When Hotels.com Rewards Might Be Better Than Earning Hotel Points

AwardWallet receives compensation from advertising partners for links on the blog. Terms Apply to the offers listed on this page. The opinions expressed here are our own and have not been reviewed, provided, or approved by any bank advertiser. Here's our complete list of Advertisers.

Hotels.com Rewards is a fantastic way to get rewarded for every dollar you spend on accommodation without having to commit to one of the major hotel chains. We’re big fans of the traditional hotel loyalty programs, but they aren’t necessarily the best fit for everyone.

With Hotels.com, you get access to over 500,000 properties around the world, and the rewards program couldn't be simpler: You’ll earn one free night for every ten nights stayed.

If you want to stack up the free nights even faster, check out the limited-time offer on the Hotels.com® Rewards Visa® Credit Card from Wells Fargo. The card has no annual fee and earns a free night worth up to $110 for every $5,000 spent. That's a return of up to 2.2% on all purchases. Plus, new cardmembers can earn two reward nights worth up to $250 total after meeting a modest spending requirement.

Hotels.com® Rewards Visa® Credit Card
Hotels.com® Rewards Visa® Credit Card
Annual Fee$0
Welcome Bonus Limited Time Offer! Get 2 reward nights worth $250 total (max $125 per night)*, when you spend $1,000 on purchases in the first 3 months. *Excludes taxes and fees. If a night costs less than $125, you won’t get the difference.
  • Spend $500 on the card to collect 1 stamp
  • 10 stamps = 1 reward night worth $110

How Does Hotels.com Rewards Work?

As far as rewards programs go, they don't get more straightforward. For every ten nights stayed through Hotels.com, you receive one free night. The value of the free night is calculated based on the average price of the ten nights you collect.

Put simply, you’re earning a base rate of 10% back when you book through the Hotels.com booking engine. There are no blackout dates, and you can choose from a huge number of properties when it's time to redeem your free nights.

Hotels.com Rewards

Hotels.com Rewards is free to join, and members get access to discounted rates at select properties. If you achieve Silver status (after 10 nights), you'll gain some modest additional benefits like priority customer service, a price-match guarantee, and VIP benefits like free breakfast, room upgrades, and flexible check-in/check-out times at select properties.

Why Choose Hotels.com Rewards?

The first reason you might be better off with Hotels.com is the incredible number of properties you can book. Hotels.com boasts over 500,000 hotels, resorts, and villas. For comparison, the largest hospitality chains like Marriott and Wyndham have fewer than 10,000 properties each.

The big hotel brands are easy to find in major cities. But, once you get a little way off the beaten path, it can be hard to find a property that meets your needs. Even popular tourist stops like Santorini, Greece offer surprisingly few hotels that participate in a major loyalty program.

When you limit yourself to a single hotel chain, you’ll often find yourself choosing a property that wouldn’t have been your first choice—just for the sake of earning points. With Hotels.com Rewards, you can pick the hotel you actually want and still get a great return on your spending.

The second advantage to Hotels.com Rewards is simplicity. With a free night for every ten paid nights, Hotels.com offers a transparent 10% return on your hotel spending no matter where you stay. Unless you stay frequently enough to earn top-tier status with a major hotel chain, Hotels.com Rewards will be at least as lucrative (and far less complicated) than a traditional hotel program.

How to Spend Hotels.com Free Nights

Redeeming your free-night certificate is simple. Free nights are credited to your account after completing the 10 required nights.

The value of the free night certificate is directly correlated to the spend for your 10 qualifying nights, minus fees and taxes. If you spent $921.80, you'd receive a free night worth $92.18 in your account. You can redeem the credit for a more expensive room and pay the difference in cash. However, if you apply it to a room that costs less than the value of your free night certificate, you will not be credited with the difference.

Hotels.com Free Night Redemption Comparison

The example above shows a reward night worth $92.18 and how it is applied to a reservation priced at greater than the value of the reward and a reservation priced under that amount. In both cases, you will still need to pay taxes and fees.

There are no blackout dates, and you’re not restricted to ‘standard’ rooms. Instead, you can apply the credit to any room at a property that participates in the rewards program. You can also redeem multiple free nights on the same reservation. And free nights are refundable — provided you cancel within the hotel's cancellation window.

