The Simplicity Of The Hotels.com Rewards Program

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Ben writes regularly about the loyalty programs offered by the world’s best hotel groups, and is especially active in the SPG and Hyatt programs. I love a five-star hotel but don’t stay in them nearly as often as he does for a variety of reasons:

  • I don’t travel for work so my accommodation is 100% self-funded
  • Often I just need a bed so don’t need to pay for all the additional features luxury hotels build into their room rates
  • I’m a HUGE fan of Airbnb so they get most of my nights — if Airbnb launched a status-based loyalty program I would surely be an Executive Platinum Diamond Ambassador OMG Chairman Concierge
  • I’ll shop around to find a week in a great value more basic property, rather than a night or two in a high-priced, luxury property

So I don’t have loyalty to one hotel group, brand, or program. In addition to all the Airbnb nights, I do stay in all sorts of other hotels, primarily when it is:

  • Only one night somewhere, and I can’t be bothered stuffing around with meeting up with a host for entry, working out wifi, etc.
  • Overnighting at an airport hotel for <12 hours and want to use their shuttle service
  • In cities where few people speak English and I want the security of being able to ask a concierge for assistance in English
  • A special occasion and I do want to splurge on a luxury property

Many loyalty purists steer clear of third-party hotel booking websites like Booking.com and Expedia, because the hotel group they hold status with won’t honour status benefits on third party bookings, to encourage guests to book directly with the chain.

If you are looking to enjoy those status benefits, thanks for reading but please read no further!

As I’m a free agent when it comes to booking hotels I’ve discovered the loyalty program offered by Hotels.com Rewards, and I’ve become a really big fan, both for the value it offers and the simplicity.

Yes, the Park Hyatt Sydney is possible, provided your free night credit is high enough

Book 10 nights, get 1 free

It’s as simple as that.

Book and stay 10 nights, and your 11th booking is free.

To me, that’s 10% off all 10 bookings, which is an excellent deal.

I’m on my way to another free night

The value of the free night

You can use your free night towards any available room at any Hotels.com property anywhere in world. There are no blackout dates. BUT, the obvious question is how they determine the value of the free night, if you’re booking everything from Holiday Inn Express nights through to Four Seasons.

No, unfortunately you can’t book 10 nights at a Comfort Inn in Omaha and then receive a free night at the St. Regis Maldives Vommulithat wouldn’t be fair!

Instead, the value of the free night is an average of the spend of the previous 10 nights. So if you book five nights at a $200 per night property, and another five nights at a $400 per night property, then your free night would be worth $300.

Note where there are fees and taxes applicable to your free night these are still payable.

Book the Hotel Indigo, Tel Aviv with your free night

When to use the free night

A neat benefit of this program is that you can choose to use your free night whenever you like once you’ve earned it, as it’s not automatically applied to your 11th booking. When you go to book, you’ll be prompted to redeem (or not redeem) any free nights in your account. And they don’t expire, provided you have one stay every 12 months which is fantastic flexibility.

The obvious thing to remember here is that if your free night is worth $300, you should use it for a night worth at least $300. You can of course use it for a night costing less than $300, but you have to apply to entire amount to one night and can’t use any leftover amounts on other bookings.

Furthermore, even if you book 2 x $200 nights on the same booking, you can only use your free night to bring the price down by the $200 cost of a single night, even if the free night certificate is worth more.

If your hotel night costs $400 and your free night is worth $300, you can apply your free night to reduce the cost by $300 and then pay the $100 balance.

Some of the free nights I’ve already redeemed (no St Regis just yet)

Exclusions

Almost none in my experience.

When making your reservations, you will see next to each different room/rate a confirmation that you can collect rewards nights for that booking. Occasionally I’m sent “super special secret OMG amazing shhhh” deals from Hotels.com with further discounts that don’t collect reward nights, but that is clearly marked when booking.

