The majority of people would love to travel more, but the cost of travel often holds them back. Hotel rooms can be a major travel expense, so it pays to learn how to get free hotel rooms or secure significant discounts. Here are some of our favorite tips to get free hotel rooms for your next vacation.
How to Get Free Hotel Rooms For Your Next Vacation
There are many ways to get free hotel rooms, but these are our favorite strategies because they are relatively easy to do and can earn bunches of hotel points in a hurry.
Earn a Welcome Bonus from a Credit Card
When you apply for a new credit card, you have the opportunity to earn a large number of hotel points when you meet the card’s minimum spend requirements. Many of the minimum spending requirements can be hit just by putting your regular monthly expenses on the card. Some of the best hotel credit cards offer one-time bonuses of 100,000 or more points.
The IHG® Rewards Club Premier Credit Card and the Marriott Bonvoy Boundless™ Card both currently offer bonuses worth at least 100,000 points. Depending upon where you redeem them, these bonuses could be redeemed for multiple nights at your favorite hotel or resort.
Annual Free Night Benefits
Many credit cards include an annual free night benefit that allows you to get a free hotel room. Some of them provide this annual free night just for renewing the card, while others require you to spend a certain amount before receiving your free nights.
Credit cards like the World of Hyatt Credit Card provide one annual free night just for having the card, plus the opportunity to earn another free night based on your spending. Whereas the Hilton Honors American Express Surpass® Card requires you to spend $15,000 before earning a free hotel night.
Each hotel credit card has its unique restrictions and limitations. The Hyatt free night is good at participating Category 1-4 hotels. By comparison, the Hilton free night can be used at almost any Hilton family hotel. However, the Hilton free night is restricted to weekend travel only.
Earn Hotel Points on Your Purchases
Even when you’re not staying at a hotel, you can earn hotel points on all of your purchases with a hotel credit card. While you’ll get the highest number of points on your hotel purchases with these cards, many also offer bonus points on many of your regular expense categories.
Bonuses vary by hotel credit card, but many offer bonuses in a variety of categories, such as grocery stores, gas stations, restaurants, travel and gym memberships. Additionally, they all offer a base number of points per dollar on non-bonus categories too.
Take Advantage of Bonus Categories
Although credit cards offer bonus categories, not all of your purchases will fall into those categories. You can take advantage of your bonus categories with this awesome workaround. Places like grocery stores, gas stations, home improvement stores, and office supply stores offer gift cards for some of your favorite merchants.
When you buy gift cards from stores that offer bonus points on your purchases, you can turn non-bonused spending into extra hotel points towards your next vacation.
Say you’re getting ready to do back-to-school shopping at a department store. However, that store doesn’t qualify for one of your card’s bonus categories. Simply make a quick stop at the grocery store or gas station (whichever one offers bonus points with your hotel credit card) and buy a gift card for that department store. Voila! You just earned extra hotel points and can now use that gift card to make your purchases.
Maximize Your Online Shopping
When shopping online, using a travel portal is a quick way to earn extra rewards. However, most hotel loyalty programs don’t have their own shopping portals. Instead, you can earn Chase Ultimate Rewards or cash back on your online purchases.
Chase Ultimate Rewards can be used to book travel or transferred to airline or hotel loyalty programs. When you have the Chase Sapphire Preferred or Chase Sapphire Reserve, your points are worth 25% or 50% more, respectively, when booking travel through the Chase travel portal.
And, of course, cash can be used however you’d like to. We suggest depositing your cash back into a high-yield savings account. This can create a travel fund that earns interest and pays for future vacations.
The Bottom Line
Paying for hotel rooms can put a major dent in your travel budget. By following these five simple strategies, it’s possible to score free hotel rooms on your next vacation. You can earn extra hotel points on your spending or use the annual free night benefits of your credit cards. Many families save thousands every year on their trips using hotel points and credit card benefits for free hotel nights.
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