As Deal Experts, we sign up for hotel loyalty programs all the time -- to see what kinds of deals they offer, as well as for the free perks that membership brings. Everyone likes something for nothing, right?
Here are a few notable loyalty program perks that really stand out:
Accor: Stays at one of the 2,500 properties worldwide earn points with the Le Club Accorhotels program. For every 2,000 points earned, members will receive a voucher worth €40, currently about $53 in U.S. dollars. And for those who’ve accrued many points but now want to rack up some goodwill, the points can be converted into a charitable donation.
Caesars: Joining the Total Rewards loyalty program is one way to make sure you leave Vegas, Atlantic City or one of Caesars' numerous other hotels across the country with something. Credits can be earned and redeemed at its 40 locations worldwide. Perks include discounted meals at restaurants from celebrity chefs like John Besh and Gordon Ramsay, pre-sale access to shows and resort credits to spend on-site at properties including Paris Las Vegas, Bally’s and Harrah’s.
Carlson: All members of the Club Carlson program receive free Internet plus 20 points earned for every dollar spent on rooms or in the chain’s restaurants. Qualifying hotels include Radisson Blu, Country Inns & Suites and all Radissons. Stay 15 nights per year to qualify for elite status, which offers room upgrades, late checkout, early check-in and more.
Fairmont: Benefits of joining the President's Club include complimentary access to BMW vehicles and bikes at participating properties, use of TaylorMade golf clubs at some hotels, health club access, delivery of local or national newspapers plus in-room Internet access.
Hilton: HHONORS gives all enrolled travelers express checkout at a later hour and free stays for spouses at its basic membership level while earning credit toward free room nights. Participating brands in addition to Hiltons include Waldorf Astoria, Conrad Hotels & Resorts, DoubleTree, Embassy Suites and Hilton Garden Inns.
Hyatt: The tiered Gold Passport program offers free nights with no blackout dates plus room upgrades, complimentary spa treatments and meals. At the basic level, travelers will earn five points per eligible dollar spent. Bump up to the next level after five eligible stays or 15 eligible nights.
InterContinental: With the Priority Club Rewards program, the points earned at the 4,500 properties will never expire and are good toward free nights at IHG properties, or even stays at a competitor, or frequent flier miles on more than a dozen carriers.
Joie de Vivre: The Joy of Life Club most interestingly provides California experiences with its points earned. These include a San Francisco foodie field trip, a martini and manicure in LA and surf lessons in Santa Cruz. Other perks include complimentary stays and spa services with this three-tiered program. At the basic level, members will earn a points per dollar spent at participating hotels and two points per dollar spent at participating spas. The experiences listed above start at 2,500 points.
Kimpton Hotels: Members of the InTouch loyalty program at this boutique hotel group get a minibar credit starting at $10 per stay and complimentary Wi-Fi. That, combined with the complimentary evening wine hour, leopard print robes and sweet city locations make Kimptons a favorite of Travelzoo Deal Experts.
Marriott: In another example of the bigger the chain, the wider the rewards offered, the Marriott Rewards program covers free nights and room upgrades at its more than 3,600 hotels in 70-plus countries. One cool aspect of the program is that stays in the hotel off season earn more points in addition to typically lower room rates. Points may also be used on spas, dining, cruises and golf.
MGM Resorts: With M life, members earn points everywhere from the slots to the spa, points which are redeemable for discounted rooms and shows plus pre-sale access to concerts and fights. As members move their way up the five-tiered program, they qualify for Vegas buffet passes, upgraded seats at shows, priority check-ins, room upgrades, complimentary limo service and more.
Omni Hotels: In the free Select Guest program, which has three levels, perks range from shoe shines to coffee delivery in the mornings to in-room Wi-Fi. Guests start earning free stays after 20 nights in a calendar year. Omni has hotels in destinations ranging from Arizona to Montreal.
Relais & Châteaux: The luxury line’s loyalty program, Club 5C, puts its top travelers on the A list. Perks include room upgrades upon availability, a personalized welcome, exclusive concierge service and invitations to club-members-only events. To apply, you must have spent at least 15 nights or had 15 meals in one of the Relais & Châteaux properties.
Ritz-Carlton: Guests staying at the more than 70 hotels and resorts worldwide can earn points redeemable for future stays. Every dollar spent on rooms earns 10 Ritz-Carlton Rewards points or two airline miles. Members may also redeem points at participating Marriott hotel brands.
Small Luxury Hotels of the World: The Club offers three tiers of membership, and the group touts that its members receive benefits upon guests’ first stay. All members receive upgrades and access to special club rates, but top-tier members can earn free nights, complimentary breakfast, late checkout and early check-in.
Starwood: At the nine brands -- including St. Regis, Le Meridien, W and more -- members of the Starwood Preferred Guest program can earn Starpoints at the more than 1,100 properties. Free nights start at 2,000 Starpoints earned. The program is known to run several promotions throughout the year to help enrolled members get extra points, which can be also spent on airfare and merchandise, including things like the popular bedding lines featured at the Westin and Sheraton brands.
So the next time you book a hotel deal found on Travelzoo, make sure to sign up for the loyalty program to get a little something extra for your stay.
Note: Loyalty programs and their benefits change often; these perks were up to date as of late January 2013.