The Perks of Joining Hotel Loyalty Programs

Aug 23, 2016
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 is a selection of worthy loyalty programs that really stand out:

Accor: Stays at one of the 3,942 properties worldwide earn points with the Le Club AccorHotels program. Under the most basic membership, guests receive priority check-in and advance access to private online sales. Some of the perks of higher membership statuses include late checkout, early check-in or room upgrades. For every 2,000 points earned, members will receive a voucher worth €40, currently about $62. 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. Note: Le Club Accor is changing its rewards policies on Jan. 1, 2017.

Best Western: Best Western Rewards members receive 10 points for every dollar spent, and those points never expire. This five-tiered program ensures no blackout dates at all levels, and members of the upper three tiers enjoy recognition gifts and room upgrades. Best Western’s status match program guarantees that it will match a member’s elite status in any other hotel loyalty program, free of charge.

Caesars: Joining the Total Rewards loyalty program is one way to make sure you leave Vegas, Atlantic City or one of Caesars' 37 hotels and casinos across the country with a little extra. Perks include discounted meals at restaurants from celebrity chefs like John Besh and Gordon Ramsay, presale access to shows and resort credits to spend at properties including Paris Las Vegas, Bally’s and Harrah’s. Members can also apply for a Total Rewards Visa credit card to earn even more points and rewards. Make sure to earn at least one reward credit every six months, or your credits will expire.

Carlson: All members of the Club Carlson program receive 20 points earned for every dollar spent on eligible stays or in the chain’s restaurants. Qualifying hotels include Park Plaza, Country Inns & Suites and all Radissons. Stay 15 nights or more per year to qualify for elite status, which offers room upgrades, late checkout, early check-in and more. Members can apply for a Rewards Visa Signature Credit Card, which earns them 5 points per dollar spent anywhere, or 10 points per dollar spent at Carlson Rezidor hotels. Club Carlson is also involved in global initiatives, and members have the option of donating points to the World Childhood Foundation or the American Red Cross.

Choice Hotels: The perfect program for budget travelers, Choice Privileges rewards can be earned at more than 5,500 properties worldwide, including brands such as Comfort Inn, Comfort Suites, Econo Lodge and more. Depending on membership level, guests enjoy later checkout times plus high-speed internet, and can redeem their points for rewards including free nights at luxury partner hotels, cruise vacations, restaurant and retail gift cards or the option to donate to charitable causes. Members earn points by booking stays or applying for the Choice Privileges Visa card.

Fairmont: Benefits of joining the President's Club include complimentary access to BMW bicycles at participating properties, use of TaylorMade golf clubs at some hotels, health club access, delivery of local or national newspapers, complimentary internet access, 10% off in-hotel Willow Stream Spa services and in-room delivery of Reebok exercise apparel and equipment. Members also earn bonus airline miles per stay with Fairmont’s airline partners.

Hilton: At its most basic membership level, HHONORS gives all enrolled travelers express checkout at a later hour (if requested in advance) and free stays for spouses at hotels where there are additional charges for double occupancy. To reach higher membership tiers faster, members can apply for their choice of four different Hilton HHonors credit cards. Among Hilton’s 4,600 eligible hotels and resorts worldwide are the Waldorf Astoria, Conrad Hotels & Resorts, DoubleTree, Embassy Suites and Hilton Garden Inn brands.

Hyatt: The tiered Gold Passport program offers free nights with no blackout dates. At the basic level, travelers will earn five points per eligible dollar spent, which they can then redeem for room upgrades, free stays, spa treatments and meals. Bump up to the next level after five eligible stays or 15 eligible nights. The platinum and diamond tiers guarantee better rooms, late checkout requests, complimentary internet access and even suite upgrades.

InterContinental: The IHG Rewards Club program offers free internet access, a complimentary weekday newspaper, and late checkout. At higher elite membership levels, points earned at IHG’s 5,000 properties can roll over and count for the following year. Members can spend points on free nights at IHG hotels, shopping from its online catalog or frequent flier miles on more than a dozen carriers.

