Hotel chains all offer rewards programs that are free to join. And unlike for flights, you can actually earn free nights pretty quickly without credit cards, by staying a couple of nights in a chain’s properties. Especially during hotel promos.
To be clear, credit cards are still great for free hotel nights.
For example with one of the best deals for Canadians, the Marriott Bonvoy American Express Card, you get a welcome bonus of 11 completely free hotel nights in amazing destinations like Bali.
But you can (and should) maximize even further with your paid hotel stays too.
With hotel reward programs, the regular earn rate is usually pretty good, and there are often special promos too. That’s what we’ll talk about today.
Seasonal global promotions
We’ll have a detailed post shortly, but each major hotel chain regularly has a global promotion that all their hotels participate in. It’s often seasonal, so it’s in effect for a few months.
It gives you bonus rewards.
Here are a few concrete examples of hotel promos:
- Get double the points
- Get a fixed amount of thousands of points as a bonus
- Get some other special bonus
They greatly accelerate your rewards earning rewards. It often gives you net return rates of 20% or even more on your spending. That is huge.
It’s really worth taking advantage of hotel promos if you were going to stay in a hotel anyway. Why choose a hotel that gives you just the basic 10% back if another one at the same price gives you twice that? Hotel promos reduce the net cost of your stay!
Finally, know that hotel promos either give you a bonus:
- Per night
- Per stay (regardless of the number of nights)
If you are like me and want to maximize your rewards and/or rarely stay in one place very long, the second type is much more lucrative when there is a fixed amount of bonus points and there is no minimum length of stay.
Anyway, these are all elements to consider to choose the hotel with that comes out the cheapest overall.
For those who don’t know the basics of rewards, when you pay for a hotel stay with cash, you earn rewards in 2 distinct ways:
- The rewards earned directly with the merchant (in the merchant’s rewards program)
- The rewards earned through your credit card (in your card’s rewards program)
(It’s actually like that for anything you buy, almost every merchant has its own rewards program… it’s just that most are absolutely horrible, especially outside of the travel world.)
We’ll list each promo and gather all the info in one spot very soon, including an overview of each hotel chain (and their many different brands):
In short, it’s really worth comparing promos for almost everyone who travels even somewhat often.
And for those who don’t travel often (or don’t want to have to look at the promos at all)…
Here’s a teaser, to reward you for your patience while we put together the best travel rewards guide in Canada—and to convince you that you’ll get more great tips by signing up to our free travel rewards newsletter.
It’s for those who want to get free travel, but want it to be extremely simple.
Did you know that simply by booking through Hotels.com, you’ll get 1 free night after every 10 nights you stay? No matter the hotel chain, you’ll get 1 free night that you can also use anywhere.
No need to worry about chains, rewards programs rules, or points: you spend 10 nights and then you’ll get 1 free night. Super simple. The value of your free night will be the average price of your 10 paid nights, the equivalent of a fixed 10% back always.
It’s usually not as lucrative as the hotel chains’ own rewards program, but it’s infinitely simpler. No need to stay loyal to a chain, no need to look at the promos, no need to learn all about their program; it’s perfect for those who don’t travel often enough to want to complicate things by being loyal to one chain.
It’s a far cry from the welcome bonus of up to 8 free nights in beautiful hotels that the Marriott Bonvoy Card gives you, which we’ve talked about before (since it’s one of the best deals out there for Canadian travelers).
But some travelers simply don’t want to prioritize saving money and don’t want to plan a trip around those specific destinations (we’ll have more content to help you out with that by the way). It’s like anything else in the world of travel (or life in general actually): it can either be convenient, or it can be cheap.
We plan on making it as easy as possible for you with our Marriott Guide, but if you prefer, the simple Hotels.com rewards program is certainly as easy as can be.
Just be sure that the Hotels.com price is as low as on Booking.com, which is often the case. In fact, it can even be up to 10% higher and you’ll still come out ahead with Hotels.com compared to Booking.com (which we love for its filters and search options, but if the chosen property is available at Hotels.com within 10% of the price, we’ll book there instead of course).
Personally, I try to stay in Marriott hotels as much as possible as a Titanium Elite Member. But whenever I book non-chain hotels, I always try to book with Hotels.com to add to my stash of free nights.
We’ll have a detailed guide about this very simple Hotels.com rewards program for our travel rewards newsletter subscribers, so subscribe today, it’s completely free.
Want to learn more about getting free hotels?
Sign up for our travel rewards newsletter
Hotel promotions are a great way to save money on future hotel stays.
Have any questions about free hotels? Ask us in the comments below.
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Discover free travel: travel rewards
Featured image: Grand Mogador Seaview Tanger (photo credit: Mogador)
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