Hotels.com Rewards Elite Status

The elite status tiers offered by Hotels.com aren't bad either. You'll achieve Silver status after earning 10 stamps. This will unlock benefits like a price guarantee, priority customer service, and special benefits — like free breakfast — at certain properties.

Attaining Gold requires 30 nights booked and stayed. This level of elite status can score you free room upgrades, late check-out, and early check-in at “VIP Access” properties.

Hotels.com elite benefits

Downsides of Hotels.com Rewards

For many, the biggest drawback will be that stays booked through Hotels.com won't be eligible to earn points or elite-night credits when staying with a major hotel chain that does have its own loyalty program. If you have elite status with the hotel brand, you won't receive elite benefits like free breakfast or late check-out for these stays. This is the case with any third-party booking, but it's especially relevant when considering the tradeoffs of booking a stay through Hotels.com.

You need to run the numbers when booking with major hotel brands: Depending on your elite status, cash-back rates through portals, and other factors such as members discounts, you may get a better return sticking with the hotel's own rewards program, leveraging co-brand credit cards like the IHG® Rewards Club Premier Credit Card, and chasing down quarterly promos with IHG, Marriott, and Hilton.

Hotels.com Rewards free nights and free night credits expire after 12 months of account inactivity. Booking stays and free night redemptions are considered qualifying activity. However, you won’t earn free night credits when redeeming for a free night. Note that Hotels.com Rewards extended all stamps and reward nights until December 31, 2021.

Hotels.com® Rewards Visa® Credit Card
Hotels.com® Rewards Visa® Credit Card
Annual Fee$0
Welcome Bonus Limited Time Offer! Get 2 reward nights worth $250 total (max $125 per night)*, when you spend $1,000 on purchases in the first 3 months. *Excludes taxes and fees. If a night costs less than $125, you won’t get the difference.
  • Spend $500 on the card to collect 1 stamp
  • 10 stamps = 1 reward night worth $110

Final Thoughts

Hotels.com Rewards is an easy-to-understand rewards program offering a base 10% return on hotel spend, with the potential for much better returns if you can take advantage of promos and discounted gift cards. You won’t receive elite benefits or loyalty points from major hotel brands for your stay. However, you'll have the freedom to book and redeem rooms for any destination, outside of the traditional award-travel footprint.

Hotels.com is a great alternative when you are booking outside of your primary hotel brands, particularly in destinations where independent and boutique providers have better coverage.

If you’ve earned and redeemed a free-night credit from Hotels.com, we’d love to hear about your experience in the comments below.

AwardWallet Tip of The Day
Did you know that with a wide display you are able to expand the AwardWallet window to see the Last Updated column? You can easily see the last time your balance was checked by AwardWallet.
Show me how

The comments on this page are not provided, reviewed, or otherwise approved by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser's responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

**You may receive 5 bonus AAdvantage miles for leaving a comment (Details/FAQ)

Comments

  • Avatar

    I have usually used Hotels.com over using points but have always wondered if I was doing the right thing- thanks for info!

  • Avatar

    This rings so true to my ears: “When you limit yourself to a single hotel chain, you’ll often find yourself choosing a property that wouldn’t have been your first choice—just for the sake of earning points. “

  • Avatar

    Well, at least Wells Fargo offers a card that offers meaningful rewards.

  • Avatar

    Nah; the only third party booking sites I’d use, outside of a travel agent, would be Chase Travel or AMEX Travel, because – even though their concierges make errors – they will help resolve those errors or other issues that may arise during the course of a trip.

  • Avatar

    For a person like me who works & travels most of time in the Asia & the Middle East, loyalty programs of big chain hotels still seem make sense and worth better than hotels.com.

  • Avatar

    When I stay in small towns, this is the program that I use. However, if there are chain hotels, I book through their website.

  • Avatar
    fernanda andrade says:

    Hotels.com is very good. I believe that with it, it is easier to get some kind of benefit. In addition, it also offers the hotels of the big chains, which have their own loyalty programs.

  • Avatar

    This is definitely a simpler loyalty program with no blackout periods. Since the hotel loyalty programs have gone to dynamic pricing, there are no outsized hotel stays anymore making this program competitive with them. Its just that there are no elite benefits when you stay at the hotels with their own loyalty programs.