Do note that some cash-back portals will offer lower cash-back amounts for bookings where you collect Hotels.com reward nights, but again, this will be clearly stated when using the portal. Forfeiting, say 2% cash-back in order to collect a 10% reward is perfectly acceptable to me!

Bottom line

If you are chasing or want to enjoy your status with a hotel group, by all means book directly with them.

But if you are a free agent like I am or occasionally have to ‘waste’ your status by booking the odd night or two with a hotel that is not part of your loyalty strategy, then I recommend the simplicity, transparency, and value of Hotels.com Rewards.

Have you earned free nights with the Hotels.com Rewards program?

Comments

  1. The portal deals have been getting worse and worse. You used to be able to get 5%+ consistently plus the reward nights. Oh well. This is my go to booking location as well.

  2. I use hotels.com to, but when hotels prices is ridiculous low I use Rocketmiles so the free night value don’t get low.

  3. Great article. I travel very frequently for work, and need the flexibility to stay in the hotels which are most convenient, and can rarely concentrate on one specific hotel chain (although I am a fan of Starwood when I can stay in one of their properties!). So, for 80% of my hotel booking i use Expedia. They have a very different loyalty program to Hotels.com, and have often wondered how they compare. Would be great for this blog to do some comparative analysis! Expedia have Gold+ status, which both gives you complementary upgrades/extra benefits, as well as points bonuses and cheaper redemption on “VIP+” properties. I stick with them mainly for that, but have often wondered if i should shift to another platform.

  4. What about the different tiers they have like silver and gold benefits? How can you not mention this in the article. It would be like saying I like Hilton or Marriott because they give you points, but not explaining the different tier benefits. Pretty Poor Article

    Silver and Gold Rewards Membership Levels

    “If you book more than 10 nights a year, Hotels.come will upgrade you to Silver membership. Benefits of Silver status include guaranteed room availability, price guarantees, priority customer service, and early access to special offers. Staying more than 30 nights a year bumps you up to Gold status where you will receive exclusive Hotels.com offers”

    taken from a decent article on Forbes
    https://www.forbes.com/sites/johnnyjet/2017/07/14/is-captain-obvious-so-obvious-a-review-of-hotels-com/#21a7a3e8332e

  5. The 11th night is not FREE – you have to pay taxes which can be up to 20%. I also found you can NOT book all hotels with this ‘free rate’.

  6. Note that if you use any coupon code (which they always have, 15%, 10%, 18%) or whatnot, you dont collect nights.

  7. @James – THANKS THANKS THANKS

    Saw the headline and my first words were “Finally!”

    I use hotels.com for exact the same reason as described – I sometimes travel, sometimes not. Also my friends travel rather sporadically (when I know about them going somewhere, I would use my account to book their stay as long as their chosen hotel does the “collect & redeem”) … And we stay in the hotels we like. No need to concentrate only on some Hiltons or SPGs or what not…. We stay in a place that fits the needs for given trip or stay. (btw – one SPG hotel always upgrades me to a suite with an access to a lounge incl. free dinner in their restaurant! and no, I never had & I’m not their member… for whatever reason they just do that -this just BTW-).

    Went on rant there. Sorry. Only want to say – even though you cannot transfer these points to an airline or else, it’s a good perk to have for redeeming free nights at any hotel that let’s you to do that (usually bookings made +24 hrs in advance).

  8. I use hotels.ca frequently, but find that the discount I get by using promo codes outweighs the savings I would get on a free night and frees up the cash now vs a potential savings later.

  9. I use hotels.com for travel to areas where the chains are either under represented, poorly represented, or entirely absent.

    For instance, I have a standing winter gig in a smaller Colorado ski town. I need to stay one weekday night a week, every week, in January and February. The town has one Best Western, which is a tired property that’s fairly expensive for what it is. There’s a Holiday Inn Express in the adjacent town, but it’s not cheap, nice, or convenient. There’s a ton of AirBnB properties, but they’re logistically unfeasible for my one night stays (properties are usually too large and too pricey, plus the logistics of checking in during a one hour window). I’ve reached out to properties directly to negotiate a rate based on my commitment to 8 stays, but none have been interested in giving me any sort of deal.

