7 Reasons You Should Join a Hotel Loyalty Program (and How to Choose the Right One)

Hotel loyalty programs are great for earning rewards that can get you extra perks when you travel. But which program is right for you?
Last updated June 2, 2023 | By Jenny Cohen Edited By Chris Kissell
woman on the sun lounger near the private swimming pool

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As you work on summer travel plans, a key decision will be where to stay. Finding a hotel with a great loyalty program may weigh heavily in your decision.

Hotel loyalty programs can help you reduce travel costs, which is important given that most of us are considering how to deal with inflation right now.

Following are seven reasons to join a hotel loyalty program, and some things to consider that will help you find the best choice for you.

Loyalty programs are free

Chinnapong/Adobe happy businessman relaxing in office

You may feel that a loyalty program is just another thing you have to pay for with little or no reward. But most loyalty programs are actually free.

So, depending on how often you stay at a certain hotel or hotel chain, it may be a simple sign-up that can lead to big rewards.

You can access special members-only rates

Viacheslav Yakobchuk/Adobe Smiling blonde woman staying with her bearded man on a reception

Instead of using travel sites that compare different hotel rooms, you might better save money at hotels by booking directly with the hotel chain using your loyalty rewards account.

Being a member can get you surprisingly great rates in many cases.

Upgraded breakfast might be available

Jacob Lund/Adobe Waiter serving food to businessman in hotel room

Instead of just a boring breakfast with some bagels and dry cereal, your loyalty program membership might allow you access to an upgraded morning meal.

This can include eggs, bacon, and other delicious breakfast treats that might not be available to customers who haven’t signed up for the program.

You can tap into other discounts

moodboard/Adobe Young man and woman receiving hot stone therapy

When you check in for your stay, find out if the hotel’s loyalty program entitles you to additional perks.

Does the hotel property you’re staying at include a spa? Or perhaps it has a pool with cabanas you can reserve. Maybe you can use loyalty points to get discounts there, or at the hotel restaurant or bar.

Cancellation fees might be waived

Kalim/Adobe Guests getting key card in hotel

Plans can change sometimes, and that could mean being charged for a cancellation. But if you’re part of a loyalty program, hotels may waive your cancellation fees or reduce them.

Pro tip: Some of the best travel credit cards may have cancellation insurance in case you have to change plans after making reservations for hotels, airlines, and other travel bookings.

You might get perks inside your room

fotofabrika/Adobe towels and flower on bed in hotel room

Flash your loyalty program membership and see which benefits it can get you once you enter your room. Some hotels may allow you to have a late checkout, or the loyalty program might earn you free Wi-Fi in your room, for instance.

You can visit different properties under one program

sosiukin/Adobe sunscreen lotion in sun shape on tanned woman's shoulder

Hotel brands may own a variety of different properties under their umbrella, which could help when it comes to earning points for your unique stays.

Check the list of properties a hotel brand owns to find out which hotels make sense for you. You might be surprised that you can earn hotel rewards with the same loyalty program when you stay at either a high-end hotel for business or a lower-priced hotel when you’re on a road trip with the family.

Pro-tip: To get even more out of a hotel loyalty program, you might consider using one of the best hotel credit cards to make your purchases. You can earn rewards and also get access to even more perks.

How to choose: Where do you stay the most?

Monster Ztudio/Adobe Father and mother with daughter relaxing on bed

Take a look at the hotels you stay at during a regular trip. Are you going to the same hotel chain for business trips? Is there a particular hotel you like to stay at when on a family vacation or road trip?

These questions can help you narrow down which loyalty programs are best for you and help maximize your travel rewards.

How to choose: Partnership programs

Andrey Popov/Adobe Loyalty Reward Points Program Card

Look into all the hotels that a loyalty program may cover. You may be surprised by the variety of price points that a brand owns.

So, make the right choice depending on what you need out of a hotel for a specific trip.

How to choose: Best benefits for you

Iuliia Sokolovska/Adobe young woman swims in blue water

When choosing a loyalty program, check to see what you can get for your loyalty. If you want to use your points for spa treatments and the program does not offer that, you might be disappointed.

Benefits can be a big factor when deciding which program to go with.

How to choose: Brands that fit your style

fotoinfot/Adobe Breakfast in bed

If you like staying at luxury properties, don’t sign up for a loyalty program with one luxury hotel and a bunch of midrange or low-range properties that won’t interest you.

Instead, research all the properties that are covered by a particular loyalty program to see if it’s a good fit for your lifestyle.

Bottom line

Soloviova Liudmyla/Adobe Woman tourist backpacker happy to stay in high quality hotel room

As you get out and travel more, you should be rewarded for your loyalty. But choosing the right loyalty program is crucial to getting the most from this type of benefit.

Do some research on which programs best fit your travel budget and plans. When you find the right program, pair it with one of the best rewards credit cards to maximize the points you can earn and the benefits you can receive.

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Intro Offer

Earn 25,000 online bonus points after you make at least $1,000 in purchases in the first 90 days of account opening - that can be a $250 statement credit toward travel purchases

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Jenny Cohen Jenny Cohen is a freelance writer who has covered a bit of everything, from finance to sports to her favorite TV shows. Her work has been featured in The Wall Street Journal, USA Today, and FoxSports.com.