  • Avatar

    Nowadays, I’m looking above all on the price. I don’t care a lot about status or upgraded offered.
    The only exception is the Hilton HHonors status which give you free breakfast.
    Sometimes there are other OTAs offering some direct discount with some coupons which is also good to verify.
    Moreover, it is always good to verify the cashback offered by some sites such as Topcashback.

  • Avatar

    Depends on the promotion! Marriott are terrible on the promotion front right now

  • Avatar

    It’s a good program for stays in areas without a large chain hotel where points can be earned or burned. I’ve got a free night at the ready right now. Just looking for the right opportunity for o use it.

    • Avatar

      Many chains just do not cover many major countries very well if you actually want to visit and see these countries in depth.

  • Avatar

    This is a moot point if you have status at hotels though.

  • Avatar
    Lisa M Olson says:

    If I book a room on Hotels.com via the Delta link, do I still earn my hotel rewards. I cannot find where I would enter my hotels.com information in order to earn hotel rewards. Thank you

    • Avatar

      Most hotel loyalty programs don’t let elite members earn elite credits or elite benefits on bookings through OTAs (Online Travel Agencies) like Hotels.com. So, it’s definitely a tradeoff! I’ll generally book hotel stays with independent hotels and chains I don’t have elite status with through OTAs, and I book directly for hotels where I care about elite status.

    • Avatar

      Have you finally found out the answers?

  • Avatar

    Use your Target Red Card (5% off) to buy Hotels.com gift cards = 5% + 10% at hotels.com = 15% off

    Using Capital One Venture Card (2% cashback normally, 10% during promotion = 12% to 20% off on hotels.com

    • Avatar
      NavigatorNick says:

      Are the 10% promotions at random times? Is there a general rule when this applies? Love my Cap1 Venture card

  • Avatar

    Hi
    I used Arrival card on Hotels.com but it did not give me the option to use the statement credit .

    • Avatar

      That’s odd. I’ve used Arrival to claim a credit for Hotels.com, but it was quite some time ago. Just to be clear, you do need to wait for the purchase to “post” to your account before you can redeem points. If that has happened already, I’d definitely contact Barclays.

  • Avatar
    Chaitanya Agrawal says:

    I have always wondered why hotel loyalty programmes do not let you earn points while booking through a third party.

    At the same time, Airlines let you earn miles on their loyalty programmes even if booking through a third party.

    Why is that?

  • Avatar

    I’ve been able to stack the Hotels.com rewards with my Capital One Venture One rewards (10X points for the past year) along with booking through a shopping portal (MyPoints.com, where I can earn points that I turn into gift cards for travel). It’s so much easier to earn rewards through Hotels.com than any specific hotel brand since I like to shop around for the best deal, which is often not with the same hotel chain every time. And by stacking I get the best bang for my buck every time.

  • Avatar

    I love the flexibility – just used it for a 2 week trip to Spain (4 nights using Hyatt rest of stays using unique lovely hotels via hotels.com)

    I buy discount cards on raise.com and or redeem citi thank you points (prestige) for either Airbnb ir hotels.com

    I don’t travel much for work and when I travel for pleasure (almost alway international) I like going to non chain hotels especially in smaller cities. I also don’t like to eat hotel breakfast as mostly I travel for street food 😋

    I do still have Marriott cards and use them here and there but mainly have it for the free yearly night that we use on road trips within the USA.

    I have had great customer service experience with hotels.com and when coupled with prestige’s 4 night free or gift card/ hotel redemption with thank you points it is the most flexible situation for me and our specific travel needs.

  • Avatar

    Add Rakutan 8% cash back right and 3 points from Chase Sapphire! I have over 150 nights on hotels.com and I wish I had known all this before.

  • Avatar

    Thank you for the discussion about Hotels.com and BeFrugal. Years ago I was able to collect enough for a free night with Hotels.com. It was always a concern to not let the account expire so I haven’t used it for awhile. This encourages me to give it another try.

  • Avatar

    I used Hotels.com to book 3 weeks of hotels for 4 people thinking we could save money with the free night. Because I used the promo code they emailed me during my booking, my nights were not eligible. The promo code saved us less than $7 USD but cost us several nights in point.

