Getting the most out of your hotel rewards program

Whether you're a frequent personal traveler, business traveler, or someone looking to get away a few times a year, taking advantage of hotel rewards programs is the best opportunity to travel and save some money.
Marriott International Reports 2nd Quarter Earnings, Raises Outlook
Marriott International Reports 2nd Quarter Earnings, Raises Outlook / Michael M. Santiago/GettyImages

Traveling should come with perks. Regardless of whether you’re someone on a plane every month, or the frugal traveler who looks for savings every turn of the way – it should be a simple process for you to reap the rewards of hard-earned money spent on time away. That is why it’s important to get the most out of the hotel rewards programs that you sign up for at your favorite destinations and resorts.

As with any other type of program, hotel loyalty programs are meant to keep you within a specific network of hotels. Many of these programs are similar at their base, but there are often drastic differences that you’ll uncover along the way.

The first step in this process is to simply join the program. Many travelers miss out on the opportunity to earn reward points because they just don’t take the time to create a profile. Often, all you need is a valid email address. There’s no reason not to join. This is especially true if you travel frequently for work. Many organizations allow you to link your travel rewards programs to the accounts set up for business travel, giving you the triple boost of travel, on the company dime, while earning rewards to use at your own leisure.

The next step to getting the most out of these programs is to pay attention to the requirements. Many hotel programs require a certain number of stays, in certain locations, etc. to earn points. Learning what those requirements are will keep you away from the guessing game, which becomes a headache when you find out you haven’t quite redeemed enough points to do anything for free. Much of the information is available on the website, but also pay attention to the slew of emails that are sent your way because those frequently have important information regarding your membership.

At the end of the day, your best bet as a traveler also applies when leveraging hotel rewards programs: research and testing. Learning your own preferences will help you understand exactly where you want to stay and how to get the most out of the program offered. You can even look beyond the chain facilities and look at boutique options. It’s worth unpacking in another post, but also take the tip to book and sign up for travel programs through the hotel itself rather than booking platforms because the perks will always be stronger through the venue directly.

Happy traveling!

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