Beginners Guide To Miles and Points: Hotels Matter Too

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Beginners Guide To Miles & Points
What’s The Point?
How Loyalty Programs Work
Credit Cards and Credit Scores
Types of Miles & Points
Identifying Your Travel Goals
How Alliances Work
Credit Card Strategy For Beginners
Earning Miles & Points
Hotels Matter Too
What’s Next?

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 ProgramAffiliated Brands
Club CarlsonQuorvus Collection, Radisson Blu, Radisson, Park Plaza, Park Inn, Country Inn & Suites
Hilton HHonorsHilton, Waldorf Astoria, Conrad, Curio, DoubleTree, Embassy Suites, Hilton Garden Inn, Hampton Inn, Homewood Suites, Home2 Suites, Hilton Grand Vacations
Hyatt Gold PassportAndaz, Hyatt Regency, Hyatt Centric, Hyatt Place, Hyatt House, Hyatt, Park Hyatt, Grand Hyatt, Hyatt Zilara/Ziva, Hyatt Residence Club
IHG RewardsIntercontinental, Hualuxe, Crowne Plaza, Hotel Indigo, Even Hotels, Holiday Inn, Holiday Inn Express, Holiday Inn Resort, Holiday Inn Club Vacations, Staybridge Suites, Candlewood Suites
Marriott RewardsJW Marriott, Edition, Autograph Collection, Renaissance, Marriott, Courtyard, SpringHill Suites, Fairfield Inns & Suites, Residence Inn, Towneplace Suites, Gaylord Hotels, Marriott Vacation Club
Starwood Preferred GuestLe 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.

Conrad_Hong_Kong22
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.

Check out the best hotel cards and offers here!

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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Comments

  1. @ Lucky

    Can you help me with links to solid, up-to-date reviews of the various hotel programs? Considering I am going to earn hotel points not by card spending but by actually staying in the properties of the various chains. I know the basic rule is to choose a brand which has properties in my locations but this leaves still quite a few options open. Many thanks!

  2. I am registered with all programs (except for Starwood Preferred Guest) but I typically book my hotel stays through hotels.com. I understand that I might be loosing on some of the perks but I think that program gives me free nights (or drastically reduced nights) a lot quicker than any of the hotel specific loyalty programs. At hotels.com I receive a free night after 10 nights booked, where as I think these loyalty programs will require you to stay typically a lot more nights to receive a free stay.
    And the biggest advantage being that I can choose from hotels of all the listed chains and not being tied to just a small percentage of the available hotels.

  3. Hi Ben, Hope you travels are all well. In regards to ALL hotel chains in NYC, which one will I get the most stay with the least amount of hotel points. Times square/manhattan area is my goal in mid october. thanks so much ! Susan

  4. As somebody who has done all of this nonsense, I’m here to tell you that the basic supposition of this entire article is pure nonsense.

    Finding availability anymore is so much of a chore as to make it counterproductive. And especially in the area of “traveling abroad” many accommodations can be had directly for much less of a hassle than it is trying to find availability through these programs in places you’d like to go.

    In other words, the chains have begun a slow and deliberate process just like the airlines of completely eroding any major benefit from strict loyalty. In today’s game you’re so much better served playing the field.

  5. Lowest rate declared by all hotels in ehichbouh book on the hotel website is s joke..it is always the same ad AAA , booking.com, Expedia, any Airline eshopping dite. So does loyalty really mate? I’ve madr it to the best tier of a hotels’ level and NEVER was upgraded to a decently sized room or received significant comps .
    Question is: what would you prefer the possibility of getting a cheese plate and 50 extra sq feet or keeping one of your Airlines active with a purchase …

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