GUIDE: Hotels.Com Rewards
Hotels.com Rewards is the customer loyalty program of Hotels.com, an online travel agency owned by Expedia Group. The rewards program is pretty awesome and they even have their own easily attainable status levels that will help travelers get the extra perks their accustomed to with traditional loyalty programs. Basically with Hotels.com Rewards, when you book and stay 10 nights at any hotel, you earn 1 free night that is equal to or less than the average price you paid for the 10 paid nights. While there are many reasons people prefer to book hotels direct there are equally compelling reasons to book through OTAs like Hotels.com. One major advantage to this rewards program unlike most hotel loyalty programs is that you can use your free night for any night at any hotel available on Hotels.com since there are no blackout dates or property restrictions.
What’s even cooler is that Hotels.com just launched a co-branded card with Wells Fargo and it seems like this will turbo charge the rewards you can earn as well as fast track card holders to silver elite status with Hotels.com (explained in detail below.) I’m going to cover the credit card in a separate post this week because there are some pretty interesting ways to get max value out of this combo.
How do hotels.com rewards work?
Hotels.com Rewards is for guests aged 18+ who registered through email. When enrolled members book and stay one night at an eligible property, they get one stamp. Once members collect 10 stamps, they get a free reward night to redeem at any eligible property.
The value of the free reward night is the average of the amount paid for the ten nights before taxes and fees. You also pay taxes and fees on your reward night. If you choose a room, apartment, or other equivalent that costs more, you pay the difference between the value of your reward and the cost of the booking.
To illustrate, if you stay 5 nights in a $100 hotel and 5 nights in a $300 hotel, your free night certificate will be worth up to $300. This is approximately a 10% rate of return on the hotel rate- overall the rate of return is a bit less since it doesn’t include taxes and fees.
Things to Consider
- A redemption fee applies to each reward night, unless redeemed on the app.
- You can’t collect stamps or redeem reward nights when you pay using a discount coupon or if you’re making a package booking.
- You won’t earn loyalty points with the hotel chain
Do Hotels.com Rewards Expire?
Stamps and reward nights collected will expire if you have not made and completed a booking or redeemed a reward with your Hotels.com Rewards account in the previous 12 months.
Hotels.Com Elite Status Levels
Hotels.com offers 2 “elite” tiers to Rewards members who purchase 10 (Silver) or 30 (Gold) nights a year, respectively. While these loyalty tiers are definitely not game changers, there are a few things that make them interesting to me as compared to traditional loyalty programs. First, you’ll earn qualifying nights towards status even when you book nights for someone else. Additionally, available benefits can also be used by the person staying even if they’re not a VIP member. Here’s a quick rundown of the benefits- they seem a bit discretionary.
VIP Silver Benefits- Stay 10 Nights in a Membership year
- Silver Exclusives: Perks like free breakfast, airport transfers and spa vouchers during your stay at select properties. (Available at properties with a gift box icon when booking.)
- VIP Access properties: You’ll get guaranteed free WiFi
- Priority customer service
- Price Guarantee Plus: If you find a better price on exactly the same stay, they’ll match it and refund the difference
- Hassle-free Travel Guarantee: Need to change or cancel your booking, they state they’ll help minimize property charges or cancellation fees (not sure how this works so I’m guessing it’s YMMV)
VIP Gold Benefits– Stay 30 Nights in a Membership year
- All the benefits that come with Silver elite status
- VIP free room upgrades and other perks including a complimentary room upgrade as well as early check-in and late check-out (subject to availability) when staying at VIP Access properties.
How Do I Redeem Hotels.com Rewards?
- Sign in to your Hotels.com account online or via the app.
- Use the Hotels.com Rewards filter to help you find an eligible hotel or vacation rental.
- Book your desired hotel or vacation rental, making sure to select one that can be booked by redeeming reward nights.
- If your selected hotel or vacation rental offers the option to Pay now or Pay at hotel, choose Pay now.
- In Your Reservation Summary, select Redeem Hotels.com Rewards.
- Select which reward night(s) you want to redeem and Apply them to your booking.
The total cost of your booking will be the balance after the applicable value of your reward night discount is applied.
Final Thoughts: Tips to Get More Value from Hotels.Com Bookings
- Purchase discount Hotels.com gift cards and stack up on them during Amex Offer periods or look for sales on gift card sites.
- Start at a shopping portal like Topcashback and click through to Hotels.com.
- Avoid booking fees when you redeem your rewards by booking your stay in the app.
- Charge will code as travel so if you have a travel rewards card, you’ll earn bonus points there as well.