The Best 15 Hotel Rewards Programs That Will Help You Earn Free Nights Wherever You TravelHow to Travel Cheap
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Different travelers want different things from hotel rewards programs.
Room upgrades, mini bar credits, and free Wi-Fi are some of the perks people look forward to.
However, many travelers simply want free nights. If you fall into this category, you’ve come to the right place.
The programs on this list are ideal for you.
1. Marriott Rewards
The Marriott Rewards Program now includes Ritz-Carlton Rewards and The Starwood Preferred Guest Program.
The programs were merged in August 2018 after Marriott acquired Starwood. The unified program is expected to get a name in 2019 but the structure is Marriott-style.
Marriott Rewards encompasses 29 budget-friendly and luxury hotel brands including Aloft Hotels, Four Points by Sheraton and Westin Hotels and Resorts.
There are five tiers members can reach:
- Silver Elite – after ten qualifying nights
- Gold Elite – after 25 nights in a year
- Platinum Elite – after 50 nights in a year
- Platinum Premier Elite – after 75 nights in a year
- Platinum Premier Elite with Ambassador – after 100+ nights/year
and $20K in annual qualifying spend
You earn points for hotel stays, flights with more than 40 airline partners, and money spent with Hertz, Cruises Only, and Traveling Connect. You can boost your rewards with the SPG Cards from American Express.
You then use your points to redeem free night awards at more than 6,700 resorts and hotel across the world.
You’ll need at least 5,000 points to redeem a free night. This applies to a category 1 hotel during off-peak season.
This is one of those hotel loyalty programs which is attractive because of the number of properties included. It is best for travelers looking for properties across a range of price points.
2. Radisson Rewards
The Radisson Rewards Program includes more than 1,100 Radisson Hotel Group properties across the world.
The group includes seven brands including Park Plaza, Radisson Collection and Park Inn by Radisson.
There are three status levels to which members can aspire. They are based on how often members stay or which credit card they have.
The levels are:
- Radisson Rewards Silver – after six stays, nine nights or getting the Radisson Rewards Visa Signature Card.
- Radisson Rewards Gold – after 20 stays, 30 nights or acquiring the Radisson Rewards Premier Visa Signature Card
- Radisson Rewards Platinum – after 30 stays or 60 nights
Members of this hotel loyalty program earn up to 35 points per dollar spent on stays, food, and beverages.
Points can also be earned from Vinesse Wine Clubs, car partners, The Bicester Village Shopping Collection, and others.
You need at least 9,000 points for a standard category 1 hotel room. You get the best value in major cities during peak periods.
3. Wyndham Rewards
Wyndham includes more than 8,000 properties under 21 brands including Days Inn, La Quinta Inns and Suites, TRYP, and Wyndham Grand.
These properties range from budget to upscale and are located in 75 countries.
Members can reach three status tiers:
- Gold – after five nights
- Platinum – after 15 nights
- Diamond – after 40 nights
For qualifying stays, you earn ten points per dollar or 1,000 points depending on which is greater.
You benefit even more if you get the Wyndham Rewards Visa Card or do business with Avis and Budget car rentals.
There are often promotions that allow you to earn points faster.
Wyndham Rewards doesn’t have different award rate categories. Instead, you receive a free night when you reach 15, 000 points.
These can be redeemed at most hotels across the world and there are no blackout dates.
4. La Quinta Returns
La Quinta Inns & Suites has 870 properties in the U.S., Canada, and Mexico. While these are budget properties, you can also redeem your points at luxury resorts around the world.
La Quinta Returns has partnered with Wyndham Rewards to offer reciprocal status to members of both programs.
While the two programs remain active, it is expected that they will merge by spring or summer in 2019.
Unlike hotel rewards programs that require you to have basic membership before moving up to Silver status, you start at Silver with La Quinta Returns.
You reach Gold status after ten nights or three stays in a calendar year. Elite status comes after 25 nights or seven stays in a calendar year.
Active duty service members, veterans and military spouses start at Gold status.
La Quinta Returns Silver members earn ten base points for every dollar spent while Gold members get a 20 percent bonus and Elite members get a 30 percent bonus.
You also have opportunities to earn from several car rental companies and retail partners.
You can begin redeeming free nights when you have 6, 000 points.
5. Le Club AccorHotels
The Accor Hotels Group includes 4,300 hotels in 1,000 countries operating under 30 brands.
Ranging from luxury properties to economy options, they include Novotel, Sofitel, Mercure, Ibis, Pullman, and The Sebel.
