If you’ve ever been on vacation, you’re probably aware of how pricey hotel rooms can be. A decent hotel can cost you at least $150 per night, which is a significant expense on top of the amount you’re already spending on traveling, gas, etc.
But what if you could get hotel rooms free? It might sound too good to be true – but it isn’t. There are various methods you can use to score a hotel room free of charge.
Hotel Loyalty Programs
Various hotels will show gratitude for you being a customer by awarding you points – which can later be used for free night stays. Here are a few of those programs.
IHG Rewards Club
The IHG Rewards Club has three tiers: Gold Elite, Platinum, and Spire.
You can receive Gold member status after ten nights. With Gold, you earn 10% more points than people who are regular club members. At applicable hotels, you spend $150 per night. After 12 nights, you earn 1,800 points, which is the equivalent of 9 total dollars.
You can get to Platinum Status by staying in IHG hotels for 40 nights, or gaining 40,000 points. If you reach this level, you get a 50% point bonus for each stay, which equates to 5 points per dollar.
Spire status is gained after 75 stays or 75,000 points. Spire level customers receive a 100% point bonus (10 points per dollar).
A free room can be exchanged for 10,000-60,000 points, depending on the type of room.
Hotel Credit Cards
Many hotels offer credit cards. If you acquire one, you’re able to earn points and rewards. Here are a few examples.
Marriott Bonvoy Bold™ Credit Card
Marriott offers a credit card called the Bonvoy Bold Credit Card. Just by applying, you’re eligible to earn 50,000 bonus points by spending $2,000 within your first three months having the card.
With this card, if you spend $25,000 or more within a year, you receive a free night at any of their hotels. You will also earn points with your purchases that can later be redeemed for free hotel stays and travel.
Every dollar you spend is worth 1 point. However, if you spend money at one of their hotels, each dollar is worth 3 points.
World of Hyatt Credit Card
When you receive your World of Hyatt credit card, if you spend up to $3,000 on purchases within the first three months of having the card, you will receive 25,000 points. You will earn an additional 25,000 points if you spend $6,000.
This makes a total of 50,000 points. That is enough to redeem ten free nights, as one free night starts at 5,000 points.
The point system is:
- 9 points for staying at a Hyatt hotel
- 2 points for dining and travel
- 2 points for gym memberships
- 1 point for everything else
Other credit cards you can use for free nights are:
3rd Night Free, 4th Night Free, or 5th Night Free
Various hotels offer the 3rd, 4th, or 5th night free for customers who spend 3-5+ nights at their hotel. This, of course, encourages customers to spend more time and money – but if you’re already planning a long vacation, the extra effort can be totally worth it.
From July 5th to December 31st, 2020, you’re able to stay a 3rd night on your vacation for free. Every three nights you stay will equal one free night.
You must stay a minimum of three nights, and the limit is 14 nights. This opportunity is available to everybody.
Hilton offers the last of five consecutive nights at one of their hotels for free. In one stay, you can use up to 4 (20 total nights) if you’re a part of their rewards program.
However, this only applies to standard rooms. A standard room is a basic room that generally consists of two double beds or one bed. It is not a suite, executive room, etc.
To receive this opportunity, you must be a Silver, Gold, Diamond, or Elite Hilton Honors Member.
Marriott is another company that offers a 5th night free of charge for any standard room. This opportunity is universal, meaning you don’t have to be an exclusive member to participate.
There is no restriction on the amount of fifth free nights you can use within a stay.
“OTAs” are online travel agencies, which often offer enrollment in reward programs. These, in turn, can be used to score free hotel rooms.
Hotels.com has the option to join their rewards program, called Hotels.com Rewards. This opportunity allows you to gain a free night for every ten nights you spend at a hotel booked using their platform.
The maximum price of your free night will be the average of the hotel rooms you stayed in within those ten nights (if you stayed at more than one).
So, if it’s over the maximum coverage, you will have to pay the rest out of pocket. But, if you choose a hotel that is less than the maximum, you will lose the rest of the value – so be wise with your decision.
Expedia, whose name is now Expedia+Rewards, also boasts a rewards program. Whenever you book a hotel room through their site, you will receive points.
The point system grants you 2 points for every dollar spent on a hotel, 2 points for $1 spent on cars, cruises, and any activities, and 1 point for $5 spent on a flight.
Building up your points, you will eventually gain a free night or multiple free nights.
Other OTAs include:
Sometimes, as an incentive for travelers to stay at their hotel, businesses will offer extra points in a promotion. By doing this, you can get free nights faster.
