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

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

Old Mar 7, 2015, 9:00 pm
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Originally Posted by ComplexAnalysis
How does booking a free hotel room work regarding leftover credit?

IE: You get the average of the past 10 hotel nights as credit, let's say $200. If you book your next room for $175, do you get to keep the next $25 as extra credit or do you lose it?

Also AFAIK the credit doesn't cover taxes/fees, which are generally included in points bookings.
Pretty sure you lose it, though I've always gone the other direction and paid a few dollars extra on my booking.
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Old Mar 7, 2015, 10:57 pm
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Originally Posted by sbm12
Pretty sure you lose it
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Old Mar 9, 2015, 10:00 pm
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I think my last "free" night was worth about $27 in credit. Took some doin' to get it that low.
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Old Mar 11, 2015, 5:37 pm
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Originally Posted by ComplexAnalysis

Also AFAIK the credit doesn't cover taxes/fees, which are generally included in points bookings.
It say's it doesn't but I've always found that the credit covers the total amount, and any extra I've just covered by card; because usually my credit is less than the free night cost.

Certainly on the Hotels.com UK website, I haven't had a seperate total for taxes.
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Old Mar 12, 2015, 9:09 am
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Originally Posted by sbm12
Keep in mind that using a coupon often kills the rewards credit. Check the fine print. The % saved usually makes that worthwhile, but worth knowing.
When you say using the coupon often kills reward credit, does that include making actual earned Hotels.com free nights incompatible as well?
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Old Mar 12, 2015, 11:14 am
Join Date: Oct 2007
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Is it possible to add nights retroactively to my Welcome rewards?

Been registered with WR for a while - have also earned some free nights already - however, for some reason it wouldn't let me login to add the nights after the booking confirmation, which is what I used to do before all the time.

Anybody have experience with adding nights after the fact?
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Old Mar 12, 2015, 3:41 pm
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Many times when I'm debating whether to use Hotels.com or not I either:
- find that a AAA discount with the direct hotel chain is a better offer than booking the Hotels.com rate
- or I can get a 10% or 15% coupon to work at Travelocity or Expedia (although I think they are all one company right?)
- with all those factors combined I end up almost never book Hotels.com straight because I've essentially saved 10% off already.
- I think it sucks that it expires after a year I think and also I remember the old system when 10 nights, regardless of how much your average stays, would get you a $400 reward hotel room. Those were the days...
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Old Mar 12, 2015, 5:24 pm
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Originally Posted by Ritz
When you say using the coupon often kills reward credit, does that include making actual earned Hotels.com free nights incompatible as well?
I have found that using any discount coupon means that those nights do not count towards your ten-night accumulation for a free night.
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Old Mar 29, 2015, 1:43 am
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I don't quite like hotels.com's rewards nights.
On hotelclub.com, I earn points on the stay that have been partly paid for, using my own cash as in my credit card, and also earn points on the my cash in my hotelclub points balance.
Hotels.com, on the other hand, on free nights, do not give you points on that particular stay.
So, stay 10 nights, on that 11th night, ie, the free one, though you have to pay your own $ on top of any balance, if your 10 stays give you say, at a hotel value of Usd$100, but your this stay charges you Usd$130, the $30 does not entitle you to points. If your 11th hotel is Usd$99, you of course don't get the $1 back, and no points either.
So, not good.
Sorry for making it harder than it is to understand.
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Old Mar 29, 2015, 7:20 am
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Hotels.com was a lot more attractive when they partnered with Ultimate Rewards as I got the 4x or 5x (it varied) plus the free night every 10 nights. I don't like the 1 year expiration either, it can take longer than that to earn a free night. I usually use Pointshound or Rocketmiles to get airline miles for my bookings these days so Hotels.com is a fallback when these two don't have the hotel I want.
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Old Mar 30, 2015, 3:27 pm
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I use hotels.com all the time. They are an Expedia owned company.