Le Club AccorHotels lets you earn points from car, airline, train, food, and lifestyle partners in addition to hotel stays.
For every 2,000 rewards points, you get €40 to use on your next booking. This means this loyalty program operates somewhat like a cashback system.
The number of hotel rewards points you earn is based on the brand, the particular hotel and the number of nights you stay. You get more points the higher your status.
You join the program at Classic status and move up to:
- Silver – from ten nights or €800 in eligible expenses
- Gold – from 30 nights or €2,800 in eligible expenses
- Platinum – from 60 nights or €5 600 in eligible expenses
Here’s an example that illustrates this. If you have Classic Status, you earn five points at ibis, ibis Styles and Mama Shelter for every €10, 10 points at Adagio, 12.5 points at Adagio Access and 25 points at other participating hotels.
A Platinum member would earn 8.75, 17.5, 22 and 44 points, respectively.
In addition to free hotel nights, you can also redeem points for nights in private luxury homes.
6. Leaders Club
This is the hotel rewards program offered by The Leading Hotels of the World. It is best for travelers who like boutique hotels offering spa and golfing facilities.
There are almost 400 LHW properties across the world including the Caribbean, US, Europe, and Asia.
Leaders Club is one of the best hotel rewards programs but it is not free like many of the others.
It only has two tiers: Leaders Club and Leaders Club Unlimited.
You will need to pay an annual membership fee of $150 for the first tier and $1,200 for the second tier. There are a number of perks associated with Leaders Club memberships.
You earn one complimentary night for every four stays (Club Unlimited) or five stays (Club) at two or more properties in a calendar year.
You can only earn points on hotel stays and you can only redeem them for hotel stays.
7. World of Hyatt
The Hyatt portfolio includes more than 700 properties across the United States, Canada, Europe, Mexico, the Caribbean, and Asia. It includes Hyatt Regency, Park Hyatt, and Andaz.
You earn points through hotel stays, purchases from partners and purchases made with your World of Hyatt Credit Card from Chase.
These points can be used for hotel stays, room upgrades, and airline miles.
You can get free hotel nights from 5, 000 points per night.
Members can work their way up three levels:
- Discoverist – after ten qualifying nights or 25,000 base points in a calendar year
- Explorist – after 30 qualifying nights or 50,000 base points within a calendar year
- Globalist – after 60 qualifying nights or 100,000 base points in a calendar year
If you sign up for the program and stay at five participating properties within a calendar year, you get a free night.
World of Hyatt members receive five base points for every eligible dollar spent at a Hyatt property.
The number of points needed for a free night varies by category and there are seven categories of hotels.
A night in a standard room can cost from 5,000 to 30,000 points, while a night in a Regency or Grand Club room ranges from 7,000 to 39,000 points.
This is one of the best hotel rewards programs for travelers who like to stay at independent properties.
Invited is offered by the Small Luxury Hotels of the World group.
The SLH portfolio includes over 500 boutique hotels in more than 80 countries spanning Africa, Asia, Europe, the Caribbean, and the United States.
To earn a free night, you must stay at an eligible property at least five times or spend $6,000 during a calendar year. One reward night voucher is usually valued around $300.
You can only earn points on hotel stays and redeem them on hotel bookings.
You join the program at the Invited level and there are three membership levels:
- Inspired – after staying one to five times per year
- Indulged – after your sixth stay or after you spend $6, 000
- Indulged Elite – an invitation-only status after you spend $15,000 through the SLH reservations systems in a calendar year
9. Hilton Honors
Business and luxury travelers who frequent major America, European and Asian cities stand to benefit the most from the Hilton Honors program.
Members can cash in their points at over 5,300 hotels and resorts under 14 different brands in over 100 countries and territories. Brands include Waldorf Astoria, Curio Collection, Motto and Tru.
There are no blackout dates.
In addition to hotel points earned during stays, you can earn points for purchases made with the Hilton Honors credit cards offered through American Express as well as during bonus promotions.
Members can work their way up through:
- Silver – after four separate stays or ten night within a calendar year
- Gold – after 20 separate stays or 40 nights in a calendar year or by accumulating 75,000 base points each year.
- Diamond – after 30 separate stays or 60 nights in one calendar year or by accumulated 100, 000 base points annually.
The number of points required to redeem standard room nights varies by a number of factors including hotel, room and stay date. However, the number of points required starts at 5,000 points per night.
10. IHG Rewards
IHG Rewards allows you to earn points by staying at hotel rooms in the InterContinental Hotels Group.
Brands include Holiday Inn, Crowne Plaza, Hotel Indigo and Kimpton.
