If you travel frequently for work or favour a particular style of hotel when you holiday, it may be worth joining a hotel loyalty scheme.
Like airline frequent flyer programs, members who sign up to a hotel loyalty program are eligible to earn points and achieve status credits. Points can be accumulated to redeem for perks such as free nights, free breakfasts, late check-out and room upgrades, while status credits allow members to reach higher tiers to unlock extra benefits.
Savvy travellers generally accumulate their points on business trips to cash in for leisure holidays. And it’s those who travel and stay in hotels the most within a calendar year who reap the most rewards for their loyalty to a particular hotel chain or company.
The main hotel rewards programs are Hilton Honors, World of Hyatt, Marriott Rewards, IHG Rewards Club and Le Club AccorHotels. Starwood Preferred Guest (SPG) was a popular rewards program – particularly in the US where points obsession is its own art form – until SPG and Ritz-Carlton Rewards were merged into one mega hotel loyalty program in Marriott Rewards from August 18, 2018.
With retail and card partnerships and alliances, it’s now possible to earn points on almost every purchase and airline alliances are also linked to hospitality partners.
Flight Centre Travel Group Destination Owner Bec Johnson says: “Basically, the more loyal you are, the better you are treated. This could mean free room nights, access to sales and the ability to convert points to other partners such as airlines. The higher the tier you reach, the better the deals.”
Qantas Frequent Flyer and Virgin Australia Velocity – Australia’s most popular airline loyalty programs – both partner with Hilton Honors, Marriott Rewards, IHG Rewards Club and Le Club AccorHotels, while Qantas Frequent Flyer members can also benefit from the airline’s alliance with Hyatt and even earn Qantas points on their Airbnb stay.
Here’s some of the main benefits for each hotel rewards program:
- Offers Member, Silver, Gold and Diamond status tiers.
- Basic Member perks include discounts, points towards free nights, in-room and lobby Wi-Fi, second guest stays free and late check-out.
- Silver members also receive two bottles of water, while Gold and Diamond status tiers attract room upgrades, free breakfasts and more.
World of Hyatt
- Offers Member, Discoverist, Explorist and Globalist status tiers.
- Member benefit highlights include savings up to 10 per cent and free internet.
- Discoverist members also receive premium internet access and a free bottle of water daily, room upgrades, priority check-in and 2pm check-out.
- Explorist and Globalist members are entitled to extra privileges such as an exclusive reservations line, lounge access and free breakfasts.
- Offers Rewards Member, Silver Elite, Gold Elite and Platinum Elite status tiers.
- Rewards Member and Silver Elite benefits include a choice to earn points or Frequent Flyer miles, the lowest rates on direct bookings, no blackout dates and free in-room internet access.
- Gold Elite and Platinum Elite members also receive their guaranteed room type, complimentary room upgrades, 4pm check-out, lounge access and free breakfast.
IHG Rewards Club
- Offers Club, Gold Elite, Platinum Elite and Spire Elite status tiers.
- Club members are entitled to collect points or miles/credits and free internet.
- Gold Elite members also get priority check-in and extended check-out.
- Platinum Elite and Spire Elite status also unlocks free room upgrades and guaranteed room availability.
Le Club AccorHotels
- Offers Classic, Silver, Gold and Platinum status tiers.
- Classic members receive 10 per cent extra off room rates, advance sale access, online check-in and fast check-out and free internet.
- Silver members enjoy priority check-in and late check-out, a welcome drink and turndown service.
- Gold members receive a welcome amenity and room upgrades, while Platinum status member can also access early check-in and late check-out, lounges and premium Wi-Fi.