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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.
|Loyalty Program||Affiliated Brands|
|Club Carlson||Quorvus Collection, Radisson Blu, Radisson, Park Plaza, Park Inn, Country Inn & Suites|
|Hilton HHonors||Hilton, Waldorf Astoria, Conrad, Curio, DoubleTree, Embassy Suites, Hilton Garden Inn, Hampton Inn, Homewood Suites, Home2 Suites, Hilton Grand Vacations|
|Hyatt Gold Passport||Andaz, Hyatt Regency, Hyatt Centric, Hyatt Place, Hyatt House, Hyatt, Park Hyatt, Grand Hyatt, Hyatt Zilara/Ziva, Hyatt Residence Club|
|IHG Rewards||Intercontinental, Hualuxe, Crowne Plaza, Hotel Indigo, Even Hotels, Holiday Inn, Holiday Inn Express, Holiday Inn Resort, Holiday Inn Club Vacations, Staybridge Suites, Candlewood Suites|
|Marriott Rewards||JW Marriott, Edition, Autograph Collection, Renaissance, Marriott, Courtyard, SpringHill Suites, Fairfield Inns & Suites, Residence Inn, Towneplace Suites, Gaylord Hotels, Marriott Vacation Club|
|Starwood Preferred Guest||Le Meridien, aLoft, Four Points, Westin, The Luxury Collection, W Hotels, Sheraton, St. Regis, Element, Tribute Portfolio, Design Hotels*|
Why Be Loyal To A 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.
Complimentary breakfast at the Conrad Hong Kong
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.
Next: What’s Next?
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