Infrequent travelers sometimes reserve doubt on hotel loyalty programs. They assume that because they book only a few rooms per year, the perks of the program will never pay out. Such thinking is somewhat short-sighted. After all, most accrued points never expire so long as the membership remains active.
In reality, you might never amass enough points for free accommodations—at least not annually. But this doesn’t diminish the value of a loyalty program. There are still myriad opportunities to cut lodging costs and cash-out with smaller prizes. For example, many hotels have expanded their offerings to include:
- Tickets to local concerts, sporting events and clubs;
- Vouchers for restaurants and venues;
- Free amenity upgrades (i.e. room service, mini-fridge and more);
- Preferred pricing on vehicle rentals and airfare.
Such prizes are easier to attain, especially if you take advantage of promotions. Throughout the year, hotels often run limited-time promotions for earning more points. They sometimes offer group deals for special events in the city, too. Considering as much, timing your travels better might help you unlock free rooms and services after only a few visits.
Loyalty Programs Growing in Popularity
These days, more hotels are investing in loyalty programs to drive direct bookings. Third-party websites—although an excellent source of cheap accommodations—charge hotels exorbitant commission fees. In fact, any money put into a loyalty program is likely offset by the savings on these commissions.
For travelers, third parties also void potential loyalty benefits as the rooms are already discounted. Therefore, it is a mutually benefit venture to build robust programs that pull people away from these booking engines. Moving forward, you will only see better perks and promotions—so now’s the time to register.