Joie de Vivre:  At the Joy of Life Club’s basic level (Joy Seeker), members will earn one point per dollar spent at any of the 25 participating hotels across the country; the highest level of membership (Joy Aficionado) earns two points per dollar. Members can redeem a minimum of 2,500 points to get $100 off a Joie de Vivre hotel experience -- other perks include complimentary stays and spa services. During members’ stays, Joie de Vivre hotels do their best to accommodate personal preferences as indicated in members’ online profiles.

Kimpton Hotels: Members of Karma Rewards from this boutique hotel group get a minibar credit starting at $10 per stay and complimentary Wi-Fi. Membership also includes a Birthday Offer, which gives members 20% off the daily rate for stays Thursday-Sunday of their birthday month. Members of Karma Rewards’ highest tier, Inner Circle, are even given exclusive direct access to Kimpton’s CEO. That, combined with the complimentary evening wine hour, leopard-print robes and sweet city locations makes Kimpton Hotels a favorite of Travelzoo Deal Experts.

Marriott: Marriott Rewards members can earn and redeem points for free nights and room upgrades at more than 4,200 hotels in 80-plus countries. Members are also given exclusive Marriott Rewards Member Rates, which offer a 2%-5% rate discount at certain hotels. When booking stays, members also have the option to combine points and cash or receive up to 33% savings on point redemptions with the PointSavers program. Among other perks, elite members get weekend discounts and lounge access at participating locations.

MGM Resorts: With M life, members earn points playing slots of video poker machines, which are then redeemable for discounted rooms and shows as well as access to M life Moments, signature experiences that include backstage tours of the Bellagio fountain and swimming with the dolphins at the Mirage. Members move up the five-tiered program by spending on gaming, lodging, dining and entertainment; membership at higher tiers qualifies for Vegas buffet line passes, upgraded seats at shows, priority check-ins, room upgrades, complimentary limo service and more.

Omni Hotels: Perks of the Omni Select Guest program includes coffee delivery in the mornings, in-room Wi-Fi, complimentary pressing for clothing and evening turndown service, depending on reward level. New members can enjoy select benefits immediately during their first stay at any of Omni’s 60 luxury hotels across North America. Guests who enroll also receive complimentary membership with Global Hotel Alliance (GHA) Discovery, which offers special privileges and experiences at more than 500 properties worldwide.

Ritz-CarltonGuests staying at the luxury chain’s more than 90 hotels and resorts worldwide can earn points redeemable for future stays, late checkouts or room upgrades. Every dollar spent on rooms earns 10 Ritz-Carlton Rewards points or two airline miles. Members can also earn rewards points at participating Marriott hotels worldwide. The Ritz-Carlton Rewards Visa offers an even faster way to earn points, with an annual $300 travel credit and five points earned for every dollar spent on Ritz-Carlton and partner hotel stays.

Small Luxury Hotels of the World: It takes only five stays to reach the highest tier of membership for The Club, which allows its members to get free room upgrades from day one. After their first stay, members receive more benefits, including complimentary daily continental breakfast and later checkout times. All members receive upgrades and access to special club rates at SLH’s 520 small, independent hotels across 80 countries; top-tier members can earn free nights as well as early check-in.

Starwood: Encompassing 11 brands -- including St. Regis, Le Meridien, W and more -- the Starwood Preferred Guest program allows members to earn two Starpoints for every eligible dollar spent at more than 1,300 properties in nearly 100 countries. SPG members can also earn points by using Uber, buying tickets to Broadway shows and flying on Delta or Emirates. Free stays start at 2,000 Starpoints, and redeeming for five consecutive nights gets you the fifth one free; room upgrades start at 1,000 Starpoints. Its newest tier of loyalty membership, SPG Pro, offers benefits for those traveling specifically for business.

The next time you book a hotel deal found on Travelzoo, make sure to sign up for the corresponding 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 August 2016.

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