For many, traveling and staying at luxury hotels is like a dream that’s far out of reach, especially when considering the costs involved. Between airline tickets and accommodations, you could easily end up having to spend thousands of dollars. Even the shortest trips overseas seem to cost a fortune.
Luckily, it is possible for almost anyone to experience this luxury without needing to save for several years. There are many ways to get low prices or even a free night or two. So whether it’s Europe or the Maldives, here is how you can get free hotel stays at some of the top luxury hotel brands and more.
1. Sign Up for Hotel Loyalty Programs
One of the easiest ways to get a free hotel stay is to join a hotel loyalty program. Almost every major hotel chain has one. If you find yourself staying at one hotel chain during most vacations, consider signing up for their loyalty program.
The way that most loyalty programs work is fairly simple. You earn points or credit for each paid stay. And once you have racked up enough points or credit, you can redeem them for free nights at the hotel chain.
Some loyalty programs also come with additional perks. Benefits that you could expect from simply joining a hotel loyalty program include free wifi, premium gym access, and plenty more.
Most loyalty programs have tiers. As you accumulate more points or credit, you will move up through the program’s tiers. You will then get access to even more perks and greater upgrades.
Note that some hotel chains are reluctant to the idea of loyalty programs. However, there are many offering ones that allow you to redeem points for free stays. Below are some high-end hotel luxury hotel chains offering such loyalty programs:
- IHG group: IHG Rewards Club members are provided points on every stay at up to 6,000 destinations globally. You’ll also receive benefits such as lower rates. Points can be redeemed for free nights.
- Marriott group: Marriott Bonvoy members can enjoy plenty of exclusive benefits at various luxury hotels around the world. This includes The Ritz-Carlton, The Luxury Collection, JW Marriott, St Regis, and W Hotels.
- Hyatt group: World of Hyatt members can earn points, free stays, and enjoy exclusive discounted rates.
- Hilton group: Hilton Honors is the chain’s free loyalty program which provides members with an array of perks. It includes earning points, free stays, free wifi, and more.
- AccorHotels group: Accor Live Limitless members can earn points at 3,000 accommodations, including the luxurious Fairmont, Raffles, and Sofitel hotels.
2. Hotel Rewards Cards
How you sign up for a hotel loyalty program makes a difference in how many points you earn. To get the most points from each stay that you pay for, it is best to sign up through a hotel rewards credit card.
With these credit cards, you can earn extra hotel points through your everyday spending. This includes everything from groceries to phone bills. Below are some of the best hotel rewards card offerings:
- IHG Rewards Club Premier Credit Card: At a low introductory spend of $3,000 for the first three months, the card earns holders numerous benefits. It includes a big sign-up bonus, generous rewards, and more at Holiday Inn, InterContinental, and other IHG hotel brands. You will also earn a free night hotel stay on your anniversary date.
- The Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant American Express Card: By spending as little as $3,000 in your first three months, you will earn 75,000 Marriott Bonvoy points. That’s enough points for a free night at one of Marriott’s 5 star luxury hotels. Alternatively, it can get you ten free nights at one of Marriott’s more budget-friendly hotels. You will also receive a free night after every card account anniversary.
- The World of Hyatt Credit Card: By spending a minimum of $3,000 in your first three months, this card earns you plenty of rewards and perks. This includes a free night each year and bonus rewards on each spend, which will easily cover your annual fee. You will also earn 30,000 bonus points, which is plenty since free nights at Hyatt hotels start at 5,000 points.
- Hilton Honors American Express Card: With a $0 annual fee, this card is all about Hilton perks. You only need to spend $1,000 within your first three months to earn an introductory bonus of up to 80,000 points. You will also earn automatic Silver status and high ongoing rewards on Hilton purchases, along with other benefits.
There are many more luxury hotels that offer similar rewards cards. For those seeking a new credit card, one of these might be right up your alley. Provided that you will be staying in your selected hotel often enough, you will certainly get your money’s worth.
