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Is Hotels.com "free night" better than rewards program?

Is Hotels.com "free night" better than rewards program?

Old Sep 11, 2018, 4:41 pm
  #151  
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Originally Posted by rc408
The credit will go to the owner of the Hotels.com account it was booked under despite the name on the reservation. Any hotel reward points will only be given to the registered guest based on the hotels T&C with 3rd party booking sites.

I've booked hotels for friends and family with my Hotels.com account and their name and I received the credit even though I did not stay at the property.
Originally Posted by tentseller
That has been my experience as well. It goes to the hotels.com account that the room was booked under.
Putting actual occupants name with their room make checking in easier for them.
It all worked out fine, all booked rooms were credited to my account, including one extra nights credit due to a recent promotion where if you booked 2 prepaid nights you got 1 extra free night added to your account. The speed at which everything posted amazed me, almost instantaneously after check out.
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Old Sep 14, 2018, 8:58 am
  #152  
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Originally Posted by sokolov
I ditched hotels.com due to their short expiration of credits.
???
1 Year and if u redeem or earn withing one year it is extended. I dont get the term "short" here ?
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Old Sep 15, 2018, 11:55 am
  #153  
 
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Originally Posted by cln
???
1 Year and if u redeem or earn withing one year it is extended. I dont get the term "short" here ?
Seems in line with most airline programs.
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Old Sep 15, 2018, 12:08 pm
  #154  
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Originally Posted by Omnivore
Seems in line with most airline programs.
You probably meant most hotel chain programs, considering most airline programs have 2-3 years.

Last edited by 1flyer; Sep 15, 2018 at 12:33 pm
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Old Sep 16, 2018, 10:44 am
  #155  
 
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I've been all in with hotels.com for a while. Two things are changing that (a) hotels.com has for some time had much reduced or even nil kickback via sites like quidco.com which I use -- expedia has it's own loyalty perks and yet still gives ~8% more than hotels.com, (b) the vouchers it turns out are at best worth 1/11 not 10% I'd assumed: as you don't get a night's credit for nights you use a voucher towards, plus of course you'll basically never have a voucher which is worth exactly what a night costs.
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Old Sep 16, 2018, 3:44 pm
  #156  
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You've got to watch out that you don't use a voucher that has a higher value than the cost of any night in a multi night booking. If you use a free night voucher, it will apply only to one night and I try to make sure that my vouchers are always a bit less than the cost of one night. Otherwise, you lose any change you thought you might have got back for your voucher. I usually find the discount, for discount is what it is, well worth the effort. It saves me a bit here and there, when I need it.

I click through the German cashback site shoop.de and you get 7% cashback if you don't use hotels.com Rewards, otherwise 5% if you do. I find that reasonable.
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Old Sep 18, 2018, 2:24 pm
  #157  
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Originally Posted by zoombee
I've been all in with hotels.com for a while. Two things are changing that (a) hotels.com has for some time had much reduced or even nil kickback via sites like quidco.com which I use -- expedia has it's own loyalty perks and yet still gives ~8% more than hotels.com, (b) the vouchers it turns out are at best worth 1/11 not 10% I'd assumed: as you don't get a night's credit for nights you use a voucher towards, plus of course you'll basically never have a voucher which is worth exactly what a night costs.
On the other hand, IHG and Hilton devalue their programs at the drop of a hat- Hilton just did a stealth devaluation the other day, IHG managed to devalue hotels I thought were useful by quite a bit (with a raise in points needed from 15k to 25k). I find it increasingly hard to get more than .4 cpp in value from Club Carlson. For this reason I tend to burn my hotel program balances fairly fast, even if it's for a not terribly fancy redemption. I don't see the point in spending time accruing for the Maldives or uber-fancy hotels, or even good midlevel hotels in popular destinations, only to have the goal snatched away from me by a program change.

