Airfare is a major piece of the puzzle, but it’s also important to consider how hotels might fit into your travel scenario as well.
In the intro example, the first couple economized on living arrangements by renting a flat, but it’s also possible to include accommodations as part of your points-earning strategy.
It’ll take a little more spend, or a little more time, or another credit card application, but not only is it possible, it’s actually very practical to stay in luxury hotels for less than you would pay out of pocket for more “economical” accommodations.
As with the airline relationships we discussed earlier, many hotels are branded separately but part of a larger family, so you can stay domestically at a Hilton Garden Inn and cash those free nights in at a Waldorf Astoria or Conrad internationally.
Radisson, Radisson Blu, Radisson Collection, Radisson Red, Country Inn & Suites by Radisson, Park Inn by Radisson, Park Plaza
Hilton, Waldorf Astoria, Conrad, Curio, DoubleTree, Embassy Suites, Hilton Garden Inn, Hampton Inn, Homewood Suites, Home2 Suites, Hilton Grand Vacations
World of Hyatt
Andaz, Hyatt Regency, Hyatt Centric, Hyatt Place, Hyatt House, Hyatt, Park Hyatt, Grand Hyatt, Hyatt Zilara/Ziva, Hyatt Residence Club, The Unbound Collection by Hyatt
InterContinental, Regent Hotels, Six Senses Hotels, Kimpton Hotels and Resorts, Hualuxe, Crowne Plaza, voco Hotels, Hotel Indigo, Holiday Inn, Holiday Inn Express, Holiday Inn club vacations, avid, Candlewood Suites, EVEN Hotels, Staybridge Suites
JW Marriott, Edition, Autograph Collection, Renaissance, Marriott, Courtyard, SpringHill Suites, Fairfield Inns & Suites, Residence Inn, Towneplace Suites, Gaylord Hotels, Marriott Vacation Club, Le Meridien, aLoft, Four Points, Westin, The Luxury Collection, W Hotels, Sheraton, St. Regis, Element, Tribute Portfolio, Design Hotels
Why Be Loyal To A Hotel Chain?
One of the major benefits to sticking with a chain hotel is that they have loyalty programs! Sure, there are often better prices or experiences at boutique hotels in a given city, but I tend to think across the board the benefits of sticking to a chain hotel can add up quite quickly.
If you have elite status with a hotel (from staying a particular number of nights per year) you are often eligible for extra benefits like suite upgrades or complimentary breakfast.
Even if you don’t have top tier status with a hotel, you can still benefit from perks like free internet, bonus points, or even just a better room due to being a member of the hotels’ loyalty program.
Even Without Loyalty
On top of that, several hotel chains offer some downright ridiculous perks just for carrying their credit card. Benefits like free breakfast, or an annual free night certificate more than justify the annual fee in most cases.
Best of all, these card perks are on top of great bonuses that you can receive just for signing up for the card and meeting the minimum spend.
Just a few strategic credit card applications could easily result in enough free nights to spend a week abroad in four and five star hotels!
Given all the choices, I think a hotel program should absolutely be part of everyone’s miles and points strategy. Combined with the right mileage program, that dream vacation starts to be much more approachable.
Hopefully, this has given you a general overview as to what is possible with miles and points, and how to get started.
To bring this full circle, remember the two couples we talked about earlier, who were planning a trip to Europe?
Given what we’ve learned, does it make more sense how they’d be able to fund a luxury trip for just a fraction of what they might otherwise spend?
If so, you have the basics down, and are well on your way to accomplishing your travel goals!
So What’s Next?
From here, you’ll want to keep collecting miles, learning about the various programs, and ultimately how best to redeem all these points! There’s a ton of vocabulary and jargon, and it’s okay if you don’t pick up on everything right away. We’ll post the best deals and opportunities here on the site, so make sure you’re subscribed to our daily newsletter and are following along on on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram.
It won’t necessarily come together all at once, and does take some work.
The important thing is to keep on dreaming, strategizing, and collecting – one mile at a time 😉 .