3. Use Cashbacks for Free Hotel Nights
For something more flexible than a co-branded credit card, consider cashback. Cashbacks suggest that every time you spend on your card, you earn some money back. And the best part is that you can spend this money however you like. So in the case of hotels, you would not need to use the cash on a specific hotel chain.
Cash backs do not directly net your free hotel nights like the co-branded cards previously mentioned. But, you can always count any cash back you earn as vacation money that you can spend on hotels. There are numerous cashback cards available to consumers with average credit. While the hotel cards listed above are usually available exclusively to those with excellent credit.
Cashback cards are also flexible in that they tend to favor everyday purchases as opposed to hotel purchases. If you are not staying in hotels often, earning points on hotel and travel cards can be challenging. But with cashback cards, you will earn points on everyday spendings – like groceries and gas.
An excellent example of a cashback card is American Express’s Blue Cash Preferred Card. It allows you to earn a $350 cash back for spending a minimum of $3,000 with your card in the first six months. You will also receive cash backs on everyday purchases. It includes a 6% cashback on groceries, 6% cashback on streaming, 3% cashback on transit, and plenty more.
4. Join an Airline’s Frequent Flyer Program
Frequent flyer programs are customer loyalty programs offered by most airlines. These will earn you miles that you can redeem for free flights, upgrades, car rentals, and free hotel stays.
While turning your miles into free hotel stays may not always be the best way to spend it from an economic standpoint, there are some exceptions. Below are some of the best frequent flyer programs to get a free room at your favorite luxury hotel chain.
- Marriott Bonvoy has established a collaboration with many airlines, including Emirates and SkyWards. The Your World Rewards program allows Marriott Bonvoy members to earn 3 points for every US dollar spent on Emirates flights. Members can redeem this as well as the SkyWards Miles for free hotel stays at a number of the hotel chain’s properties. Members can also enjoy several exclusive in-airport benefits like priority check-in and priority boarding.
- Hyatt Hotels and American Airlines (AA) have collaborated to provide frequent flyers with even greater value. In addition to the AAdvantage miles earned through American Airlines, World of Hyatt members can also earn bonus points for every dollar spent on each AA flight. Similarly, you can enjoy 1,000 American Airlines bonus miles per qualifying stay at over 130 Hyatt hotels worldwide.
- Hilton Hotels also has partnerships with several airlines, the most noteworthy being American Airlines. As long as you have an AmEx card that earns membership rewards points, you can earn more Hilton Honors points. This includes the AmEx Credit card, Green card, Gold card, and Platinum card. The conversion rate between the two is 1:2. So, 1,000 AmEx points convert to 2,000 Hilton Honors points, which can earn you a couple of free hotel stays.
Several other hotel and airline collaborations offer exceptional benefits. To receive these perks, simply research which airlines offer hotel stays to their members and look for any suitable partnerships. This way, you will be able to turn your miles into free stays and sometimes vice versa.
5. Look Out for ‘Free Night’ Hotel Promotions
If you’re wondering how to get a free hotel room, one of the easiest ways is via hotel promotions. Some hotels might offer a free night when you book a certain amount of paid nights.
These types of deals are usually available exclusively through the official hotel website. To ensure that you do not miss out on these promotions, it is worth signing up for the newsletter of your preferred hotels.
Many of the larger hotel chains offer such promotions on occasion. However, they are often limited to rewards members. Regardless, here are some promotions worth keeping an eye out for:
- Marriott occasionally runs free night promotions. You can also get your fifth night free when you redeem points for five consecutive nights or more. This is available to all Marriott Bonvoy loyalty program members. You do not need to hold any co-branded credit cards or have any high elite status with Marriott.
- Similarly, at IHG hotels, you can receive your fourth night free when you redeem points for stays of four or more nights. It is important to note that this is only available to card members of either the Chase IHG Premier Credit Card or the Chase IHG Traveler Credit Card.
- Hyatt hotels provide targeted offers for free nights via email to rewards members who have completed specific milestones. You can receive a Hyatt Free Night Award after you complete a stay of two nights or more. You can also receive a second Hyatt Free Night Award once you complete the second stay of two nights or more. Just be sure to check your emails for these awards, including your spam mails.