Conversely it's going to be very obvious if hotels.com devalues because the program is pretty simple. Hotels.com gift cards can usually be bought on discount and give some significant cashback to go along with the free nights. All told I find I can get a 15-20% effective discount on rates. You can do better than that if you eke out EVERY advantage possible in a program (elite status bonuses + hotel chain credit card point bonuses + promos), but there is opportunity cost (you can put Hilton spend on a Hilton card for those points or a Chase card for UR points, but not both, and so on). Hotels.com also doesn't consign me to the US Hotel Chain Ghetto and playing Large Hotel Chain Penalty (it's not like those franchise agreements are free)- I often find that out of the US you find better deals on local properties, as mentioned above.
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Old Sep 18, 2018, 3:01 pm
  #158  
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Originally Posted by eponymous_coward
Hotels.com also doesn't consign me to the US Hotel Chain Ghetto and playing Large Hotel Chain Penalty (it's not like those franchise agreements are free)- I often find that out of the US you find better deals on local properties, as mentioned above.
I completely agree with your post up until the part quoted, which seems polemic. Of course, participation in a chain costs money. But there are cost savings from participating in chains, too (economies of scale and scope; lower marketing costs would be a good example). It's also conceivable that chains mitigate principal-agent problems that would arise when contracting with independent hotels.
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Old Sep 19, 2018, 11:37 am
  #159  
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Originally Posted by 1flyer
I completely agree with your post up until the part quoted, which seems polemic. Of course, participation in a chain costs money. But there are cost savings from participating in chains, too (economies of scale and scope; lower marketing costs would be a good example). It's also conceivable that chains mitigate principal-agent problems that would arise when contracting with independent hotels.
My experience in places I have traveled overseas is that there is often a pricing premium for Hiltons, Marriotts and so on over comparable local options. Perhaps yours is different. But I don’t value chain loyalty enough to pay much of a premium for it when hotels.com enforces no loyalty.
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Old Sep 19, 2018, 1:43 pm
  #160  
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Originally Posted by eponymous_coward
My experience in places I have traveled overseas is that there is often a pricing premium for Hiltons, Marriotts and so on over comparable local options.
I agree there is a pricing premium. However, I think it may be justified.

For one, it isn't always feasible to acquire good information on hotels at a certain destination ahead of time. In that instance, I'd rather pick a chain hotel (considering chains are relatively good at ensuring that participating properties meet certain standards.)

Also, albeit rare, it can happen that during a hotel stay something goes wrong and, on top of that, you run into staff which isn't fixing the issue in a satisfactory manner. In that instance, I feel you have a better hand if the hotel in question is a chain hotel as you can pressure them via the chain.
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Old Sep 19, 2018, 2:00 pm
  #161  
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Originally Posted by 1flyer
I agree there is a pricing premium. However, I think it may be justified.
It's a reasonable justification that I could understand others using, but it's a premium that often doesn't really serve my needs. There HAVE been times where I've stayed in large chains overseas, but it's usually value redemptions in chains or cases where I did find a "good deal" in the matrix of stars/location/service levels/pricing that I use to determine where to stay (and usually there's an outsized bonus coming from a chain loyalty scheme ). I'm a fairly low-demand traveler who does a large percentage of my stays in the USA in limited-service properties because I can save money that way. As such, local chains or local hotels with the appropriate stars/service levels/reviews often hit the sweet spot I am looking for because my needs are often simple: a clean bed and a clean shower at a reasonable price and convenient location.

Using hotels.com I have access to those local properties not part of big chains, AND a reward/rebate scheme. Add on buying hotels.com gift cards at discount and it's in the realm of rebate I expect from the Hyatt/Hilton/Marriott/IHG/Accor/Wyndham/Radisson loyalty schemes (15-20%)- like I said, it's hard to get the outsized value in hotels.com that you can get other schemes if you use EVERY trick in the book (toss in a credit card, toss in a bonus promotion, elite status bonus, etc.), but you can get reasonable value, AND you have access to more properties than if you're just using Hyatt/Hilton/Marriott/IHG/Accor/Wyndham/Radisson. Often the choices overseas are fairly limited- maybe Hilton has one, two or three properties in a city- say a Conrad and a high-end Hilton, both of which are $300ish USD for my dates, and I'm just looking for a clean bed, a shower, and reasonable pricing- why would I shackle myself to a chain to pay more money than I want, for services I don't have a use for?
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Last edited by eponymous_coward; Sep 20, 2018 at 3:52 pm
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Old Sep 20, 2018, 3:25 pm
  #162  
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This is a very interesting discussion and increasingly relevant at the moment, with the inexorable accelerando of hotel points devaluations. I still think hotels.com stands out as a beacon of simplicity in the way its program is to be used and for that reason I think it's unlikely to suffer a devaluation. For the moment.