We spend a lot of time off the beaten path (motorcycle travel in Europe is our current focus) and Hotels.com has gotten us some terrific, boutique type accommodations that are far from any airport or train station. We have 5 upcoming vacations booked, and Hotels.com got us some mom and pop type rooms that include dinner (dinner!) or breakfast for about $35-50 for 2 in rural N/E Italy, Slovenia, Croatia, France and Switzerland. Parking is not an issue in these places, either.

We recently spent 6 nights for about $600 in Florence at a simple, clean hotel that was literally steps away from the Uffuzi (sp) museum overlooking the Plaza. The location could not have been better.

We did notice an alarming fact, though... when booking through a portal (Ultimate Rewards, etc) the prices on the rooms went up... sometimes significantly, vs. direct bookings on the mother site. So much so, in fact, that now we book direct on Hotels.com with no portal point bonuses involved.
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Old Mar 30, 2015, 3:45 pm
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There is a new bonus to Hotels.com that I have noticed that might make it better than almost any program..

I manage a team of people, some of whom fly frequently and others that don't. I don't tell them how to book their travel and let them do whatever they want as long as they reasonably try to find the best rate.

However, I have a few people that ask me to do it for them on my corporate card. (My company doesn't give out corporate cards to everyone) When this is the case, ask whether the employee has a preference due to loyalty program. There are a few that just don't travel enough to care and want me to book however I feel like. In these wonderful cases, if I book through my login on Hotels.com, I get the credit for the nights.

I am not trying to "steal" anyone's free nights and give them every chance to do so, but in the few cases where people just don't want to hassle with their own bookings, I end up with a few extra nights here and there....
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Old Mar 31, 2015, 11:02 am
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I book through hotels.com or similar only if
1. It is the cheapest
2. Cannot be booked through hotel chain's website
3. Not a chain hotel (therefore same as 2)

I like hotels.com reward program because you get rewards even when you book for others and the math is easy. However, I found Hotels.com rewards frustrating in that the rates for each reward night is different. For example I have one free night worth over $200 and one worth only $70. It is true you can use it for any hotel and for anybody, but I would hate to lose part of the hard earned $200.

Points with hotel chains, however, can be very valuable. They can be easily earned if you catch the right promotions. Just booked a room for 20,000 points per night at a Holiday Inn Express instead of paying $560 per night. Yeah, it is a crazy rate for a HIE but it is for a special event. Points are great for refundable bookings and expensive nights associated with special events.

Finally, perks comes with hotel status can be wonderful. My husband and I have been upgraded to very nice rooms and free breakfasts at Hilton hotels for the gold status that comes with the credit card. Have a night booked at Niagara and am hoping for a nice upgrade.

I fully agree with previous postings regarding AAA or AARP rates on hotels chain websites.
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Old Apr 10, 2015, 1:04 pm
Join Date: Feb 2011
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Industry problem

I use hotels.com when I have to stay someplace without a rewards program.

However, I think the hotel industry at large has a problem. This year my company started a travel department that books for us, and always uses hotels.com so the exec's can stay for free. I understand hotels don't like paying rewards to their own programs and hotels.com but... for people like me you are shooting yourself in the foot. If you don't give me rewards for staying I am not going to maintain my brand loyalty. I have some ideas how to resolve this, but I am not sure hotel chains care/are interested.

Using my travel department is mandatory, but I get to pick where I stay. So if they still gave me rewards, I could maintain my loyalty.

Another thing I have noticed recently is owner operated vs. franchise hotels are so much worse when owner operated. I just finished a stay at a Courtyard Marriot where you could not adjust your thermostat. The front desk said the manager set it for the rooms. This was new jersey and it was cold the whole time I was there. Holiday Inn in Tornoto, major construction forced them to deliver breakfast, which was far from the usual Holiday inn standards etc. So it just adds insult to injury to not get rewards and deal with this cheap BS.
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Old Apr 10, 2015, 2:28 pm
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I've had several stays though hotels.com, but I always use one of their discount codes. On one hand, I prefer to get a discount up front, but on the other hand, I never earn any credit towards a reward.

Am I correct in assuming that hotels.com's rewards program is useful only for those whose travel is reimbursed? Is there anyone whose travel is completely self-funded yet has been able to make the hotels.com rewards program work for them?
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