    Why would any company send to their consumer promo code to use and turns around to penalize the person for using the promo code?

    There are better rewards programs.

  • Avatar

    I use hotels.com all the time and I have benefited from the free nights. What has been really great is that I attend a conference at the same hotel each year and hotels.com always has at some stage a discount offer (as much as 30%) that includes this hotel, at which time I am able to book a Club Room for less than I can ever book a Standard Room, and always at a better price than I can get direct with the hotel.

  • Avatar

    I’ll use hotels.com where it makes sense but I got burned once because the welcome rewards expire in one year without another booking and I was only using it occasionally…

  • Avatar

    I like hotels.com because of the flexibility to book various brands and types of properties, and the rewards system is very straightforward. Great tip on BeFrugal.

    Does CSR ever offer bonus rewards through their merchant partners for hotels.com? If so, that’d be a sweet deal.

  • Avatar

    A lot of these offers don’t work in the UK, but this one works well – I stack Topcashback (3%) and my cashback credit card (1%) with this (10%). Always worth cpmaring the price via Trivago and claiming on the price guarantee if there is any difference, but I don’t find this very often.

  • Avatar

    I like stacking Hotels.com deals with other promotions

  • Avatar

    I use hotels all the time in Asia, especially when the international brands are 3-4x the cost compared to local hotels.

    • Avatar
      Stella Pombo says:

      I used hotels.com all the time during my last trip to USA in 2019. It was a really good experince. Nice hotels and big deals.

  • Avatar

    I’ll use hotels.com whenever I’m staying at an independent hotel, or a chain I stay at very rarely. Still use the hotel sites for all the major programs.

  • Avatar

    If you don’t have top level elite status with a particular chain, hotels.com’s return is nearly always going to be better.

    In fact, with of the “enhancements” happening to hotel programs these days, I am beginning to wonder whether it might be the best strategy to just abandon any idea of status and just use hotels.com for everything.

  • Avatar

    I have had great success with hotels.com. I have redeemed rewards for 1 free night each year. Plus they have been nice enough to price match any time I’ve found a lower price for the same type of room on any other website.

  • Avatar

    Great breakdown of using hotels.com. I especially liked using one of the travel credit cards to get the charge reimbursed or earning additional credit card points.

  • Avatar

    There are also often Hotels.com gift card deals on eBay. From legit merchants. So you’ve got your 10% in their rewards program but you can also save 10-15% on buying the gift card you use to pay for the stays.

  • Avatar

    Lately I have found better rates on the hotels websites. I will always check first on Hotels.con to see what they are offering.

  • Avatar

    Hotels.com good for finding off-the-beaten-path places to stay. Often can get a discount for foregoing the free night after 10 stays promo if you don’t use them often.

  • Avatar

    Is it possible to buy hotels.com gift vouchers in the UK at a discount?

  • Avatar

    On my last stay I booked through hotels.com, hotel clerk told me they have a partnership with Amex (but not the FHR) I’d enjoy an upgrade, hotel credit and other. It was a bummer.

  • Avatar

    Thanks for the update, we usually book hotel chains directly but sometimes find ourselves booking no name hotels etc. I have just been searching more randomly to find the best price but I guess is should be trying this instead.

  • Avatar

    I prefer using hotel’s own programme’s simply because they credit very quickly, meaning less time spent tracking down missed points.

  • Avatar

    Hotels.com is great when having no status at hotel in question

  • Avatar

    I have previously used the free night credit a couple of times but now I just find a 10% off voucher for each booking which seem to be available all the time with a quick Google search. I am missing out on 2% cash back in the UK (which hasn’t always tracked in the past.) Not using the vouchers also gives me greater flexibility as they cannot be redeemed at all hotels.

    • Avatar
      Miss Kitty says:

      Same here! Some promo codes are not valid for all properties but I prefer the up front discount, even if it’s only 8%.

  • Avatar

    The scheme is really good for corporate travellers – you get a great return on your spend, and your company will reimburse the total price shown on your hotel receipt.

  • Avatar

    We have made good use of the hotels.com rewards program and to continue using it.

  • Avatar

    When I post a comment, I’m supposed to see a pop-up allowing me to select an American Airlines account to receive 5 miles. I am not seeing this pop-up even though I am logged in. What am I doing wrong?

