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

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

Old Apr 10, 2015, 4:21 pm
  #31  
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I have a free night worth roughly €70 at hotels.com which I haven't used yet. I know that the paid nights you collect towards this reward expire if you don't make a booking within a year. What about using the reward itself, if you have an active account? Does it expire after a time, or just remain valid until you use it?
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Old Apr 10, 2015, 8:37 pm
  #32  
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Originally Posted by mikew99
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?
Not as far as making the program work but it is a relatively secure booking process for away from major centre accommodations.
It works for me to book and charge on my credit card through hotel.com to stay at rural accommodation for NGO work across SE Asia. Hotels.com charges me for our accommodations and I do not have to deal with local operators who are not 100% honest about payments.
The invoice is also from hotels.com which is better for NGO/Non-profit reimbursement and government auditing than a hand written one on a poorly printed form.
So if the discount(no free night accumulation) is there we take it. If not it is a free night accumulation system.
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Old Apr 11, 2015, 2:16 am
  #33  
 
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Originally Posted by mikew99
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?
*Puts hand up* I find it incredibly useful. I stay in a scattered selection of hotels, typically on the cheaper side and I find hotels.com giving me good deals and acceptable selection and when I get a free stay that's just great. I usually keep them for the airport nights, I have been able to stay at hotels at various airport I normally wouldn't want to pay for. My last stay at the Heathrow Hilton was 34.49 CAD after applying the free night discount. That's a price I can live with
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Old Apr 11, 2015, 3:32 am
  #34  
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Originally Posted by mikew99
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?
The program is useful even for my own self-financed stays; and the cashback portals help even more. I've seen it work for those who do ski trips and want condos on their vacations.

The program is also useful for those who book hotel rooms for others, regardless of who is paying.

I have a few free nights available in Welcome Rewards that were accrued from my leisure trips, and the value of each reward night from those leisure trips is $310-$400. For last minute family trips, hotels.com and its hotel reward program provided the best value I could get for the size of my family travel party.
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Old Apr 11, 2015, 11:18 am
  #35  
 
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I don't really travel enough for most hotel programs to be worthwhile for me. So I use hotels.com or Agoda or whoever has the lowest rates. And I like to choose based on location as much as anything. So if a chain doesn't have a hotel in the location/area I want to stay in I have no problem staying in an independent place or a local chain. If I was paying attention mostly to the loyalty program instead I think I'd end up in locations that aren't always as desirable to me.
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Old Apr 11, 2015, 4:28 pm
  #36  
 
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Thanks for the response, tentseller, chx1975, and GUWonder! I haven't given much attention to the rewards program to date, so I'll take a closer look now!
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Old Apr 11, 2015, 10:05 pm
  #37  
 
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Originally Posted by mikew99
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?
I like it quite a bit - I will not always book within one chain because it doesn't always make sense to do. I have no real interest in hotel points because it's so easy to get crazy cheap rooms these days. Hotels.com's program is nice because I can still get something back from my hotel stays and I am never worried about there being a convenient hotel available from a specific chain.
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Old Apr 13, 2015, 7:43 pm
  #38  
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Am sure it has already been mentioned, but sometimes you run into situations like I did tonight where all the cheapies in a place (such as Miraflores in Lima) are pay-at-hotels and sites won't take discount codes. But with hotels.com in this case I do get the nights credited toward a free one, so at least it's something. My free ones are usually worth around $30.

When codes do work at one site or another and discounts are deep enough I usually take that rather than the night's credit (hotels.com won't let you get credit if you used a discount code). But maybe the math works out differently in the middle or the top.

I'll typically have only enough for about 1 free night a year because most situations aren't like the above. Where possible usually Orbitz wins, as over there there are lots of different codes (usually) plus Orbucks. But in many cities they have less to choose from and tilt more toward the high end.
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Old Apr 29, 2015, 7:28 am
  #39  
 
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Originally Posted by StartinSanDiego
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.
I have also experienced that prices with hotels.com are sometimes different when booking through a portal. However this can also be because the prices on hotels.com are sometimes different on their different country sites. E.g. UK site would sometimes display a different price than DK site.

Regardless of a more expensive price through a portal, I would always choose to book through a portal. If the price was lower for example on uk.hotels.com than through the portal, I would just file a Best Price Guarantee with hotels.com and have them match the price. So no reason not to book through a portal and get Welcome Rewards and whatever earnings you get from the portal site.

And to the person who said that the hotels.com customer service has degenerated over the last few years, I totally agree. They don't reply as fast as they used to, to BRG claims, and if you call them instead, they will say they are having trouble finding the same rate as you. Might try to offer another rate that isn't as low. You just have to be persistent.