Hilton Honors Promotions
Go More Get More Promotion
This promotion is valid from May 2019 until the end of September 2019.
With the Go More Get More promotion, members get double points after their first stay. There are also more bonuses as 10, 15, and 20 days:
- 10 stays – 10,000 bonus points
- 15 stays – 15,000 points (25,000 total)
- 20 stays – 20,000 points (45,000 total)
Asia-Pacific Double Points Promotion
The Asia-Pacific Double Points Promotion is available from July 1st to September 30, 2019. Any members who book a hotel room using a Visa card receive double points (up to 20,000).
As the name suggests, hotels in countries within the Asia-Pacific region are eligible. The locations are:
- French Polynesia
- South Korea
- New Zealand
- Sri Lanka
Other hotel promotions include:
- IHG Rewards Club Accelerate Promotion
- Choice Privileges Double Points
- Le Club AccorHotels Quadruple Points
Many prevalent credit card companies have travel portals that allow you to utilize points by purchasing stays at hotel rooms, rather than spending money.
Chase Ultimate Rewards Travel Portal
The Chase Ultimate Rewards Travel Portal is one of the best, if not the best travel portal on the market.
This travel portal, much like every other method mentioned above, provides you with bonus points you can then redeem for free nights.
You can win free hotel nights by attending timeshare presentations. Timeshare presentations are basically the sales pitches of hotel companies.
Hotels often grant people who sit through their presentations free hotel nights, and sometimes even cash. Their goal is to make consumers regular customers.
If you’ve never heard of this, you’re probably wondering how to get this opportunity. One way, though uncommon, is when the concierge invites you or people on the street (or at home) ask you if you’d like to attend.
You can also look up timeshare presentation opportunities near you and find hotel websites and other websites advertising timeshare presentations.
Be an Influencer
Influencers are people with a considerable amount of influence on social media, such as YouTube, Instagram, blogs, etc. They can make thousands of dollars by merely advertising and writing reviews for brands.
Many times, rather than spending money, influencers are able to receive free things, such as a free hotel night or multiple nights. This is done in exchange for sharing experiences at the hotel with their large following. Sometimes, the price of your travel will be paid as well.
If you believe you have an adequate following and good engagement, you can reach out to hotels with your offer.
Complaining & Negotiating
Remember how, as a kid, you would throw a tantrum or complain to get what you want? Well, as it turns out, that can work to get you a free stay at a hotel too!
However, this method is only to be used within reason, such as when the service isn’t up to par or any other missteps on the hotel’s part. To satisfy you and make up for their mistakes, hotels will often remove the charges for a part, if not all, of your stay – or provide you with extra nights completely free.
On the other hand, sometimes a hotel won’t offer to make up for their mistakes. In this case, it’s crucial you don’t just give up. Instead, you should negotiate.
Some useful negotiation tactics are:
- Remain reasonable: do not get worked up.
- Do not demand a free night. Show them why you deserve a free night.
Contests & Sweepstakes
Some hotels will create contests where you can enter to win prizes, such as a free stay in their hotel. Here are a few examples.
Marriott- W Hotels Make a Splash Sweepstakes
The sweepstake is available from July 2nd until the end of August. The winner will be selected on September 4th. You can only enter one time, unless you earn extra entries by referring friends.
Choice Hotels Inspired By Nature Sweepstakes
Choice Hotels opened a sweepstake where the winner wins:
- A trip to a featured national park
- Paid round-trip
- 2-night hotel stay
- $500 Visa Card for expenses
- $250 travel voucher
This sweepstakes is open in July, and if you win, the trip will be in September. You must be at least 18 years old to enter.
Work for a Hotel
Working for a hotel often grants you free stays at the hotel where you’re employed. Some hotel jobs (with income listed) include:
- Front Desk Clerk – 25-35k annually
- Receptionist – 30k
- Head of Housekeeping – 85k
- Sommelier – 54k
- Chef – 122k
- Hotel Manager – 100k
- Bellhop – 35k
Free Hotel Stay on Your Birthday
As a birthday gift, many hotels will offer you a discount or free stay on your birthday.
- Wyndham Hotels: offer 20% off, complimentary breakfast, free upgrade
- B Hotels and Resorts: stay is only $1
If you’re tired of splurging on hotel rooms, there are a variety of ways to make a portion of your stay (or all of your stay) free. This is especially because hotel companies are eager to give you rewards to maintain their relationship with you.
The methods listed in this article will help you get started on earning free hotel rooms. The trick is knowing how to use each resource to unlock maximum potential.