your points, as well as using them to benefit from free hotel nights.

    I salute you for all the efforts. I pinned it! Thanks for sharing.

    1. Jackie Sills-Dellegrazie

      Thanks for sharing, Svetoslav! Hope it will be helpful for anyone wanting to use points for National Park stays!

  4. We have visited only one of the National Parks listed here and that is Yellowstone. We love National Parks, they are veritable treasure troves of natural beauty in all its splendour. And yes many a time accommodation with easy access to the parks is an issue. Your post packs in a lot of information on the accommodation available near each National Park and how to use hotel points. Very useful information,, will store this for easy reference.

    1. Jackie Sills-Dellegrazie

      Thanks so much! It can be so tricky to know where to stay if you’re not camping or in an RV. Glad the post will be useful for you. 🙂

    1. Jackie Sills-Dellegrazie

      Thanks, Anna! Hope you can put a few of the hacks to good use! 🙂

  5. We love staying in that actual park when possible but it seems like you really have to plan ahead as places fill up so fast during high season. Staying in a nearby hotel is good idea too so you can get to the park ASAP in the morning. We’re mostly Hilton and IHG people so I am happy to see several options near Great Smoky Mountain National park. Hoping to road trip there this summer!

    1. Jackie Sills-Dellegrazie

      Have an awesome trip to Great Smoky Mountain National Park, Alana! We booked our National Park road trip last minute and couldn’t stay in the parks we visited. We were really happy with IHG, too. The Holiday Inn Expresses we stayed at were consistently nice and cozy and were situated close to the parks for an easy early morning arrival.

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