  • Avatar

    The value of the award you receive from hotels.com is a bit confusing, but still a great deal. We will continue to use hotels.com

  • Avatar

    We love the flexibility of the hotels.com rewards program. It is so much better that having to keep track of the awards program from multiple brands.

  • Avatar

    That’s a lot of info to consider. I do love bargains though. Thanks for the info

  • Avatar

    This is good information, but I think I will still get the most of what we are looking for by staying with our Hilton and IHG rewards and status programs and book with the chain.

  • Avatar

    I find hotels.com is great where hotel status doesn’t come into play (usually non-chain hotels etc), however status beats discount for me usually (benefits such as guaranteed or preferential upgrades, wifi, lounge access etc etc)

  • Avatar

    Definitely going to take advantage of this!

  • Avatar
    Michael S Dikovitsky says:

    I will need to check this out!

  • Avatar

    I prefer to stick to the Hilton and IHG programs to get stays and points. Hotels.com does have its use though if you are staying somewhere without a chain, or where the chain Hotel is too expensive.

  • Avatar

    Hotels.com is definitely a rewards program worthy of investigation.

  • Avatar

    sounds like a good/simple program that can be valuable to many, but less opportunity to find “hidden value” through specific hotel programs…

  • Avatar

    Hotels.com is abundantly clear that those mass email discount codes override all other discount benefits.

  • Avatar

    Interesting. Hotels.com’s loyalty program can actually end being fairly lucrative if you’re able to get a good deal on the initial price vs. booking directly with hotels.

  • Avatar

    It’s good to have choice, I rather have some low end status with the hotels so they don’t give the worst rooms.

  • Avatar

    I’ll definitely consider hotels.com rewards in lieu of another hotel rewards program I’ve been a part of. Seems like hotels.com comes with more choices/flexibility, and consistently offers competitive rates. The free night for every 10 nights booked makes this program even more attractive.

  • Avatar

    I normally buy $100 Hotels.com GCs for $90 on sale.

  • Avatar

    Ah…. So many choices! Thanks for all of the ways shown by your blog.

  • Avatar

    I should be taking better advantage of this program. Thanks for the reminder.

  • Avatar

    In the end, it’s another option to consider. I’ll look at the various options and pricing, and, I guess my points will continue to be spread around based on the best deal I get, until I redeem them in any specific program.

  • Avatar

    always be sure to give the hotel with your hotel membership ID. although technically you are not supposed to be credited for bookings made through hotels.com and other similar sites, the fact is that about half the times I am credited for the stay.

  • Avatar

    I’m just glad that Hotels.com upped their game to increase the competition.

  • Avatar

    I like the rewards direct with the hotel.. but this is a good alternative too!

  • Avatar

    Always look at hotels.com when comparison shopping. With the portals and coupons, it’s oftem cheaper than the other avenues.

  • Avatar
    Sophie Pearson says:

    When not using a loyalty program I prefer using Orbitz as they always have coupons and you get money back straight away to spend on your next booking. With hotels.com I feel I’m paying for that free night as the using of coupons voids the stay.

  • Avatar

    Using a 3rd party to book things always makes me feel nervous……

  • Avatar

    This can be interesting when booking stays with independent and botique properties.

  • Avatar

    Thanks for the tips for stacking with Hotels.com. I haven’t used them yet because I usually stay on points directly with the hotel chain. I may need this in the future though!

  • Avatar

    Oops I didn’t know hotels.com had a rewards program.
    Thanks for the post.

  • Avatar

    I’ve noticed that at least with Vegas hotels, Hotels.com rates are often are no cheaper that booking directly with the property.

  • Avatar

    Honestly, it seems like this is the best bang for your buck. It does require you to stay 11 days in a hotel, but you could probably take advantage of that at least once a year.

  • Avatar

    I use Hotels.com all the time!

  • Avatar

    I could see this working for some people that stay at several different chains. I’m switching to Hyatt this year so we will see if that works out as far as perks and status are concerned.

  • Avatar

    My concern with using hotels.com is that I will get lesser treatment/rooms at the property as compared to booking directly.

    • Avatar

      However, not all people are into the extra length to get the special treatments, so this program work for them best in the most intuitive way.

