I’m all for what I can get for free or at a huge discount, ask anyone, they will tell you.
It’s apparently one of my annoying features 😛
However, there are times when people appreciate this curse.
Enter hotel reward programs. I’ve stayed in quite a few hotels over the years, and yes, all those points do eventually add up to something. If you are a member that stays at a certain hotel chain regularly, room upgrades are the usually the biggest benefit. I usually always book the lowest price room available and seem to check in to a suite or an upgraded room, ready just for me. Other benefits I’ve experienced: free internet (yes, some hotels do charge for internet access in your room, especially abroad, most free internet access is limited to public places such as in the restaurants or lobby areas), upgraded breakfasts, extended check outs (up to 4pm), and of course points to use towards free nights. I even got a free gift card once for fuel!
When booking our stays in Bali and Thailand, I did go through my Starwood Preferred Guest program. This program offers special rates to their members for some pretty awesome properties. I was able to secure The Laguna, Luxury Collection Resort in Nusa Dua for two nights and get our third night free. The Westin Siray Bay in Phuket was 50% off plus free breakfast, and The Royal Orchid Sheraton Hotel in Bangkok was 50% off as well. I’ll be posting reviews on all the properties I visit on my trip once I return 🙂
What you need to know about hotel reward programs:
- Do your points or stays expire? Some programs require that you stay at least once a year to keep your points active. Some also require a certain amount of stays or “nights” to keep certain levels active once reached. With SPG, to keep Gold level for example, you need 10 stays or 25 nights in a calendar year to stay active and receive the benefits at that level.
- Can you use your points for free nights or other rewards? Some programs allow you to also transfer or exchange points to other programs such as Air Miles or Aeroplan, etc, so a free flight is even closer. Some hotel programs allow you to use points towards local attractions. For instance at Whistler, they allow you to redeem Starwood points towards lift tickets at Whistler Blackcomb, zip lining or even a day at the Scandinave Spa through the Whistler Westin.
Hope you enjoyed these tips on hotel rewards, I love the programs I use on a regular basis and really enjoy the benefits I experience with them 🙂