    So I’ve used hotels.com to make my bookings. The property I’ve stayed at this year was perfect for my needs, the hotels.com price was actually $11 cheaper than the property’s own website price ($99 vs $110/nt), and I earned free night credits. And although I didn’t get “status”, I was able to make nice with the receptionist and scored an “upgrade” to a creek side suite for 6/8 nights at no cost.

  10. I book 30+ nights a year through hotels.com and love the rewards system. Actually the main reason I use them is that I can also get 4 to 8 Virgin flyer miles per £ spent on hotels.com if I go via the Virgin shopping portal. Not sure if this is available only for UK customers or if it works in the US too? One thing to note though, if you use a reward worth say £100 on a room worth £300 you will not earn rewards on the remaining £200, and as the article says don’t use a rewards voucher worth much more than the cost of the room. Also note they calculate the rewards based on pre-tax prices.

  11. In addition to what you mentioned on your article, I buy discounted hotels com gift cards (usually 5% off) first and then use those gift cards to pay for the hotel via hotels com.

  12. Do your stays expire? I mean if you don’t have any bookings for awhile, do stays fall off that would have gone towards that 11th night?

  13. Quinten & Bob above hit on some significant limitations. Ive tried to redeem my free night a couple times and run into these annoyances. Also frequently doesn’t make as much sense when you compare to hotwire.

    Given the description of you travel preferences (similar to mine), Hotwire was made for you. Majority of my bookings on Hotwire these days. $300 + of your own money for a hotel room is just stupid, I don’t care what city you’re in. If you have that much money then cool, but you’re not spending a minute of your time reading these blogs. My time isn’t worth as much, so I do …

    Once I use my free night up Im Hotwire or Pline Xpress all the way. I draw the line at ABNB however.

  14. What are you talking about? If not at airbnb, I would not pay more than 180 usd or euros for a night at a hotel. And I managed to get 1 free night at a hotel in Amsterdam, where the cheapest rate for a hotel, in area I wanted to stay in, was 185 euros. Also got another night free in Dubai. I have no idea what you all are on about! This is such an easy loyalty program. You just make it sound far too complicated! Oh let me think – all of you for some reason seem to be hotwire influencers… OK! gotcha

  15. The Hotels.com program is essentially 10% back, once you hit 10 nights that are booked without a promo code.

    Within the Expedia family (Hotels.com, Expedia, Orbitz, Travelocity), you can usually find a 15% or more off promo code, which also stacks with Orbitz rewards and cash back portals.

    For my personal occasional stays, the promo codes provide better value and quicker returns vs. the Hotels.com program.

  16. I remember when the free night was anything up to $400, regardless of your individual nights. Now that was a good scheme!

    We took one trip that mostly consisted of $40/night motels and then got a free night in the four seasons in Vegas.

  17. I have booked 100+ nights via Hotels.com on average for the last 3-4 years, partly for myself but also for family and work colleagues. The biggest benefit of Hotels.com in my experience is the ability to book and prepay rooms for third parties without having to get involved with faxing/emailing third party authorization forms, etc.. that most properties require. We often have to arrange very last minute travel for our crews and the ability to get things booked and paid with a single click is invaluable.

    Also, at Gold level (which I have been for the last 4 years or so) the customer service is excellent – they will often waive cancellation deadlines if you are rebooking for new dates at the same property or rebooking elsewhere via Hotels.com. I also regularly get lower rates (sometimes as much as 20-30% lower) when logged in as Gold than publicly available via the website. This in combination with at least 4% rebate via various portals.

    My modus operandi is basically to book the big chains where I have status (Hilton, SPG, IHG, etc..) via their own sites but the smaller chains or independent hotels via Hotels.com. That gives the best of all worlds.