One data point and a question. In Moscow recently, I booked 2 rooms for 2 nights in the same hotel, one using the German version of hotels.com, the other using the English version (because of a Book 2 Nights get an Extra Free Nights Credit promotion). All night credits turned up promptly and the stay was a good one. The first cost EUR120, the second cost GBP135. I had got the last of the cheaper categories for the first room (it stated "one left") and the second room was in a slightly pricier category. All fine, that's how it goes, it was still good value for 2 nights and really good breakfast in a nice hotel full of character. Both rooms allocated were of the same superior category. At check out, I was issued with 2 credit card receipts, one for RUB 7.392,00, the other for RUB 9.240,00. These are worth EUR94.65 (instead of EUR120) and GBP105.02 (instead of GBP135), but my cards were charged with the EUR120 and GBP135 amounts. So is this the difference between what the hotel charges and the profit that hotels.com makes? In that case, it would be better to book direct with the hotel, profit from the dire exchange rate (good for us visitors) and save quite a bit of money, amounting in the long term to more than a hotels.com free night. Wouldn't it?

A question: if you book a 2 night stay and use a reward night as payment or part payment for one of the nights, and you booked a refundable rate, what happens if you need to cancel? Do you get your free night back? I think in the case of refundable bookings, they don't charge you until you check out of the hotel, so it's probably not a complicated operation to reverse the "free" night. But I've never put it to the test and was just wondering.
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Old Sep 20, 2018, 3:55 pm
  #163  
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Originally Posted by Concerto
In that case, it would be better to book direct with the hotel, profit from the dire exchange rate (good for us visitors) and save quite a bit of money, amounting in the long term to more than a hotels.com free night. Wouldn't it?
I often compare the hotel site's prcies to search engines/aggregation prices. Hotels.com doesn't always have the best price.

Originally Posted by Concerto
A question: if you book a 2 night stay and use a reward night as payment or part payment for one of the nights, and you booked a refundable rate, what happens if you need to cancel? Do you get your free night back? I think in the case of refundable bookings, they don't charge you until you check out of the hotel, so it's probably not a complicated operation to reverse the "free" night. But I've never put it to the test and was just wondering.
Yes, I recently did exactly that (two night stay with a night as a Hotels.com reward free night). The night was back within hours.
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Old Sep 20, 2018, 4:08 pm
  #164  
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Originally Posted by eponymous_coward
I often compare the hotel site's prcies to search engines/aggregation prices. Hotels.com doesn't always have the best price.

Yes, I recently did exactly that (two night stay with a night as a Hotels.com reward free night). The night was back within hours.
I have not been so diligent in checking the hotel websites, tending to trust hotels.com. I think I checked a couple of times in the past and prices came out the same, perhaps even better on hotels.com once, so I tended to think hotels.com would always have the same prices. Thanks for reminding me to do my homework!!

Good to hear that about the free night reversal (it's not really a refund, is it, because you didn't actually spend anything!)
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Old Sep 21, 2018, 3:30 pm
  #165  
 
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I love Hotels.com

I want to give a big thumbs up to Hotels.com. My husband and I just spent 2 weeks in Slovenia and Croatia and we used many of my free nights to book fabulous places there. When I travel oversees, I always want to stay in wonderful, quaint, clean places that are not chain hotels. We stayed at great places that averaged 80-100 per night thru Hotels.com. It was so easy to use my free nights and the places were so great.

I have to say that Hotels.com has great customer service as well. They answer the phone promptly and are happy to help you. Recently, I wanted to change the date of a hotel reservation on our vacation and, even though it was past the date they allowed you to make changes to the reservation, they called the hotel (in Europe) and negotiated a change without any additional cost to me even though the room price was supposed to be higher. They were awesome!

I also find that Hotels.com sometimes has better pricing than if I try to book a hotel on their own website. So I always try to use Hotels.com whenever I can.

Anyways, I'm a real fan of Hotels.com and will continue to use them as much as possible.
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