IHG has over 5, 400 hotels in 100 countries and many are located in major cities like London, Miami, and New York City.
You earn points by staying at IHG properties and purchasing items from partner vendors including GrubHub and OpenTable.
IHG Rewards Club Traveler Credit Cardholders get additional points.
You are automatically granted Club status when you enroll and there are three other levels which can be attained by earning points. These are:
- Gold Elite – if you stay between ten and 39 nights in a calendar year or accrue 10,000 elite qualifying points
- Platinum Elite – if you stay between 40 and 74 nights in a calendar year or collect 40 000points
- Spire Elite – if you stay 75 nights in a year or accrue 75, 000 elite points.
For an extra fee, you can become an InterContinental Ambassador. You can become an InterContinental Royal Ambassador by invitation only.
The number of points required for complimentary nights varies by property but can run from 10,000 to 70,000.
11. Best Western Rewards
This is a hotel rewards program best suited to families and business travelers.
Members can earn and redeem points at 4,200 Best Western hotels in over 100 countries.
You can also earn from partner agencies which include car rentals and airlines and retailers.
Making everyday purchases with the Best Western Rewards MasterCard can also help you earn points faster.
There are five levels in the Best Western Rewards program. You start at Blue and you can move on to:
- Gold – after ten nights or seven stays or 10 000 points in a calendar year
- Platinum – after 15 nights or ten stays or 15 000 points within a calendar year
- Diamond – after staying 30 nights or 20 stays or accumulating 30 000 points within a calendar year
- Diamond Select – after staying 50 nights or 40 stays or accumulating 50 000 points within a calendar year
12. Sonesta Travel Pass
Sonesta Travel Pass members can collect and redeem points at more than 70 participating Sonesta properties around the world.
Points can only be earned by staying at Sonesta hotels and they can only be redeemed for hotel stays.
When you sign up you become a basic member and you can graduate to:
- Preferred – after six qualifying nights in a calendar year
- Elite – after 12 or more nights per year
You earn ten points for every dollar spent at participating properties. You must have at least 15, 000 to earn a free night but the actual number varies by hotel.
13. Choice Privileges
Choice Privileges members can choose from over 5, 500 budget hotels worldwide.
Choice brands include Econo Lodge, Cambria Hotels & Suites, Comfort Inn, and Comfort Suites.
Members can also redeem their points at some Preferred Hotels & Resorts properties.
Basic members have three levels to progress through:
- Gold – following at least ten nights at an affiliated property in a calendar year
- Platinum – following at least 20 nights at an affiliated property in a calendar year
- Diamond – following at least 40 night at an affiliated property in a calendar year
Partner retailers and the Choice Privileges Visa Signature Credit Card provide additional opportunities to earn points.
Generally, you earn ten points per dollar for hotel stays minus taxes and incidentals. At some properties, you earn that amount on all hotel charges including phone calls, dining, and laundry.
The number of points you need for a one-night stay varies by property and location but can range from 6,000 to 75,000.
14. Omni Select Guest
As a member of this program, you own credit toward a free hotel night for every night you stay at one of 50-plus Omni properties.
You also get automatically enrolled in the Global Hotel Alliance’s DISCOVERY rewards program, which includes 36 brands around the world.
When you sign up for Omni Select Guest, you automatically get Gold status. You then work your way up to:
- Platinum when you accumulate between ten and 29 qualifying nights in a calendar year
- Black when you accumulate 30 or more qualifying nights in a year
The Omni Select Guest system doesn’t work like th other hotel rewards programs on this list.
Once you stay 20 nights at full price, you earn one free night certificate for a future stay.
Platinum and Black level members accumulate double the amount of credits.
15. Drury Gold Key Club
Drury Hotel brands include Drury Inn and Suites, Drury Plaza Hotel and Pear Tree Inn.
The family-owned chain operates in 125 locations in 25 US states.
Drury Gold Key Club is a basic hotel rewards program in which members earn ten per dollar spent on their room before taxes.
Points can be redeemed for a free room or suite at any Drury brand hotel or Pear Tree Inn.
You can also earn rewards from the Drury Rewards Visa.
The points required for a free night’s stay vary by hotel, room type and dates of stay.
Which hotel rewards program do you prefer and why? We’d love to hear from you, so feel free to leave a comment below!
Logan is a practicing CPA, Certified Student Loan Professional, and founder of Money Done Right, which he launched in July 2017. After spending nearly a decade in the corporate world helping big businesses save money, he launched his blog with the goal of helping everyday Americans earn, save, and invest more money. Learn more about Logan.