Hotel Loyalty Programs

n order to entice customers in tight economic times, more and more hotels are offering loyalty rewards programs. While these programs vary from chain to chain, all can be redeemed for free hotel nights and many for other travel rewards. Both high end and more affordable hotels offer these programs, and many chains include hotels at various price points. If you travel regularly for work or pleasure, joining the loyalty programs for all the hotels you use can pay off. These are free benefits for travelers, allowing you to earn all sorts of perks, even frequent flier miles. If you travel often for work, you may, with your employer’s consent, even be able to earn enough travel benefits to cut costs on your next vacation.

Choice Hotels offers the Choice Privileges program. Participating hotels in the Choice chain include Clarion, Sleep Inn, Comfort Inn and Comfort Suites. You will earn ten points for each eligible dollar spent at one of these hotels. Points may be redeemed for free hotel nights at a cost ranging from 6,000 points to 25,000 points depending upon the value of the room. More lavish accommodations are available from participating independent hotels at point costs of 25,000 to 50,000 points per night. Express reservation services, free incoming faxes and a free newspaper are also offered to plan members.

The Hilton Hotels HHonors program allows you to earn both hotel points and airline miles in a single stay.  Additional incentives are available if you stay frequently, including elite member benefits. Points can be used for free nights at various Hilton Hotels or for other hotel services including meals and in room movies.

Marriott Rewards also offers a choice of hotel points or frequent flier miles. If you opt to redeem points for free nights, you will receive a discount on multiple night bookings. Room upgrades may be purchased for 5,000 points. Free nights begin at 7,500 points with rooms ranging as high as 35,000 points. Ten points are earned for each eligible dollar spent at a Marriott property. Points may also be redeemed for golf resorts, travel packages, theme park admissions and more.

The Starwood Preferred Guest program is the top notch of all airline and hotel rewards programs and includes Westin and Sheraton hotels. While you only earn two points per dollar spent, free nights are available for as little as 2,000 points. Unlike most hotel loyalty programs, you can combine both cash and points to reduce the cost of a room. Points can be used to purchase frequent flier miles or gift certificates at some retailers. Room upgrades and other incentives are available for frequent patrons.

In selecting hotel rewards programs you will also want to consider the Wyndham Rewards program, Total Rewards from Harrah’s, and Best Western Gold Crown Club.  Thinking of international travel with some trendy botique hotels then make sure you join the GoldPoints Plus program to get deals at Radisson locations.

It should also be noted that many agencies, including the Red Cross and some that assist American service people will accept donations of rewards points. If you have hotel loyalty points you will not use, consider donating them to those that can use them.