  18. I’ve found the same as Sean M., that customer service is excellent and they’ve often waiver cancellation penalties even for me as a lowly Silver. Joey’s suggestion about discounted Hotels.com gift cards is also good, but if you look around a little you can often find them 20% off (e.g., $50 gift card for $40 on Amazon – and there are ways to get an effective discount on what you pay on Amazon, so that you get even more than 20% off). I buy them when on sale even if I don’t have immediate plans, as they are easy to combine into one card. Besides Amazon, Newegg has done discounted Hotels.com gift cards from time to time. Bookings paid with gift cards earn cash back and rewards the same as other bookings.

  19. About a decade ago, I made four prepaid reservations in France and Italy using Hotels.com and in two of those, I was “walked down” to really crappy properties – bug infected, dirty, no ensuite bathroom, etc. I took photos and upon my return I contacted Hotels.com and they did absolutely nothing by way of compensation or apologies, etc. They told me that I accepted the walk therefore it was all “legit.” It seemed to be a big scam at the time – walk people to lesser properties pocketing the difference while charging walk-ins more for the same room.
    I’ve been walked by large chain hotels in the past, booking direct, but never to lesser properties. Perhaps Hotels.com have policed-up these issues over the years but I probably won’t be a loyalist anytime soon.

  20. @James: They do have properties that don’t accept Reward Nights, so it’s not “You can use your free night towards any available room at any Hotels.com property anywhere in world”

    https://service.hotels.com/en-US/#/article/12045
    “3. Book your desired room, making sure to select one that can be booked by redeeming free nights.”

  21. I’ve managed to get decent value out of their program in the past. But in booking an upcoming trip to Europe I’ve found that I can save more by booking direct with the hotels and have access to more room types as well. For dates that hotels.com says they have no rooms the hotel seems to have plenty of availability. I can’t prove I get a better room by booking directly, but my guess is that if it comes down to some one who used a discount OTA and some one who booked direct, the direct one will get a better room.

  22. In addition to the discounted gift cards and free night after 10 nights, there are occasionally coupons for double nights credit (i.e. stay 1 night and get credit for 2 nights) which are gold.

    As hotel loyalty programs continue to devalue, I find myself.using hotels.com more and more.

  23. @donna – sorry to hear you had bad experience with hotels.com. customer service shouldn’t be lacking however absurd your experience. maybe next time do some research into the hotel you stay, especially when going somewhere new? tripadvisor (obvious first step for many of us. also there are many other sites) is always a great tool to see some ugly details if you want to…

    we had special requirements at hotels in Toronto and in Geneva. we didn’t contact hotel.com , but rather directly the hotels, and all were provided what we needed. once we were not happy with the room they put as at (tiny room, with a view onto a wall!). they were fully booked so no room change. as we pre-paid our stay, after the experience we contacted hotel.com and were given free nights points as bonus. ps: that room was ugly, but it was clean and we really only slept in it. so no harm done there

  24. I run my own company, and in the early-going we had very little money. As such, my hotel choices were driven not by brand loyalty, but by value. Ended up staying at all sorts of places over those first couple years, all booked through Hotels.com.

    We have a lot more money now, but I’ll be a Hotels.com loyalist for life. Their customer service is phenomenal at the elite levels, they often have great discounts on their site, and I’ve redeemed free nights at obscure properties all over the world. It’s essentially a 10% cash back program with no restrictions, which is pretty hard to beat.

  25. Remember that Hotels.com stays paid for with the Cap One Venture card earn 10 points/ $. I’m surprised that was not mentioned in the article.

  26. @Flo – no TripAdvisor at the time – this was quite some time ago before they were around. And yes, I agree that TripAdvisor is a good tool. My problem was with the poor customer service from Hotels.com. Like I said in the post, perhaps it’s great today, but it wasn’t then.