  • Avatar

    I like how hotels.com has their own silver/gold elite status!

  • Avatar
    Farid Kassam says:

    FYI – You don;t get a reward night if you use coupon.

    • Avatar

      As stated in the post:

      Unfortunately, using the discount coupons regularly provided on Hotels.com’s website or via emails will negate the free night credit for that stay. You also won’t typically receive cash back from portals if you apply discount coupons or pay using gift cards.

      • Avatar

        I know that some portals state that you will not earn cash back if paying with a gift card but I have never seen this be the case. I almost always use a gift card to pay and have not had issues with the full amount tracking on any portal.

  • Avatar

    When will the free nights credit expire?

    • Avatar

      They don’t, provided you have qualifying activity on your account at least every 12 months, whether that is earning nights or redeeming them. From the hotels.com T&C’s:

      Your nights will not expire as long as you keep your account active at least once every 12 months.

  • Avatar

    Never even thought of this!

  • Avatar

    Great info about hotel programs, it’s def. a place I am lacking in my portfolio of points.

  • Avatar

    Which program is best in general for sporadic night in non-chains hotels? Hotels.com?

    • Avatar

      I’m a fan of hotels.com because you only need to book one night per year to keep your account and free night credits active. Technically, you could book 1 night per year, and ten years down the track you’ll receive a free night. A lot of the places I travel with my wife and kids, there are no chain hotels, but I’m yet to travel to a country that hotels.com doesn’t cover. Even some of the remote locations we’ve traveled in Tibet and Nepal had accommodation listed. From memory, Expedia runs a similar program and I think Citi even offers an Expedia Rewards credit card, but I don’t know enough about it to recommend it or not.

  • Avatar

    This is something that I am going to have to consider more seriously as the hotel programs become increasingly more convoluted and with fewer elite benefits. I would definitely want to get a Capital One card if I decide to go this route.

  • Avatar

    For me the main drawback when booking with Hotels.com is that Elite status is not recognized (free breakfast, late checkout)

  • Avatar

    How can you compare Hotels.com and Expedia? Which rewards program is better? I am usually booking hotels at their site and have pretty good experience with them.

  • Avatar

    I love using hotels.com,but I prefer the immediate discount I get using the promo codes rather than wait for a free night.

  • Avatar

    Thanks for the tip about how to stack with BeFrugal.

  • Avatar
    Kerry Elkins says:

    Utilizing heavily for a trip to New Zealand. Great choice of B&Bs.

  • Avatar

    I hotel.com Rewards available for users in Europe?

  • Avatar

    Great post! I’d underscore your comment that hotels.com free nights expire after 12 months; I got burned by this once before…

  • Avatar

    Thanks for the tips! I’ll definitely consider this.

  • Avatar

    There’s definitely a place in the world for Hotels.com. Your pitfalls definitely are some that keep me from using it regularly, but yes, it’s got some benefits too without question. Good breakdown.

  • Avatar

    Hotels.com is one of the few great uses of the Capital One Venture card.

  • Avatar

    Hotels.com do offer so many advantages, when…
    -Hotels.com gift card in USD can be bought for as much as 20% off online.
    -Many local sites, even those first set up by the parent company expedia, are often spun off, sold to local / regional business, and go belly up.

    Information on the internet can help you to truly maximize the value of Hotels.com, even if you do not reside in North America.

  • Avatar

    Partner prefers peace of mind knowing reservation is thru the specific hotel chain for the perks and against the fear of something going wrong due to middle man so this is not for us.

  • Avatar

    There are some sites offering 15% discounts.
    Better a 15% discount immediatly instead of eaiting 10 nights.

  • Avatar

    I can see why it would be good for options and at least you’ll get a free night after 10nights. I have a hard time wanting to book through Hotels.com because I do want my hotel perks with Hilton, etc. I can see why for non brand hotels, b and bs, etc. I wonder how they handle issues.

  • Avatar

    Between Hotels.com and rocketmiles, i’m not sure which one would be a better option. I guess it depends on what you are trying to earn.

  • Avatar

    The only way this program is worth while is if you dont spend enough nights in a hotel to gain elite status.