- Soneva is a great hotel brand to look out for when seeking good promotions. Soneva manages a range of luxury and all-inclusive hotels in Maldives and Thailand. You can enjoy promotions such as one or two free nights at several of the brand’s hotels and resorts.
6. Complain About a Troubling Experience
While it is not the most conventional method, complaining about a troubling experience can get you a free hotel stay. Provided your complaint is valid, you could score yourself a complimentary night or perhaps other benefits.
Some unpleasant ordeals that are worth bringing up include major defects in your room, misstatements about a hotel’s amenities, overbooking, and various service issues.
Almost any major inconvenience that is clearly the responsibility of the hotel is worth mentioning. However, if you do complain, it is best to do so in a polite manner – either at the hotel or afterward through the hotel’s customer service.
7. Work in the Travel and Hospitality Industry
Another way to score a free night at a hotel is to work in the travel industry. Travel agents, journalists, bloggers, and other industry insiders often get complimentary hotel stays in return for their services. Hotels are rarely fully occupied, so it is easy to provide industry insiders a free room in exchange for exposure in the media or other businesses.
Those who work in hotels also receive discounts and sometimes free stays within their respective chains. Similarly, pilots and flight attendants may receive free accommodation in the case of a layover. So if you love to travel and if any of these jobs interest you, it is an almost guaranteed way to get a couple of free nights at a hotel each year.
8. Grow Your Social Media Following
More luxury hotels are opening up to new promotional opportunities like word-of-mouth advertising to attract guests. As such, hotels will offer free nights to selected guests who have a large social media following in exchange for recognition on the respective platform.
Whether you’re a travel blogger or not, you can leverage your social media presence to convince managers to give you a free stay at the hotel. If you have a large following and your social media profile matches the hotel brand’s aesthetics, you’re likely to score some freebies. You can get discounts, free nights, and other benefits, all for simply promoting the property where you’re staying.
9. Use Your Phone to Get a Free Hotel Stay
There are tons of apps available to help the low-budget traveler find a room at affordable prices. Many of these apps also allow you to earn rewards that you can turn into free hotel stays.
Usually, these apps require you to exchange your services or time for accommodations. For example, you can earn Hotels.com gift vouchers by watching ads, playing games, or filling out surveys. All it takes is spending 10-15 minutes on your phone each day to do these tasks.
Some other apps you can try include Fetch Rewards, Choice Hotels, HotelTonight, One Night, Expedia, and Booking.com. Several major hotel chains also have their own apps where you can book stays and earn rewards. This includes IHG, Hyatt, Marriott, Hilton, and several more.
10. Take Advantage of “Best Price Guarantees”
Plenty of online booking services like Booking.com, Hotels.com, and Agoda.com have made shopping for hotel rooms easier than ever. Each of these websites competes to bring you the best rates and airfares possible. Some are so confident in their prices that they guarantee you will not find a better rate.
For example, Expedia has the “Hotel Price Guarantee’ promotion’. It suggests that if you book a room through their site and find a better price later, they’ll refund you the difference of the room.
While this method will not necessarily get you a free night, it can most certainly save you some money. It is great for anyone seeking hotel rooms at more affordable prices. All it requires is spending some time researching the best rates. So, if you have booked a room, do not hesitate to claim a refund if I find a better rate.
Summary on How to Get Free Hotel Rooms
If you’re looking for ways to get free hotel stays, the best way to achieve your goal is typically through hotel loyalty programs and co-branded credit cards. This will earn you numerous rewards, including a free anniversary night every year and discounted rates, among other benefits.
While these are useful, it is important to remember that earning rewards points will not mean anything if you’re overspending and paying a lot of interest. Pay attention to the annual fees and ensure you are well out-earning that figure. And most importantly, spend within your budget and pay off your cards in full each month.
If you’re not sure if you want to get a rewards credit card just yet, there are many other methods you can try out, like seeking ‘free night’ promotions. So if you’re hoping to visit the best luxury island resorts, there are endless opportunities to earn yourself a free stay.