  27. @Chris

    It’s better to buy discounted gift cards than book through cap one venture card. I routinely get the gift cards at 15%+ off.

  28. If the 11th night is free, then it is not 10% off, but 9,09%. It would be 10% off if every 10th night would be free.
    I also quite like the program though and use it when there is no alternative from my preferred chains available. You should of course combine it with cashback to save another bit off your hotel bill.

  29. I tried their program and my issues are:

    1. I can usually find a better price somewhere else.
    2. If you use a discount code, the stay won’t count towards your ten night total.
    3. I tried to redeem my “free” night in Amsterdam about 2 years ago and there were scores of hotels where the redemption was ineligible. I took a lot of effort to find something.

  30. Wonderful post!!! It got me to thinking….now I can stay with Hilton Honors hotels and roadside Choice Privileges hotels mostly, but then use Hotels.com for all the others (Hyatt, SPG, Marriott, IHG, Wyndham, etc.).

    It’s like Alaska Airlines used to be up to 2016 where one could fly American, Delta, or many non-US carriers and credit miles to Alaska.

  31. Expiration policy is not mentioned in the website. Online hotels.com chat says that 12 months of inactivity results in expiration of credits.

  32. Hotels.com has good price matching for me as Gold but I prefer the Expedia rewards as the discount combined with the VIP 2x
    So I move towards Expedia program instead.

  33. I was hoping to find some unknown hotels.com tricks in this post but didnt find any, which is disappointing cuz I was looking forward to this post.

    I’ll tell you how I save $ on hotels.com, please let me know if anyone has more tricks to share as id love to hear about it.

    – buy gift cards when it’s on sale: Amex offer, eBay, staples, Amazon… etc

    – go through cashback portal, typically around 5%, Just google hotels .com cashback

    – google hotels.com promo code, there is almost always a 10% off discount code. Note that this voids your free night benefit, but I’ll take 10% off right now over technically 10% off after 10 nights. And that free night you get afternoon 10 nights have an expiration date.

    – orbitz almost always has a 15% ish discount too so that’s a good choice too (you earn another 1% in orbitz rewards too). The reason why I use hotels.com is that its giftcards often go on sale which make it even cheaper than orbitz

    So in total you get about 30% off if you follow these steps

  34. I like them better then Citi 4th nite free as no Hassle ever .But IF u can get 25% off the Hotels.com price then citi is worth it.

  35. A slight disappointing post (because one of the best things about the program was not mentioned), though I do agree that the program has some value.

    The best thing about this program is that you can find smaller, quirky, privately-owned hotels (even bed and breakfasts in Britain), places who are not a part of big conglomerates, yet you still get some rewards staying at these places through hotels.com. So, even if you do have loyalty programs for the big chains, having a hotels.com membership allows you to fill in the gaps (when you stay in a city without a big chain), and there are some need small business owner hotels that you can book. It’s a shame that James did not emphasize this aspect. There are some cool places on the Oregon coast in smaller towns, for example, that I stay at all the time, where there are no big chain hotels or where the small hotels are actually cooler than the chains in terms of amenities. Also, if in Denmark (where a lot of big chain hotels are absent or under-placed), the Cabinn is a great super cheap hotel chain and hotels.com allows one to collect rewards staying at this cheap alternative.

    Finally, as some other posters noted, while you can redeem your free nights at most hotels, there are some smaller places where you are only eligible to collect rewards, but NOT redeem them. Also, sometimes taxes and fees can be unduly high, so you need to keep that in mind when you redeem your free night. And lastly, as a “gold” member a number of different years, I can tell you their dumb elite status is just that – dumb. It’s not worth much, other than you spend less time waiting on the phone if you have to call them, and perhaps they work with elites a bit more if you have to cancel or move around a non-refundable reservation.

    Still, I liked that OMAAT allowed James to focus on this loyalty program as I think it does have some value – even for us elite-driven big chain people.