  • Avatar

    Is this better than booking with elite status at hotel chains or is Hotel.com mainly only good at indie hotels?

    • Avatar

      Depends on your stay patterns. My wife maintains elite status with 2-3 different hotel programs as she travels a lot for work, but we still use hotels.com for 20-30% of our stays as the deals and locations are better than what the we can get with the big chains. I’m a big fan of being a free agent so this works for us. If you primarily stay in major cities and hubs, sticking to one program might provide better value.

  • Avatar

    I merely love Hotels.com. Each year I have 3-5 nights in non-chains hotels, sometimes more. I’m booking them at Hotels.com through Topcashback.com and enjoying both cashback and 10% credit for future stay.

  • Avatar

    With my Hilton Gold status I prefer the free breakfast for my wife and me.

  • Avatar

    Always good to have another option and to use it if the bottom line works out to be better. Thanks for the clear explanation and example.

  • Avatar

    I have been hotels.com gold status for a few years. I’m not loyal to any particular brand so it works great for me. I don’t see any possible way for me to get the same actual cash value out of any one brand, and the other benefits are not worth much to me. I will usually buy gift cards from 15% to 23% off and combine them on the hotels.com website up to $2,000 each. You can only pay with one gift card and the balance will have to be paid with a credit/debit card.

    While you may pay some taxes when redeeming free nights, it’s certainly not the full amount. I will actually redeem my free night rewards in areas with higher taxes/fees like NYC to increase the value of the reward. For example, I booked a room for $169 with taxes around an additional $30. I booked that same room using a $167 “free” night reward and my remaining balance was around $5.

    I always check cashbackmonitor,com for the current best cash back rate and have never had problems collecting cash back when paying with gift cards. Rates are usually 5% or more.

    Their best price guarantee is usually easy to take advantage of. Even on prepaid nonrefundable rates, they will refund the difference if the price is lower on their site or any other site-up to the day before your stay I think it is. They will not, however, honor member only rates from hotel chains or anywhere else.

    As far as “Gold” benefits. I have occasionally received nice room upgrades but I can’t say for sure that my gold status had anything to do with it. At some hotels/resorts I have received 15% off spa services. Customer service is definitely better. I have had some issues I had to call about and they have always resolved the issue to my satisfaction. Only one time did it take more than one call. I have had them cancel and refund “nonrefundable” bookings and they have issued $150 account credits to make sure I was happy on two occasions.

    So, my discount stacking is normally as follows:

    1. buy $100 gift card at 20% off (20%)
    2, earn 3% with credit card on the $80 purchase (2.4%)
    3. book using shopping portal to earn 5% on hotel rate before taxes, assuming 90% of total cost (4.5%)
    4. earn 10% back with hotels.com rewards on the room rate before taxes-but taxes are mostly covered in reward bookings too (10%)

    in total, I almost always get at least 26.9% cash back plus the 10% hotels.com rewards. I know you can argue the true cash value of the hotels.com rewards since we never pay full price with cash. The way I see it, I can book a hotel room just about anywhere I need to for about one third off.

    • Avatar

      Thanks for the detailed comment, this is a great example of how to leverage hotels.com for big discounts.

    • Avatar

      I think for someone who doesn’t travel a routine route, or that regularly, you have a great strategy. I won’t say you can’t beat it though. Some people travel for work, and the perks that come with a Diamond-level status at some of the brands might ultimately make more financial sense in the long run, while being able to bank those points for personal use down the road. A lot of variables, but you have a good strategy too.

    • Avatar
      ron_vaughn@hotmail.com says:

      Dude, u r the KING! I gotta try this!

    • Avatar

      Yes, this is the sort of post that has enough details that you will be convincing others to follow suit. Thanks for taking the time to share the persuasive info!

    • Avatar

      Many thanks Mark. I often stack with cashback sites and rewards credit cards, but I was not aware you still got the 10% rewards when using gift cards. I’m going to give it a try.

  • Avatar

    If I book multiple rooms for a group would I get credit for all rooms and all nights or do they limit it?

  • Avatar

    I have found better prices by booking directly with the hotel than the 3rd party recently. I also rather get status than a few dollars off with hotels.com

  • Avatar

    I personally would rather deal with the hotel’s point program directly, not hotels.com. I’ve not had any luck with them