Hotel.com is one of the best known hotel booking websites. Their Rewards loyalty scheme offers one free night’s stay if you book ten nights through their website.
Initially, it seems appealing to get something for nothing.
However, it’s not that straightforward once you scratch below the surface.
Not all hotel stays count towards the free one night stay. You have to check that the hotel night(s) which you are booking will count as qualifying stays.
You will still need to pay fees and taxes on your free night. To see the cost of fees and taxes, you need to press the book this room tab. The cost of fees and taxes varies between hotels, it doesn’t appear to be a set percentage.
If you use a discount coupon when making your booking, or it is part of a special promotion, that stay doesn’t count towards the the required ten nights.
Your free stay is redeemed at the average price of the ten hotel nights booked, which equates to around a 10% discount.
Therefore, you would think that a discount code would need to be for at least 10% to make it worth missing out on the night(s) counting toward the ten nights.
But you have to take in to account that Hotels.com may not always offer the lowest price for all hotel night(s) that you book. So you probably need to do a quick check on a hotel price comparison website, to see if you can find the room cheaper on another site.
If you find the room for less on another site, it’s also worth having a look for voucher codes on a website such as Voucher Butler, which can be used on the booking site which offers the lowest price for the hotel.
It all sounds like a bit of hassle. Hotels.com’s Rewards loyalty programme tempts you toward just booking all your stays on their website. Fair enough, it is a loyalty scheme. But the question is does loyalty pay for the customer?
One of the good points on the Rewards scheme is that you have plenty time to redeem your free night, as qualifying hotel nights are valid for twelve months from your last completed booking.
Personally, I’d be inclined to book my free stay as soon as possible after hitting the ten qualifying nights, just in case there were any changes to the loyalty programme.
Also, there are no black out dates for redeeming your free night, so you could use it during peak periods, although the price per night will probably be a lot higher during peak periods.
One of the best ways to get the most from Hotel.com Rewards is to book longer stays e.g. a ten night stay or two five night stays. That way you wouldn’t have to do so much price checking to ensure that you are getting the lowest price available by booking through Hotels.com.
I don’t think that the Hotels.com Rewards programme will entice me to book all my hotel stays on their website. If I could find a voucher code for Hotels.com I’d probably use it. I’d rather have a definite discount at the time of booking, than wait it out to amass ten qualifying nights in the Hotels.com loyalty scheme.