  36. It seems to me this is analogous to recommending a cash-back credit card instead of a points card. It can make sense for some people, but there is a limit to the benefit. I’d rather gamble on getting outsized value from redeeming points.

  37. I did not learn anything new in this post. The topic is very interesting and further points as mentioned above could have been presented (gift card, comparison to other third party rewards, cash back sites,…) .
    For me one of the biggest differentiator to hotel chain based loyalty is that you can book for others and collect the rewards. We all have friends and family who do not want to bother with rewards programs. With hotel.com it is not left on the table!

  38. I find their CS during or after a stay to be awful. Prepaying them vs the hotel means things like a chargeback become trickier

    I used to work for a hotel group and Booking.com are much better at putting on pressure to fix any issues for “our shared customer” – can’t remember expedia/hotels.com doing that once.

    They also have some IT challenges, their systems would often lag taking our availability or sending us the bookings, both of which would lead to them selling rooms that doesn’t exist. Not sure what they do about it though.

  39. I find hotels.com almost always cost 10% more than other booking sites(agoda, ctrip, booking) , so I hardly ever book thru them. Interesting nobody else has the same experience.

  40. Great post which suited occasionally leisure travel like i did. Thanks for the nice post and i am enjoying it.

  41. I have been a loyal Booking.com client to many years and now have ”Genius” status. I receive 10% discount on most of my hotel bookings along with great features like free cancellation and pay at hotel.

  42. @ JayLTX – I often double check a consolidator site like Trivago but always find hotels.com to be the same price as their competitors. If I didn’t have faith in their prices I wouldn’t promote them or use them as much as I do.

  43. @ Emmanuel – I mentioned how your cashback amount may be higher if you do not collect Reward Nights and what higher level of cashback I am willing to forego to collect my Reward Night ; )

  44. For my travels in Greece and elsewhere in Europe, Booking.com gives me a much wider range of apartments or B&B options, which I consider when not staying in a large town or city. For somewhere like Artemida, which is near ATH, you can choose a ton of places at very reasonable whereas sites like hotels.com and trivago show virtually nothing.

    You can easily find owners offering you rooms/apartments at prices a lot less than the ripoff AirBnB (never understood why people rave so much over that), and I get a 10% genius discount on most of them, unlike the conditional 9% that hotels.com gives you (and is subject to expiry).

    Also, free cancellation usually means ‘pay at the hotel’ whereas with hotels.com I often found that payment would be taken immediately but then refunded if I cancelled. That sucks when you have FX costs as you get hit both ways.

  45. Not sure why this article is here. The whole idea of this blog is to teach people how to earn and use points and miles that aren’t “easy” or straight forward. If it is easy, why would anyone need an article to teach them?

  46. I am a big fan of hotels.com, all my travel is for pleasure and I like that they have a wide variety of hotels. I love that I can stay in a variety of hotels from inexpensive self service French motorway hotels for about 40 euros a night to luxury chateau type properties.

    The prices seem to be pretty good maybe not always the very cheapest but good value given the “free” night deal after 10 paid nights and I know it isn’t fully free as you have to pay taxes etc but last year I booked about 80 nights in Europe and a few of them were free or reduced due to the 10th due to the previous years trip.

    This year I have 8 or 9 nights free or reduced during my winter escape to Europe for 3 months from May to August.