I only travel for leisure, so I get it to work for me by planning and booking well ahead. If the price goes down up until my hotel stay I file a BRG. If I find a much better offer that isn't valid for a claim, I usually cancel and book that instead. Would suggest avoiding non-refundable rates unless you are booking with short notice, as it is sometimes possible to find a better rate on another room or a better deal at another hotel.

Last edited by Rasmus3s; Apr 29, 2015 at 7:37 am
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Old Apr 29, 2015, 7:51 am
  #40  
 
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Originally Posted by StartinSanDiego
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.
I have also found that prices when booking through a portal are somtimes different from prices found directly on hotels.com. I think this might be due to different hotels.com country sites sometimes having different prices. For example the UK site might display a slightly different price than the DK site.

However I would always choose to book through the portal site regardless of a higher price. If the price would be higher through portal I would file a BRG with hotels.com and have them match the price.

To the person who said that hotels.com customer service has degenerated over the years, I totally agree. When you file a BRG claim they won't always respond within 24 hours and if you call them they will claim that they can't find the lower price. They might find a slightly lower price than the one you paid, but not one that matches. In these cases you just have to be persistent.

I mostly travel for leisure so I plan and book a long time ahead and since hotels.com BRG can be filled up until the day before the stay, I usually save a little by doing this. Maybe 2-3% of the total price. I would recommend booking refundable stays unless booking with short notice, as it is sometimes possible to find better rates on other types of rooms or a better deal at another hotel/booking site.
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Old May 1, 2015, 10:30 am
  #41  
 
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I've had some less than happy experiences with the portals - being told on arrival that we don't get the 'free' breakfast because we didn't book direct for example, and generally getting the worst room available. My preference is always to book direct, if I'm paying $100 I want to hotel to get the $100 - not the bit left after the portal takes a bite for doing next to nothing. More chance of scoring an upgrade if you have booked direct too, I think.
I also resent paying on the date of booking for any hotel - I plan long trips (6 weeks or so) months in advance and paying then always pains me.
With hotels.com you also need to keep an eye on the booked nights and make sure you get the credit on your account (they don't credit you until after you stayed, even though you pay up front) - my two night stay in Samarkand never appeared on my account and e-mails were largely ignored.
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Old May 1, 2015, 10:36 am
  #42  
 
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[QUOTE=
We spend a lot of time off the beaten path (motorcycle travel in Europe is our current focus) edited.[/QUOTE]

StartinSanDiego, Sorry, I just spotted this, and it kind of amused me that anywhere, anyhow in Europe could be regarded as "off the beaten path"...we've been beating those paths an awful long time.
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Old May 3, 2015, 9:07 am
  #43  
 
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I have a few "focus" hotel chains and book directly with these chains when staying at their hotels. When these chains have no attractive option in the city I'm traveling to, I use hotels.com. Their prices are competitive and their customer service is awesome (if you Gold). I also use CJ.com to get an additional cashback on all my bookings (including with chain hotels).
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Old May 3, 2015, 11:44 pm
  #44  
 
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Exclamation

Originally Posted by Schwann
It says 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 separate total for taxes.
"It says it doesn't" cover taxes on the free night, but in practice it does in countries where the published rate includes VAT/GST! OTOH, in most of the USA & Canada where sales tax(es) are itemized separately, a "$100" Hotels.com award will cover $100 of the price tag, then we must pay the tax ourselves. Worse, if the room costs $89 + $12 tax, the award will cover only the $89 & make us pay the $12 tax on our credit card !

One pleasant exception is South Carolina, where sales tax law says that when a customer uses a 'coupon,' only the discounted price actually paid by the customer is taxable. So that same $100 award will also neutralize the taxes on a $100 room, making it totally free !
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Old May 6, 2015, 10:25 pm
  #45  
 
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Originally Posted by Brendan
"It says it doesn't" cover taxes on the free night, but in practice it does in countries where the published rate includes VAT/GST! OTOH, in most of the USA & Canada where sales tax(es) are itemized separately, a "$100" Hotels.com award will cover $100 of the price tag, then we must pay the tax ourselves. Worse, if the room costs $89 + $12 tax, the award will cover only the $89 & make us pay the $12 tax on our credit card !

One pleasant exception is South Carolina, where sales tax law says that when a customer uses a 'coupon,' only the discounted price actually paid by the customer is taxable. So that same $100 award will also neutralize the taxes on a $100 room, making it totally free !
There's an easy workaround, use the Australian version of hotels.com. You can still pay in USD but the taxes are always included. To change simply click on the little flag at the top of the screen and select Australia+USD (or preferred currency).
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