For many travelers staying in hotels represents a large portion of their vacation costs. If you want to save on your vacations, I suggest you start by joining at least two hotel loyalty programs. Some of you prefer to use Priceline or other similar programs for your hotel stays, but if you like to know exactly where you are staying there are many wonderful benefits being a member of hotel loyalty programs.
There are many different hotel loyalty programs. The main ones that I am familiar with are Club Carlson, Hilton HHonors, Hyatt Gold Passport, Marriott Rewards, Priority Club Rewards and Starwood Preferred Guest. Each of these programs has a number of different hotel brands that are part of their program. More hotel brands give you more choices when deciding where you want to stay and where to use the points you earn. An example is Club Carlson which includes Radisson Blu, Radisson, Park Plaza, Park Inn by Radisson, Country Inns & Suites By Carlson, and Hotel Missoni. Last week while we were in Raleigh, we stayed at a Country Inns and Suites review and with the help of a great promotion we were able to use the points we earned from our one night stay to book a free night at the Radisson Aruba review for our trip in January.
Deciding which program is best for you is a decision to make after you think about where you want to travel to Goals and the benefits you want in a hotel loyalty program. I find that being a member of more than one program gives me more flexibility in both earning and using my hotel points.
Here is a list of the hotel programs I mentioned in this post with links to each of their hotel brands.
Club Carlson link
Hilton HHonors link
Hyatt Gold Passport link
Marriott Rewards link
Priority Club Rewards link
Starwood Preferred Guest link
Each hotel loyalty program is somewhat different in the number of points you earn and how many points you need when you want to stay for free or at a reduced cost. The partners for each program are another important difference because partners of a program help you earn, and many times use the points you have earned. Most hotel loyalty programs allow you to transfer the points you earn into some of their partners programs for your rewards. Hotel points will expire if you do not have any activity in your account. Most programs permit you to purchase points to keep your account active and to help you reach an award you are close to earning.
Below are the links to join each of these hotel frequent guest programs. Sign up bonuses may be available at different times. Keep a record of your membership number and password to help you enjoy the benefits of being a member.
Club Carlson join
Hilton HHonors join
Hyatt Gold Passport link
Marriott Rewards join
Priority Club Rewards join
Starwood Preferred Guest join
Most hotel loyalty programs have credit cards to go along with their programs. These credit cards provide extra perks such as elite status, bonus points, special discounts on hotel rates and discounts on the number of hotel points needed for free hotel nights. Earning hotel points by using a hotel credit card also helps to keep most hotel frequent guest accounts active and this avoids losing hard earned points from inactivity. The initial sign up bonus for many of these credit card provide you with enough points for a number of free nights worldwide. Of course you need to have good credit. You must pay off the full balance of your hotel credit card on time each and every month because the interest and monthly fees on most of these credit cards are very high.
One of the best ways to earn hotel points is from hotel promotions. Marriott Rewards was the first hotel loyalty I joined. In 2001 they offered a promotion that is still offered regularly today. Make two stays in a designated time period and earn one free night in their category 1-4 hotels wordwide. As I mentioned in my previous post two of my travel goals were to ski out west and get free nights in NYC, Baltimore and/or D.C.
Back in the 2001 my family went skiing in Utah. We stayed at a Residence Inn in Salt Lake City in a two bedroom, two bath unit with a kitchen for $89 per night. This rate included breakfast and groceries shopping delivery service. All I need to do was make a list in the morning, give it to the clerk at the front desk and pay for our food. All of the items on my list were delivered to our hotel room when we got back hungry from the ski slopes. Free evening snacks were also served in the lobby during the week.
Both my husband and I have Marriott Rewards accounts. Each morning we would check into and out of the same room. We stayed a total of 8 nights, four stays each and we each earned two free nights. In the spring we used those four free nights for two weekend road trips. We spent one weekend in NYC at a hotel outside the city with a bus across the street to take us into NYC each day. Another weekend we enjoyed our free nights near Baltimore and Washington D.C.
Where do you want to use the free hotel nights you earn?