  47. A couple of other points about hotels.com – I have been using them for about 7 or 8 years – currently about 50-80 nights a year. I don’t use it exclusively – I also have Starwood/Hilton memberships and I do sometimes use booking.com, trivago & AirBnB but hotels.com is my standard “go to” site when travelling.
    The website and search engine are both good – their app also seems to be very low bandwidth – I’ve used it in places with very poor (GPRS or sat) connectivity, where I can barely get a simple webpage to load.
    I always book via a European portal – so I am covered by European data and consumer protection laws. In particular the headline prices is the price I pay – no hidden taxes or resort fees or any of the other dishonest stuff that hotel websites try and pull – you will sometimes see “x to be paid locally” – but that will have already been included in the headline price. I usually pay in my home currency and the conversion rates that are used seem to be very close to standard visa rates.
    They sometimes “pay” me for reviews – with extra nights or discount codes and in conjunction with a cash-back site that can work out at between 15-20% off.
    One major problem with booking directly with the hotel (outwith the major chains) is that you have no idea what you are booking on – it could be some professionally run system or it could be something setup by the hotel owners teenage nephew 10 years ago and never patched since. While booking with a big company is no guarantee of security at least if hotel.com/expedia get hacked I’m likely to hear about it. One good sign is I always get asked for my CCV number on every booking – the number of sites that don’t ask for CCV numbers (which are not meant to be stored) is scary.
    The few times I have had to use their customer services they have been good – I don’t change/cancel reservations very often.
    Annoying things do include the deluge of emails that you get – booking confirmation, “your forthcoming stay”, “how was your check in” & “please review” plus far to many “special offer” emails – but a few email filters gets rid of most of them.
    It does depend on your pattern of travel – but for an independent traveller who paying themselves and who is staying where they want to stay – not where deals happen to be available I think they are very god.

  48. We’ve been big fans of hotels.com as well, 27 reward nights collected so far. It gets a bit tricky if you have a few expensive nights there and the free night is “worth too much”.

    Typically I’ve done the booking through topcashback.com so that I’ll collect credit card reward points, cashback (used to be +5 %, nowadays less), and hotels.com Reward nights. As we don’t frequent chains enough, this has worked well for us. I will also use any >=10% code if available as it’s “instant reward”.

    On our most recent booking I noticed that hotels.com was giving different price when used directly or through topcashback.com compared to clicking the link in TripAdvisor. As the price difference was more than cashback, I used it.

    The hotel booking commission business has gone quite a bit downhill though.

  49. I but up Hotels.com gift cards whenever I can get them at a 20% discount. It’s a great way to cover the difference between your free night reward and the cost of the hotel. I just used 4 free nights I had accumulated and about $200 in Hotels.com gift cards for a really nice 4-night stay on vacation.

  50. It may be “simple” but they have the WORST customer service I’ve ever experienced. They also will not let you change your reservation and their prices are often not as competitive. Keep your “free” night.

  51. @Sarah
    when you want to change a reservation, contact the hotel directly. it’s faster and much more straightforward.
    I used them only twice so far, on one occasion had to change my travel dates. Had absolutely no issue when contacting the reception and sorted it all out there and then. This is the same as when I book via airbnb etc. Whats the point going through the middle man. Just use their booking tools/engines for search, payment and some reviews. If you want a relaxed life, don’t rely on call center who have no idea how certain hotel operates.

    Just my few cents.

  52. Agree what @mm mentioned above

    with hotels.com you can collect points for small, unknown boutique, no name ,B&Bs or family hotels, etc. who want to be in the business but have no desire to be part for major loyalty program….

    also

    Someone above mentioned you cannot collect points for some hotels – I found this true but only when doing last minute booking. A day prior arrival. However upon changing dates (not my travel dates, I just wanted to find out whether this “impossibility” was for given hotel), upon changing dates on the hotels.com website, if I booked 2 days in advance I could have gotten my points.

  53. The hotels you tend to not be able to redeem your ‘free’ nights at are those that require payment at the hotel i.e. they won’t allow you to pay via hotels.com

    For chains, not a problem – this usually only crops up for the unique places. In any case, not really a limiting factor.

    I’ve booked 200+ nights via hotels.com – I gave away the hotel “loyalty” game some time ago, although I do currently have HH Diamond via IHG Spire status match (IHG Spire due to CC spend only, of course!). I still find myself using hotels.com more often than not though. Recent experience, I missed the cancellation period by a few hours for a £50 a night room – hotels.com cancelled it for me and gave me a £100 credit to use at any hotel! Score!

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